Harper Seven is more than the name of the world’s most famous newborn. It is a measure of how far the Beckham brand has come in the 12 years since they named their first son Brooklyn to a chorus of hilarity and barely concealed snobbery. When Brooklyn was born, the media reaction could be summed up as: how typical that such a ridiculous couple should pick such an eye-roller of a name.
With Harper, it couldn’t be more different. The eye-rollers haven’t got far this time, because the consensus seems to be that it is a really nice name. Subtle, with literary connotations rather than name-in-lights razzle-dazzle. What’s more, this time the Beckhams have shown they are one step ahead of the pack. Ever since it was announced that their fourth child was to be a girl, gossip magazines and tabloids have been in such a frenzy of thrilled excitement, you’d think the other Beckham babies had been lizards rather than a trio of gorgeous, mop-haired boys. The common assumption was that the name would be a frothy celebration of femininity. Mea culpa: last week on the Guardian fashion desk we discussed our predictions. My colleague Imogen was backing Audrey; I thought it might be a Grace. Both a bit Hollywood, a bit European, very chic, very fashion.
The Beckhams were way ahead of us. They have resisted the syrupy appeal of the noughties crop of little-girl names – the formula seemed to be, take one Flower Fairy name and one Vegas showgirl stage name, and stick a hyphen in the middle – and chosen a girl’s name that sounds a bit like a boy’s name. What’s more, they haven’t paired it with a cutesy middle name to girlify it. Continue