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Two Middle Names: Guide to a Charming Tradition

June 4, 2009 Pamela Redmond

We all know, thanks to Princess Diana’s infamous wedding blunder, that British people like to use lots of middle names.  But it’s not just about quantity: The multiple British names feel inventive and surprising, chosen less for any conventional notion of flow and more for individual considerations of style and family.

Thalia Violetta Carlisle?  I would bet the nameberry farm that not a single child in America was given that combination of names last year….or maybe any year.  It’s quintessentially British, and it works.

In the examples of recent British baby names below, you’ll notice that lovely antique first names are combined with surnames are mixed up with nicknames, and that once in a while a word name – Rabbit, Reckless – is stuck in, just in case things weren’t eccentric enough already.

Name aficionados will want to check out the Birth Announcements in the London Telegraph for hundreds more such goodies. WARNING: This makes highly addictive reading.  Do not undertake too close to bedtime.

In fact, there were so many amazing three-name examples that we had to offload some pretty wonderful two-name choices, such as Hector Foxx and Acacia Lola and Jemima Fleur.  Another time.

Girls

Bay Mary Mason

Beatrice Isabella Catherine

Cecilia Katherine Ottilie (a sister for Romilly and Penleigh)

Christabel Charlotte Silvia

Dorothea Isobel Ann

Eilidh Anne Muir

Elisabeth (Elsie) Sarah Joyce

Elspeth Alice Eugénie

Evangeline Sophia Kate

Florence Elizabeth Avril

India Isabel Mary

Maizie Anne Patricia

Matilda (Tillie) Ivy Fiona

Millie Mary Holly

Pearl Amelia Rose

Phoebe Grace Florence

Ruby Anne Mora

Tatiana Adairia Lucy

Thalia Violetta Carlisle

Ursula Isabel Langdale

Venetia Elizabeth Thalia

Willow Serena May

Boys

Alexi William Martin Rabbit

Arlo Alexander Telfer

Barnaby Thomas Montgomery

Edmund Oliver Kynaston

Felix Michael Harry Lisle

Gruffydd Matthew Dylan

Gus Edward William

Hugo Edward Fleetwood

Ivo William Casimir

Joseph Saxon Wallace

Magnus John Kerr

Maximillian Arthur Bennett

Milo George Thomas

Oliver Konstanty Melville

Oliver Reckless Hyatt

Ralph William Milnes

Raphael Kenneth Vincent Windsor

Toby James Hedley

Wilbur Willis Benjamin

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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