Hats off to Prince Harry and Princess Meghan Markle for naming their daughter “Lillibet”. It can be a tough business getting these names right…
Take my current predicament as an example. The name of my future son came to me the moment I decided to renounce my Catholic faith. That’s when I decided he should be called “Francis Boniface Sixtus VXI”. Unfortunately, my suggestion received little sympathy from my wife who has quite different plans. She spends her days censoring Hollywood movies of what she describes as their “pernicious violence” so of course she wants to name him “Rambo McClane”.
Naturally, we’ve argued long and hard. Matters weren’t helped once the extended family got involved. My father-in-law has a peculiar dislike for BBC weathermen so he suggested “Fish McCaskill”, which I admit, has a certain ring about it. But that didn’t meet the approval of his wife. Soon to be a gran, she is quite eager for her first grandson to be called “Boris Disraeli Thatcher Churchill” because, as you can probably guess, she’s a strict anarcho-communist.
See what I mean about it being complicated?
Not that we’re certain it’s going to be a boy. If it’s a girl then I’d quite like for her to be called “Kourtney Kim Khloe Brody Jenner Rob Kendall Kylie”. It’s a bit of a mouthful but then I can’t abide the Kardashians. My wife despises the idea (she’s a Kim fan) and has proposed “Gwyneth Beyonce Victoria” for obvious reasons. Myself, I was appalled that she would name our child after a Beckham. After all, nobody could bend it like David.
This tradition of naming children after things antithetical to our beliefs might be relatively new – in fact, by the matter of the few days since Harry and Meghan first came up with this wheeze – but it’s a novelty sure to catch on. I can certainly envisage a future where Mark Zuckerberg’s kids, Transparency and Privacy, are interviewed by some daughter of Piers Morgan called “Blissful Silence”. She could then hand over to Competence Madeley interviewing Humility Trump about her run for the presidency… Then, after the break, Tolerable Schofield reviews Amusing Whitehall’s new comedic two-header with the adorable Agreeable Corden. Sometimes the future sounds almost bright…
Critics will carp that Harry and Meghan have set a terrible example but they forget the terrible history the royals have around names. It’s known that Prince Charles wanted to call his first son “Arthur” and it’s only thanks to Diana that Prince William isn’t facing the possibility of becoming “King Arthur” – setting historians the uneviable task of figuring out if he’d be our first or second. (Thougn, of course, he is not certain to take his birth name. King George VI was originally an “Albert” and it’s unlikely that Charles would become King Charles rather than King George VII). It is even said that the Queen thought the name Annabel “too yuppy” when Sarah, Duchess of York, wanted to name her first child after the nightclub. Thankfully there never was a son so we (and Andrew) were spared the embarrassment of a Prince Jeffrey.
Not that this has much bearing on the current controversy. The kindest way of framing the Sussex’s choice isn’t as an insult to the Queen but, rather, their slightly clunky republican attempt to honour her as a grandmother rather than monarch, in that they chose the private name over the formal. This explanation is unlikely, however, to satisfy those who argue that if they hate the royal lifestyle so much, they should renounce their titles and move on. Perhaps things would have indeed been easier if they’d just named the baby “Keith” but sometimes the best way to avoid a problem is to turn around and face it head-on. Sure, they could have called their daughter “Elizabeth” but then magician Penn Jillette could have named his daughter something other than “Moxie CrimeFighter” and we wouldn’t now be talking about her. For a New York Times article, back in 2006, Jillette suggested that “It’s only the losers named Dave that think having an unusual name is bad, and who cares what they think. They’re named Dave.”
This “Dave” agrees. Or he would agree. This afternoon he’s changing his name. From now on, call me Rattlesnake High Humidity Eurovision Lineker.