Babies with Three Names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Maybe if I’d ever gotten into watching one of those shows about the Housewives from any place other than my home state of New Jersey, I’d have something better to do on a weeknight.

But no.  After a long day of working on Nameberry, what do I do for relaxation but turn to the hallowed pages of The London Telegraph, where I peruse the birth announcements in search of….more baby names.

This time, what caught my eye were all the three-named babies.  Maybe the oh-so-British three-name arrangement struck me because of the young prince George Alexander Louis, whose own three names are a departure from the usual royal four.  Was that Will and Kate‘s way of signaling that they were just like us…or at least like other young upper class British parents?

A few things we noticed about the three names of the babies noted here:

— More surnames such as Kynaston and Constable in the middle which are not mothers’ maiden names but may well be family names

— Some staid middle names such as Mary and Charles that are probably honorifics

— A few unconventional middles such as Bear and Coco

In case you’re interested in finding three great names for your own baby, you might find some inspiration in these wonderful recent British choices.

girls

Agnes Lily Jean

Arabella Elizabeth Mary

Ava Flora Kynaston

Beatrice Grace Summer

Bebe Elizabeth Constable

Felicity Annabel Victoria

Florence Coco Clementine

Harriet Charlotte Mary

Matilda Isabel Violet

Olympia Bea Hermione

Ophelia Rose Diana

Phoebe Jo Campbell

Poppy Aurelia Addison

Scarlett Elizabeth Marion

Sophia Agnes Emilia

Violet Susanna Mary

boys

Alexander Jackson Philip

Arthur Israel Granville

Felix Arthur Willoughby

Ferdinand James Mount

George Elliott Brooke

Gilbert Francis Howard

Gus George Douglas

Henry Hallam John

Hubert William George

Leonardo Ross Wolfram

Mungo Charles Timothy

Oliver Rufus Harvey

Orlando William Percy

Raef Julius Francis

Rafferty Henry Bear

Ralph Atlas Varouge

Wilfred Kit Diggory

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38 Responses to “Babies with Three Names”

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stacielynne Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

My oldest son is Paul Joshua Joseph. He has always gone by his first middle name Joshua but I love his long name and I wanted two middle names for my other children but my husband did not.

dakritree Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 11:28 pm

My son’s name is Graham Eoin Thomas – we went with three names because they flowed better with our last name. Thomas is my husband’s middle name. Eoin is a Gaelic form of John, the name both our father’s bear. We aren’t British, but our naming tends to inadvertently trends with those across the pond. (Our daughter’s name is Evie)

dovah Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 11:53 pm

I particularly like Oliver Rufus Harvey and Orlando William Percy. Very nice list! I’m still entertaining the idea of using 2 middle names for my own children.

iamamiam Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 1:03 am

Does anyone else think 3 names is a bit much?

Cloverish Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 1:35 am

Phoebe Jo Campbell is adorable.

sarahmezz Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 2:16 am

Oh man, I love the Brits and their awesome naming ways! I don’t know if my children will have three names or not, but I think it’s great if you can come up with the right combination. I don’t think it’s pretentious! Also, the babies in that picture are gorgeous.

Noetje Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 3:43 am

This is starting to irritate me. Giving babies three names is NOT typically Britisch. It’s done throughout the western world. I often see babies with more than three names.

Whirligig Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 3:50 am

I think sometimes on nb we forget about the surnames. We judge the flow of the name on the fn and mn/s and try to make them sound finished. These then sound stoppy starty when paired with a surname. Many people indulge in two mn but actually this mostly disrupts the flow. Eg. Charlotte Amelia Rose sounds lovely and finished. However, add the surname and a perfectly beautiful name turns disjointed eg. Charlotte Amelia Rose Walker. It may also sound like two separate name. Charlotte Amelia and Rose Walker. I know there will be some exceptions but I am hesitant to believe that having two middle names increases the flow and elegance of a name when so many examples do not take into consideration the surname.

Peanut Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 4:40 am

I really enjoyed a lot of these names, and I said them to myself in a BBC presenter voice! Hehe. 🙂 Especially liked: Olympia Bea Hermione, Ophelia Rose Diana, Henry Hallam John & Wilfred Kit Diggory.

What matters to me is not so much the number of syllables that comprise a name, but whether they are meaningful. I.e., I would enjoy hearing the name of a little Eleanor Caroline Rosalie Jane whose three middle names are heartfelt tributes to someone or something, even more than I would “Eleanor Jane, just because it sounded good.” If a name is so long as to cause problems with forms and legalities etc., everything past the first middle name can almost always be left off, or just middle initials can be used.

I loved what Will & Kate chose because it had that balance of names that honored family traditions and loved ones (George & Louis), as well as a something that seemingly appealed to them for its own sake (Alexander).

lizalee Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 6:07 am

My friend’s little girl is named Molly Maeve Tuesday I actually posted about the names they had been considering and her name in particular to get a feel of what people thought for my friend I think it’s uncommon in Australia for children to typically have three names plus their suname(s) but with my friend it was more that they loved the name Molly and Tuesday was very significant with them and their pregnancy but felt that Molly Tuesday just wasn’t enough and Molly Maeve was beautiful and sweet but not as substantial or meaningful plus little miss was born on a Tuesday too so it seemed fate that it made it into her name. Though sometimes the family treat Molly Maeve as though it was her ‘long first name’ in a way though not always her first name is just Molly.

I love Lily Jean though I don’t like Agnes… Out of the list I liked overall as a full name I would use are:

girls

Harriet Charlotte Mary

Ophelia Rose Diana

Poppy Aurelia Addison

Scarlett Elizabeth Marion

Violet Susanna Mary

boys

Alexander Jackson Philip

Felix Arthur Willoughby

Henry Hallam John

Oliver Rufus Harvey

Raef Julius Francis

Rafferty Henry Bear

R_J Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 7:01 am

Three or more names tend to sound like a roster to me, but I like Violet Susanna Mary.

larkub101 Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 7:01 am

What a gorgeous list!
Loving:
Arabella Elizabeth Mary
Felicity Annabel Victoria
Florence Coco Clementine (how cute!)
Olympia Bea Hermione
Ophelia Rose Diana
Poppy Aurelia Addison
Scarlett Elizabeth Marion

Felix Arthur Willoughby
George Elliott Brooke
Orlando William Percy
Rafferty Henry Bear

Ravenclaw Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 9:20 am

This is also a very Canadian thing. And most commonly the first name is something the parents like, one middle name after a relative on the father’s side, and one middle name after a relative on the mother’s side.

maggiemary Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 9:30 am

Some fabulous names there. These are my particular faves:

Arabella Elizabeth Mary
Beatrice Grace Summer
Harriet Charlotte Mary
Violet Susanna Mary

Felix Arthur Willoughby
Gilbert Francis Howard
Hubert William George
Orlando William Percy
Rafferty Henry Bear
Wilfred Kit Diggory

katekadleck Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 10:42 am

Some real gems! I love:

Felicity Annabel Victoria
Matilda Isabel Violet
Ophelia Rose Diana
Scarlett Elizabeth Marion

Alexander Jackson Philip
Felix Arthur Willoughby
George Elliott Brooke
Oliver Rufus Harvey

cannebella Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 11:19 am

I always thought having three middle names was a little too posh but I have recently decided to use two middle names for my children so that I will be able to use more of my favourite names. One of their middle names has to be a family name on either side and the other middle can be anything as long as the first name and both middles flow well.

From the list I really love Matilda Isabel Violet and Oliver Rufus Harvey.

EmilyVA Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 11:46 am

My favorites include:
Agnes Lily Jean
Beatrice Grace Summer
Violet Susanna Mary

If I was to make a combo using these names I would choose: Felicity Flora Diana.
In general I think three names is too long for me. (Also the original Felicity combo seemed too long for my taste.)

I am not sure I like any of the boys, but Wilfred Kit Diggory stands out as favorite. Mungo is way too out there for me.

KateMP91 Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 11:47 am

I love three names if it done right. The names must flow as if they are all one name, not a list! They usually work best when one of the three names is especially short, like Jo, Ann, Faye, May, Gus etc.

Another point to notice is when the second middle is a surname, sometimes it makes it work better, as if the child is given two last names rather than two middles (like with Phoebe Jo Campbell, it sounds like that’s her full name!)

Mcdonak1 Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Mungo, Lily, Hermione, Percy, Felix, Arthur, George, and Diggory? The World of Harry Potter lives again!

seanic21 Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

This is such an interesting discussion.

I love it when names have a great flow to them (including the surname) but for me, middle names are there to honour loved ones. My daughter was supposed to have only one middle name, Ann, (yes, a little boring but it is a family name from both sides) but sadly, a week before she was born, we lost my father-in-law and it only made sense to us to honour his memory. We decided on Ann Denise (fem. form of Dennis). Now everytime I see my daughter’s name written on her birth certificate or school forms, I think of the people she is named after. Even though it is a bit of a mouthful, I am so happy we went with both names.

My sons only have one middle name each, both honouring different family members and my oldest son thinks that it is ‘cool’ to have the same name as a relative.

In seven years as a parent I have never introduced my children or called them by their full names and only close family and friends even know what the children’s middle names are so if you really can’t decide between two names, I would go with both!

GrecianErn Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

My siblings and I all have 3 middle names. And it started because the name she and my dad had planned for me was after both grandmothers, but it was also the name of one of his previous girlfriends. While he was stationed in Iceland while I was born, mom added my first name to the other 2. And it worked great.

So I have both grandmothers for middles: Erin Mary Elizabeth
My brother has both grandfathers for middles: Nathan James Harold
and our sister has another name for Mary and our aunt for her middles: Shannon Linda Marie

I love our names… though because of the scan-tron tests and box issues, and always losing 1 middle initial on forms, I chose not to give my kids 2 middle names. It was close though. My son was born on my DH’s favorite uncle/father figure’s birthday, and we spent days deciding if we were going to add another middle name or not.

GrecianErn Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 4:10 pm

ugh, we have 3 names… first + 2 middles.

Amy_Boyd Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 4:21 pm

My full name is Amy Iris Jean. My two middle names are after my two grandma’s which I love 🙂

My brother also has two middle names. His name is Matthew Anthony Robert. His middle names are named after my dad (Anthony) and my grandfather (Robert).

gipro2003 Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I have a Karin Olympia May. It’s a family tradition to give each child 2 middle names.

WrenMaple Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Yes! Love them all. This is really right down my alley.
I have a Tess McKayla Sydney, Kaia Felicity Pearl and Jasper Silas Robert.

Pemdas Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

iamamiam Says:
Does anyone else think 3 names is a bit much?

I completely agree with you. It is so ridiculous. You never use your first middle name.

tori101 Says:

September 18th, 2013 at 2:48 am

With all my naming combinations they all have two middle names. Predominantly family names. I really don’t think it’s ridiculous (as iamamiam) stated in fact it’s lovely. You get to include family names from both sides. My little brother is William Leonard John – Leonard after our maternal grandfather and John after his father – it’s a lovely tradition. I also have cousins who are Katherine Emily Rose, Michael Leonard John, Josef Leonard Robert, Cody Abraham John etc I really love this trend. As long as the flow is right I think it’s great and also none of my family have had issues with this either including Cody who is in Canada.

From the list I love…
Arabella Elizabeth Mary
Beatrice Grace Summer
Felicity Annabel Victoria
Harriet Charlotte Mary
Matilda Isabel Violet
Scarlett Elizabeth Marion
Violet Susanna Mary
(other names I love from the list but haven’t included as I don’t like the whole combination)

Felix Arthur Willoughby
Orlando William Percy
Rafferty Henry Bear
(same as above on this list there are other names I love but I dislike the whole combination)

artshark Says:

September 18th, 2013 at 11:33 am

I love the double middle names! If we have another girl, she will be Genevieve Kitty Kathleen, since we don’t want to use either of our mothers’ names as first names, but can’t get away with picking only one grandma to represent as a middle (they’re already competitive about who gets to spend more time with our first kid). We’ll probably end up calling her Kitkat as a nickname!

helloyellow5 Says:

September 18th, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Love this as long as it’s meaningful. My son has two middle names: my husband’s middle name and my maiden name. It’s long but it flows and I hope when he’s older (only 2 now) he thinks it’s special 🙂

iwillpraise Says:

September 19th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

There’s definitely something about the very first and last girl names on this list that strikes a chord with me: Agnes Lily Jean and Violet Susanna Mary.

Usually quirky doesn’t draw my attention, but somehow these two do – be it the familiar names, mixed with uncommon combos, I’m not sure. Breaking them down, the first names follow the 100 yr rule, while the next two (Lily Jean and Susanna Mary) are mid-century classics across the board. Beatrice Grace Summer was another one that caught my attention- Summer takes the so-called stuffiness (my husband’s words) out of Beatrice and airs it out a bit. I love how these connect the generations!

Jinxgirl Says:

September 19th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I know a few.
David Reeve Kenneth
Lillie Dora Faye
Bryson Colby Maximilian
Natasha Ashley Marie

and some with four

Celeste Isabelle Mary Lillian
Torey Chantal Maria Goretti
Nikita Ashlynn Neve Rose
Conrad Dwyer Patrick James

nenamatahari Says:

October 24th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

If your parents use all three or four names when they yell at you, you KNOW you’re in BIG trouble!

rainierloner Says:

October 28th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I absolutely love Felicity Annabel Victoria. It’s a lot of syllables, but all three names are beautiful. I also loved Ophelia Rose Diana. It flows well and contains one of my favorite names– Ophelia! I prefer three names for girls mainly; none of the boys names stood out to me. Ill loved this blog because I want to give my future child three names someday.

ALittleLoopy Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 3:02 am

lol we used to middles coz we like it. nothing to do with flow tho it needs to be easily said aswell… we will name #2 with 2 as well 🙂

my daughter is Charlotte Amelia Rose A???????

and we LOVE it

wickedjr89 Says:

November 8th, 2013 at 4:24 am

Personally I find 3 names a bit too much..

Fourthseason Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 5:16 am

I like two middle names. I see nothing wrong with it. Its formal, elegant, dignified, and is labored with love. Its a family tradition we are passing down. great list!

kmdharrington Says:

June 20th, 2014 at 6:30 am

I think that three middle names is too much. It would for example not work with my already 32 letter full name

VeraJunior Says:

December 5th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I have three names, not because my parents planned it but because only a day after they decided on the first name I was born already, 5 weeks early. They both had an idea for a second name and decided to give me both, instead of choosing in very little time. And I’m quite happy with my Vera Elizabeth Magdalena. ,

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