Little Prince Louis Special Report

May 2, 2018 Clare Green

By Clare Green

This week’s news is a royal baby name special – plus an unusual tough word name, and the names Kim and Kanye almost used.

Royal baby name: read all about it!

The biggest name story of the week is, of course, the British royal baby.

A week ago, we were on the edge of our seats waiting to find out the new prince’s name. On Friday, it was announced as Louis Arthur Charles, much to everyone’s surprise. Not that the names themselves are surprising: it’s more the repetition of one of his brother George’s middle names, Louis, and another Charl– name like his sister Charlotte.

By now, the public and the press have thoroughly dissected the name choice, and whatever you may think of it, Louis Arthur Charles feels almost part of the royal furniture now.

There’s been lots of comment about why the Cambridges chose Louis, from the obvious family connections to more tenuous links – like that Catherine wrote her university dissertation on Lewis Carroll’s photography, and used some of his pictures for an art exhibition in February. (Aside: if you had to name a child after something you studied for an assignment or thesis, what would you choose?)

The internet was quick to find Louis-related trivia and remind us of other famous men (and apes) called Louis, and it has not escaped the notice of Harry Potter fans that Louis, Arthur and Charles are all the names of Weasley family members. While I love the image of William and Catherine poring through the Harry Potter series to find the perfect name, in reality it says more about the Weasley clan’s name style – traditional and classic with more than a hint of royalty – than it does about the Cambridges’ fandom.

We now know that there’s at least one other family in Britain with children called George, Charlotte and Louis in that order – what are the odds? Their parents chose the names because they worked in both French and English, and we should also take a moment to appreciate the name of the family dog: Monsieur Serge.

The American public has learned that Brits pronounce Louis “Loo-ee”, not “Loo-iss”. (If you were in any doubt, Wills and Kate said it in their wedding vows.) But even in the UK, it’s not without its issues – one Louis wrote in to the Guardian newspaper hoping that people would finally stop calling him Louise now.

Louis: facts, figures and future

There is already speculation about whether the name Louis will rise or fall in popularity now that the royals have used it again. George and Charlotte have gone up in popularity in the UK since they were born – but as British name expert Eleanor Nickerson points out, they dipped immediately after their birth before recovering, so it might be a while before we see a Louis boom.

In the States, it will be interesting to see whether there’s a rise in soundalike Louie as well as or instead of Louis. Louie re-entered the US Top 1000 in 2015 and is still in the 900s, but watch this space in the 2018 charts, when they’re released this time next year.

Alternative royal names

Good news if you were holding off giving your child one of the top contenders for the royal baby name, like Albert, Frederick or Alice – you can go ahead and use it! I wonder if those names will see an extra boost in popularity thanks to the press coverage they’ve had in the last few months. (Speaking of Albert, I enjoyed reading the name story of a boy called Albert Pascal, including input from the wives of two members of Hanson – you couldn’t make it up!)

Or maybe you love the name Louis (or Arthur or Charles) and are using it no matter what. These parents in Scotland made the news because their son Louis – named after his great-grandfather – was born on the same day as the prince. They announced it first, so they get bragging rights.

But what if you like Louis but don’t want to copy William and Catherine? You could use a name with a similar style – and no, they don’t all belong to royalty! If you love the Lou– sound, here are some alternative Lou and Lu names for boys. Or if it’s the Frenchness of the name that appeals to you, how about another French name?

Grit by name, grit by nature

The prize for most unusual word name in the news this week goes to Grit. The father of this baby boy from Kansas picked it before he was born, and it’s appropriate given that he’s had a lot of medical treatment in his life so far.

You’d probably guess Grit is a rare name, but I’m surprised it’s never made the US charts. It fits in both as a tough word name, like Flint and Brick, and a modern virtue name.

The names not chosen

Did you have an almost name? Many of us know the names our parents considered but didn’t choose for us. (I missed out on being named Geraldine or Duncan.)

You may also have almost names for your children. If so, that’s something you have in common with the Kardashian-Wests. We’ve come to accept their youngest kid as Chicago, but according to Kim, other names in the running included Jo (after Kim’s grandmother), Grace and Donda (Kanye’s mom). In a way, coming after North and Saint, a name as mainstream as Jo or Grace might have been just as edgy as Chicago.

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles


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