The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

July 13, 2013

Oh, baby: Royal birth draws worldwide scrutiny

ENID, Okla. — Babies are born every day, lots of babies, in fact.

Worldwide, some 370,000 babies are born every 24 hours. That’s close to 2.6 million per week.

Many of those babies will grow up to be doctors, lawyers, college professors, professional athletes, movie stars, store owners, farmers, writers, teachers and any number of other vocations.

But only a select few will grow up to become king or queen.

By the time you read this, one such child may have been born. Or perhaps not.

The arrival date for the offspring of Prince William and Princess Kate has been a closely kept secret, but the blessed event is expected any day now.

The world’s press has taken up residence outside St. Mary’s Hospital in the west London district of Paddington, standing watch, waiting for the birth.

When the child arrives, he or she will do so in the same hospital wing where his or her daddy was born 31 years ago.

Nothing about this birth will be ordinary. Once the child arrives, a formal bulletin will be issued by the hospital, signed by medical staff and rushed in a car with a police escort, across town to Buckingham Palace. There the notice will be placed on an easel in the palace forecourt. At that point, the world will learn whether the bouncing bundle of joy is a future king or queen.

British bookmakers are already taking wagers on virtually every aspect of the royal birth, and of the child’s life.

You may bet on the child’s sex, of course, and birth date, as well as its hair color. Wagers are also being taken on where the babe will eventually go to college, at what age the child will be when he or she is confronted by paparazzi leaving a bar or nightclub, even whether Kate is “too posh to push,” opting for a Caesarean over natural childbirth.

Even the child’s name is the subject of bettors’ attention. Alexandra is the favorite if it’s a girl, followed closely by Elizabeth, Charlotte, Victoria and Diana, while James has taken the lead in the boys’ name race, with George, Arthur, Augustus and Hugh not far behind. Perhaps the longest longshot on the baby name betting board is Pocahontas.

Choosing a baby’s name is one of the most important decisions new parents can make. Most choose wisely, some not so much.

The website Nameberry recently released its mid-year list of the top 10 baby names in America.

Imogen tops the girls’ list, with Charlotte and Harper rounding out the top three. The boys’ list is topped by Asher, with Finn and Declan second and third.

Two of the top 10 names were inspired by popular culture.

Katniss is No. 10 on the girls’ list, after Katniss Everdeen, lead character in the popular “The Hunger Games” trilogy, while Django is fourth among the boys’ monikers, taken from the film “Django Unchained.”

Queen Katniss? Maybe, but King Django would never do.

William and Kate must labor under the weight of history as they choose a name for their baby.

Alexandra was the wife of King Edward VII and served as queen consort, Elizabeth is the baby’s great-grandma who shares the name with Queen Elizabeth I (sometimes called The Virgin Queen), Victoria was the longest-reigning monarch in history, Diana was William’s mother, while James and George are both former kings. It would be really cool if the child is a boy and is named Arthur, meaning that someday in the future there would be a real King Arthur.

Some names might be problematical, like Henry, for instance, given Henry the VII’s penchant for beheading his wives. Henry is No. 7 on the Nameberry list. Oliver, which is No. 6 on the Nameberry boys’ list, evokes painful memories of Oliver Cromwell, the man who killed a king and brought down the English monarchy.

The royal couple is operating under certain constraints when it comes to naming their offspring. They can not, for instance, follow the lead of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who named their new daughter North West. Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson named their second child Ace Knute. Actor Rob Morrow has a daughter named Tu (really), magician Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller called his daughter Moxie Crimefighter, actor Jason Lee’s son is Pilot Inspektor, Nicolas Cage named his son Kal-El (Superman’s real name) and rocker and political activist Bob Geldof has a daughter named Fifi Trixibell.

OK. Pocahontas is looking better all the time.

A child’s name should be a source of pride, not embarrassment and ridicule. Parents who hang a ridiculous sobriquet on their kids should be required to change their own names to something equally stupid.

Whatever the child’s name, we wish the new young parents and their baby the best as the wee one begins life in the gilded prison of public life.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.

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