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The naming of Royals is a difficult matter

The Christmas season often brings forth stories that act as an ‘Indian summer’ for the silly season, reminding us of warm August evenings, listening to the closing overs of a test (rain permitting), and a time when you can sit outside a pub drinking Ordinary in any London green. Summer nostalgia aside, this year’s theme revolves around name changes.

In Manhattan, Jorge Luis Espinal sent a reporter to new heights of expression with his legal petition for the Second Coming:

A Manhattan man’s holiday spirits soared to celestial heights today when a judge gave him permission to change his name to Jesus Christ.

Jose Luis Espinal, 42, said he was “happy” and “grateful” that the judge approved the change, effective immediately.

Espinal said he was moved to seek the name change about a year ago when it dawned on him: “I am the person that is that name.”

The article provides some further information on the legal framework governing legal name changes. You can be a name but not a number in South Dakota. You can be Jesus Christ so long as your intention is not to defraud others by your actions or avoid an obligation. Jose has more chance of changing his name than a convicted conman, or possibly, a politician such as Tony Blair, if the latter wished to change his name to that of the Christian Messiah.

The judge said she held a hearing in which Espinal, who also uses the last name Tejeda, testified. She said he was aware of the “common law right to assume another name without legal proceedings so long as the change is not made to deceive or perpetrate a fraud or to avoid an obligation” but wanted to go the formal route anyway.

The judge said Espinal’s “reasons were primarily those applicable to his own private religious beliefs and he stated no desire to use his proposed name to secure publicity, to proselytise, to fund-raise or advise others that he had been cloaked by the courts or government with a religious authority”.

Jose’s example has been followed by that closet nominalist Prince Charles who is reported to be seeking coronation as King George VII. Changing the name of the Prince or Princess on accession to the throne is quite common and the Royal Family supposedly views the name Charles as jinxed, due to associations with decapitating Puritans and rebellious Jacobite pretenders.

Patrick Cracroft-Brennan, a genealogist from Cracroft’s Peerage, said: “There has been a tradition over the last century for the regnal title to be different to the christian name. The change would make sense.

“Monarchs called Charles have not had much luck. One was beheaded, one was in exile, and one was a pretender to the throne.

While the Prince of Wales is known throughout the world as Charles, there is enormous goodwill to the name George. George VI was an outstanding and popular king who took over in the aftermath of the abdication crisis and rallied his people during World War II, Mr Cracroft-Brennan said.

“King George and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother were wonderful. I think George VII and Queen Camilla sound wonderful, too.”

A swift name-change to airbrush the excesses and eccentricities of unfortunate heirs seems all too common with the Hanoverians. If our heir to the throne will adopt a name off Rainbow, surely Zippy or the more accurate Bungle would prove just as gracious and popular.

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25 comments to The naming of Royals is a difficult matter

  • Verity

    I’ve always liked the name Frank Zappa gave his daughter – Moon Unit – best. It could serve a male or female equally well.

  • permanent expat

    Holy mackerel!…………….not a suggestion; only an expletive.

  • Julian Taylor

    Having just finished off a truly magnificent turkey from the Duchy of Cornwall estate I am in very forgiving mood of whatever Charles decides to call himself today, but I do think I draw a line at the proposed face transplants, regardless whether for better aesthetics or not. Apart from the obvious joke about Camilla wanting Diana exhumed in order to get her face lifted, I wonder if Our Little Tony has considered changing his name to President (for life) Churchill and getting Cherie a complete face change while he’s at it?

  • Ernie G

    The name “King Ralph” has a nice ring to it, except that Charles doesn’t have John Goodman’s gravitas.

  • If “Charles” is such a jinxed name, why was it given to the heir presumptive in the first place? It’s not like Prince Charles had so many older brothers that he was considered to have no chance of ascending the throne at birth.

  • rosignol

    While the Prince of Wales is known throughout the world as Charles, there is enormous goodwill to the name George.

    Oh?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_III_of_the_United_Kingdom

  • Chris Harper

    Philip,

    “The naming of Royals is a difficult matter”

    True; It isn’t just one of your holiday games.

  • For whatever it’s worth, Teller‘s legal name is just “Teller”. No other name. He has one of the few American passports issued in a single name, and his Nevada driver’s license says “NFN Teller”. NFN stands for “No First Name”.

  • In the spirit of inclusiveness,Charles should become
    CHAV I.

  • “Jose has more chance of changing his name than a convicted conman, or possibly, a politician such as Tony Blair, if the latter wished to change his name to that of the Christian Messiah.”

    I think Tony would regard that as a demotion.

  • Verity

    mark – ha ha ha ha ha! Too right, mate!

  • Kim du Toit

    Of course, Charles could go all mystical on us (not for the first time) and demand to be called “King Arthur” (it’s one of his Christian names, isn’t it?).

    “Arthur and Camilla” would be a refreshing change from all the boring Williams, Georges and their Elizabeths and Annes.

  • Kim du Toit

    Of course, on reflection, there’d be some question as to whether he’d be Arthur I or Arthur II…

  • Jacob

    Let’s stick with tradition, let Charles keep his name. If it entails being beheaded or exiled – so be it !

  • Michael Farris

    I second the query about why name him Charles in the first place?

    As for his royal name, I’m partial to King Crusher I.

    It’s not my creation (some syndicated columnist years ago suggested it for Charles and Diana’s first born) but it does have an impressive ring to it ….

  • Robert Schwartz

    Is it true that charles really wants to be crowned Uthmar?

  • Of course, the whole question could be obviated by skipping him entirely and going straight to William.

  • I just find it odd that the Hanoverians would even care any more. It’s not as if by having an unlucky name that there is anything Charles could mess up that is of any real consequence. Right ? Please tell me this is so …

  • A rose by any other name … would listen as well.

    Charles, and everybody else, should be able to call themselves whatever they want. George will do as well as anything else. As for his famously mad relative (due to a genetic disorder) despite being barking he did still manage to get Parliament to sign up to what has to have been one of the best long term deals ever. Swapping the cash from the crown estates for having to pay for the armed services.

  • James Knowles

    Regardless of name; is there any crime a king, and only a king, can commit that will get him beheaded or exiled?

  • e m butler

    I hve known more than one hispanic called jesus christ, pronounced hay soo

  • michael farris

    More likely, you’ve known hispanics named Jesús (hay SOOS – the final s is dropped in some dialects).

    This is not the same as Jesus in English, which is usually Jesucristo in Spanish.

  • adele

    I wonder if the judge would have approved ” Jesus H. Christ ” ….

  • Rog

    is there any crime a king, and only a king, can commit that will get him beheaded or exiled?

    One might be tempted to think of breaking the coronation oath to govern the people “in accordance with their laws and customs”. However that seems to happen with regularity these days so perhaps not (especially tyhe “customs” bit).

  • Jacob

    is there any crime a king, and only a king, can commit that will get him beheaded or exiled?

    Maybe denying there is global warming…

    What was the last one beheaded for ? Something to do with religion ?