A princess has been born and her name is Charlotte which, in my entirely biased view, was a very strong choice. My mum is delighted. She’s always been very proud of herself for having called me Charlotte – “You have such a good name,” she says, “I did SO WELL coming up with that,” as if she was the one to have invented the name in the first place, back in (a year that was most likely earlier than 1985 and my birth) and given it as a gift to new mothers. And now that it’s been selected for a new member of the royal family, well, she couldn’t be happier.
And with my first name being thrust into the limelight, – the like of which us Charlottes have not experienced since E.B White decided to name a pig friendly spider after us – now feels like a good time to let the new addition to our crew know what it’s like to be called Charlotte. In summary, if you don’t mind spending an awful lot of your life saying “Yep, that’s right, double T, E” then you’ll be just fine.
1. You have 300 different nicknames
Char, Chars, Charl, Chaz, Chazza, Chas ‘n’ Dave, Charlie Pants, Charlie Party, Charlie Brown, CharlieEEE HEEE! Charlotte’s web, Chuck, Chucky, Lottie, Lotto… and that’s just the ones I can remember. People see Charlotte as a loose starting point from which to create a nickname of their choice. And, as with all names, it’s up to you whether you want to get in there first with your own nickname, waltzing into a party full of strangers and announcing yourself – Hey guys, I’m Charlotte, but you can call be C-Dawg – or if you want to stick with the original and see what happens. Either way, it’s a risky business.
2. You discover it sounds an awful lot like ‘shut up’
You know when people are whispering in class when they shouldn’t be and somebody notices that the teacher is eyeballing you and says “Ssssshut uuup!'” under their breath? Yeah, well, if your name is Charlotte, you will think that person is talking to you. Spoken at speed, those words sound exactly like our name. And as soon as people find this out, well, you might as well just change your name to Shutup – because how many school-age children are going to bother calling you Charlotte when they know you’ll answer to that?
3. Your French teacher may suggest you call yourself Charles
I haven’t been to school for some time, due to my age and responsibility for paying bills, but when I was there, language teachers liked to give each pupil their own ‘French’ name, i.e. the closest thing they could think of to your name that somebody in France might consider calling their child. In my case this should have been simple – Charlotte is of French origin after all – but if you’ve ever tried to say it in a French accent you’ll know that it’s rather tricky; it requires a lot of saliva. But Charles is a lot easier. It’s basically just ‘Charl’ and you can throw in a raised eyebrow for added effect. It’s more masculine than Charlotte – sure – but it does roll off the tongue nicely.
4. Your phone will assume your second name is Church
Should you wish to use your phone to type about yourself in the third person, specify which type of potato you’d like to have for tea, or be so formal as to sign off with your name in a text message then, in these days of predictive messaging, your phone will assume that the next word you wish to type after ‘Charlotte’ will be ‘Church’, which, in my experience at least, is almost never the case.
On balance, it’s a very good name. A strong two syllables, a spelling most people can get their head around (except those individuals who think it starts with an S who, to be fair, do have a point) and, to top it all, there’s a dessert called a Charlotte. And if it’s good enough for a cake then it’s most definitely good enough for me.
Welcome to the club, little one.