Icelandic girls can't be called Harriet, government tells family: Authorities reluctant to renew passport of Harriet, 10, as name is not on approved list of 3,565
You can be Aagot, Arney or Ásfríður; Baldey, Bebba or Brá. Dögg, Dimmblá, Etna and Eybjört are fine; likewise Frigg, Glódís, Hörn and Ingunn. Jórlaug works OK, as do Obba, Sigurfljóð, Úranía and – should you choose – Vagna.The problem is you cannot decline names like 'Harriet' and 'Duncan', in the Icelandic language. So it's a problem in terms of the naming laws. And before you think you're free to name your child anything in the USA, remember recently a Tennessee judge ruled that a boy couldn't be called 'Messiah'. Although in that case, at least the ruling was overturned and the judge later lost her position. Here's hoping the Icelandic courts recognise that Harriet and Duncan, who have a British father and have British names, do not need to be known officially as Girl and Boy, but can get passports after all. And I bet some other countries they've travelled to think their names are Stúlka and Drengur, as most people aren't familiar with Icelandic names. I would probably make that mistake, and I at least understand a bit how the surnames work.
But you cannot, as a girl in Iceland, be called Harriet.
"The whole situation," said Tristan Cardew, with very British understatement, "is really rather silly."
With his Icelandic wife Kristin, Cardew is appealing against a decision by the National Registry in Reykjavik not to renew their 10-year-old daughter Harriet's passport on the grounds that it does not recognise her first name.
Since the registry does not recognise the name of Harriet's 12-year-old brother Duncan either, the two children have until this year travelled on passports identifying them as Stúlka and Drengur Cardew: Girl and Boy Cardew.