Origin Notes and History:
Adopted in the 18th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1924. Re-approved 6 April 1926 on C.324; 14 June 1946 on 103/SE; 5 May 1949 on C.3723; 2 March 1950 on C.3740, and 6 April 1950 on C.3742.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
"Named in 1788 by Captain Charles Duncan, after his sloop "Princess Royal", 50 tons burden. This small vessel, belonging to Messrs Etches & Co. of London, had quite an adventurous career on this coast. She left England in September 1786, manned by fifteen men, in company with the "Prince of Wales", Captain Colnett. After calling at Staten Island they rounded Cape Horn and arrived at Nootka in July 1787. Here they found that the "Imperial Eagle", a large fur trading ship, had anticipated them and in consequence trade was very slack, and they soon sailed for King William's Sound, meeting Dixon's "Queen Charlotte" off Nootka 8 August [and being advised by him] to steer for the Queen Charlotte Islands, where he had met with such a good market....Duncan spent from 14 May to 5 August 1788 trading for sea otter skins between Queen Charlotte Islands and the large islands to the eastward off the continental shore. This group was named after the sloop, Princess Royal Isles. Duncan sailed into the inner channels and on several nights, like Vancouver did afterwards, moored his vessel to the trees, there being no available anchorage. The natives attacked him in these inner channels and he nearly lost his boat's crew. Duncan anchored in Safety Cove 22 July and sailed for the southward on 3 August. The sloop fell in with Captain Meares off Ahousat, and after anchoring there, left the coast for China...." [see also Princess Royal Point]
Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)