Posts Tagged With: Alba

Alternatives to the Top 10

Top10Alternatives

We’re taking a break from our Offbeat Alphabet Series this week, and today we’re talking about alternative names. It’s always been that there are those who don’t care about using popular names, and those who look for alternative to the popular names they love. I know this because my blog traffic is mostly people looking for alternatives to Olivia. Consider it a dream come true to all you google searchers today, because I’m going to address just that. In fact, I decided to push the boat out and come up with a list of alternatives for every name in the 2013 England&Wales Top 10.

Now, I had plenty of ideas for every name, but then I took a step back and decided that I needed to rein myself in. In my mind, it’s not a simple case of swapping out a comfortable favourite with something no one has ever heard of, otherwise this list would look a lot different. Instead, I’ve decided to go for familiar names of a similar style, so my criteria was thus:

  • The name has not been in the Top 100 since 2010
  • The name was within the Top 500 in 2013
  • The name has risen consistently in the rankings since 2010 without stagnant or fall

So, in the end, I’m swapping out current favourites for what could be the incoming favourites of the next decade or so, which I think is more fitting than telling parents considering Jessica to instead use Cressida, a name only used 6 times in 2013. Despite this, the list of options was a fun one to compile, and it became more of a discussion piece than a list as I felt an explanation for each choice was warranted.

OLIVER -> BENEDICT

With Oliver, we’re looking for something charming, and a solid nickname option that’s also pretty popular as a standalone, like Olly. Originally I thought of Raphael, but his popularity is faltering. Then there’s Rupert, but he didn’t quite fit. In the end, I went with Benedict, where Ben once ranked as high as #34, but still is in the mix at #140.

The name Benedict could attribute some of his popularity to Benedict Cumberbatch. Indeed, up until 2010 the name was falling, down from a peak of#165 in 1999 to #449. However, the name has begun to regain ground, as in 2013 he was back up to #350 in 2013. The name comes from Latin and means blessed.

AMELIA -> ROSALIE

We’re looking for a 3-syllable flourishing name that features a ‘lee’ sound. For me, the minute I saw Rosalie, I couldn’t help but see her as ‘the one’. Like Mia for Amelia, the nickname Rosie is seeing increased use and ranks at #38.

The name Rosalie is, for all intents and purposes, an elaboration of Rose, but she’s a darn fine one at that. She’s rocketed up from #1171 in 2009 to #394 in 2013.

JACK -> TED

We’re looking for a one syllable nickname that stands well aside from his parent name. I had a hard time here deciding between Ralph, Ted and Frank. Ralph was ruled out because he has two valid pronunciations used widely in the UK and that made him a step away from the simple style we were looking for. Frank was ruled out for being not quite on trend, whereas Ted felt more current.

Ted is usually taken as a nickname for Theodore, but it is known for him to be used as a short form of longtime Top 100 name Edward. His brother Teddy broke into the Top 100 in 2013, whilst Ted rose from #278 to #179 between 2010 and 2013.

OLIVIA -> AURELIA

Olivia is similar to Amelia in a few ways, so the suggested names could cross over. We’re looking for a many syllables name, but not too many letters as with Anastasia. The finalists were Aurelia, Ariana and Elodie, with Aurelia winning out in the end for her similar sound and feel to Olivia.

The name Aurelia comes from Latin and means golden. Since 2010, the name Aurelia has risen from #567 to #327.

HARRY -> REGGIE

We’re looking for a nickname that could standalone. Lenny was a serious consideration, but his popularity didn’t quite qualify him. In the end, Reggie wins the acolade.

Reggie is a nickname for Reginald, a name that means advice and rule. He’s been on the rise for much of the last decade, rising 79 places since 2010 to #121.

EMILY -> MILA

This is another name like Amelia, that the minute I saw Mila, she felt right. She’s almost come out of nowhere in recent years, after ranking at #616 in 2010, she’s rocketed up to her current ranking of #124.

The name Mila is from the Slavic region originally, but she’s finding more and more fans in the English speaking world. The name contains the Slavic element mil, and means gracious/dear.

JACOB -> EZRA

We’re looking for a biblical choice here preferably, although Gethin was briefly considered. Jeremiah has the popularity, but seemed too long. On the flip side Malachi, Raphael, Levi and Isaiah all felt valid as alternatives, but didn’t have the popularity. I settled for Ezra in the end.

It is somewhat of a compromise choice, as Ezra dropped between 2010 and 2011, but has rocketed from #441 in 2011 to #295 in 2013. The name means help in Hebrew.

AVA -> ALBA

With Ava, the obvious choice was Ada, but I was more intrigued by the option of Alba.

Alba has a Latin origin and a Germanic one. In Latin, she derives from Albus, and thus means white/bright. In Germanic, she comes from the element alb, meaning elf.

CHARLIE -> ALBIE

Again I had two to decide between: Albie and Arlo. As Albie, like Charlie, is a nickname in origin, he gets the honour. It’s also worth noting that Charles was once popular before being overtaken by Charlie, and right now Albert is a Top 100 pick that could be overtaken by Albie in the coming years. We briefly mentioned the name Albie earlier on this week.

ISLA-> SKYLA

There were two good choices here: Iris and Skyla. The former seemed a good option, due to her similar length and starting letter. In the end, however, Skyla felt the better fit style-wise as Isla is Scottish in origins (from Islay, a Scottlish island in the Inner Hebrides) and Skyla relates somewhat to the Isle of Skye that lie off the coast of west Scotland, also in the Inner Hebrides.

As for popularity, a friend of mine became a Dad to a little Skyla last year. The name could be taken as a feminising of Skyler, itself a variant of Schuyler, a Dutch name meaning scholar. Since 2008, the name has been rocketing up from #639 to her 2013 ranking of #176.

THOMAS -> MAXWELL

Plenty of T- names were considered here – Tobias and Tristan, for example – but none adhered to the popularity rule. Tate does, but he seemed too short. I finally settled on Maxwell, who has a similar feel and an easy nickname of Max, as Thomas has Tom.

Maxwell is a Scottish surname that’s over time become used more frequently as a first name; the name means Mack’s stream. From a ranking of #145 in 2010 to #114 in 2013, there’s a very real possibility that Maxwell could enter the Top 100 in a year or twos time.

JESSICA -> ATHENA

She has a unique sound to her, so instead I looked for a name that was equally statement and of equal length. I considered Verity, but her popularity has been somewhat inconsistent. Then there’s Harmony, who was rising until she dropped off in 2013. Adelaide could maybe be a contender in a few years time, and Tabitha has been more plateau-ing than rising. In the end – and since I couldn’t nominate CressidaAthena felt the most fitting of all the names I went through.

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare. In 2010 the name ranked at #583, and has risen since then to #437.

OSCAR -> RUFUS or RUPERT

I considered Rupert for Oliver, and in fact he could also be an alternative to Oscar. However, poor Rupert was sidelined once more in favour of Rufus, before I relented and let them share the honour.

Whilst the two names appear quite similar, they do not share origins. The name Rufus comes from the Romans, and means red-haired in Latin. The name has been on a steady rise in 1996, and is currently at #237. On the flipside, Rupert is an Old German form of Robert, which means bright fame. In 2010 the name ranked at #360, and has risen more than a few places since then to #213.

POPPY -> ROBYN

There were so many choices here for me to decide between. Penny is similar to Poppy, but I wanted a nature name – this also sidelined Bonnie and Luna. It came down between Robyn and Pearl, and my gut told me to go with Robyn. She was the same rank in 2010 and 2011, but I’m letting it slide because she’s works on all other levels for me.

Whilst Robyn is decidedly feminine, the name Robin is considered more unisex. Most would presume the name to come from the bird, but (s)he actually derives as a medieval nickname for Robert. The name was within the Top 100 in the 90s, but she has started to rise again after spending the majority of the turn of the century falling. Since 2010, she’s risen 54 places to #119, which means she may be poised for a triumphant return to the Top 100.

WILLIAM -> CASSIUS

With William, we’re looking for something a Prince could wear. Now, I had plenty ideas of old classics that could work here: Christopher, Tobias, Jonathan, Maximilian, Richard and even Montgomery. Sadly, they’ve all experienced either inconsistent popularity or continuous fall. In the end, I had to turn to more modern classics for inspiration. The choice was between Barnaby and Cassius, but with Barnaby spending as much time plateauing than rising, the honour falls to Cassius.

It seems a surprising choice, and I’ll openly admit that this name is one that I’ve loved for a very long time. However, it appears he is one the current crop of parents are loving too, as he was at #481 in 2010, and now at #363. The name, however, doesn’t have the most wonderful of meanings: he comes from Latin and potentially means empty/vain.

ISABELLA -> ARABELLA

Both Emmeline and Penelope were contenders with their ‘el’ sounds and 3-syllables, but they didn’t feel quite right. It seemed that, with Isabella, we’re looking for preferably a -bella name, and we have that with Arabella. However, an honourable mention should go to Mabel.

The name Arabella is another one we mentioned earlier on this week. She’s a medieval Scottish variant of Annabel, a name that means lovable. The name has risen form #228 in 2010 to her current ranking of #157.

JAMES -> MYLES

My first consideration with this name was Miles, but in the end Myles is the spelling I went with because he’s had a more consistent rise in popularity and is currently the more popular spelling (albeit only by 3 places).

The name comes from the Germanic name Milo, which was brought over to Britain by the Normans as Miles. The name could come from the Slavic element mil, which means gracious. Alternatively, he could come from the Latin word miles, which means soldier. The name currently ranks at #177, up from #210 in 2010.

SOPHIE -> THEA

Vivienne and Sylvie were options, but Thea shares Sophie’s Greek origins. She also has the girly sound that translates well into adulthood.

In Greek, the element theos means God(ess), which might put parents off. The name can either be pronounced with a silent h (like Tia), or not – I hear both used as frequently as the other. Theia is also the name of the Greek Titaness who is the mother of Selene, the goddess of the moon. Fittingly, her name is given to a proposed planet from the beginning of the solar system that was the size of Mars which collided with Earth to create the moon. Thea had a massive soar in rank between 2012 and 2013, going from #225 to #121.

GEORGE -> BEAU

I’m stepping away from the classics to go with Beau here. It may seem like a bit wildcard, but stay with me here. My thinking for this is both names have spellings that you wouldn’t think if you’d only heard them said, plus both are one-syllable. You also can’t really shorten them. I wasn’t so sure of the popularity, and briefly considered dropping Beau in favour of Lloyd or Noel, but I’m sticking to my guns instead.

The name Beau means handsome. The problem with Beau is from 2010 to 2013 he’s only risen 5 places from #180 to #175, so it’s not like he’s going anywhere fast.

MIA -> LYLA

Something that is short and could be a nickname for many popular names felt like the brief here. The name Annie was a choice, but I was looking for something more nouveau. Emmie could have worked, but she fell between 2012 and 2013. In the end, it came down to two: Zoya and Lyla.

The name Lyla comes from Layla and means night in Arabic. The name was basically nowhere in 2004 at #1715, before a dramatic surge to #303 in 2005. Now, the only thing I could find to explain this is that in 2005 the band Oasis released an album called Don’t Believe the Truth, for which the lead single was called Lyla, which was the UK number one single for a week in May 2005. She now ranks at #114.

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Sibset of the Week: The Albiols, Alonsos, Arbeloas, Iniestas, Reina & Torreses

Fernando Torres with (l-r) Nora, Alma, Leo, Grecia and Luca during post-match celebrations, from fifa.com

The Spanish National Football made history yesterday with their 4-0 thrashing of Italy in the Euros 2012 final, making it their third consecutive major tournament win, and helping them retain their world ranking of #1. Since I don’t talk Spanish names particularly often, it seems a good time to talk about the name of the children of some of the current members of the squad.

I picked out 6 players to focus on, and the first (we’re going in alphabetical order) is Raúl Albiol. He’s a versatile player, as he can play in central defence, defensive midfield and right back. He was first called up to play for Spain’s senior team in 2007, and has so far made 34 appearances. Domestically, he plays for Real Madrid – fun fact, the stadium for Real Madrid is called Santiago Bernabéu. With partner Alicia, the footballer has two daughters, named Azahara and Alma.

The next Dad is Xabi Alonso, who also plays for Real Madrid but as a predominantly midfield player. He has a son named Jontxu and a daughter named Ane.

Then we have Álvaro Arbeloa, another Real Madrid player (beginning to see a pattern?). He plays in defence and with childhod sweetheart Carlota welcomed a daughter called Alba back in 2010.

The man of the match for the final was Andrés Iniesta, this posts’s first non-Real Madrid player as he plays for Spain’s other major footballing team – Barcelona. Together with partner Anna he welcomed little Valeria in 2011.

One of Spain’s reserve goalkeepers is Pepe Reina, and since 2005 has played for English team Liverpool. With wife Yolanda he has three lovely little ‘uns named Grecia, Alma and Luca. All three joined him on pitch on Sunday following the game for post-match celebrations.

Finally we have Fernando Torres, the famed striker who currently wears a Chelsea shirt. The Spanish nickname him El Niño, or the kid. He’s married to Olalla and they have two children, Nora and Leo.

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Weekend Post: Euros 2012 Finds

I’m in the sports mood, given that I was busy taking in the sights and sounds of Silverstone yesterday, indeed, the pit garages look awfully empty en ce moment – just imagine how crammed they’ll be in just a fortnights time!

2 weeks to the British GP!

There’s also the Euros still going on as is the racing at Ascot, and I’m pretty sure Wimbledon kicks off next week since the weatherman in the background just gave the weather conditions for Wimbledon next week.

Given that I’ve mentioned the Euro Finals several times of late, it seems only fair to give you a tour through some of the more notable names of players in the teams contesting the title.

Alba – One of the current players for Spain is Jordi Alba.

Alou – Midfielder Alou Diarra is representing France.

Ashley – There are two Ashleys on the England team – Ashley Cole and Ashley Young.

BastianBastian Schweinsteiger of Germany is being tooted as one of the best players in the entire Euros tournament

Evra – The name of one of France’s defenders, Fabrice Evra.

Florent – The first name of Malouda, midfielder for France.

Glen – The first name of England’s defender, Johnson.

HélderHélder Postiga is a striker for Portugal.

Holger – The first name of Badstuber, who plays defender for Germany – the emerging favourites for the Euro 2012 crown.

Howard – Englishman Howard Webbe has refereed games for Euro 2012.

Iker – Spain’s current goalie and captain is Iker Casillas.

Ivan – There are three Ivans on the Croatia team – Rakitic, Strinic and Perišic

Joleon – One of England’s centre-backs is Joleon Lescott.

Kassai – The referee for the Spain vs. Italy and the England vs. Ukraine game was Hungarian Viktor Kassai

Kostas – Three members of Greece’s team bear this name: Chalkias, the goalie; Katsouranis, the centre midfielder;

Kyriakos – One of Greece’s central defenders is Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

Lasse – The first name of Schøne, midfielder for Denmark

Ludovic – Attacking midfielder Ludovic Obraniak is representing Poland.

Łukasz  – Piszczek is one of Poland’s right backs.

Maggio – One of Italy’s wing backs is Christian Maggio.

Mesut – Turkish-German Mesut Özil is one of Germany’s attacking midfielders.

Mexès – Defender Philippe Mexès is representing France.

Milan – Winger Milan Petržela is representing the Czech Republic.

Nasri – Midfielder Samir Nasri is representing France.

Nikica – One of Croatia’s centre forwards is Nikica Jelavic.

Ola – The professional first name (really his middle name, Nils is his first name) of Toivonen, striker for Sweden.

Persie – Robin van Persie is one of the strikers for The Netherlands

Rami – Centre back Adil Rami is representing France.

Rasmus – The first name of Elm, midfielder for Sweden.

Réveillère – Defender Anthony Réveillère is representing France.

Ribéry – Left-winger Franck Ribéry is representing France.

Rui  – The goalie for Portugal is Rui Patrício.

Ruslan – The first name of Rotan, midfielder for Ukraine.

Rybus – One of Poland’s midfielder is Maciej Rybus.

Shay – The goalie for Ireland is Shay Given.

Slaven – The manager of Croatic is Slaven Bilic.

Sokratis – Centre back for Greece Papastathopoulos’s first name is Sokratis.

Theo – Inspired substitute during England’s game with Sweden, Theo Walcott plays in midfield and is just Theo, not Theodore.

Thiago – Central Midfielder Thiago Motta is representing Italy.

Valbuena – Midfielder Mathieu Valbuena is representing France.

Vyacheslav – The first name of Malafeev, the goalie for Russia.

Wesley – The first name of Sneijder, one of the midfielders on The Netherland’s team

Xabier ‘Xabi’ – the sole scorer in the Spain v. France match was Xabi Alonso.

Zlatan – The first name of Ibrahimovic, striker for Sweden.

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Jubilee Fun

John Lewis Jubilee Sign

It’s a wonderful day to embrace a feeling of patriotism, so it feels apt to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebrations by looking at some patriotic choices. This is, in a sense, a re-run-come-update of a list I posted last year to mark the Royal Wedding.

This list includes inspirations from all realms of British culture, be it film, food or famed landmarks. Yes, I’m sure you can come up with names not on this list, and it would be wonderful if you flag them up in the comments for all to see.

Alba – The Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland

Albion – An alternate name for England, mostly used by the poetic.

Alfred – Sir Alfred Hitchcock pioneered many techniques in the realm of horror and suspense theatre.

Arthur – The name of one of England’s most famous folklore characters.

Audrey – Audrey Hepburn consistently ranks as one of the greatest actresses of all-time.

Aviva – One of the FTSE 100 companies listed in the London Stock Exchange, which is a well-known insurance company.

Azure – Perhaps an odd choice at first, but let us consider the second line of the patriotic song Rule Britannia, which states: arose from out the azure main [Britain].

Bell – Alexander Graham Bell was the inventor of the telephone.

Blake – The writer of the patriotic song Jerusalem (and did those feet in ancient time), was one William Blake.

Blighty – This one screams patrioticism, it is a slang name for England, often heard in Old War films.

Bournville – The village built by confectionary company Cadbury for its workers. Cadbury championed many things, such as pension schemes, joint works committees and a full staff medical service.

Brunel – Isambard Kingdom Brunel often tops the Greatest Britons lists. He was a Victorian engineer.

Calico – As in, the legendary pirate, Calico Jack.

Camber – Legendary first King of Cambria

Cambria – A classical name for Wales

Chaplin – Charlie Chaplin remains to this day one of the greatest silent film actors.

Clarence – Clarence House serves as the home of the Prince of Wales, and is another official royal residence.

Columba – St. Columba is one of the patron saints of Scotland.

Beeton – Mrs Beeton is one of the best known cookery writers.

Buckingham – Buckingham palace is the primary London residence of the Queen. Often referred to colloquially as Buck House, perhaps making the name Buck an option too.

Cambridge – The name of one of the top Universities in the world, located in England.

Cecil – Cecil Spring-Rice wrote the words to the patriotic song I Vow To Thee My Country.

Cole  – As in King Cole, he has been prominent in English legend and literature since the Middle Ages, there is also the popular children’s song, Old King Cole.

Daffodil – The national flower of Wales.

Darwin – After Charles Darwin, who put forward the idea of evolution. He appears on the £10 banknotes.

Douglas – Capital of the Isle of Man, which is located in the Irish Sea.

Eden – The lyrics of patriotic song There’ll Always Be An England calls this fair isle, Eden.

Elgar – A British composer who composed, amongst other things, Pomp and Circumstance, until recently, he appeared on £20 banknotes, these were withdrawn in 2010.

Elizabeth – A name borne by both the present Queen, and one of England’s other notable rulers. There is also Elizabeth Fry, who championed the rights of the inmates of British prisons.

Eton – Famed boy’s school, and where the traditional dessert of Eton Mess originated (it’s a mix of strawberries, meringue and cream).

Fawkes – For Guy Fawkes, the man who tried to blow up Parliament. He is respected by many, despite his intentions. A Yeoman Warder once said to me on a tour that he is the only person to enter Parliament with noble intentions, and the tools to carry it out. Bonfire Night is celebrated every 5th November in remembrance of the Gunpowder Plot.

George – St. George is the patron saint of England, and also the name of a handful of past Kings.

Glory/ Gloria – There is the patriotic song, Land of Hope and Glory. The lyrics of God Save the Queen also call her to be glorious.

Godiva – Lady Godiva, a noblelady who rode naked through the town in order for the people of it to be released from her husband’s heavy taxations.

Grenadier – There is the patriotic song, The British Grenadiers, which is also a marching song for the grenadier units of the British Military.

Harper – The Royal Coat of Arms features a harp, which symbolises N.Ireland.

Jack – The Union Jack is the flag of Great Britain, so perhaps not a completely patriotic choice for England, but it also does not scream patriosism.

Jenner – After Edward Jenner, the man who created the vaccine, and thus saved more lives than many others.

Joule – After James Joule, who helped to develop the first rule of thermodynamics.

Kedgeree – A Victorian breakfast item, created from flaked fish, rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, curry powder and cream.

Kiel – The Angles who settled in England back when were originally from the Bay of Kiel.

Kipper – A breakfast item in British cuisine. Also, British slang for a short sleep is kip.

Leo – Especially for the football loving of you, we have Leo, the Latin word for Lion, of which three appear on the Royal Banner, and Three Lions is also a popular football song.

Lilibet – The childhood nickname of the Queen

Lloyd – The name of a well-known high street bank, also a member of the FTSE 100.

Loegria – Another alternate name for England, not in wide usage.

London – If you want to make a statement about your love of the English, this is always a good, obvious choice. There has been a flurry of celeb-babies named London of late.

Madeira – A madeira cake is a popular sweet item in the UK.

Mercia – One of the ancient kingdoms from days gone by which was located in the midlands.

Mona – Early records record the name of the Isle of Man as Mona.

Morris – After the great traditional dance from up North – Morris Dancing.

Narcissa/Narcissus – The national flower of Wales is a daffodil, for which the Latin name is Narcissus.

Ness – As in, the legendary beast of Loch Ness

Nevis – Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Great Britain.

Newton – The surname of Mr. Gravity, Sir Isaac Newton. He is frequently referred to as Newton in the Isles, making Newton the obvious choice if you want to honour a prominent figure in British history. He appeared on Pound Sterling banknotes of £1.

Oak – The oak tree is a symbol of England, and also appears in the song Rule Britannia.

Oxford – The name of one of the top Universities in the world, located in England.

Penda – One of the famed Kings of Mercia.

Penny – Another name for 1p, there is the popular saying I haven’t got a penny. Pre-decimalisation, 12 pennies made a shilling.

Piccalilli – The British cuisine take on Indian pickle.

Pixie – A common mythical creature from folklore.

Richard – For Dick Turpin, a famous English highwayman. I don’t advise Dick, but Richard also honours King Richard the Lionheart.

Robin – For Robin Hood, a notable figure in English legend.

Rose – The Queen’s personal flag features the letter E encircled by a ring of roses.

Runnymede – A hard name to pull off, but it is the location where the Magna Carta was first sealed, an important charter which pioneered the idea of limiting the powers of the King by law, thus protecting the priveleges of his people.

Russell – The British Museum, one of the world’s greatest museums, is located on Great Russell Street.

Saltire – The name of Scotlands national flag, which date from the 9th century, making it one of the oldest flags in current usage.

Sandringham – Sandringham Palace is a country home of the Royals, which they privately own.

Scotia – Originally a Roman name for Ireland, nowadays an old name for Scotland.

Severn – The River Severn is the longest river in Great Britain.

Smith – The most popular surname in England.

Sterling – The name of the British currency is Pound Sterling.

Syllabub – A traditional dessert in English cuisine. It’s basically cream mixed with wine.

Tate – One of the best known art galleries in the UK.

Tea – One of our best-loved beverages.

Thames – The name of the river which flows through London.

Trent – The name of a river which flows through the midlands.

Tudor – The tudor rose is the national floral emblem of England, and whilst Rose is frequently used by many, Tudor is not, and was the surname of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and some other notable monarchs of England.

Victoire – From the lyrics of God Save the Queen, when it is sung for God to send her victorious.

Victoria – The name of the famed Queen Victoria and thusly popular cake Victoria Sponge.

Wren – One of the most acclaimed architects in history was Christopher Wren, who was English.

Wyvern – A legendary winged reptilian with a dragon’s head, two legs and a barbed tail. Frequents British coats of arms, and was notably the standard of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia.

Yeoman – An odd choice, but the Yeoman of the Guard are one of the oldest British military corps in existence today. The Yeoman Warders are the ones at the Tower of London, completely different group of retired military men and ladies.

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