Kate Middleton and Prince William with their as yet unnamed royal baby. PHOTO: Reuters
Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William gave birth to a baby boy. They have left the hospital under the close watch of every major news organization. Now the world will continue to wait anxiously, partly because they are so used to waiting anxiously for big events surrounding Kate Middleton and Prince William, but also because this baby does not currently have a name. Baby-naming is an art, not a science, but if you are the British Royal family, it’s a little bit more of a science than for the rest of us. Here is how to name a royal baby:
1. DO: Pick a name that just oozes Britishness
This name has to scream British Royal Family from the moment you hear it: George, Phillip, Edward—that kind of thing. You should be able to guess which is the heir to the British Throne just from the first name compared to randomly chosen first names nine times out of ten. People should sit up straighter just from hearing the first name.
2. DON’T: Do the weird celebrity kid name thing
Celebrity baby names often try to strike a balance between pretty and Frank Zappa (who named his kids Dweezil, Diva, Ahmet and Moon Unit). If you are going to go crazy name, you have to go all the way, or else you end up with Apple Paltrow or North West. If you are Kate Middleton, you have too much public dignity to spend all your capital on naming your kid Crescent Moon of Alan Turing, so you are stuck with normal names.
3. DO: Make sure the name goes with “Little” and “Baby”
There are literally thousands of headlines at stake here. For a long time this baby won’t simply be identified as “George Wales” or “George Middleton Wales.” That just sounds like another stray royal. For years this child will be “Baby George” or “Little George.” Before long, the media may settle on some convenient nickname belonging only to the child of Kate Middleton and Prince William, but for a while, we’ll need something that goes with the standard baby honorifics.
4. DON’T: Name the baby after any living ascendants
When you name your child after a relative, there is always the sense of this royal baby is the new [person you named them after]. That’s super-awkward if the person is still alive. Ditto if their death still makes people emotional (“Diana” might still have been too soon if the royal baby was a girl). The British Royal Family tends to reuse a lot of names, but try to have the last person in your direct line be someone people don’t remember too well, or remember fondly and foggily. This takes out William, Charles, and George. Harry is also out, because that’s the royal baby’s uncle.
5. DO: Surprise us just a little
This is where things get tricky. You want something super British, not too weird, but also something that catches us just a little off guard. Take Benjamin over Phillip, Andrew over James. Something like that.
6. DON’T: Listen to lists like this too much.
It’s your baby. As much royal tradition and media obsession surrounds the offspring of Kate Middleton and Prince William, hopefully they can find some time to just be parents.