Category: baby name Charlotte
Confession: I’ve watched Kid President’s latest YouTube video more than a dozen times. It’s called “Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here,” and even though little Robby Novak (a.k.a. Kid President) never mentions names, it reminds me of the happiest part of talking all things onomastic.
Around 360,000 babies are born every day. That’s 4.2 newborns every second. Even if we limited it to arrivals in the English-speaking world, it would take a lot of berry brainpower to help find names for all of those lovely new people.
It’s worth looking for the right name, isn’t it? All of these new people are going to do some amazing things. At their best, the names we bestow on our children honor that potential.
We love to talk about celebrities who choose far-out names for their children. But how about those who take the royal route, giving their kids names that are more Buckingham Palace than Hollywood play date?
I thought there might be oodles of starbabies with monarch-worthy monikers. But if we’ve learned anything from the Great Kate Wait, it’s that the list of possible names for a new prince or princess is pretty short.
Plenty of high profile parents play it safe, sticking with popular picks like Ava and Zoe, or traditional names like Daniel and Joseph. But despite their popularity and long history of use, those aren’t names fit for a future king or queen
Many of the names rumored to be on the royal shortlist are rare in Tinsel Town. Alexandra, Caroline, Victoria, Diana, and Anne are seldom heard, and the same is true for the boys’ list. Then again, actor Sean Astin has three regally named girls, and Eva Herzigova’s three sons all wear royal appellations, too.
Traditionally, members of British royalty have not only been given a whole string of middle names, most have also been given an affectionate nickname. Queen Victoria’s children, for example, answered to Vicky (Victoria), Bertie (Albert), Alee (Alice), Affie (Alfred), Lenchen (Helena), Loosy (Louise), Leo (Leopold) and Baby (Beatrice).
Previously, these names were kept within the family. But more recently, Charles and Diana broke the mold by formally announcing after their sons’ births that they were going to call William “Wills” and that Henry was to be called “Harry”.
This then opens up a variety of options for William and Catherine. Let’s say they choose the name “Elizabeth Diana Catherine Charlotte” for a daughter. They could use a nickname for the first name – Bess, Betsy, Lily, Eliza? – or announce that they will call her by one of her middle names, or even a nickname from the middle name – Lottie, say, or Kitty.
For the past couple of years, Charlotte has been at or near the top of the list of Berry favorites, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a name at the very center of the Sweet Spot of names with a ton of great attributes and references—literary, historic, and royal. She’s demure, yet solid and strong, classic but not stuffy, British with the slightest trace of a French accent–one of the very best classic girls’ names.
She has so much going for her that we thought that she deserved a whole blog to herself.
Like her cousin Caroline, Charlotte is a feminine form of Charles, but arrived there in a roundabout way. Charlotte is actually the English and French version of the Italian Carlotta, itself a feminine version of Carlo, the Italian Charles, and has been in English-speaking use since the seventeenth century. In the fifteenth century, Carlotta of Savoy married King Louis XI of France, where her name became Gallicized as Charlotte, a form which then emigrated to England during the next century.
Has it really become harder to name a child?
It seems to be the theme in recent days. Over at Offbeat Mama, Caitlin wrote about her struggles to name – and eventually rename – her youngest child. The New Zealand Herald reported the same thing, noting a 12% increase in parents filing to legally change a child’s name prior to his or her second birthday.
My maternal grandparents named their first three children in accordance with family and cultural custom. My dad’s mom, undecided, pulled his middle name out of a hat. As for my parents, they felt no obligation to honor anyone, and chose short, peppy, upbeat names for their three daughters – until along came a son, and suddenly, family names mattered. If any child ever went nameless for months, or if aunts were divided over accusations of name theft, I’ve never heard the tale.