The heart of Edinburgh city centre’s shopping district, Princes Street, has been the focal point of Edinburgh’s New Town since its inception in the 18th century. The mile long street offers residents and visitors alike unspoilt vistas of the Castle, Princes Street Gardens and the Old Town winding its way down the Royal Mile.

Princes Street, as seen from the crenelations of Edinburgh Castle, has been named Princes Street since the 18th century
Princes Street, as seen from the crenelations of Edinburgh Castle, has been named Princes Street since the 18th century. Even the photographer behind this photo was unable to get the name right.

Although its architecture has changed dramatically in the past 240 years, the street itself has been unaltered and has preserved its name during that entire time.

Despite this, however, many people living in the city are unable to grasp that it’s called “Princes Street” and not “Princess Street”.

Bert Thomson, Gorgie resident, said:

“Aye, ye ken, ah thocht it was ‘Princess Street’ for a’ ma born natural. Ah did wonder wha the princess was.”

Dottie Tuppence, curator of blueprints at the National Library said:

“Yes, this is a common misconception. The street is named after the collective term for multiple male royal heirs, rather than being named after one single female royal heir. There’s a bit of a theme of streets in the New Town being given regal names, like Queen Street, George Street and so on.”

She went on to say:

“But the easiest way to get it right is just to read the sign and note that it only has 1 ‘S’.

“Moreover, it lends its name to several business in the street, most notably the Princes Mall, and is frequently featured on bus destination boards.”

“This is one of many mispronounced areas of the city, including nearby Calton Hill, which is frequently called “Carlton Hill”. Not to mention the egregious mispronunciation of the city by Americans who call it “Edinboro” We’re not lending you ‘Edins’.”

Many thousands of Scots are still scratching their heads about this.

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