Why I Called My Child Florence, Just Like The Camerons

28/04/2011 12:03 | Updated 22 May 2015

Our columnist explains why the Camerons were right to call their baby daughter Florence.

'It was when I was eight months pregnant that the name suddenly came to me, seemingly from nowhere. I can't remember what I was thinking about . It hadn't appeared on any of my previous lists, or cropped up in discussions or even been underlined in the many baby name books that lay on my bedside table. It had, if you like, flown completely under our radar. But in that moment, sitting on an open top bus in London on a gloriously late summer's day, I knew it was absolutely perfect.

Up until that point we'd talked, late at night on the bed, protective hands resting on what we already knew was a growing baby girl and imagined what she'd be like. My husband had in mind that she'd be a Chloe, slightly serious, bookish with long brown hair and twinkling blue eyes. I, on the other hand, pictured a Josie, blonde bunches and a cheeky smile, shinning up the nearest apple tree. But neither felt completely right and, deep down, we knew we were stabbing in the dark. We couldn't possibly know how our daughter would be – tomboy or feminine, cheeky or mischievous. It was pure and utter guesswork but it felt crucially important to get her name right.

Some may argue, better to wait until the baby's born and see what she looks like. But I wasn't sure it would be any more possible to name a day old baby than deciding whilst I was pregnant. After all – who do we choose a name for? The child or the woman she will one day become? What was needed, I decided, in those last hormonally charged weeks before the birth, was a name that covered all bases.

And that's when Florence popped up and, rather like her namesake in the Magic Roundabout, against all the odds – it made perfect sense. I don't have a Great Aunt Flo or any special affinity with the Italian city. Nor do I have a connection with the nursing profession. I just love the name. Solid yet feminine. Classic without being boring. And unlike other 19th century names such as Emily and Olivia it has yet to reach hugely popular heights.

My Flo is now nearly 12 and there's only ever been one other girl with the same name the entire time she's been at junior school. But I think what makes Florence such a sound choice is it manages quite effortlessly to bridge that transition from a name that's sweet for a child to one that works equally well for a woman who's a captain of industry or, as in the case with Flo Jo, a world record breaking athlete.

And within one seven letter name there are so many options. When Florence was a baby she was called Floey or, by her grandmother, Flopsy. Then it was just plain Flo. But when she was four years old she announced, with a look of steel that, from that day onwards, she was only to be called Florence. And just to prove her point she learnt to write her entire name beautifully and woe betide anybody who dared to shorten it.

Today my gorgeous girl is on the brink of womanhood and has lightened up – but only slightly. We are now allowed to shorten her name to Flo because 'it's cooler.' Or sometimes Floss because, as she cheekily puts it, she's 'the boss.'

My husband's predictions were right. She can be serious and sometimes cautious. But she has a wicked sense of humour too and a frighteningly logical mind which I'm sure is going to take her far. We don't yet know who – or what she will become. But one thing's for sure. She'll always be a Florence through and through.'

What do you think about the Camerons' choice of name?


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