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The royals tend to use the same traditional names, generation after generation. This may seem repetitive, but when looking for baby-name inspiration, it means you're almost guaranteed to find a name that's elegant, respected, and, most importantly, timeless.
With Queen Elizabeth II celebrating 60 years on the throne, and speculation rife about Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate)'s pregnancy, the spotlight on royal names has never been stronger. Here we look at the most influential royal baby names of 2012.
The Year of Elizabeth?
With the queen celebrating her diamond jubilee, 2012 is definitely the year of Elizabeth. Baby-name trends have reflected the nation's fascination with the queen. In 2012, the popularity of Elizabeth is set to increase by 264 percent. It's the perfect name for parents looking for a name that's traditional yet feminine.
The name Elizabeth was made popular by Elizabeth I, and it's been a royal favorite ever since. The queen shared her name with her mother, the hugely popular Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. And three of the queen's granddaughters — Zara, Beatrice, and Louise — have Elizabeth as a middle name.
Elizabeth isn't only a popular choice in royal circles; it's also a firm favorite with the Middletons. Both Kate Middleton and her mother, Carole, have Elizabeth as a middle name.
The Middleton Effect?
Since the announcement of her engagement to Prince William in 2010, Catherine has had a huge impact on popular culture, and baby-name trends are no exception. In 2012 the name Catherine is on track for a 188 percent increase in popularity. The name Catherine, meaning pure, also has a strong royal history, with three of the wives of Henry VIII sharing the name.
Kate is a nickname for Catherine, and one that's been widely adopted by the world's media when referring to the Duchess of Cambridge. Debate continues over whether the duchess herself prefers Kate or Catherine. Whatever her personal favorite, she's no doubt had an influence on the popularity of the shortened version of Catherine, with Kate on track for a 260 percent increase in popularity this year.
It's not only Kate Middleton who's been making an impact on baby-name trends. There's never been more interest in Kate's younger sister, Pippa. This year, the name Pippa is on track for a 633 percent increase in popularity. It's the perfect choice for those who want something a little less formal than the traditional royal choices.
And for those who prefer something a little more regal, there's Philippa, which Pippa is a shortened version of. This is a name with a strong royal heritage. Philippa of England was the daughter of Henry IV, King of England, and was the queen of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in the early 15th century. Interestingly, Philippa was the first documented princess to wear a white wedding dress during a royal wedding ceremony. Perhaps Pippa was following in her namesake's footsteps when she wore white to her sister's wedding in 2011?
It's not just with girls' names that the Middleton effect can be felt. The name of Kate's brother, James, is on track for a 374 percent increase in popularity in 2012. Of course, James has also been a popular choice in royal circles over the centuries. In the 17th century, James I was King of England and Ireland. The queen's eighth grandchild, son of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, is also called James.
What About Royal Names For Boys?
Prince William has always been in the spotlight, but the attention has never been greater than since his marriage to Catherine in 2011. Unsurprisingly, the interest in the prince has seen his name surge in popularity. William is on track to be 654 percent more popular in 2012 than it was last year.
William, meaning resolute protection, is a name with a rich royal past. It was introduced to England by William the Conqueror. In the 17th century, William III ruled England along with his wife, Mary, and in the 19th century, William IV was king. When Prince William inherits the throne, he will become William V. Prince William has always been known as Will or Wills, and these nicknames have gradually replaced Billy and Bill as the popular short forms of the name.
Another royal favourite is George. The name George is on track for a 500 perecnt increase in popularity in 2012. St. George has been the patron of England since the 14th century, but the name did not become popular until the accession of George I of England in the 18th century. George is also the name of Prince William's great-grandfather George VI. Edward is another royal name that's trending upward in the jubilee year, on track for a 366 percent increase in popularity. Edward has always been hugely popular in royal circles, with eight English kings going by the name. It's still a popular choice and is the name of William's uncle, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward.
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