Benedict Cumberbatch has become a dad for the second time – and his new son has been named after a Shakespearean character.
His wife Sophie Hunter gave birth to a baby in early March, it has been revealed.
Their newborn’s name, Hal, is said to be a reference to Prince Hal, the nickname given to young Henry V in Shakespeare’s plays.
Benedict starred in BBC2 series The Hollow Crown, based on Shakespeare’s plays, and his close friend Tom Hiddleston played the role of Prince Hal.
The actor, who also has a son 21-month-old son Christopher with Sophie, has spoken about his love of fatherhood.
“Having a baby – it’s massive,” he said. “And on a very unexpected level. Suddenly I understood my parents much more profoundly than I ever had before.
He and Sophie met when they both starred in Burlesque Fairytale in 2009. The couple announced their engagement in The Times in 2014.
“She’s just really cool,” says Benedict. Sophie is now a theatre director.
There have been online bizarre claims that Christopher is not his son. “There are people who believe that my wife is a PR stunt and my child is a PR stunt,” he once said.
“It’s impossible he belongs to anyone but me. And that’s what stalking is. That’s what obsessive, deluded, really scary behaviour is.”
Being a father helped prepare him for having a baby on the set of Sherlock – where characters John and Mary Watson, played by Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington, had a baby girl, Rosamund.
“I’m a father and I know how difficult it is to get anything in tune with a baby’s schedule,” he said, adding that it helped with his acting. “It keeps you in the moment and it stops you being precious about your work.
“I love those elements that make it more difficult.”
He said it even helped him for the role of Hamlet, which he played at the National Barbican in 2015. “I was expecting, with Hamlet, that it might be a hindrance to be a father, because it’s all about being a son.
“But it’s the opposite. You understand much more about being a son, becoming a father.”
After Christopher was born, he spoke of his desire to have more kids. “’I might go for a (Cumber) batch of boys!