Posted on 22 July 2013
Monday, July 22
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
c/o Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
First, I apologize for not writing sooner. Things can get quite busy here in the outer reaches of the Commonwealth, and I’ve been remiss in not remarking upon your pregnancy. Congratulations.
Congratulations, as well, on the birth today of your baby boy. By all accounts I hear he is happy and healthy and ready to take the throne in due time. Jolly good, as they say.
I must admit, however, that I do not contact you for entirely altruistic purposes. Indeed, this letter comes with a request, and a quite urgent one at that. I appreciate you taking the time.
You see, wanting to give you your privacy, I have not been taking part in much of the speculation surrounding your pregnancy these past months. I did not care much whether it was a boy or a girl, twins or triplets. I hoped only that you would be happy, and your child would be well.
But it has come to my attention that atop the list of possible names for your new baby, over “Alexander,” “James,” and “Robert,” is “George.” A fine name, to be sure, and one held by many royals over the centuries. Believe me, I know this, because here in northern British Columbia, Canada, I live in one of these George’s namesakes.
Yes, my home is Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, a decision settled upon via a vote circa 1915, replacing the earlier “Fort George.” It’s not entirely clear which Prince George it was named after, mind you, but still, here we all are.
In earlier times, sharing your name with a living royal was likely quite the honour. Indeed, taking a look across the country it seems to be something of a norm, judging by the “Prince Ruperts” and “Prince Edward Islands” and the like. But it’s the 21st century now, and we have some very new 21st century problems.
I am, by trade, a radio broadcaster with a focus on local events. I keep track of what’s happening in a number of ways, including newspapers, city council minutes, and talking to people on the street. But an especially valuable area of research is the internet.
For example, let’s say I want to to learn about Indian restaurants in the city. I might go over to Google and search for “Indian restaurants near Prince George.” I do this for all sorts of things. I also have a saved Twitter search that tracks what people are saying about the city. It looks like this:
Until earlier today, when I clicked on that it was largely people talking about the city. Things they liked, things they didn’t like, pictures of the sunrise, where they were eating lunch. Much of it not earth-shaking, but a useful way to take the pulse of what’s happening locally.
You may also notice that I use the modifier “-county”. That’s because in the United States, there is a Prince George’s county that sometimes creeps into my results. By putting a minus symbol before the county, it removes any results for “Prince George” that include the term “county”. Even so, I still get plenty of results for the region, so much so that I feel quite familiar with the news happening there, along with my own city.
All of this is a roundabout way of saying that if you decide to name your child, a future prince, “George”, I have great fears about what this might to do my internet searches. A county is one thing to compete with. A member of the Royal Family is quite another. Already, going on nothing but speculation, this is what my Twitter search looks like:
As you can, the world is incredibly interested in your child. Probably far more so than this small community. It’s a lovely city and one I’m proud to call home. But I really don’t know that our 80,000 people can compete with your 8 pound child.
We have quite happily welcomed a number of royals into our city. We are named after a royal, the Queen is on our money, and our province is called “British Columbia.” You can be assured that the royal presence will be felt here without having your son’s name come up in every Google and Twitter search we conduct about our community for the next ten decades or so.
And so, I respectfully ask you:
Please don’t name your child George.
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
update: that didn’t work.
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