50

Near the end of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Queen Amidala reveals that she's also Padme, one of the Queen's handmaidens. She would travel freely as Padme, and have Sabe, one of her handmaidens, be a decoy Queen.

The Queen of Naboo is an elected office. In either Ep 2 or 3, then-Senator Amidala explains to Anakin that she's one of the youngest people to be elected Queen. This presumably means she campaigned for office.

After ceasing to be Queen, she kept using the name Padme, and Wookieepedia indicates it's her real name. Isn't it pointless to use her real name when she's pretending to be the Queen's handmaiden? Anyone from Naboo who followed her election would recognize her from her name. Wouldn't it make more sense to take on the name of Sabe?

  • 10
    Can anyone tell me what King George VI real name was? Without Googling it or watching The King's Speech? – DJClayworth Feb 7 '12 at 17:06
  • 2
    Padme may be a common name. Stranger things have happened (reference: Gungans) – Jeff Feb 7 '12 at 19:54
  • 1
    @DJClayworth - funny, this came up in conversation yesterday - pretty sure it was Albert, wasn't it? Which would have been okay if his brother hadn't abdicated and Victoria mandated there would be no King Albert to displace her dead husband. Am I right? – HorusKol Feb 8 '12 at 0:46
  • @Jeff I would agree with you - none of these other answers seem to be good enough. This would be similar to "Q: Why did Luke Skywalker not change his name? A: Because it's a common name" - I think I saw a question on this, but I couldn't find it. – The Fallen Jun 22 '12 at 15:32
  • 7
    @DJClayworth: Albert, or Bertie for short. But during his actual reign, I bet lots more people in England could have told you. – Paul D. Waite Jul 31 '13 at 23:24
30
+100

The queen took the regal name Amidala when she gained fame in her rise to power as a young teen. The public only knew her as Amidala.

It appeared that her birth name was not public knowledge. In a lengthy communiqué assembled by Supreme Chancellor Valorum's aide in 32 BBY, the Republic diplomats and Intelligence officers who contributed listed Padmé as one of the Queen's handmaidens, and only referred to the Queen as "Amidala."

Source Wookieepedia.

This allowed her to have an alter ego Padmé who, until she became a hero in that name as well, was able to interact freely as a commoner.

In Darth Plageius there are several places where there is talk of the young Amidala gaining popularity among the people, and finally rising into leadership of Naboo. So her birth name was only known to those closest to her.

| improve this answer | |
17

It seems likely that when she served as Princess of Theed (basically, governor) and then ran for and was elected Queen, she used the name Amidala. Even on Naboo, it would be very strange to elect someone named, say, Mary, only to end up with an elected official named Elizabeth.


Padmé has three names: Amidala, the aforesaid Padmé, and Naberrie. Going just by the movies, it's not entirely clear what role each name plays, but given that her other family members use Naberrie, that seems to be her birth family name (surname). She uses Amidala when she is queen, but also when she is a senator, so it seems to behave as an assumed surname (in "Senator So-and-So", the "So-and-so" part is usually the senator's last name). Note that this is different from a regnal name, which would generally be a first name.

So, whatever role Naberrie and Amidala play, it seems clear that Padmé is her first name, and is what her closest friends always call her, regardless of what other name she's currently using. Given the similarity of the other handmaiden's names, Sabé, Rabé, Dormé, etc. are all also given names.

Thus, your question boils down to, why did Padmé continue to use her own given name when she was in disguise?

  • Why she didn't use Sabé instead is clear: a handmaiden is much less disguised than the queen (there's a certain lack of face paint), so anyone who knew Sabé would know immediately that something was screwy if Padmé introduced herself as Sabé.
  • Why didn't she invent another given name for her handmaiden persona? This is getting heavily into supposition, but I think it's because Padmé is a common given name. If Naboo was the US in the 80's, it would have been entirely believable to have both the queen and a handmaiden named Jennifer; Padmé doesn't seem to be quite that bad, but still, there are only so many names you can come up with that end in -é.
| improve this answer | |
  • Then they would have to obfuscate the first name of all the candidates. – Xantec Feb 7 '12 at 16:55
  • @Xantec: why? Just because Amidala chose to run under a pseudonym doesn't mean all candidates have to use pseudonyms. – Martha Feb 7 '12 at 16:59
  • 6
    Wasn't Padme Amidala her full name? – Xantec Feb 7 '12 at 17:05
  • @Xantec: it's not totally clear from the movies. What is apparent is that the Naboo use names slightly differently than we do. So it's possible that when she used Amidala, she used it as a single name. It could also be a last name, in which case Padmé could be a common first name (there's only so many names you can come up with ending in -é, after all). – Martha Feb 7 '12 at 17:11
  • @Martha also, they can actually have a culture which gives eg. 15 names for a single person, some of them a secret (like dwarfs in many universe). They may even have different names prepared for different situations. – n611x007 Jun 26 '12 at 19:13
3

Padmé's real and complete name is "Padmé Naberrie Skywalker (after she's married)", "Amidala" is her public name as Queen (Which she still uses later as senator), I'm not 100% certain but apparently it is common to change or use a fake name to identify Queens from their personal image, if you see other Naboo Queen's names, they're similar to "Amidala": Jamillia, Apailana, Kylantha.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    I'm pretty sure she didn't actually change her name - that might have given their marriage secret away pretty quickly. Also I don't recall her ever being called "Skywalker"... – Shadow Jun 1 '17 at 2:37
  • 1
    This demonstrates a very Anglo-centric view of the universe, whereby all women everywhere throughout known history always in all circumstances without exception take on their husbands' names upon marriage. (Hint: the times and places where Mary Smith becomes Mary Jones after she marries Tom Jones are very, very, very, very limited.) – Martha Mar 6 '19 at 15:57
2

Padme was her given name. Naberrie her surname. Amidala her regal name. Much the same as King George VI, who was Albert (Bertie to his family). She kept the public regal name not only to give herself a semblance of a private life, but to also keep her own family out of the public eye.

She used her own given name as a handmaiden because the public did not know her given name until she was elected Senator, and even then she usually went by Senator Amidala over Senator Padme Amidala.

See this Telegraph article about King George VI.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Your answer could benefit from sources. – Gallifreyan Jul 22 '17 at 15:55
1

Presumably, because it was a common name. We can also ask "Why didn't Obi-Wan change his last name?" - apparently it was because Kenobi was a common last name. Also "Why didn't Luke Skywalker have his name changed?" - apparently it was because Skywalker was common - since Shmi Skywalker was from Tatooine, it makes sense there were many Skywalkers on the planet.

This is conjecture, because there does not seem to be a canon explanation: Maybe there was another handmaiden named Padme, and this would not have caused suspicion.

| improve this answer | |
0

This is addressed in the canon novel Queen's Peril. In short, queens of Naboo have a public persona and a private persona. It's not considered appropriate for the local press and public to dig too deeply into the private life of the queen, including her private identity.

Ruwee Naberrie brushed the sawdust off his vest and wondered where in his life he had gone wrong. Usually he would take a moment to watch the falling wood shavings, evidence of a job done in perfect detail, but today there was no time for that. Today, despite his best efforts, his daughter didn’t need him.

She was gone. He hadn’t seen her in a few days, except on the holos as she gave last-minute campaign speeches, and then again this morning when she and the other candidates had cast their ballots live for the whole planet to see. It was strange to think about, his youngest trying to be queen of the planet, and he couldn’t acknowledge her as such.

People knew, of course. It was impossible to achieve complete anonymity, even with the practiced wheels of Naboo’s democratic machine. But no one was going to blow Amidala’s cover. Later, if she was successful and if her reign was favorable, her family and friends would explode with pride, but that was for when her term was done. Now Naboo needed a queen.

...

Padmé Naberrie had done the last thing she could. She had voted for herself when the candidates cast their ballots. She was sure each of them had, but for her, at least, it was the final step in proving to herself that she was ready. She trusted herself enough to be queen. The arrogance of it—thinking she was that much better than her fellows—rankled her a little bit, but Naboo had a failsafe in place for that.

She wouldn’t rule as Padmé if she won. No one would even know who Padmé was, if everything went to plan. She would bear the robes and responsibilities of Naboo’s crown, and she would give herself to that entirely, even to the extent of forsaking her own name for the duration of her reign. It was tradition, but it was a comfort, too—a reminder that her part was bigger than herself, that she would be acting in service, not selfishly for her own gain.

She hadn’t really understood it until that morning, when her ballot-chip slid into the box. She thought the anonymity was for her protection, and in a way it was, but it was also to protect someone else. And it was time. Her time.

Amidala.

There are other instances of Naboo society being curiously uncurious about the private lives of its great and good, for example with regard to the matter of Padmé's obvious pregnancy at her funeral.

| improve this answer | |
-3

It's safe to use Padme, because the very thing that it's obvious. No one suspects an elected Queen to be so silly (or cunning) to pick her real name as an alter ego.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy