Kate Middleton has had the world's eyes on her from the
moment the Duchess announced her pregnancy. With the birth of the
new Prince, the speculation over the gender of the new Royal
finally ended in the early hours of yesterday morning. However,
there is still one more question on everyone's mind: "What
will they call him?"
The "Royal Baby" is not the only baby in recent times
to cause a media frenzy. Media speculation and controversy ensued
following the recent birth of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's
child. Initial reports suggested that the child was named
"Kaidence", spelt with a "K" following the
Kardashian trend. It has, however, since been confirmed by inside
sources that the child has, in fact, been named "North"
and nasty (in my view) jokes then followed about North West's
name being more suited to a direction on a compass (See
This is not particularly a new media spin, as cruel taunts have
also been directed at other celebrities who have given their
children 'different' names, such as "Apple"
(Gwyneth Paltrow) and "Blanket" (Michael Jackson).
So, whether it's inside or outside the Hollywood circle,
what is in a name? Who decides on a child's name? How can a
child's name be changed?
A child's name first appears formally on their birth
certificate and, in most cases, the parent or parents listed on
that birth certificate have agreed on the child's name. Before
the child attains 18 years of age, the child's parents must
both consent to any application to the Registry of Births, Deaths
and Marriages (as it is in New South Wales) for a change of
An individual parent can only change a child's name without
the consent of the other parent in circumstances where only the
first parent is listed on the child's birth certificate. This
parent must have been granted sole parental responsibility for a
child pursuant to a Court Order or alternatively, there is a Court
Order in place permitting one parent to change a child's
A child can otherwise apply to change their own name by making
an application to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
themselves upon attaining the age of 18 years (see link to Registry website).
A name is a very personal and defining matter for each
individual. In many cases, parents see it as very important for a
child to carry the roots of their family history in a name (I would
know, being a person with a 'double-barrelled' name
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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