Boy George

Please, no jokes about “What’s in a name?” We all know the answer is always “plenty.” A name is an identity, so much so that people and companies alike bestow or change them at life-altering moments.

And when they do, there’s usually some symbolism involved. Pope Francis wanted to ally himself with the poor and the environmental movement so he chose the name of a saint who devoted himself to the disadvantaged and the natural world alike.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seem to be sending a message as well with the name of their new baby – George Alexander Louis – one that respects tradition but also charts its own course. George VI was, of course, Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved father, a man who set an example of steadfastness in the bleak years of World War II. Louis was the name of Prince Charles’ beloved godfather, the 1st Earl Mountbatten, who was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979.

Alexander, however, was the duchess’ choice and seems to have no British royal precedent, though Alexandra is the middle name of Queen Elizabeth II and was the name of Edward VII’s consort.

But the name Alexander is Greek for “defender of the people” and the most famous Alexander – the Greco-Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great – was born on July 22 (using our calendar), the little prince’s birthday.

That duchess, how clever is she?

Besides, they can always call him Alex.

– Georgette Gouveia

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