Oh baby! Will and Kate's big choice
We get it. Royal babies have to be named traditionally – the evidence being the unimaginative stream of Henrys, Edwards, Richards and Georges who century after century clamber onto the British throne. Even William will be the Fifth, if and when he gets there.
So for soon-to-be-parents Will and Kate, that lets out Moon Unit. Or (mercifully) Young Love, Ellie Fant, Polly Esther, or even worse monikers listed by British writer Russell Ash in his book on the most embarrassing names ever.
But if there has to be “continuity” in royal names, why not dig back farther for more interesting material?
Naming a boy Ethelstan, after the 10th century royal bachelor, could be a beacon to Britain’s singletons.
Or there’s the trendy-sounding Swyn Forkbeard, whose family was also ahead of its time – his father was Harald Bluetooth. Naming a princeling Canute, while cute, might prove too conservative for the 21st century what with the ancient monarch’s (perhaps misunderstood) penchant for trying to turn back the tide.
If the royal-to-be is female, there’s also lots of trad material to mine, apart from the Annes, Elizabeths, Isabellas and Matildas who were rulers or consorts in the past.
Elfgifu or Elfthryth might be a tad challenging for tongue-tied Brits. But Gyrid and Gunhilda have a firm, no-nonsense sound for a forward-thinking future queen.
If the choices are just too much for Kate and Will, they could appeal to the baby name “random generator” website, which promises the “best little baby” names if you enter the names of the parents.
For Catherine and William, that would be Beeman, Marsdon, Beldane or – even more mysteriously – Reinwald. Unless it’s a girl, which would be Clayborne, Ardelia or Krystalyn. Should we go on?
One thing’s for certain: Queen Victoria would not be amused.
Olivia Ward was European Bureau Chief based in London from 1997-2002. She was named for a great aunt.