Baby Name Harriet Banned In Iceland: 10-Year-Old Denied Passport Because Of Her Name

14/08/2014 17:02 | Updated 20 May 2015

Baby name Harriet banned in Iceland

A family has been told their daughter cannot have a passport because her name is Harriet.

Harriet Cardew, 10, had her passport renewal rejected by authorities in Iceland because her first name does not appear on a list of government approved baby names.

Icelandic law states that children born in the country must be given a name that is approved by the National Registry. The list of approved names includes, Etna, Aagot, Hörn and Bebba, but not Harriet's name, nor her 12-year-old brother's name, Duncan.

Harriet's parents, British-born Tristan Cardew and his Icelandic wife Kristin, are appealing against the Reykjavik National Registry's decision not to renew their daughter's passport.

"The whole situation," Mr Cardew told The Guardian, "is really rather silly."Tristan and Kristin, have four children together: Lilja and Belinda, born in France, and Harriet and Duncan, born in Iceland.

Until now, Harriet and Duncan have been travelling on passports that identify them as Stúlka and Drengur Cardew, which translates as girl and boy Cardew. But now authorities are refusing to issue Harriet a new passport because she does not have an approved Icelandic name.

The Cardews were told they could get round the problem by giving Harriet an Icelandic middle name.

"But it's a bit late for that, and way too silly," said Tristan.

The debacle almost led to the Cardew family missing a planned family holiday to France, but they solved the problem by applying for an emergency British passport for Harriet, which she has now received.

According to Icelandic law, the names of children born in Iceland must be submitted to the National Registry within six months of the baby's birth.

If the name is not already on a list of 1,853 female and 1,712 male approved names, then the parents must seek the approval of the Icelandic Naming Committee.

The only exception to the law is if both parents are foreign.

And you thought registering a birth in the UK was a kerfuffle!


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