BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Leo Blair: What's in a name?
number 10
Downing Street is visited by Blair baby wellwishers
The Blairs' children Euan, Nicky and Kathryn have a new baby brother and he's called Leo.

Given their generation, they are more likely to identify the name with heart throb actor Leonardo diCaprio than with the curly-haired crooner Leo Sayer.

The name Leo had been one of the hot bets with bookmakers, although the most popular choice with punters had been Tony, in honour of Cherie Blair's father, actor Tony Booth.

The couple finally opted to name their new baby boy after the prime minister's father.

The 76-year-old barrister is said to have been one of the most influential figures in Mr Blair's life, sharing his ambition, passion for politics, and strong belief in family values.

The bookies are not so delighted with the name though.


Graham Sharpe of William Hill said: "About 10 days ago we cut the odds from 12/1 to 2/1 favourite on the baby being called Leo. This is the worst result for us."

Another famous Leo from the present day
New Labour's new arrival was born at the Chelsea and Westminster around 00.25 BST on Saturday, weighing in at 6lbs 12oz.

Little Leo was also something of an historic happening, as he is the first baby to be born to a serving British prime minister for more than 150 years.

With his new name he can join other notable Leos in the history books, such as Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, and celebrated Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.

The name Leo comes from the Latin form of the Greek "leon", which means lion.

Baby Blair might have been a Leonard or a Leopold in former times, but the prime minister and his wife have gone for the more fashionable and shorter Leo.

The name has gone through different cycles of popularity through the century.

According to the Registrar General's Indexes of Births, in 1925 eight in 10,000 babies born in England and Wales were named Leo.

This dipped to two in every 10,000 born in 1965, before picking up again to six in 10,000 by 1990.

Lion or bull?

As he was born on 20 May, Leo will not be a lion but a bull, as he just falls under the star sign of Taurus.

Had Cherie Blair delivered on her due date, 24 May, her little boy would have been a Gemini.

The Blairs
A brother for Kathryn, 12, Euan,16, and Nicky, 15.
Taurus the Bull is said to be patient and strong, and many Taureans are found to have an iron will.

Astrologists say that stubborness can be a trait, and they tend to cherish material goods.

Patience, however, is one of their virtues.

Taureans who are born between the third decanate, 10-20 May, are ruled by Capricorn and tend to be more reserved, ambitious and rational.

The latter two could be the characteristics of any self-respecting prime minister.

Tony Blair also once described his father, who lives in Shrewsbury with his second wife Olwen, as a "very ambitious" individual who was "successful and a go-getter".

Astrologists say that since Taurus rules the neck and throat, many Taureans have soft, melodious voices.

Maybe one day he might follow his mother's father into the world of entertainment.

Baby spotlight

And will Leo Blair (fortunately the PM's father wasn't called Lionel) be trendy or traditional?

Cherie Blair's dress sense may have come under the spotlight in recent years, but all eyes are now on the latest addition to the family.

Fashion pundits think it is unlikely the Blairs will go for the kind of babywear that Victoria and David Beckham prefer for baby Brooklyn.

New Labour may like to be associated with the bright young things of fashion, film and art, but Leo will probably be dressed in High Street chic rather than 1,000 Gucci separates.

Flowers were delivered to Downing Street on Saturday and hordes of media awaited their first glimpse of little Leo.

He arrived a few days early, in time for another momentous occasion.

The last FA Cup final to be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, before it becomes a pile of rubble.

Chances are that Tony Blair was too busy with nappies and wellwishers, to even notice.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories