What is it with celebrities giving their children bonkers names? To me, Harper Seven – the little girl who had the great fortune to be born to Mr and Mrs Beckham this week – has been given a name that sounds more like a classic car or motorbike, or perhaps a WWII plane.
It's unusual, sure – but is it nice? More to the point, is it fair to lumber a tiny little person with a name that gets everyone's tongues wagging from the moment it is announced?
Actually such is the trend for celebrities to name their children 'creatively', tongues probably would have wagged much more furiously had the Beckhams given their daughter an Elizabeth Jane type moniker.
In answer to all the Jacobs, Joshuas, Emmas and Emilys (some of the most popular names throughout the 2000s, among the hoi polloi that is), actors, musicians, TV presenters and the like have produced Monroe and Moroccan (Mariah Carey), Daisy Boo (Jamie Oliver), Princess Tiaamii Crystal Esther (Katie Price), Inspektor Pilot (Jason Lee), Zuma Nesta Rock (Gwen Stefani) and Hero Harper Quinn (Myleene Klass) – to name a few.
I'm not particularly saying celebrities shouldn't name their kids in this way – it's up to them to decide how their children will be known to the watching world. But I think it's an interesting question WHY they do it. Is it just because they can? A sort of 'I have everything... except a daughter named after an English fruit' kind of thing? I tried to get my head around Gwyneth Paltrow calling her daughter Apple,* I really did. I even tried to like it. But in my mind, that child is always, well, green.
Of course, assuming the Beckhams don't end up down on their luck and sending their kids to a state school in East London, their offspring are unlikely to ever get teased. Their surname will be as much as they'll ever need to gain popularity and they'll probably all end up footballers or pop stars. Or royalty.
But what about the normal people they might inspire to go a bit crazy? Choosing pretty nouns and adjectives, as opposed to actual names, has become increasingly trendy (much to the Pope's dismay – he made a plea to parents not to name their kids so willy nilly earlier this year). I know of toddlers called Rock, Lion and Willow. And actually, I'll admit we went for something unusual for our first daughter – although we did decide that Coco should be her second name, in case she doesn't fancy working on stage when she grows up and would rather go into accountancy or something.
And that has to be a consideration. As exciting as it is having a baby, if that child is likely to live in the real world, it's a big responsibility giving them a name. She might be cute little squidge of a thing now, but one day she'll be an adult and, although there is little undisputed research on it, names surely do affect how a person is perceived. I mean, who's going to get invited for the job interview (ANY job): Catherine, or Talulah Does The Hula From Hawaii? Oh yes, that was a real name given to a child in New Zealand – a kind-hearted judge ordered her to be re-named at the age of nine. The point is, although preconceptions do not always ring true, they'll always exist.
I do love the reported reasons for the Beckhams' unusual choice (her brothers apparently chose Harper from a favourite TV show/book series, and Seven was David's lucky number on his football shirts) – it's something they have done as a family to welcome that little girl to their tribe.
But if Mrs B is hoping she might have timed a baby daughter perfectly to grow up alongside, and fall in love with, Prince William's potential son and heir (oh it must have crossed her mind! Especially if they really do ask the royals to be godparents), then naming her daughter after herself might have been a bit more fitting.
*Yes, yes I know – 'says the grown woman who goes by the name of Pip'.
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