Category: baby name Mary
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.
Nine names per week over 51 weeks equals 459 names. They’re classic, they’re quirky, and sometimes they’re downright strange. But when I sat down to review a year’s worth of Nameberry posts, I realized that most of them are actually pretty wearable.
Very few of them repeat – something that surprised me, as it so often seems that a name is suddenly everywhere all at once. Some garnered lots of positive comments while others went completely unnoticed.
My favorite comment? “No, don’t mention THAT name. It’s the top of our list!” As I scrolled through the posts, there were more than a few groans of disappointment.
The best names, though, aren’t necessarily the ones that will be racing up the popularity charts. I’m most attracted to the ones that seem novel – unlikely to catch on, but probably part of a bigger change in how we think about names.
I know it has been a busy week in baby name news when my friend C makes a point of seeking me out. “So what are they going to name the baby?” she asked, knowing that she didn’t have to add that “they” are William and Kate and the baby in question will be hounded by more paparazzi than a Jolie-Pitt kid.
Then again, bookies couldn’t take bets on the name of a new Jolie-Pitt arrival. Where would a gambler begin? We know the royal couple is up against some definite limits in choosing their child’s name, creating a perfect opportunity for the placing of bets, a scenario that couldn’t exist in Hollywood.
What separates name nerds from others might be this: I am filled with curiosity whenever I meet an expectant parent. “Have you thought about names?” I’ll mention, casually, trying to not make it too obvious. Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s post congratulating Kate struck a chord. It doesn’t really matter if I know you – I’m excited for that new little person you’re about to welcome, and very willing to help if you’d like to talk names.
May, as any Catholic schoolchild can tell you, is the official month of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Which might make Mary an appropriate name for a girl born this month, except after a four hundred year run, Mary is more than ready for semi-retirement.
The good news is that you can hold onto Mary’s symbolic value by choosing one of her fresh, appealing variations. And there are literally dozens of them, formal and breezily nicknameish, ultrafemme and down-to-earth. Some of the options:
MADONNA – There’s only one Madonna – and it’s not the plaster one in the blue alcove at church. The pop star has all but taken over this formerly holy name and rebranded it with a modern in-your-face sexuality. Do you dare use it for your child? Do you want to? Maybe not yet, but with names like Elvis and Scarlett gaining widespread popularity a generation or two after the fame of their original bearers, we all might end up having grandchildren named Madonna.
MAE and MAY – A mere handful of years ago, Mae was a quintessential old-lady name, barely baby-appropriate, but today it feels as sweetly simple as a warm day in the sun. Can be a short form for any of the Mary variations and also makes a good middle name.