Girls can’t be called Harriet, says Iceland

10-year-old girl can't get a passport because her name isn't on Iceland's official baby name list

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A 10-year-old Icelandic girl can’t get her passport renewed because her name is Harriet.

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Harriet Cardew has had her passport application rejected because the name Harriet is not on Iceland’s official list of recognised names for a girl.

Under Icelandic law, parents must name their child from a list of 3565 ‘approved’ names or else submit their chosen name to the Icelandic Naming Committee for special approval. The committee, mindful of preserving traditional Icelandic names, routinely rejects about half of all names it’s asked to approve, including Harriet – and Duncan, the name of Harriet’s brother.

Until these current attempt to renew Harriet’s passport, Harriet and her 12-year-old brother Duncan travelled with passports labelling them ‘Stúlka’ and ‘Drengur’ – the Icelandic words for ‘Girl’ and ‘Boy’.

“The whole situation is really rather silly,” said Harriet’s dad Tristan, who, with his Icelandic wife Kristin, is appealing the decision by the National Registry not to give his daughter a passport.

“They have deprived our daughter of freedom of movement,” mum Kristin added.

Even the former Mayor of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, has said that the naming law is “unfair, stupid [and] against creativity”.

Fortunately, Harriet has been granted an emergency British passport and is able to travel to France for this year’s family holiday.

But, if Tristan and Kristin want to solve their children’s passport problems for good, they’ve been told they need to give their children approved Icelandic middle name.

“It’s a bit late for that,” said Tristan wearily. “And way too silly. Don’t they want us here?”

Photos: Tristan Cardew (left) / Wikipedia

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