Beatrice is back. Stored in the attic for almost a century, the lovely Beatrice with its long literary (Shakespeare, Dante) and royal history is being looked at with fresh eyes by parents (such as Paul McCartney and Bryce Dallas Howard) seeking a classic name with character and lots of upbeat nicknames, like Bea and Bee. Currently at Number 565, Beatrice has some competition with more exotic Beatrix and Beatriz these days. Beatrice is far more popular in the UK, where it sits in the Top 100.
Nickname Bea actually stood alone on the popularity lists for four years at the beginning of the twentieth century—and it could happen again. Bea is sleek and modern, while Trixie sounds vintage and sassy—though if you favor Trixie, you may want to consider the Beatrix version of the name, which is reminiscent of watercolorist and children's author Beatrix Potter and has that surprising -x ending. Beatrice, on the other hand, feels gentler and more classic.
The Duke and Duchess of York, aka Fergie and Prince Andrew, thrust Beatrice back into the public eye when they chose it for their older daughter in 1988. The name can be pronounced with two syllables, BEE- or BEH-tris; with three, as in BEE- or BAY-ah-tris; or, as the Italians say it, with a magisterial four, bay-ah-TREE-chay.
Beatrice was the name of Queen Victoria's youngest child. And in Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy, Beatrice is his guide through Paradise and is idealized as the embodiment of the spirit of love. In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice is the witty, high-spirited heroine.
Other names that mean happiness: Felicity and Hilary, either of which would make a good twin or sister name for Beatrice.
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