Is it a bag of crisps? Is it a nightclub performer? No, it’s a Swedish princess Estelle
While many feel such criticism is highly inappropriate, others yet have weighed in to say that engaging in a debate about the princess’ name is beneath them. In other words, there’s been more than a whiff of snobbery to the reactions to this royal affair.
Herman Lindqvist, a Swedish popular historian, thought Estelle “sounds like a nightclub queen”. A resident in the town of Jönköping thought it sounds like “a bag of crisps”, probably because the most popular crisp brand in Sweden is called Estrella. On Twitter, where the royal baby was trending soon after her birth, many agreed with the man from Jönköping. Others pointed out that Estelle’s most famous – and unfortunate – namesake is the chain smoking, haggard actor’s agent who comically fails to advance Joey’s career in the series Friends. Like Lindqvist, some bloggers, too, were incredulous that the royals have given their daughter a commoner’s name, calling it “white trash”.
But as Lindkvist came up with new insults for the royal baby with every reporter who called him up at his home in France, there was a backlash on Twitter. He started trending as Twitterers poked fun at him and expressed their outrage at his rudeness and insensitivity. One tabloid set up a poll where readers can say what they think of the name Herman Lindqvist – “beautiful”, “too un-Swedish”, “cool”, “unworthy” – and so on. Incidentally, a columnist at the same paper had recently despaired that she and her colleagues would have to forego reporting “important news” because of the birth, implying that high-minded journalists like her have little choice but to dumb down their product in the face of the Swedish public’s lust for sickly sweet baby news and royal gossip.
Of course, for Lindqvist – a royalist and biographer of Crown Princess Victoria, who was also his history pupil – the name is unacceptable because it breaks with tradition. There’s no Estelle in the history of the Swedish monarchy, except for the wife of the late diplomat and nobleman, Folke Bernadotte – but “she was an American millionaire’s daughter”, Lindkvist said dismissively.
Victoria and Daniel are seen as modernising a stale institution – even their marriage was a break with tradition since Daniel is no blue-blooded beau but a gym owner and Victoria’s former personal trainer. In giving their daughter an unusual name with guaranteed high Google-ratings, the royal pair seems to have taken a queue from those celebrities who give their offspring unusual appellations. They forwent bookies’ favourites, like Desirée and Kristina, and apparently picked a name they like the sound of.
And why shouldn’t they? We should all have the right to decide over our own children’s names and over our private lives. But if the royals really want people to stop meddling in their affairs, well then they should abdicate and give up their privileges. In other words, off with their figureheads – whatever they’re called!