Princess Charlotte, the new royal baby, caused an international furore as soon as she arrived when a zoo in Japan named a baby monkey after her.
A storm of protest followed. I don’t see why. After all, she’s been named after a potato.
The Charlotte is a classic and delicate salad potato with a creamy skin and a fresh flavour. It sits well in that pantheon of upper class spuds, alongside the Jersey Royal and the King Edward.
In the next couple of years, Charlotte will have thousands of babies, pet dogs and cats, and probably other animals named after her. Maybe even a monkey, once the dust of sensitivity has died down.
It is a delightful name and one with a rich history. Queen Charlotte was the wife of King George III, the king who tragically went mad. She had 15 children and many places in the British Empire were named in her honour.
Famous ladies with that name include Charlotte Bronte, Charlotte Rampling and Charlotte Church.
Everybody’s name has many different and sometimes strange connections and connotations. Take Kate and William. Kate’s real name is Catherine, which has royal antecedents stretching from Catherine the Great of Russia to two of the wives of Henry VIII.
Hopefully, Kate is destined to have greater success and longevity than they did.
Famous Catherines include Deneuve, Zeta Jones and Katie Holmes. The name is French and there are several Saint Catherines.
William is old Germanic. It’s Liam in Irish and Wullie in Scotland, which is nice: a prince named after Oor Wullie, those wonderful comic books from North of the border featuring the Broon family.
Its shortened forms include Bill and Willie, although I can’t see Prince Willie catching on any time soon. It also has strong royal links dating from William the Conqueror.
Both Scotland and Wales have had independent King Williams and Britain has had four. Notables of that name include Shakespeare, Yeates, Wordsworth and Blake but, sadly, also Billy the Kid and Will.i.am, a gentleman of the music industry with obvious problems of punctuation.
Personally, I’d be delighted if someone named a monkey after me. As it was, my name was not just ordinary but under-used when I was born.
I grew up with Dennis the Menace from the Beano and Dennis the Dachshund from Toytown. At least the short legs were apt.
As I got older, along came sporting heroes Denis Compton and Denis Law, actor and wild man Dennis Hopper and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. How come everyone in the North of England suddenly felt a Good Vibrations affinity with California surfing when we didn’t even know what it was?
To my chagrin, also trotting along to give my forename fame, was Denis Thatcher and I don’t even drink gin. My name derives from Dyonisius, the Greek God of wine, ritual madness and ecstasy (the emotion, not the drug), which sounds like a Saturday in the Swinging 60s, and is also that of Saint Denis, a French martyr who wouldn’t stop talking even after he had been decapitated.
He walked six miles with his head tucked underneath his arm, as it continued to preach during the entire journey.
He is patron saint of Paris and France, and many more places besides, plus frenzy, strife, hydrophobia, possessed people, rabies and, not surprisingly, headaches.
Denis is also the unofficial patron saint of syphilis.
As I said, strange connections.