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The Bible tells us that a good name is to be treasured more than great riches. But should it be? Through malice of circumstance, some people end up with names that belong to famous – or notorious – figures. And they can get touchy about this, as Tatler found out when trying to speak to Chris Hitler, a Milwaukee-based real-estate broker. (Hitler declined to be interviewed for this article, as did Earl Spencer, an aviation official in Canada.) It’s hard luck for Oxford librarian Charles Manson, and James Saville, a television producer, known (perhaps unfortunately) by his friends as Jimmy. Spare a thought, too, for American BMW salesman Harvey Weinstein. But, as other notably named individuals attest, a memorable moniker isn’t necessarily a cross to bear…

  • Kate Middleton

    Puppeteer and therapist, 58

    I love having my name. I get all sorts of special treatment. I think people start to believe that I am Kate Middleton – although we don’t look at all alike. Recently I was refused a table at a fancy restaurant and I asked: ‘Could you squeeze Kate Middleton in?’ The maître d’ just said: ‘Of course we can.’ It happens at the bank, in customs, on the phone. I run a puppet theatre on a barge in London; I’m the second generation of my family to do it, and now my children do it, too. These days, my family don’t call me Kate. They call me ‘The Duchess’.

  • John Lennon

    Consultant, 59

    Being from Liverpool makes it even worse. I was born in 1961 and Love Me Do came out in 1962. When I was 16, I would be out at nightclubs when they got raided by police. When they asked my name and I told them it was John Lennon, they didn’t believe me – they’d give me a smack. When John Lennon died, I was working in a factory – you wouldn’t believe the stick I took. Everyone would say: ‘Aren’t you dead?’ and ‘Where’s Yoko?’ As it happens, my wife used to be a stewardess and she once had Yoko Ono on the plane. I’ve never had any bad experiences because of my name, and I like that it always breaks the ice. Mind you, I always preferred Paul McCartney

  • Kate Moss

    Recruitment professional, 32

    I married into my name two years ago. My maiden name was Woodcock, which wasn’t great, but being Kate Moss has been good for business – people are more responsive to me since my name changed. I think it can be a bit of a let-down when I turn up at restaurants, because people are excited to see Kate Moss. I have to say: ‘No, sorry – I’m the crap northern version.’ Once, I went to collect a parcel from a depot (I’m sure the real Kate Moss doesn’t bother with such menial tasks) and I had to provide my name to gain access. The girls who answered the intercom were both waiting eagerly at the desk. I’ve never seen two more disappointed faces.

  • Daniel Radcliffe

    Marine engineer, 31

    I’m the same age as the other Daniel Radcliffe but I never got grief at school because there was a kid who actually looked like Harry Potter – he had the glasses and a chubby little face. I don’t reckon I’ve ever received preferential treatment because of my name, apart from maybe in America, talking to girls – they get really excited about it. Once I was repairing a boat in the Philippines with a group of Danish sailors, and when we arrived at our hotel all the staff were lined up out front to receive us. They said: ‘We’re expecting Daniel Radcliffe.’ I had to explain that it was just me. As for the other one? I haven’t seen him in much. He’s all right in Harry Potter, I suppose. He’s not my favourite actor.

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