European Royal Names
Will the latest addition to the House of Windsor have a strong impact on girls' names in Great Britain? Very likely, if British naming fashions run true to course. Sophie is an old-fashioned name that was already rising in use before Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones married in June 1999. It's one to keep in mind if you're looking for a fresher, more up-to-date version of Sophia.
In 1917, during World War I, the House of Hanover changed its name to the House of Windsor, and this is the house that's in place in Great Britain to this day. Elizabeth II, who has ruled Great Britain since 1952, is the great-great-granddaughter of Victoria.
This house has made minimal contributions to the name pool—unless you count the influence of Lady Diana Spencer—as it has followed traditional name fashions already in place. Maud, a variant of the Old German Matilda, is perhaps the most notable of these additions. So, too, is Eugenie, the name chosen by Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, for their second child. Eugenie, the feminine form of the Greek Eugene, means “well-born.”
Rule Britannia … and Rule … and Rule!
The British royal family is far from being the only European royals, but, in large part thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, its influence extends to most of the other royal families in this part of the world as well. The nine children of the Queen and her prince (or, in some cases, their children) would go on to marry into almost every possible royal family. Follow them and you'll find even more royal names to choose from.
If you're looking for something a little unusual to name your baby, the European royal families can yield great variants of popular names as well as really lovely names that aren't in common use.
Victoria, the first daughter of Victoria and Albert, married Frederick III of the House of Hohenzollern. This royal family ruled Germany from 1701 until its demise in 1918 after World War I, and contains such names as:
- Adelaide: From Old German, meaning “noble” or “nobility.” Queen Adelaide, who bore this name most famously, married William IV of England after he'd been turned down by more than a few other ladies.
- Alexandrine: Another form of the popular name Alexander.
- Cecilia: The feminine form of the Latin name Cecil (“blind one”). A pretty, very feminine name that doesn't get used much, but should.
- Charlotte: This French version of Charles means “little woman.”
- Frederica: The feminine form of the very German name Frederic, meaning “peaceful ruler.”
- Louisa: Like Louise, it means “renowned in battle.”
- Wilhelmina: An Old German name, meaning “will-helmet.”
Names from a Grecian Urn
Sophia, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, fulfilled the Greek heritage of her name nicely when she married Constantine I of Greece.
Although Greece no longer has a monarchy in place, there is still a Greek royal family. The last ruler of Greece, Constantine II, took the throne in 1964 only to lose it four years later during a military coup. After he failed in his effort to restore democracy, Constantine II fled to Italy. In 1975, after democracy was re-established and a new government was in place, the Greek monarchy was abolished.
The current Greek royal family is actually descended from Danish stock, and Constantine II paid homage to his Danish roots by marrying Anne Marie of Denmark. Their three children are:
- Alexia: A pleasant variant form of Alexander.
- Paul: The classic Latin name, meaning “small.”
- Nicolaos: A Greek form of the classic and very popular name Nicholas.
More on: Choosing a Name
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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