by Kim Kelly



Today, as we all wait with collective baited breath to know if Kate and Wills will name their little princess Charlotte or Alice, to distract myself from the agony of anticipation, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the more unusual choices inflicted upon the small among the hoi polloi past and present.

Of course, we have Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Apple’, Beyoncé’s ‘Blue Ivy’, and la Kardashian’s ‘North’ at the contemporary vanguard of kook. In the previous generation, we had ‘Zowie’ Bowie, and the Zappa progeny, ‘Moon Unit’, ‘Dweezil’ and ‘Diva Muffin’.

But in our great-great grandparents’ day the weird ones were just as weird, it seems – though probably a little more creative, and explicit. Here’s a selection I found noted in The Riverine Grazier, 1901:


The following personal names are to be found in the records of the General Register Office: — In 1847 a girl was registered as ‘It is Maria’; in 1853 a boy as ‘Napoleon the Great’; 1857, ‘Robert Alma Balaclava Inkerman Sebastopol Delhi’; 1860, ‘Arthur Wellesley Wellington Waterloo’; 1861, ‘Not Wanted James’; 1885, ‘Edward Byng Tally-Ho Forward’; 1870, ‘One Too Many’; 1877, ‘Peter the Great’ and ‘William the Conqueror’, twins; 1883, ‘Richard Ceour de Lion Tyler Waller’; 1886, ‘ That’s It Who’d Have Thought It’; 1887, ‘Laughing Waters’. Remarkable single names are to be met with, such as ‘Righteous’, ‘Comfort’, ‘Happy’, ‘Elector’, ‘Hopeful’, ‘Redemption’, ‘Mediation’, ‘Obedience’, and ‘Alphabet.’ As twins, ‘Love ‘ and ‘Unity’ are to be found, and ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’, as triplets. ‘Alpha’, ‘Beta’ and ‘Omega’ have been given to two boys and a girl.

Poor ‘Not Wanted’, he breaks my heart, and ‘Tally-Ho’ would want to be a lively little person, wouldn’t he. But I do like the bigness of some of these names. ‘Love’ and ‘Unity’, now they’re names to grow into, aren’t they?

And now I’m wondering if the pundits’ royal choices might be a little too plain. Perhaps ‘Charlotte the Conqueror’ or ‘Alice the Great’ would better be-title the babe?