This is not your usual royal baby naming dilemma.
When British royals William and Kate were preparing to name their first heir, tradition was the byword. The baby would be directly in the line of succession, so their name choice was, as I wrote at the time, “a statement of public identity for the royal family; a branding opportunity for the British throne.” That made for a tightly limited set of name options. They had to select from the purest pool of British regal heritage and national pride.
For the younger Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle, name options are wide open—by royal standards, at least. First off, with three young cousins ahead in line, no one expects this child to take the throne. What’s more, Harry has already shown with his choice of bride that he’s willing to step outside of tradition and follow his heart. But there’s yet another huge wild card in this decision: Meghan is American.
When she became Duchess of Sussex, Meghan took on the trappings of British Royal life. Her daily life, wardrobe, and professional activities now dutifully follow British protocol. But taste in names is hard to shake. As any couple with different backgrounds can tell you, hitting two cultural targets with a single name is a challenge.
For the royals, or for any English/American couple, here’s a quick guide to the style hot spots like to spark clashes in taste, as well as the points of overlap that may offer solutions.
Names American parents love that English parents reject:
• Country/Western names. Americans, don’t expect to talk your English partner into names like Waylon, Brantley, Remington, Barrett, Gracelynn or RaeLynn.
• Inspiring word names. Legend, Journey, Lyric, King and Justice are American hits, but not often heard across the pond.
• TOO English names. You have to be subtle. Only Americans name their babies London or Beckham, and believe it or not, a young Nigel is more likely to be American than English.
Names English parents love that American parents reject:
• Cuddly-cute little nicknames. American parents are wary of them as nicknames, let alone full names. Tough sells include Teddie, Ralphie, Albie and Bertie for boys, and Kitty, Dolcie, Dolly and Pixie for girls
• Two-part girls’ names. English parents have flocked to names like Amelia-Rose, Ava-Grace, Bella-Rose and Lily-Mae. American parents, not so much.
For baby names both countries can get on board with, look to traditional, old-fashioned full names with a sense of fun.
• For girls, sweet but not diminutive old-fashioned names. Consider Penelope, Violet, Evelyn, Iris, Olive, Esther, Iris, Eliza, Rosalie and Clara.
• For boys, little but full names names with an offbeat cool factor. Consider Milo, Ezra, Leo, Finn, Luca, Jude, Levi, Miles, and Enzo.
• And for both, a handful of more strictly formal classics. Try Theodore, Alexander, Victoria, Eleanor or Arabella.