Royal Names for Girls
Along with Elizabeth and Charlotte, other royal names for girls in the US Top 100 include Alice, Amelia, Caroline, Eleanor, Emma, Sarah, Sophia, and Victoria. Eugenie, Bridget, Maud, and Matilda are among the more surprising royal girl names over the centuries.
With female heirs now in line for the British throne, royal girl names may be destined for greater visibility and more widespread popularity in the future. Royal names for girls you might consider include:
Origin:English variation of French Provencal Alienor, meaning unknown
Description:While some think Eleanor is a variation of Helen via Ellen, it actually derives from the Provencal phrase alia Aenor, meaning "other Aenor," used to distinguish the original Eleanor, who was named after her mother Aenor. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine brought it from France to England in the twelfth century. Other spellings include Elinor and Eleanore.
Description:Alice was derived from the Old French name Aalis, a diminutive of Adelais that itself came from the Germanic name Adalhaidis. Adalhaidis, from which the name Adelaide is also derived, is composed of the Proto-Germanic elements aþala, meaning “noble,” and haidu, “kind, appearance, type.” Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland popularized the name in modern times.
Description:Amelia is derived from the German name Amalia, which in turn is a variation of Amalberga. The root, amal, is a Germanic word meaning “work,” and in the context of female given names suggests themes of fertility as well as productivity. Aemilia, the name from which Emily is derived, is unrelated to Amelia.
Origin:French, feminine diminutive of Charles
Description:Charlotte is the feminine form of the male given name Charles. It derived from Charlot, a French diminutive of Charles meaning “little Charles,” and the name of Charlemagne’s son in French literature and legend. The name was popularized by England's Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III.
Origin:Variant of Adelheidis, German
Description:Adelaide is now heading straight uphill on the coattails of such newly popular sisters as Ava, Ada, and Audrey, and in the company of Adeline and Amelia. It was chosen by actress Katherine Heigl for the name of her second daughter.
Origin:Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
Description:Cecilia is a feminine form of Cecil, which was derived from a Roman clan name related to the Latin caecus, meaning “blind.” The martyred Saint Cecilia was designated the patron of musicians, either because she supposedly sang directly to God while the musicians played at her wedding, or because she sang to God as she was dying. The name was popularized in the Middle Ages as an homage to the Saint.
Origin:Spanish and Italian variation of Elizabeth, Hebrew
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Isabella is the Latinate form of Isabel, a variation of Elizabeth which originally derived from the Hebrew name Elisheba. Variations Isabelle and Isabel are also popular, with the Scottish spelling Isobel another possibility. Newer alternatives include Sabella and Isabetta.
Description:The comeback of this sweet vintage name, one of the most stylish girls' names starting with M, 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.
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan.
Meaning:"she who brings happiness; blessed"
Description:Beatrice is derived from Beatrix, a Latin name meaning “she who brings happiness.” 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 variants of the name include the French Béatrice and the Spanish and Portuguese Beatriz.
Description:Emma originated as a diminutive for Germanic names beginning with the ermen root. A very old royal name well used throughout the centuries—Queen Emma married King Ethelred the Unready in 1002—Emma is also historically associated with Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson and muse of painter George Romney.
Meaning:"prosperous in war"
Description:Edith was a hugely popular name a hundred years ago that's being revived among stylish parents in Stockholm and London. It's currently beginning to gain traction in the US among those with a taste for old-fashioned names with a soft but strong image.
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Elizabeth is derived from the Hebrew name Elisheva, formed by the components ’el, meaning “God,” and shava’, “oath.” In the Bible, Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, and two of England's most notable queens have been Elizabeth I and II. Another memorable bearer was Elizabeth Taylor—who hated to be called Liz.
Description:Catherine is one of the oldest and most consistently well-used girls’ names, with endless variations and nicknames. The Catherine form feels more gently old-fashioned and feminine than the more popular K versions. Most stylish nickname for Catherine right now: Kate...or Cate, a la Blanchett.
Origin:Greek, feminine form of Alexander
Description:Alexandra is the feminine form of Alexander, which ultimately derived from the Greek components alexein, meaning “to defend,” and anēr, “man.” In Greek mythology, Alexandra was an epithet of the goddess Hera. International variations include Alessandra and Alejandra.
Description:Margaret is derived from the French Marguerite, which in turn came from Margarita, the Latin form of the Greek Margarites. Margarites was based on the Old Persian word margārīta, meaning “pearl.”
Origin:French, feminine variation of Charles
Description:Caroline is a perennial classic, in the Top 100 since 1994. Caroline is elegant, calling to mind the Kennedy Camelot years and Princess Caroline of Monaco.
Description:Sophia was derived from sophia, the Greek word for wisdom. The name was first famous via St. Sophia, venerated in the Greek Orthodox church—St. Sophia was the mother of three daughters named Faith, Hope and Love. It was first used in England in the seventeenth century and was the name of George I's both mother and wife.
Description:Diana, the tragic British princess, inspired many fashions, but strangely, not one for her name. For us, Diana is a gorgeous and still-underused choice.
Origin:Spanish variation of Elizabeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Isabel derived from Elizabeth in southwest Europe during the Middle Ages. It was originally written as Elisabel, but the first syllable was dropped as it spread across the continent. In Spain and Portugal, Isabel and Elizabeth are considered to be variations of the same name, but they are treated as separate names in other European countries and the US.
Origin:English from Latin
Meaning:"from France; free man"
Description:Frances is the feminine form of Francis, the English variation of the Latin name Franciscus. Franciscus, meaning “Frenchman,” was taken from the Germanic tribe the Franks, which got its name from the francisca, the axe they used in battle. Until the seventeenth century, the spellings Frances and Francis were used interchangeably for both sexes.
Description:Victoria is the Latin word for “victory” and a feminine form of Victor. It is the name of the ancient Roman goddess of victory, the equivalent of the Greek Nike, and also a popular third century saint. Queen Victoria, for whom the Victorian Era is named, ruled over England for over sixty-three years.
Origin:Latinate form of Helen, Greek
Meaning:"bright, shining light"
Description:Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.
Description:Agnes is the Latin variation of the name Hagne, which itself derived from the Greek word hagnos, meaning “chaste.” In medieval times, St. Agnes was a very popular saint, leading to its popularity as a girl's name. Agnes Grey is the title of one of the two novels written by Anne Brontë.
Origin:Hebrew or Egyptian
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:Mary is the English form of Maria, which ultimately was derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of Maryam is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).
Origin:Latinate feminine variation of Louis
Description:Louisa, a quaint vintage name, is an example of the idea that these days, old-style girls’ names are more fashionable when they end with an a rather than with an e, as in Julie/Julia, Diane/Diana. So for the next generation, Louisa may rise again, especially with the growing popularity of other Lou/Lu-starting names, like Lucy and Luna. Louisa reentered the US Top 1000 in 2014 after a 45 year absence.
Description:Sarah was derived from the Hebrew word sarah, meaning “princess.” Sarah is an Old Testament name—she was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. According to the Book of Genesis, Sarah was originally called Sarai, but had her name changed by God to the more auspicious Sarah when she was ninety years old.
Description:Katherine is one of the oldest, most diverse, and all-around best names: it's powerful, feminine, royal, saintly, classic, popular, and adaptable. Long one of the top girls' names starting with K, Katherine has now been unseated on the popularity list by upstarts Kennedy and Kinsley, but a dip in popularity only adds to its charm.
Origin:Feminine variation of Cecil
Description:Cecily is as dainty as a lace handkerchief. Cecily has a wide assortment of namesakes. One Cecily was the mother of King Richard III, whose beauty gained her the title "the Rose of Raby," Cecily Parsley is a Beatrix Potter bunny, Cecily Cardew is a character in The Importance of Being Earnest, and the author of the Gossip Girl books is Cecily von Ziegesar.
Origin:Anglicized variation of Gaelic Brighid
Meaning:"strength or exalted one"
Description:Bridget is the Anglicized form of Brigid, an Irish-Gaelic name that was derived from the word brígh, which means “strength.”
Origin:French variation of English Ann and Hebrew Hannah
Description:The name of the sainted mother of the Virgin Mary was among the top girls’ names for centuries, in both the original English Ann spelling and the French Anne. Both left the Top 100 around 1970 but Anne is still among the most classic names for girls, although others are more likely to choose the original Hannah, the Anna variation, or even Annabel or Annabella.
Meaning:"bright, shining light"
Description:Helen is a name that has connoted beauty since ancient times – Helen of Troy was the the mythological "face that launched a thousand ships," over whom the ten-year Trojan War was fought.
Origin:French and English, feminine variation of Louis
Description:Louise has for several decades now been seen as competent, studious, and efficient—desirable if not dramatic qualities. But now along with a raft of other L names, as well as cousin Eloise, Louise is up for reappreciation—sleek and chic, stylish in Paris, and starting to become so in the US as well. Louisa is perhaps more in tune with the times, but Louise has more edge. Louise has been on the rise lately, and reentered the US Top 1000 for the first time in a quarter century in 2016.
Origin:English version of Latin Constantia
Description:Constance is one of the more subtle of the virtue baby names, but still has quite a prim and proper image. One impediment to its revival has been the decidedly dated nickname Connie, though modern parents might well opt for using the strong and dignified name in full.
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Dorothea is a flowing and romantic Victorian-sounding name which was popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, but has been off the charts since 1970. Definitely on the brink of a revival!
Description:Agatha until recently summoned up visions of martyred saints, mauve silk dresses, and high lace collars, but now that some dauntless excavators have begun to resurrect it, we're sure more will follow their lead. Actor Thomas Gibson used it for his daughter in 2004.
Origin:Feminine variation of Henry
Description:Despite a return to such feminizations of male names as Josephine, Clementine, and Theodora, starchy Henrietta has not made it into that group. Still, if you look hard enough, you'll see that Henrietta has the same vintage charm.
Meaning:"youthful or sky father"
Description:Long common in Europe, the elegant and regal Juliana, also spelled with two n's, has invaded these shores, in tandem with the more classic Julia. Together with Julian, the name derives from Julius, a Roman family name. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning “downy-bearded”; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".
Origin:Greek, feminine variation of Philip
Meaning:"lover of horses"
Description:Philippa is a prime example of a boy's name adapted for girls that was common as crumpets in Cornwall, but rarely heard stateside, never having appeared in the Top 1000. That was before the advent of royal sister-in-law Philippa Middleton, who goes by the lively nickname Pippa.
Meaning:"woman from Judea"
Description:The biblical Judith, the fourth most popular name in 1940, may be getting ready for a comeback in its full, elegant, if somewhat solemn form. Many of those earlier Judiths were called Judy—some after Judy (born Frances) Garland—preferring it over their more formal proper name. Today, Judith, like Deborah, may have shaken off just enough to appeal to parents looking for a traditional, yet under-the-radar biblical name. And Jude would be a likelier nickname these days than the Judge Judy connection.
Description:Blanche, which originated as a nickname for a pale blonde and then became associated with the notion of purity, was in style a century ago, ranking in the double digits until 1920. She then had to fight the stereotype of faded Southern belle, a la Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Blanche Devereaux in TV's Golden Girls. Now all three of the Golden Girls--Blanche, Rose and Dorothy--could be ready for revival, with Blanche sounding like a stronger, simpler alternative to Bianca.
Origin:English variation of Johanna
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Joan was the perfect name choice for one of the leading characters on Mad Men, being a quintessential girls' name of the period. A Top 10 name in the 30s, a Top 50 name from the 40s through the early 60s, it was the fifth most popular name in the country for three years running and ranks as one of the most common names for girls in the 20th century. But alas, Joan hasn't even appeared in the Top 1000 for a dozen years, and these days it's primarily associated with Joans of the generation of Joan Crawford, Joan Collins and Joan Rivers--just a few of the noted Joans whose ranks also include the singers Joan Sutherland, Joan Baez, Joan Armatrading and Joan Jett. But it's possible that modern parents who are reviving Jane might move on to Joan, inspired by Joan Hollaway Harris.
Origin:Feminine variation of Augustus
Description:Augusta is a dignified name reminiscent of wealthy great-aunts, but with the fashion for both August and Gus for boys, Augusta could get some fresh energy.
Origin:English, feminine variation of George
Description:Long a popular upper-crust form in England, where it's pronounced George-ee-AH-na, Georgiana has been been neglected here. But with Georgia growing more popular and the general fashion for elaborate feminine names, Georgiana might have room to grow.
Origin:Variation of Matilda
Description:Maud, lacy and mauve-tinted, was wildly popular a hundred years ago, but has been rarely heard in the past fifty. Some stylish parents are starting to choose Maud again, especially as a middle. Maude is another spelling.
As a British royal name, Maud was the daughter of the youngest daughter of King Edward VII and granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who went on to become Queen of Norway. As a lively young girl, she was given the boyish nickname of Harry.
Description:This variation of Adele sounds somewhat more feminine than the original by virtue of the a- ending. It could join the army of popular A girls' names, especially with its tie to the recent celebrity-related success of Adele.
Origin:French form of Eugenia, Greek
Description:Eugenie enjoyed a major dusting off when Fergie and Prince Andrew chose it for their daughter, restoring a patina of royal sheen it hadn't had since the time of Napoleon III's glamorous empress--who spent much of her life in England. It was also borne by Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, after whom Prince Andrew's younger daughter was named.
Origin:French variation of Helen
Meaning:"bright, shining one"
Description:Whether it's pronounced with an "een" or an "aine" or an "enn" sound at the end, Helene doesn't feel as current the more forthright Helen or the airier Helena. Helene reached a high of Number 228 in the US in 1916, when ene, ine and een names were all the fashion, and stayed in the Top 500 until 1962, making a final exit in 1970. It still ranks well in its native France, and even more in Norway (#70). Model Heidi Klum's daughter 'Leni' has Helene on her birth certificate.
Description:This Russian classic still has something of an exotic feel. Olga was one of Chekhov's Three Sisters, the name of the saint who was instrumental in spreading Christianity in Russia and the name of one of the USSR's most famous and popular gymnasts, Olga Korbut.
Origin:Spanish feminine form of Clement, Latin
Description:The Spanish version, with its -eena ending, takes the name out of the Oh My Darlin' realm, which for many American parents may be just the thing.
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