Countdown to the New Royal Baby Name: Hitting the Bullseye
The sentimental public says Diana. The tabloids tout Elizabeth. The bettors are putting their money on Alice. It's royal baby naming season again.
Even in our celebrity-baby-obsessed world, nothing compares to the focus on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their name choices. When your kids are tops in line for the British throne, you're not just a baby namer. You're a brand manager for the monarchy. Millions of people will dissect your name choice for the signals it sends about your family, your priorities, your past and your future. It's as if the entire country were your hovering in-laws.
The name choice must project a strong, comforting sense of heritage, which means a name from the royal family tree. Yet it should also be relatable: not so forbiddingly regal as to make the family look haughty and out of touch. The name the royal couple chose for their first son, George, hit both targets perfectly. It's simple and plain-spoken, and it's also the name of six kings and the patron saint of England. What could be equally perfect the second time around?
I offered an initial list of possibilities back in September, but with the clock winding down I'm going to focus on the intersection of regal tradition with stylistic simplicity...with one twist. Remember that England today is a land of nicknames. Babies are ten times more likely to be named Alfie than Alfred, and William's own brother Henry is universally referred to as Prince Harry. A highly formal name might be embraced by the public if it comes with the right cozy nickname. On the flipside, a popular nickname that's a little too informal might scare the parents off. Is England really ready for a Princess Frankie?
Here are the top fits, with their currently fashionable (top-500 in England) nickname options.
Albert (Albie, Bertie)
Alexandra (Lexi, Lexie, Sasha)
Charlotte (Lottie, Charlie, Charley)
Eleanor (Ellie, Nell, Nora)
Elizabeth (Eliza, Libby, Betsy, Beth, Betty)
Mary (Molly, Mollie, Polly, Mae)