Fourteen Shades of Elizabeth

The royal and biblical Elizabeth accounted for approximately a quarter of all girls’ names in early Britain, and when she emigrated to Colonial America, close to the same percentage of all girl babies were christened with that name— sometimes even more than one in a family. So it’s no wonder that numerous nicknames would pop up to distinguish among all the Elizabeths– several of which would go on to be used as independent names.
Of course Elizabeth itself is a wonderfully elegant classic, but here are some of the most appealing variations on the Elizabethan theme.


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Although it has had to struggle against its somewhat bovine image, Bessie was once seen as quite glamorous: there were silent screen beauties named Bessie, such as Bessie Love (shown). A worthy namesake is the iconic blues singer, Bessie Smith. Bessie could possibly make a comeback à la Hattie and Sadie .

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