Royal baby watchers eagerly anticipating the birth of Duchess Kate and Prince William’s first child could end up waiting a bit longer — to learn the baby’s name.
If royal tradition holds true, the parents may not have picked out a name for their child by the time the bundle of joy arrives.
Prince William’s own parents, for instance, waited a week before revealing a name.
The prince’s cousin, Beatrice, the older daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, waited twice as long — two weeks — before her parents settled on a name.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth waited a full month before she announced the name of her first born, Charles.
Stateside, parents are not required to leave the hospital with a name on their child’s birth certificate, said a spokesman for the federal Social Security Administration. Rules vary by county or state on the process to declare a child's name once it is decided, but ultimately, parents have to declare a name if they want to apply for the child's Social Security number for tax or other reasons.
Linda Rosenkrantz, co-founder of Nameberry, an online baby naming guide, said the heightened attention to names is a fairly recent phenomenon.
“There’s so much focus now on baby names, and people feel they can make a mistake, when you really can’t if that’s the name you want and love,” she said. “There is a tendency to wonder, is this name the right name? Is there something wrong with it? Is this name too popular? Too weird? And then the family gets involved in it.”
Some people have trouble settling on a name, even though they have at least nine months leading up to the decision.
Actress Uma Thurman took three months last year before finally naming her daughter Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Busson. The “Kill Bill” star acknowledged it was a mouthful but said she and her boyfriend, the baby’s father, couldn’t settle on one single name.
“I just put every name that I liked,” Thurman later explained during an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Meanwhile, other celebrities deliberately keep their children’s name from the public. The married stars of “True Blood,” Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, welcomed twins last September but only let their children’s names – Charlie and Poppy – slip last month during the show’s June 11 season premiere.