The Royal Baby - What’s In a Name ?
If you’ve just landed from outer space or returned from a trip up the Amazon you might have missed the fact that British royals William and Kate have produced a male heir to the throne. Otherwise you’ll be all too aware of it.
This is not the time to mutter darkly about the absurdity of the monarchy as an institution. Anachronistic and indefensible though it is the available examples of alternatives around the world are hardly appealing. In the case of the UK it’s a creaky, ancient, Alice-in-Wonderland system that inexplicably still kind of works, providing a lucrative tourist attraction, an ongoing soap-opera to feed the media, but also a sense of continuity and stability for many without managing to be as toxic and offensive as most politicians are.
Anyway I didn’t want to get into all of that, just to say a word about the burning issue-de-jour of royal baby names. At the moment press hacks are whipping themselves into a dizzying frenzy of speculation about what the royal baby is going to be called. Which is kind of silly even by the barking mad and exceedingly low standards of the press because the names of British royal babies, especially ones destined to be king some day, are drawn from a tiny list.
It’s a safe bet that they’re going to give it a traditional name that has historic associations with the British royal family. There is no way he’s going to be a Wayne or a Jason or a Dirk, for example. He will almost certainly be something like Charles or James or George in keeping with tradition. Totally boring and unadventurous. Then of course pretty much all male babies born in the UK for the next year or so will also be called the same thing. Well its tradition, ‘innit ?
Which is a shame because it wasn’t always thus. If you go back a bit British royalty used to have some really good names, like Ethelred the Unready, Harold Harefoot or even Sweyn Forkbeard. Now those are proper king names as far as I’m concerned. I’d love Kate and William to call their baby Sweyn Forkbeard, so that all the UK’s new parents would copy that as they inevitably do. Can you imagine it ? In a few years the Supermarket aisles would be ringing with shrieks of .. ‘SWEYN FORKBEARD .. PUT THAT DOWN’ as harassed mums did the shopping.
But when did the British monarchy ever take my advice ? They should though.