PUBLISHED IN THE HERALD APRIL 2018
Unlike many Irish people – and, for that matter, many British people – I don’t mind the Royals. My younger, republican-leaning self would probably screech, “What happened you, man!?”, but this super-privileged familial oligarchy doesn’t particularly bother me.
For one thing, they’re over there, not over here; as someone pointed out, we get all the drama and crack without having to pay for it. And for another, it’s ultimately pretty harmless.
The Royals are just another branch of what I like to call the Celebrity-Industrial Complex. They’re essentially no different to Hollywood, the Kardashians, Justin Bieber or, at its most money-drenched levels, professional sport.
Sure, it’s all meaningless nonsense. But so are Hollywood, the Kardashians, Justin Bieber and professional sport. In fact most things that ever happen, to anyone, are meaningless nonsense.
Not that I actually follow the Royals, mind you. I’m like most people: I pay a little attention when one of them dies, marries, divorces, visits Ireland, is embroiled in a hilarious scandal involving nude pool and/or Nazi-themed costume parties…or has a baby.
And that brings us to Kate Middleton and Prince William, who just had their third. At time of writing, the sex of the child is known – male – but not the name. So we have lots of fevered speculation about what the couple will call him.
Which is where the Windsor soap opera starkly diverges from similar real-life melodramas involving celebs, top athletes and movie stars. The Royals always, always go for something stately and classic and, well, royal.
Kate and Wills’ first two grommets are George and Charlotte. His brother was christened Henry. His dad is Charles. His granny is Elizabeth and granddad is Philip. His uncles are Andrew and Edward. His aunt is Anne. And he, clearly, is William.
All good, solid, tried-and-tested kingly/queenly names. The kind of name you can foresee being introduced to foreign dignitaries at some Commonwealth ball, without spooking the diplomatic horses.
And really, it has to be so. Could you imagine the Queen of Swaziland or Lord Ulbrecht of the Holy Roman Empire waiting there, preparing to curtsey humbly, and the bewigged footman solemnly intoning, “May I please present His Highness the Royal Princeling and fifth heir to the English Crown…Cletus LaBooyah Junior”?
Eh…no, you may not.
So this nipper will assuredly be given a similar moniker. Bookies currently make Arthur the favourite, followed by Albert, Philip and Thomas. Oddly enough, one reason why Arthur is being tipped is that Kate and Wills apparently made sure to seek out and wave to a photographer friend of theirs, called Arthur, when presenting the baby to the world in one of those “All hail the Mighty God-Child and Bow Your Heads in Terror!” photo-ops outside the hospital.
This seems shaky enough logic to me. By that rationale, we should be piling our money on Roger – name of a policeman on crowd-control duty across the road – or Darren, seen cheering loudly and waving one of those funny miniature Union Jack flags 200 yards up the street.
Anyway, it’ll definitely be one of those mentioned. There’s also room for a John in there. Maybe James. Possibly Alexander. And if he’d been a she, we’d be looking at names such as Victoria, Margaret, Catherine, Elizabeth, Philippa and Beatrice.
What we would not be looking at is something like True, which is what one or other of the Kardashians named their latest organic paparazzi-magnet. (Khloe? Kourtney? Krusty? I can’t tell one from the other.)
It turned out True was actually an old Kardashian family name, but that’s irrelevant: this is the kind of irredeemably stupid non-name that celebs always unfairly saddle their kids with.
North West. Apple Paltrow-Martin. Rocket Zot Worthington. Bronx Mowgli Simpson. Brooklyn Beckham. Ode Mountain DeLorenzo Malone. Ace Knute Simpson. Audio Science Sossamon.
These are less names than random groupings of words. Meet my son Bridge Electricity. This is my daughter Dictaphone Anti-Matter. Have you been introduced to Socialism Bipolar-Disorder? Oh you’ll really like him.
Even those celebs who try to play down their celeb-ness are at it. Prime example, Jamie Oliver: Mister “ooh luvvly jubbly awroight mate my old man’s a dustman” himself. His kids are River Rocket, Daisy Boo, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Buddy Bear Oliver and Poppy Honey, which sounds like the cast-list of a really tedious children’s film about anthropomorphic woodland creatures.
Of course, this eejitry has been going on for years: it’s half a century since Frank Zappa named his daughter Moon Unit. But he could get away with it, because Frank Zappa was incredibly cool and a bit of an off-key genius. Jamie Oliver, Chris Martin and Krusty Kardashian are neither.
In a funny way, though, the Royals are kind of cool too, for sticking to their traditionalist guns and not lumbering their children with ridiculous names. Until little Cletus LaBooyah Junior comes along, anyway.