July 24th, 2013
We know now! He’s here, and he’s named. As predicted, the future king of England is GEORGE!!! (I really cried it from the hilltops too — whew). His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.
Just as YCCII arrived at George by process of elimination, so too did the royal parents, I imagine. It is the name of many kings, and most recently belonged to Queen Elizabeth’s father. Alexander, which for some reason was calling to me yesterday, honors the queen in the best way they could. It’s after her second middle name, Alexandra. Louis is slightly more of a surprise. There are many names that could have taken precedence: Philip after Wills’ grandfather, Charles after Wills’ dad and next sovereign, Michael after Kate’s father, Francis, after Diana’s middle and Michael’s middle, and so on. Louis is likely after Louis Mountbatten, Philip’s uncle who featured prominently in his upbringing and died in an IRA attack in 1979. It is also William’s third middle name. His full moniker is William Arthur Philip Louis.
Is anyone surprised? They straddled tradition and modernity: George is as regal as it gets, Alexander is somewhat more pedestrian but recalls voyagers like Alexander the Great. Louis is worldly, regal, and slightly exotic.
Expect a rise in the name George on both sides of the pond.
The biggest surprise to this name nerd is why on Earth did they not seize the opportunity to use at least four names?
December 4th, 2012
In the great immortal words of Bill Clinton, let’s get down to the brass tacks here.
What do you name the future King or Queen of England?
That’s right. Kate Middleton has gone and gotten herself knocked up, no doubt about to influence maternity fashion and nursery design the world over. But what about baby names? IF her fashion sense and the way she carries herself can be any indicator, we can expect a solid, traditional choice that is also fashion forward.
The name does have to get approved so those lying in hopeful wait for Holiday or Bear will be sorely disappointed. Names that get a thumbs up are result of process of elimination. The royal child will likely have a royal name that isn’t currently used by any immediate family members. Likewise, names that get an immediate “NO” are those that are already taken by immediate family members and whose association is too strong. The Queen gets ultimate veto power over a name, so expect the name to be used historically in the royal family.
Middles are perhaps easiest to predict. A boy surely will have Charles and Philip as part of his name, with the addition possibly of Michael, Catherine’s father. Coincidentally, Charles and Philip honor Catherine’s mother Carole and sister Philippa Charlotte as well. A no brainer. A girl will likely have Elizabeth and Diana as a middle name, and in addition to being the reigning queen, Elizabeth happens to be Catherine’s middle name as well. But don’t hold out hope for Diana as a first name. She was far too controversial, and remember, the queen gets veto power.
NO: Andrew, Charles, Edward, Henry, James, John, Louis, Peter, Philip
MAYBE: Arthur, William
OUTLIERS: Albert, Alfred, Christian, Frederick, Stephen
MIDDLES: Charles, Michael, Philip, William
YES: Alice, Elizabeth, Victoria
NO: Anne, Beatrice, Diana, Eugenie, Louise, Margaret, Philippa, Sarah, Sophie, Wilhelmina
MAYBE: Alexandra, Eleanor, Frances, Helena, Jane, Mary
OUTLIERS: Adelaide, Albertine, Alexandrina, Amelia, Augusta, Catherine, Caroline, Cecily, Charlotte, Helena, Edith, Georgia, Henrietta, Louisa, Matilda, Michaela, Olive, Rose, Sophia
MIDDLES: Elizabeth, Carole, Caroline, Charlotte, Diana
I suspect George Charles Philip Michael for a boy and Alice Elizabeth Diana Carole for a girl. But how fun would it be to have a Princess Helena or Princess Henrietta? I just read that Princess Helena, daughter of Queen Victoria, founded the Red Cross. Seems worthy of a namesake, no?
What do you think the royal couple will choose? Let’s have fun with combos, shall we?
May 21st, 2012
Move over, all-knowing goddess. There’s a new gal on top of the mount.
Say Gooddag to the Danish princess, who was Christened yesterday:
Athena Marguerite Françoise Marie. She is the daughter of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie. Françoise is Princess Marie’s mother’s name, Marguerite is after Queen Margrethe. She has three godmothers and three godfathers, and based on her name alone, I’m volunteering to be a seventh godparent.
She joins three older brothers, Prince Nikolai William Alexander Frederik and Prince Felix Henrik Valdemar Christian from a previous marriage, and Prince Henrik Carl Joachim Alain, who is also Marie’s child. They have some well-named first cousins as well.
Do you like the “royal” way of naming? Would you use more than one middle name to honor family? I’ll let you in on a little secret: my daughters are both named in this vein. Couldn’t help myself!
February 26th, 2012
Sweden has a new second in line to the thrown. Crown Princess Victoria has given birth to a daughter. Says King Carl XVI Gustaf: “Her first name is Estelle, and then, of course Silvia, and then Ewa and finally Mary.” Duchess of Östergötland was also added to the title. Ewa is pronounced similarly to the English Ava. Though there was no explanation given for the names, we can surmise that Silvia is for Victoria’s mother, and Ewa for Estelle’s other grandmother. Before you go saying “wow that’s a long name for one person!” — four names are a common formula for royal families. This one is actually quite a bit shorter than most in both letters and syllables, and maybe as such more modern.
Estelle is a French name rarely found in Sweden. Many wish that the future queen of their country had a name that was more representative of their heritage (though the royals can trace their ancestry back to France). Estelle was also the name of the American-born wife of the king’s godfather, Count Folke Bernadotte. Maybe the king loved it as a child and was the one who suggested it, or maybe it’s just a coincidence? Perhaps they chose it for its celestial connotations? Or like so many parents, maybe they just loved its sound. It’s not unlike Stella, which is already becoming so popular, or Adele, a name I think we can expect to hear more of on little ones in the coming years. Before her birth, royal watchers speculated Alice and Desirée would be somewhere in the name. Someone also thought enough of the matter to bother hacking into the Swedish royal website. A false announcement on Friday morning read that the child’s name was Ulrika Marianna Annika David – Duchess of Upplands Väsby. I could have also gotten behind Ulrika.
There was a bit of a stir when Victoria married Daniel, a commoner and her workout trainer. Sweden took it with more grace than other countries might have, and the fact that both Victoria and now Estelle will inherit the crown measures progress. Do you find the concept of monarchy excessive and needlessly outdated, or do you think they give us some level of enjoyment?
Other recent royal announcements:
Above Image: Swedish family in 1905
August 3rd, 2011
New Zealand has long been a bastion of creativity when it comes to baby names. Number 16 Bus Shelter, Talula Does The Hula In Hawaii, and twins Benson and Hedges can attest to this. Talula disliked her name so much she hid it from her friends and had it legally changed at age 9.
So when parents are willing to go to such extremes, I have some sympathy for name laws.
Except that they are so arbitrary.
Recently the country added to its list of 89 banned baby names. It’s up to a single judge to decide whether or not a name gets the green lit. Among the outlawed monikers? Baron, Bishop, Duke, King, Messiah, and Judge itself, all shot down for the possibility of being mistaken for titles. But I imagine for some, that’s the point?
Under such a law, Reese Witherspoon’s Deacon might be a Dylan, Donald Trump’s Barron (sic), a Brandon.
In the United States, a country that was founded on the abolishment of the monarchy, we are so removed from nobility that these names (which are also surnames I might add), seem perfectly serviceable. I’ve met a Duke, a Lord, two Nobles and a Chaplain, none of them any worse for wear.
What do you think of banning baby names?
Are there any title names you like?
April 24th, 2010
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The girls’ birth announcements thus far from Paris’ Le Figaro. Remember. these are the families who still own chateaus and have wine labels bearing the family crest. For side by side comparison as to what the rest of France is naming their daughters, please see this chart.
Many of these names are relatively or very rare and chosen in part for that very reason: Cléophée (Greek), Domitille (Latin), Erminie (Germanic), Hedwige (Germanic). The French have some of the same “old is new” trends that we do here in the United States, which are somewhat divisible along class lines. What is chic to one person may feel utterly pretentious to another.
I fantasize about twins Alice and Adele. Any others you see ready for import?
April 20th, 2010
As promised, part II of IV from early 2010 Le Figaro birth announcements in France.
These lists overall are quite different from the country at large, intentionally so. French schools are not exactly teeming with Télémaques and Théotimes. Use with caution: not for amateurs.
August 9th, 2009
One of my very favorite recent discoveries has to be the birth announcements in Paris’ Le Figaro. The form is as follows: the grandparents, probably a Duc and Duchesse or Baron et Victomtesse, et cetera, announce the birth using the first name only of the child. If other names are posted, there is a comma between each of the names as per rules of French punctuation. In most cases, siblings’ names are listed as are those of the cousins! Feast your eyes on some of these broods.
Always one for the undiscovered gem, but these families take to new heights with their ancient Greek variants. Seems to be a game of one-upsmanship I’d say. Still, some to add to the repetoire.
Arwen, Marie, Victoria
Blanche (Hervé, Constance, Romain)
Célia (Chloé / Carole, Raphël, et Julien)
Domitille (Benoît, Augustin, Xavier)
Félicité (Antoine et Gaspard)
Hermine (Sosthène & Célestin)
Julie, Marina, Sixtine (Mathieu, Marine et Valentin)
Louise (Mina, Noë et Hanna)
Louise (Marie, Eugénie et Charles)
Victoria (Arthur et Alexandre)
Aymeric (Clemence, Capucine, Domitille)
Charles (Victor and Capucine)
Charles (Alexandre, Roman et Margaux)
Charles (Solène, Alexia et Albane)
Joseph (Alizée, de Théodore, Oscar et Melchior; cousins Antoine, Marguerite, Charles et Gabrielle / Caroline et Margot / Astrid, Pierre-François, Iris, Olympe et Panxika / Marc et Aurore)
Mahaut (Rémi et Thomas)
Martin (Clemence, Jeanne, & Blanche; cousins Augustin, Diane, Thomas / Celestine & Grace)
Martin (Elise et Thibault)
Théophile (Louise, Léopold et Anatole)
Above: Clothing by Oeuf
July 26th, 2009
The new Danish prins, son of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, was christened today:
Henrik Carl Joachim Alain
Not Albert, as had been speculated. He is the second living Prince Henrik in Denmark, and his grandfather should be pleased. Older half-brothers are Nikolai William Alexander Frederik and Felix Henrik Valdemar Christian.
I’d love to see Henrik get some mileage here in the wake of Henry’s popularity. Nikolai is a fab way to get to Niko, should you be so inclined, and Felix is already spreading his wings. What I’m really excited about here though, name wise, is Joachim. It’s one I’d use myself– that is, if I can figure out how to say it.
Also, for those afraid to re-use a family name for more than one child, you just got the green light.