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Harper, Blanket, Zowie, Moon Unit ... whatever happened to plain Anne?

Well, they were never going to call her Anne, were they? On Sunday, a new Beckham was welcomed to the world, a daughter for Posh Spice and Goldenballs, a sister for Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz.

Harper Seven was born in Los Angeles, not -- as some had thought -- at half past seven, but at five minutes to eight in the morning.

"I am so proud and excited," said David Beckham, who is rumoured to have cried like a ... well, baby.

It is not known what Suri Cruise, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt or Apple Martin make of the new arrival in the celebrity kindergarten. Will they bully her? Or offer her advice on how to cope with having a ridiculous name?

"If anyone starts calling you Harpy," you can just imagine Geri Halliwell's daughter Bluebell Madonna whispering to her, "tell 'em that your dad is mates with Prince William and once got sent off for kicking an Argentine really hard."

The fact that little Harper Seven is only a few days old has not stopped some from making cruel comments about the baby's name: "daft," "ridiculous" and sounding like "a miscarriage of justice" were among the reactions. But as Shakespeare once wrote: What's in a name?

It would seem unlikely the Beckhams have named their daughter after To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee. Some have suggested Victoria Beckham might have been inspired by the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar, but even for a notorious clothes horse this is surely sinking a little low.

But Harper, which is said to have originated from Scotland, is by far the least quirky of the two names given to the new Beckham. For it is her middle name -- or number -- that takes the biscuit.

Theories abound: It's lucky; Beckham played for England in the No 7 shirt; She was born in the seventh hour of the day, during the seventh month; The Beckhams really are thick and think they are parents to three more children than they actually have.

Or perhaps the couple have a good sense of humour. In an episode of Seinfeld from 1996, the character George announced to his beloved that he wanted to call their child "Seven", the number of the baseball player Mickey Mantle. "It's awful, I hate it!," she wailed. "No child of mine is ever going to be called Seven."

There is a rich tradition of celebrities bestowing silly names upon their young. Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof must find it hard to fill our her full name on forms. Frank Zappa called his daughter Moon Unit; David Bowie named his son Zowie, though he now goes by plain old Duncan Jones.

In New Zealand, a judge allowed a nine-year-old girl to change her name from Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii. Officials there cleared Number 16 Bus Shelter and allowed some twins to be called Benson and Hedges.

Pamela Satran, author of the Brilliant Book of Baby Names, says Harper isn't as unusual as it seems; Celebrities with children of the same name include Lisa Marie-Presley and Paul Simon, while Myleene Klass called her second daughter Hero Harper. Says Satran: "In 2004 the federal government announced that To Kill a Mockingbird was the 'national read' [a programme to encourage people to pick up a book] and it was then that Harper entered the top 1,000 baby names in America."

Remarkably, nor is Seven a one-off. The singer Erykah Badu has a son called Seven Sirius. Where does the madness stop? Hopefully, with a return to normal names. Like Ian, John, Sarah -- and, of course, Anne.

In pictures: Celebrity baby names

Celebs and their kids

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow

Apple Blythe Alison Martin

Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates

Heavenly Hiraana Tiger Lily

Bono and Alison Hewson have four children

Jordan, Memphis Eve, John Abraham and Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q

Bob Geldof and Paula Yates

Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Little Pixie Geldof

Michael Jackson

Prince Michael II/Blanket Jackson

George Foreman, 10 children total and five sons

George Jr, George III, George IV, George V and George VI

Peter Andre and Katie Price

Princess Tiaamii

Jermaine Jackson


Frank Zappa

Moon Unit and Diva Thin Muffin

Sylvester Stallone

Sage Moonblood

Irish Independent