Category: princess names
As a fledgling name nerd, I remember being fascinated by the name Elizabeth. It was so elaborate, so odd for a name that had been so widely used over so many centuries. John, sure, that was a name simple and straightforward enough for the masses to get behind. Anne and Mary, of course they had what it took to transcend the ups and downs of fashion. But Elizabeth, with its long E beginning and lisping ending, its bizarre z in the middle and its four freaking syllables? I don’t think so!
And yet the unlikely Elizabeth has endured. It’s the only girls’ name to have remained in the Top 25 (okay, 26) throughout entire recorded American baby-naming history, since 1880. Elizabeth hit its nadir in 1945, when it dipped to number 26, but it should be noted that its short form Betty was Number 11 that year, after having been in the Top 10 since 1921. Even when Elizabeth and her sisters were relatively unpopular, they were everywhere.
As reported in the not always reliable Star magazine, Nicole Richie, mother of Harlow Winter Kate, has at the top of her list of names for her baby-to-be Baron, inspired by Donald Trump’s little Barron. (Her other two published possibilities being Kypher and Martavious, about which I’ll restrain my comments). This is the latest evidence of a disturbing trendlet among celebs–Hollywood royalty taking their status literally and bestowing noble titles on their offspring.
So who are these little peers and peeresses of the realm?
At the top of the ranks would be King. Discounting Kingston Rossdale, whose nickname might be King, there is the son of rapper Jayceon (The Game) Taylor. Since The Game’s other nicknames include The California King and King of the West, what could be more logical than to have named his second son King Justice?
Next in line to the throne would be a Prince. Michael Jackson liked the idea of starting a royal line so much that he named both his sons Prince Michael Jackson–I born in 1997 and II (aka Blanket) in 2002. Not to be outdone, British model Katie Price (aka Jordan) and pop star husband Peter Andre called their little princess Princess (“Princess because she is our little princess”) Tiaamii, with Mum expressing ing her intention of commemorating the regal birth by getting a Princess and crown tattoo on her neck.
Both Diane Keaton and Justine Bateman have sons named Duke, but somehow this name doesn’t project the same air of entitlement or pretension to royalty the others do, probably because Duke has long been used as a laid-back nickname name, and because it was so much associated with anything-but-aristocratic John Wayne–who got his nickname from the family dog that used to follow him around: the dog was known as “Big Duke” and young Marion Morrison as “Little Duke.”
Though the British don’t have the rank of Count (it’s equivalent to an earl, and somehow My Name is Earl doesn’t have much of a royal ring)–show biz does. Never one to hide his light under a bushel, Danny Bonaduce has a son named Count Dante Jean-Michel Valentine and a daughter called Countess Isabella Michaela.
How much have other parents been picking up on this noble-name trend? Well, King, Prince, Princess, Baron, and three different spellings of Marquis are all on the current popularity list, but pretty near the bottom, each with under 500 anointed babies nationwide. And, personally–it would be fine with me if they didn’t rise any higher.
One of my embarrassing little obsessions is princess names. The whole idea of royalty, in these modern times, is kind of embarrassing. And then there’s the issue of encouraging your daughter to aspire to be a princess rather than, say, a doctor or an astronaut. For more on this, check out Peggy Orenstein’s great piece from the New York Times, “What’s Wrong With Cinderella?” and her bestselling book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter.
The fact, in our experience, is that most little girls go through a phase of wanting to be princesses whether you encourage them to or not. And there’s a lot of great name inspiration to be found in the world of royalty.
The most obvious place to start is with names that mean princess — for the most part limited to Sarah and her variations. Sara, Sera, Sarai, Sadie, Soraya, and Zadie are all possibilities. A British “glamour model” named her daughter Princess, though we don’t recommend this.
Aurora — One of the “real” names of Sleeping Beauty.
Fiona — The princess from Shrek, a great role model though a little girl might feel ambivalent about carrying her name.
The poor Simpson-Wentzes caught a lot of flak last week for their baby name choices–not only for first name Bronx, but for Disneyesque middle name Mowgli as well, to the point where Pete Wentz felt called upon to defend the choice on the people.com website. In a story headlined PETE WENTZ: WHY WE NAMED OUR SON MOWGLI, his explanation was “The Jungle Book was something me and Ashlee bonded over. It’s a cool name.” Well, whether or not we agree, we shouldn’t dismiss the whole genre of Disney names–there are a few treasures buried in that vault.
In the beginning, the Disney folks were big on silly, often alliterative names for their cartoon creatures–Horace Horsefeather, Clarabelle Cow, and of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy Duck. When they moved on to feature films in the 1930s, they began to draw on already created and named characters from fairy tales and children’s books, from Snow White to Peter Pan. Curiously enough, the one early character name that caught on with parents was Bambi–a male deer in the movie that became a popular namesake for girl babies.
The real winners, though, have been the Princess names from more recent Disney films–The Little Mermaid’s Ariel reached #66 two years after its release date and Jasmine from Aladdin has been as high as #23. Other Disney heroine names like Belle (Beauty and the Beast) and Violet (The Incredibles) have also been boosted by their Disney connection. Here are some other good Disneyfied options:
AURORA Sleeping Beauty
BIANCA The Rescuers
BRIAR ROSE Sleeping Beauty
CELIA Monsters, Inc
ESMERALDA The Hunchback of Notre Dame
CLAUDE The Hunchback of Notre Dame
PHOEBUS The Hunchback of Notre Dame
REX Monsters, Inc