Sorry, but I couldn’t resist – it seems that baby banter has royally exploded all over my facebook wall today, and even in rainy Reykjavík I can’t escape the hype seizing the thousands of Brits desperately clasping their union jack flags whilst weeping ecstatically at the birth of an extraordinarily privileged miniature-person.
So, it’s a boy. Bravo. (no, seriously – well done Kate. At 8lbs 6oz, that’s like pushing out an award-winning watermelon). But what will the dear little tyke be named? As a nerdy medievalist, I personally vote something of a more Anglo-Saxon flavour…..Edgar or Æthelwulf, Ceolwulf or Offa. After all, it’s only respectful to the crown’s heritage which, this time 1,000 years ago, was being dangerously threatened by a bunch of axe-wielding danes. (In 1013, dear old Æthelred the Unready got the boot whilst Danish king Svein Forkbeard plonked himself on the then-‘English’ throne).
Of course, we could be respectful to the crown’s last 400-years-or-so more ‘British’ identity and go with something safe like Jimmy or Bill, but in terms of aesthetic value, the William-Henry-George-Charles fashion is getting a bit boring. Why not go with something cool like ‘Æthelstan’? He could be called ‘Stan’ for short, allowing for such witty puns as ‘Stan the Man’ by The Daily Mail and what not. How about ‘Rædwald’? ‘Prince Rædwald’ by day and simply the elusive ‘Red’ by night. Gosh, he would sound like some sort of wonderful perfume-range and dodgy Amsterdam district hybrid all in one. I actually think a case can be made for a predilection towards ‘old fashioned’ names at the moment — from what I hear, the Bettys and Brians, Esthers and Emmets are all the rage.
So, I vote that we urge the royal love-birds to embrace their inner medievalists and break with tradition (look at the recent change in succession law, for example – the time is right, my friends!) and name the wee princelet something utterly cool and awesome like Offa or Alfred or Bert (from OE *Æthelbert). Alternatively, we could give up on the medieval angle altogether and go full-out Game of Thrones – ‘HRH, Prince Joffrey of Wales’, sounds kinda cool, though slightly unnerving. Maybe Kate could have an entourage of dragon babies, whilst Willz sends Harry off to ‘The Wall’ and chills out on his Iron Throne. Perhaps a different, somewhat wiser option would be, however, to ignore the whole royal baby hype and monarchy-malarkey altogether. Instead, the British public should turn their attention to a petition requesting the Queen to name her Corgis Byrhtnoth and Hodder, and make them chase cats dressed as vikings and wildlings through Buckingham Palace. Now that would be cool, and definitely worth every penny of the taxpayers’ money.