Category: royal girl names
A cartoon in a recent New Yorker features a little girl and her mother surveying Halloween costumes in a shop window. “I want to be whichever Disney princess is the most badass,” the girl says.
Badass princess is an image that not only appeals to contemporary little girls but to their parents when choosing a name.
Like the hipster cowboy names we wrote about recently, badass princess names are appealing not so much because of their sound or their style but because of the complicated image they convey. These are girl names that are both decidedly feminine and rooted in tradition, but are not at all conventional or conservative. They’re creative and edgy, but not invented or unorthodox like Blue or Bellamy.
The badass princess names are classy and sassy, cosmopolitan yet earthy, chic but never trying too hard. It’s an image that many an urbane parent can embrace for her daughter, and that a little girl can have fun living up to, in Halloween costume and beyond.
Now, in honor of the newest princess by marriage, Catherine of Wales, we look at the names of women who, like fairy tale Cinderellas, became princesses when they married princes. Most of those listed here are contemporary princess in Europe and Japan, though there are historical examples too.
The most common princess names are the classics: Mary, Louise, Victoria, Charlotte, Alexandra, Elizabeth, Caroline, Sophia and Sophie. But there are some more adventurous examples that might inspire: Augusta, Letizia, Tatiana.
It is said that Victoria was very particular about the names she chose, selecting from family members and friends, and even tried to dictate what her grandchildren were named. Her nine children were named:
- Victoria Adelaide Mary
- Albert Edward
- Alice Mary Maud
- Alfred Ernest Albert
- Helena Augusta Victoria
- Louise Caroline Alberta
- Arthur William Patrick
- Leopold George Duncan
- Beatrice Mary Victoria
It is clear to see from the vast number of children named Victoria and Albert (or Victor and Alberta/Albertine for the opposite gender) that the Royal couple were huge namesakes for British Victorians, as were the queen’s children and grandchildren. Many a Victorian child had at least one name that was also used by a member of the royal family –in many cases, the whole name – as can be seen in the records by the great number of children named Albert Victor (after Prince Albert Victor) and Helena Victoria (after Princess Helena Victoria).
Some lovely Royal names include:
- Alix Viktoria Helena Luise
- Beatrice Leopoldine Victoria “Bea”
- Christian Victor Albert Ludwig Ernst Anton
- Franziska Josepha Louise Augusta Marie Christina Helena
- Leopold Charles Edward George Albert
- Marie Viktoria Feodore Leopoldine “May”
- Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah “Daisy”
The Birth Index clearly shows that if a name was used for a Royal baby, that name would most likely rocket in popularity. For example, Melita is recorded for 104 children from 1837-1876. In November 1876 Prince Alfred named his daughter Victoria Melita and in 1877 alone 41 children were given the name –with 276 more Melitas recorded over the following twenty years, peaking again in 1894 when the Princess married.
Okay, this might be a little premature, since the royal couple isn’t even married yet, let alone pregnant. But at Nameberry, it’s never too early to start offering our ideas.
There are certain limits, however, for even though Princess Anne named her daughter Zara, and Queen Elizabeth’s first great-grandchild was recently christened the Americanized Savannah, it’s pretty doubtful that Prince William and Princess-to-be Kate Middleton will go that far afield for the name of their first son or daughter. More than likely, they’ll reach back into royal history—but because British rulers typically use three or four middle names, they could slip in something less conventional for third or fourth choice. Not surprisingly, there’s more wiggle room for girls than boys.
Putting aside the most obvious options—such as Queen Mum and Grandmum name Elizabeth (also the middle name of Catherine Middleton herself) and Victoria and Mary and Anne, the royal couple would be staying within the prescribed lines if they considered any of the following names from British royal history:
Adelaide. The capital city of South Australia was named for the beloved 19th century British “Good QueenAdelaide,” the wife of William IV, and could be an appropriate choice for a 21st century “Good Princess Adelaide.”
Alexandrina. This unusual member of the ‘Alex” family of names was actually the real first name of QueenVictoria, and would make an interesting and unusual pick, even though five syllables is a bit much, especially when followed by several other appellations
Nameberry guest blogger Andrea, whom many of you may know for her intelligent and thoughtful advice on our message boards, is both a newspaper reporter and a royal watcher. Here, her rundown of the names of the littlest princes and princesses of Europe.
The British royal family is traditional enough that it’s fairly easy to make an educated guess about its naming habits. Other European royals are far more creative in their naming, sometimes reflecting the current styles in their countries or setting styles themselves. The Crown Prince and Princess of the Netherlands gave all three of their daughters “A” names: Princesses Catharina-Amalia (called Amalia), Alexia, and Ariane. (That’s them with their parents on the right.)
Belgian Crown Prince Prince Philippe, the Duke of Brabant, and his wife Princess Mathilde, reportedly have a subtler theme in the naming of their children and have included the element “el” in each name. The children are Princess Élisabeth, born in 2001, and her younger siblings Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléonore.
Young Princess Eléonore is one of several young European royals with variants of the name Eleanor. Spain has the Infanta Leonor, born in 2005, whose parents pored over the family tree to find the name, which honors a medieval queen. Royal watchers also tried to guess what name the new Spanish infanta would receive; none I saw got it right. The following year another royal baby was given the name in the Netherlands: the Countess Leonore, daughter of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien. Will all the Leonors set off a naming trend in other countries? Well, according to at least one newspaper article, Leonor is currently among the five most common names given to baby girls in Portugal.