Does Uma Thurman hold the record for giving a child the most middle names?
- Credit: PA
Ellen Widdup’s 2.4 Children
There are two children in this world for whom “danger is my middle name” actually rings true.
No, one of them is not my son. Although it’s a moniker that would have suited him well.
One is Stephen Danger Jones – the son of Australians who did well to offset the child’s bland and boring first name.
The other – Rafferty Basil Danger Wills – is the son of a pair of British buskers who thought it made a good rock star name.
“He won’t be bullied,” they said. “Who’s going to beat up a kid called Danger?”
I don’t know what planet they are living on, but when I was a child middle names were the subject of much hilarity and teasing in class.
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I can clearly remember our first school trip abroad – to some grim part of France where we had to buy a loaf of bread, ask for directions to the swimming pool and sample snails.
One girl had her passport snatched at customs by another who declared gleefully that the initials of her three names spelt out PIG.
It was soon discovered that there was also a COW in the group.
Needless to say, the rest of the holiday was interspersed with farmyard sounds.
To be honest, while I laughed along (you can’t blame me – it was refreshing for someone who was nicknamed Smelly because it rhymes with Ellie to not be the butt of the joke for a bit) I was also keen that nobody discover that my initials spelt out yet another creature: EEL.
Ellen Elizabeth Laura.
It’s really quite inoffensive as middle names go, I suppose.
My parents were not willing to try anything too eccentric for their precious firstborn.
And at least, by giving me a selection, they were also providing me with options.
This certainly worked for whistleblower Edward Snowden, also known as Edward Joseph Snowden, or, possibly, Edward J Snowden.
It was this confusion, claimed the Hong Kong government, that led to the computer professional – who leaked classified security information to the media – to leave the country and escape arrest.
Then there is Walter Bruce Willis, who decided, understandably, that Walters simply do not Die Hard.
And Alex Johnson – who wanted to stand out so much he used his middle name, Boris.
Actually, Boris, like many other members of the upper classes, has multiple middle names: Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is the full handle.
But this is positively terse compared to that of his Conservative colleague, Richard Drax ? more properly Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax.
Quite a mouthful, right?
But it doesn’t beat actress Uma Thurman who liked so many girls’ names she gave her daughter a moniker that could barely fit into the little box on the birth registration form – Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson.
Apparently these days the kid is simply known as Luna.
Now, recent research has revealed that those of us lucky enough to be bestowed with middle names are actually more likely to be successful.
Scientists from the universities of Southampton and Limerick said that the use of middle initials is the easiest way to appear cleverer and that it boosts a person’s social status in the eyes of others.
Studies show those with more than one name are also destined for careers in politics, law and finance.
Having said that, Barack Hussein Obama was worried his would hold him back.
He once said: “I got my first name from my father, and I got my middle name from someone who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for president.”
He dropped the Hussein and replaced it with the initial H.
Which reminds me of a hilarious conversation I had with my daughter, who once asked me what the H stood for in Jesus H Christ.
“Holy?” I guessed.
“No,” she replied. “I think it’s Harold.”
Turned out she had misheard the Lord’s Prayer and thought it said: “Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be thy name.”
I’m glad it’s not Harold. That would have been a terrible choice. How bog-standard.
And, as another report concluded, outlandish middle names are actually a good choice because they are memorable and leave a lasting impression.
This is a smack in the face for rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins, who prompted quite a storm of debate last year when she decreed that anyone who gave their kids an unusual name was forever consigning them to the lower class.
But what she failed to see was that, actually, it was the upwardly mobile middle classes of 19th Century Britain who adopted and popularised the aristocratic convention for middle names in the first place.
And the recent revival of the eccentric middle name is firmly a middle class pursuit too.
After all, it was David Cameron who, in 2010, gave his daughter the middle name Endellion after the Cornish holiday village where she was conceived.
And to think how we all laughed at Brooklyn Beckham, named for a similar reason.
His middle name is Joseph, by the way.
Anyway, believe it or not, it was National Middle Name Pride Day the other week.
And it got me thinking, as the due date for their second royal baby looms, about what Kate and Wills might dub George Alexander Louis’ brother or sister.
Until now, royal middle names have been resolutely traditional.
Prince William’s are Arthur, Philip and Louis, while Harry’s are Charles, Albert and David.
But it would be rather nice to see a break from the norm.
After all, middle names are no longer irrelevant and embarrassing and known only to family and close friends.
They are now a chance to show the world how creative you are.
But beware. You can go too far.
One child in New Zealand was dubbed Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii – which is, quite frankly, tantamount to child abuse.
There have also been attempts to call children Facebook, the symbol @ and Robocop.
And just a few weeks ago a French judge ruled an emphatic “non” in the case of a couple who tried to name their daughter after their favourite brand of chocolate spread.
There’s nothing I can really say about that other than “Jesus Harold Christ”.