“A rose by any other name...
- Credit: PA
Member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg has endowed his male children with many and unusual names. Lynne Mortimer ponders the curse... or blessing of a name
... would smell as sweet.' The quote (slightly adjusted) refers, of course to the warring Capulets and Montagues and the forbidden love of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
In May a GCSE paper muddled the two surnames in an exam question causing students concern and frustration. But when it's your name that's causing angst, what should you do?
Many celebrities have given their children unique names... unique, that is, to humans.
One of the most famous forenames was Zowie, named, I presume to rhyme with the assumed surname of his father David Bowie. It is just as well known that this man, now fully grown up, calls himself Duncan Jones. Jones being the birth name of Bowie and Duncan? A solid British name and, in fact, his registered first name. Even in the heady days of early Seventies pop psychedelia Duncan's mum and dad maybe felt he needed a name he could put on a mortgage application without comment.
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Last week, we learned the sixth child of fecund MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and his wife, Helena has been named Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher.
Although the first to be dubbed with what looks like a number (should we stand by for Septimus, the seventh?) Mr Rees-Mogg has not shied away from more marginal names. His other four boys are: Alfred Wulfric Leyson Pius, Thomas Wentworth Somerset Dunstan, Peter Theodore Alphege, Anselm Charles Fitzwilliam, while his daughter is Mary Anne Charlotte Emma Rees-Mogg.
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You will note a preponderance of saints names (Anselm, Dunstan, Thomas, Pius, Alphege etc) and I believe little Sixtus has four saints' names to live up to. Who was Saint Sixtus? There has been a number of popes called Sixtus, some of which were canonised. There was Sixtus I, Sixtus II, Sixtus IV and Sixtus V... I don't know what happened to Sixtus III and it seems a shame we have not had a Sixtus VI.
Mr Rees-Mogg, of whom it has been said: 'He was sent from 1923 to save the Conservatives from being destroyed,' and his wife are not the only parents with children whose names that stand out on the school register (that would most likely be an independent public school).
Here are some of the others:
• Singer Alicia Keys and her husband Swiss Beatz (real name Kasseem Dean) have a son, Egypt
• Katie Price and Peter Andre's daughter is Princess Tiaamii (those extra vowels make such a difference)
• To Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, a daughter, Apple.
• Sylvester Stallone's son is Sage Moonblood
• Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have a clutch of names, including Shiloh, Pax, Zahara and Knox.
• Frank Zappa was one of the first to break conventional ranks with Moon Unit (daughter) who rejoices in siblings with the names Dweezil and Diva Muffin.
• Michael Jackson, rose to the challenge with Prince Michael II and Blanket.
• Nicole Richie and Joel Maddon welcomed their son Sparrow into the world (at least it wasn't thrush...)
• Jason Lee's boy is Pilot Inspektor
I could go on but you get the idea. It's basically about finding a noun, maybe by sticking a pin into a random page of the dictionary. At least Mr Rees-Mogg has chosen pre-existing names, albeit archaic or niche (save for Mary's four).
One can only assume none of the people above will be sending their kids to state schools where names, although they can be strangely spelled, tend to be in the mainstream. I'm guessing there will not be many little Blankets (see above) in the playground at the local primary school.
Often, the saving grace of a name is its shortened version but some of the above defy even abbreviation. On the plus side (I suppose) they are not subject to passing fancies. My name 'Lynne' had a short tenure of popularity in the 50s and then virtually disappeared. Names of children in my class at school included Douglas, Martin, Neil, Dawn, Susan and Wendy. Not so many of them about either.
Changing your name
Your name is often the first thing people find out about you and you need to be comfortable with it. It is possible to grow into a name but sometimes it can be a persistent hindrance. And if it makes you unhappy you can always change it. You could do it today. If a legally endorsed document ('enroll a deed poll with the courts') is required, eg by your bank, you can find out how to do this at www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll/overview. It costs £36.
If you are over 16 years of age you can simply create a deed poll (the wording is available on the website) and use it as proof of your new name. This can also be done by a solicitor or specialist agency and they may charge a fee.
Finding your niche
A popular feature on social media is name generating such as your pop star name or your celebrity name. One such generator on blogthings.com suggested my popstar name might be Cassie Sizzle. Meanwhile, buzzfeed.com gives me Lucida Grande for a celebrity name. As for my pirate name? Cap'n Jane Bloodbath. My elf name is Tirone Snowmouse (I think that may be for when I'm working in Santa's toy workshop), while my elvish name is Eleniel. As for my Roman name, I find, according to home.golden.net, I am, just as I thought, Acilia Fadilla
On balance, I think I'll stick with Lynne...