The Totally Weird Reason This Royal Baby Name Was Rejected By Spain
A royal couple wanted to give their baby a very long name. Not so fast, Spain said.
One of the first things parents who find out they're expecting do is start to narrow down baby names. For some, narrowing down that list is easy, while others, like Spanish royalty Sofia Palazuelo and her husband, Fernando Fitz-James Stuart, the 17th Duke of Huéscar, might find it more difficult. The royal couple “narrowed” down, so to speak, a rather lengthy name for their baby girl — only for the government to step in and say nope!
According to the local Spanish paper El Pais, Sofia and Fernando chose a name for their daughter fit for a royal. They looked at names down their family tree, and ultimately chose their daughter's name as a tribute to Fernando's late grandmother, People explains. That tribute, to Fernando’s late grandmother, just happened to be 25 names long. (Fernando’s late grandmother holds the world record for being the world’s “most titled person” and her full name was 19 names long and included 57 official royal titles.)
The proud royal couple officially named their second daughter Sofía Fernanda Dolores Cayetana Teresa Ángela de la Cruz Micaela del Santísimo Sacramento del Perpetuo Socorro de la Santísima Trinidad y de Todos Los Santos! In total, their daughter's official name is 25 words long, which includes 11 names and 157 characters. But it's not just a random string of letters and words that make up her impressive moniker. Each of the names holds meaning as a nod to their family tree, People explains.
Unfortunately, after the parents agreed on their daughter's name, it was rejected when they registered at the Civil Registry, according to the local paper. But why? For Americans, the rejection might feel strange. Sure, the name is strong, but it doesn’t violate any of the U.S. baby naming rules — her name isn’t after someone who has committed atrocities, and there are no numerical digits, like Elon Musk and Grimes' son's name, which they had to change. There isn't a trademark issue or derogatory, obscene, or offensive names. So, what's the problem?
By Spanish law, the name Sofia and Fernando chose for their second daughter was just too long.
"In the registration, the name given to the child will be expressed, although no more than one compound name may be recorded, nor more than two simple ones," the law on given names and surnames reads, according to Boletín Oficial del Estado.
An example of a name that breaks these rules in Spain would be "Ana Lucía María or Francisco José Javier," the Boletín Oficial del Estado notes, and it's clear that Sofia and Fernado's daughter's name goes far beyond even those length restrictions.
Spain isn't the only place that has baby name restrictions or rules in place. Several other countries around the world do as well, including Iceland, which narrows down baby name choices to a list of roughly 1,800 girl names and 1,700 boy names, per BBC. New Zealand has its list of banned baby names, which includes names like Justice, 4Real, or Christ, for example. (Justice is in the top 1,000 most popular baby names for boys and girls in the U.S. right now.) However, in the U.S., some states have specific rules, too, including caps on how long a baby's name can be. For example, Massachusetts caps names at a max of 40 characters, Arizona has a 141-character limit, and Minnesota has a 150-character limit.
So, how will Sofia and Fernando handle their baby name that's too long? To get around this issue and to be able to have their second daughter baptized, they've opted to shorten baby Sofía's official state documents to fit within the law rules. But the Duke and Duchess of Huéscar — who are also parents to their oldest daughter, Rosario Matilde Sofía Cayetana Dolores Teresa — haven't yet shared exactly how they will shorten their newest daughter's name. Luckily, they have plenty of names to choose from.