With the arrival of the newest member of the British Royal Family, and the much-hyped discussion over the name of the third-in-line to the British throne, it got me thinking about baby names. The Royal couple settled on the name George Alexander Louis for their little prince. George was the name of Queen Elizabeth’s father (the title character played masterfully by Colin Firth in The King’s Speech). Incidentally, George was also the frontrunner for the bookmakers with odds at 2/1. (The British will bet on anything – they are already taking bets on when Kate will give birth to her second child. Can’t a girl get a second to rest???). A less popular bet was on the name “Joffrey,” for all you Game of Thrones fans. Probably George was a safer choice.
I have to think that despite the two-day-wait before the announcement of the Prince’s moniker, the Duke and Duchess knew their baby would be named George, if they were to have a baby boy, long before the birth. Very few parenting decisions come close to causing as much discussion, disagreement, pressure and anxiety for new parents as choosing their new baby’s name. There are so many things to consider when choosing the name – will the name be original? Is it already too popular? Is it too unusual? Will it honor someone beloved? Will it offend someone beloved? Does it have any offensive rhymes that will cause future pain and suffering on the playground? Will the grandparents like it? Ahhhh! The pressure!
When we were pregnant with our first, we kept the name selection process to ourselves. The rationale being that if we involved our friends and family in the selection process, it could cause future offense and embarassment. “Duke and Duchess, you’re thinking of naming your baby George???? Ewww I hate that name!”- royally embarassing for hypothetical Queen E. Thus to save our parents that awkward moment of finding out the name they hate is now the name of their precious grandchild, all discussions were kept between me and my husband. We also figured that even if they didn’t like the name at first, as a baby grows and becomes his or her ever more lovable self, it also becomes hard to extricate the personality from the name. (I can’t count how many times I have been told I am such a “Darcy.” What does that even mean???)
But with such a big decision being all in our court, more than once I experienced self-doubt. I don’t even like to leave the house without someone weighing in on my outfit, so it is no surprise that my final choice for my first child was arrived at only a few weeks before he was born, and my second child within days of the birth. (We had settled on a different name around four months earlier, but I panicked about two weeks before he was born that we hadn’t “considered all of our options!”) I like to imagine the Duke and Duchess sitting around their house, reading through baby name books, and discussing names much like my husband and I did during both of my pregnancies. “But Henry is such a great name! He would be King Henry IX! Think of King Henry VIII! Oh wait, ok… nevermind. Well how about George???” Ok, so the conversation was probably a little different from the one in our house. And if normal people feel pressure naming their child, I can only imagine how I would feel if the Queen of England was waiting on my choice.
So in the end they chose George. The name doesn’t crack the top 100 most popular names in the US, but came in at a solid number 6 in 2012 in the United Kingdom. The traditional name honors Queen Elizabeth’s beloved father, and surely tickled the Queen blue. And try as I might, I can’t think of any immediately obvious rhymes which will cause the future King much distress on the playground. Although more savvy name researchers have speculated that perhaps the Royal couple are Seinfeld fans.
How did you decide on a name for your little prince or princess? Any name regrets? And did anyone actually express a negative opinion after they met your little bundle?