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Savannah Guthrie waited until the end of the year to break her most important story of 2016: the birth of her second child.
The TODAY anchor and her husband, Mike Feldman, welcomed their first son, Charles Max Feldman, on December 8.
“Charley” was named after Savannah’s father, who died of a heart attack when she was 16.
"My father was a seemingly unlikely mix of qualities: always strong, sometimes terrifying, loyal to the end, and disarmingly gentle and tender when it counted. He was also tall, affectionate and funny; he had that personality that people describe as 'lighting up the room,'" Savannah wrote in a 2014 Father's Day essay. "He was a 5,000-watt bulb who could turn a mundane trip to the post office into a rip-roaring tale."
Savannah said what she remembers most about her father, and remains most grateful for, is his integrity: "He had an unbending notion of right and wrong."
“Naming a baby after your father or another beloved person in your life makes it transcend being a mere name — it always carries the good feelings of that person with it,” said Pamela Redmond Satran, who co-founded the website Nameberry and wrote “The Baby Names Bible” and other baby books with her business partner, Linda Rosencrantz.
Naming a child after a loved one also ensures that parents will love the name “no matter what the fashions or the ups and downs of the name,” Satran said.
"Charles" has been a worldwide classic for centuries. In the United States, the name ranked in the Top 10 until 1955, according to Social Security Administration statistics. Still relatively popular, it was listed as the 50th most common boy's name in 2015.
Charley’s middle name, Max, which he shares with his paternal great-grandfather Max, ranked at No. 118 last year.
Charles, a name that claims both French and German roots, means "free man." Many famous men bear the name, from English novelist Charles Dickens to evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin to “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz.
The name also boasts a long royal pedigree dating back to Charlemagne, the original Charles the Great, born in 742. France, Spain, Portugal and Hungary also have had kings named Charles. In the United Kingdom, the Prince of Wales, also known as Prince Charles, is first in line to the monarchy now led by Queen Elizabeth II.
The choice Savannah and her husband made with Charles is a more traditional route than the name they picked two years ago for their daughter, Vale, which is an old English word meaning “valley by a stream.”
Savannah said that her son will be called "Charley," a spelling variation of "Charlie" and a far more popular nickname than other common ones such as Chuck or Chas.
Satran said that in recent years, Charlie and Charley have become "a surprise unisex hit," given to almost equal numbers of boys and girls. More than 7,000 baby boys were named Charles last year, with at least an additional 1,600 named Charlie, she said.
But we think Charley will eventually stamp his own unique mark on the name. Congratulations to Savannah, Mike and Vale on their newest family addition!