Hilary With One L

Hilary Anne - Mexico City 1973

Our daughter Hilary was born in Mexico City in 1971. She was our second daughter. In thinking of a name for her (my wife Rosemary was then a proto-feminist) we thought of something of an epicene nature. The name would not automatically tell you the sex of the person. It would be up to the named person to impose a sexuality of choice.

We liked the name Hilary even though in Spanish Hilaria sounds awful. It sounds like a name imposed on a newborn (from a very Roman Catholic family) in which the name has to match the name of that saint’s day the child is born. Thus women born on St. Peter’s were saddled with Petra.

And so our second-born was called Hilary Anne Waterhouse-Hayward. As a married woman she has been now for 15 years Hilary Anne Stewart.

It was sometime in the late 90s when a Vancouver (where we have lived since 1975) weekly arts newspaper in fact checking(Martin Dunphy, a fact checker from hell) I was told that Hilary had to have two ls. I informed him that the saint Hilary (Hilarious ) of Poitiers wrote his name with one l. It was almost to no avail but in the end I prevailed.

To this day our Hilary is a cheerful woman, a wonderful daughter and mother. All with one l.