By George


I knew it would be George. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, I was joking when, after the birth of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Cambridge, I tweeted “I’m thinking David, after Diana. And King David has a nice ring to it.”

I was joking, of course. Joking because not only is David not a traditional British royal name, there is no way the queen would allow the third in line for the throne to be named after Diana! Not after the whole divorcing Charles and running off with Dodi al Fayed thing. (Not that I spoke with the queen or anything, but just assuming.)

Whom the baby is named after is a big deal. Huge. I even heard, when Prince William was born, that Diana and Charles had to delay announcing his name to allow the palace time to check out everyone who had previously had the name.

George Alexander Louis.

While I’m not a royal family insider, I claim expertise in all things royal along with all the other women of my age who remember as little girls waking up very early to watch a real princess get married. To this day I remember the very young Diana being so nervous she screwed up Charles’ names. Charles Philip Arthur George. That’s his name. She said “Philip Charles Arthur George.” Poor girl. Strike one on the wedding day. But I’ve got to believe “George” is after new grandpa, Charles.

For my fellow royal baby bump watchers, we learned that Alexandra was the odds on favorite had the baby been a princess. Alexandra being Queen Elizabeth’s middle name. So “Alexander” must be a tribute to good ol’ great-grandmom.

And Louis I remember from waking up very early (and waking up my daughter) to watch William and Catherine’s fairy-tale wedding. William Arthur Philip Louis.

One name, honoring three generations.

I love that. I love that there was no way he would have been named Ethan or Jake. I love that the name means something, connects him to history and family.

I love that about our tradition of naming our children. The Sephardim traditionally name the first child after the paternal grandfather or grandmother and subsequent children after the maternal grandparents. The Ashkenazi tradition honors family members who have passed.

My grandfather, Maurice, died on my mother’s 25th birthday. She is the youngest of his four daughters. The shock of his death sent her into labor with me and I was born two weeks early. My family has always told me that it was a great honor to my grandfather that he had a name, that there was a baby named after him, before he was buried. My mother and my aunts always told me how special I am to them because I was named after their father. My grandmother gave me a diamond ring on my 16th birthday that my grandfather had given to her. She gave it to me, she said, because I was named after Poppy. I wear it only on the most special occasions. One day, God willing, I will give it to a granddaughter.

When it came time to name our children, Jonathan and I thought a lot about whom the names would honor. What kind of people had carried the names first. It was as if by naming our children, we were making wishes that they inherit certain traits and placing blessings that they would be as loved.

So while not all babies inherit an actual kingdom, be they George or Julian, Alexandra or Sofie, may all babies be blessed with names that mean family.

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