Another Royal George? What's Wrong With Ethelred?
I don't want to rain on the Royal baby parade, but "George"? Yes it was great-grandpa's name, which is sweet. But there have already been six of them! There are so many better ones Kate and William might have picked off the royal family trees.
My personal favorites, long overdue for a revival, come from the Saxon and Viking kings who ruled England before 1066. Egbert, Ethelwulf, Ethelbald and Eadwig are all fine names, not to mention my personal pick, Ethelred (the Unready).
Admittedly, Ethelred has some bad vibes associated with him. Unpopular among his own people, he ordered the execution of all Danes in the country, and then tried to buy off the Danish armies that invaded with a tax called Danegeld. It didn't work. He was displaced by King Sweyn Forkbeard (face it, also a better name than George), from today's Denmark. Unready is actually a mistranslation of Ethelred's Saxon nickname, although unfortunately that doesn't help. It meant Unwise.
Among the Vikings who followed, Canute (the one who tried to make the waves retreat) was a great king. I think Canute Windsor has a ring about it. His son Harold Harefoot had a fine name, too.
We can skip the Normans. They were mostly called William, which given the baby's father would be more boring than George. We can rule out the Plantagenet dynasty too, I think. They're all Henrys and Edwards -- there have been eight of each. Richard, of course, is forever tainted by Shakespeare's hunchbacked child-killer Richard III. John just makes you think of "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." And who wants that for their child?
The Tudors also suffer from the Henry/Edward problem, and the Stuarts went for James and Charles. James would be fine, while Charles was quite a dashing, long-haired cavalier sort of name, until baby George's grandfather ruined it by selling organic food.
The Hanovers and Saxe-Coburg-Gothas (what the Windsors were called until the German name sounded too unpatriotic in the midst of World War I) have been recycling George, Edward and William ever since. So George it is. Again.
(Marc Champion is a Bloomberg View editorial board member. Follow him on Twitter.)