The comeback of this sweet vintage name has been prompted by a boomlet of starbaby Matildas, beginning with chef Gordon Ramsey's in 2002 and Moon Unit Zappa's two years later. But the renaissance of this name of the charming Roald Dahl heroine was assured when Michelle Williams and the late Heath Ledger chose Matilda for their daughter.
Matilda was introduced to the English-speaking world by the eleventh century Matilda of Flanders, queen of William the Conqueror, then used for his granddaughter, known as Maud. In literature, Matilda appeared in Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby.
Currently Number 36 in England and 20 in Australia, Matilda has a choice of great nicknames: Tillie for the bold, Mattie for the shy, Tilda for the slightly more eccentric, such as Tilda Swinton, born Katherine Matilda.
Molly Ringwald used the spelling Mathilda for her daughter.
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