Cory Marie (Austin, Lincoln)
Elizabeth Mary (Winston, George)
Georgiana Elizabeth Harriet
Harriet Alice (Tilly, Grace)
Heidi Sophia (Yasmin, Rachael)
Imogen Pearl (Dion, Gisele)
Kivari Jayda (Indi, Peppr, Mannix)
Lilliana Neve (April)
Myf Dai (Bon, Sia)
Olivia d’Oliveyra (Isabel)
Sadie Rose (Ruby, Jack)
Angus Maxwell (Sebastian, Spencer, Lewis)
Antwone (Taryll, Terry, Nehemiah, Samantha)
Austin Ronald (Jackson)
Emmanuel (Lochie, Brittney, Daisy)
Enzo Vincent (Vincent, Juno)
Hugh Morgan Bold
Joseph Colin (Paddy, Claire, Maeve)
Leroy Gary (Lydia)
Lucien David (Levi)
Ryder Jack (Tate)
Slater James (Poppy)
Taj Wiliam (Madison, Imogen, Matilda)
Zachary Winsent (Ryder, Owen, Quinn)
(Photo of models from Piggledee, Sydney handmade accessory design company)
The birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana has many people wondering if Charlotte can get to #1 – it would be an easy feat in Australia, as its just been deposed by Olivia, and could regain its throne by going up just one spot in the rankings. It feels as if I am already seeing more Charlottes in birth notices, so who knows!
The princess’ name also invites the question of whether her middle name, Diana, may become more popular as either a first or a middle name. It is well known that the name Diana honours Princess Charlotte’s grandmother, Diana, Princess of Wales – Lady Diana Spencer before her marriage, and dubbed “Lady Di” by the press.
Famous for her beauty and charisma, Diana gained respect for her charity work, and sympathy for her unhappy marriage and divorce. Her life, lived under intense scrutiny, ended shockingly in a car crash, leading to an outpouring of public grief. Years later, her memory is still fresh, and she continues to be a subject of fascination for the media.
Diana’s name is a traditional one in the Spencer family, and she was named after a distant 18th century ancestor, who was also Lady Diana Spencer. Tall, fair, charismatic, and attractive, this earlier Lady Diana had been hoped to marry the Prince of Wales, Frederick, the son of King George II. These plans came to naught, and she married a future Duke of Bedford instead.
The parallels between these two namesakes are striking: both grew up at the stately home of Althorp, both socialised with the royal family, both were intended brides of a Prince of Wales, and both unexpectedly died young – the earlier Lady Diana of TB at 25.
Another Lady Diana Spencer born in the 18th century was known as Lady Di, and a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Charlotte. A talented artist, she was most famous for the unhappiness of her first marriage, which was marked by infidelity, and ended in divorce. Days later, she married again, to a celebrated wit who was a great-grandson of King Charles II. It was out of the frying pan and into the fire, as her second husband was evil-tempered, a drug fiend, and extremely filthy in his habits. He died begging her pardon for the life of misery he had given her.
While Princess Charlotte’s first two names connect her equally to her royal and commoner families, her third name is a link to her famous grandmother, not just a style icon and People’s Princess, but a beloved mother still deeply missed by her sons. It’s also a connection to her aristocratic Spencer line. Diana has already been used as a middle name twice to honour Diana, Princess of Wales – for Princess Charlotte, and for Diana’s niece, Charlotte Diana Spencer – and perhaps there will be more family namesakes in the future.
In Roman mythology, Diana is the goddess of the hunt, having power over wild animals. Associated with countryside and woodlands, oak groves are sacred to her. She is a goddess of the moon, the twin sister of the sun god Apollo. Diana is also a goddess of women, childbirth and midwifery, although a maiden goddess. She is the Roman equivalent of Artemis.
On the one hand, Diana is inaccessible like the chill light of the moon, ever virgin, dwelling far away on sacred mountains, deep in the woods. On the other, she bestowed divine authority onto kings, with her own priest taking the role of King of the Grove. Women worshipped her when they wished to become pregnant, and during pregnancy, as they prayed to her for an easy delivery. Thus this seemingly cold distant goddess helped the survival of humanity.
Diana was one of the most widely worshipped and ancient of the Roman gods, pre-dating the city, and originating amongst the Latin tribes of the Alban Hills. She was the especial patron of the lower classes, with slaves being able to claim asylum in her temples. Diana is portrayed as young and beautiful, often dressed for the hunt in a short tunic and boots, carrying her bows and arrows, and accompanied by a deer or hunting dogs.
The name Diana is believed to come from the Latin dius, meaning “sky”, from an ancient root meaning “bright sky, daylight”. Related to it are the Latin words deus, meaning “god”, die, meaning “day, daylight”, and diurnal, meaning “day time”. The name is usually translated as “divine, deity”.
The goddess Diana is mentioned in the New Testament, because of Ephesus in present-day Turkey, the location of The Temple of Diana. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the man who compiled the list considered the Temple of Diana to be the greatest of them all, outstripping the pyramids of Egypt and the hanging gardens of Babylon in its beauty and brilliance.
In the Acts of the Apostles, the Ephesian craftsmen who earned their living making shrines of the goddess felt their livelihoods threatened by St Paul’s preaching of Christianity, and organised a spirited protest march, shouting the catchy slogan, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! In the short term, the situation by was smoothed over by a city bureaucrat.
In the long term, Christianity didn’t do the worship of Diana any favours, although when the Temple of Diana was eventually destroyed, it was by pagan Goths, not Christians. However, worship of the goddess Diana is alive and well, and still practised in various strains of modern Wicca and witchcraft.
Diana has been a favourite in the arts for centuries, featured in many paintings and sculptures. Referenced numerous times in Shakespeare, she actually appears in both Pericles and All’s Well That Ends Well. Neither has her fame diminished. Her myth was the basis for Wonder Woman, and she is a character in the Sailor Moon series, as well as featuring in several video games.
Diana has been used as an English name since at least the 16th century. It has been something of a favourite amongst the English aristocracy, with a famous example being Lady Diana Cooper (nee Manners). Beautiful, witty, and glamorous, her parents hoped that she would one day marry the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) – what is it with Dianas being matched up with Princes of Wales? Instead she married a future ambassador to France. Lady Diana had a glittering career as a socialite, writer, and actress, and was often referenced in Jazz Age literature.
The name Diana first charted in the 1910s, debuting at #301; this was the decade when Lady Diana Cooper first came to prominence as a member a group of aristocrats and intellectuals, and coincides with the publication of Anne of Green Gables, where Diana Barry is Anne’s pretty and loyal best friend. It rose steadily, and joined the Top 100 in the 1930s, peaking the following decade at #59 – the time when Lady Diana Cooper became a celebrated hostess in postwar France.
The name remained stable through the 1950s and ’60s, under the influence of sexy British actresses, Diana Dors and Diana Rigg, but left the Top 100 in the 1970s, and continued falling – Diana, Princess of Wales, did not halt its downward progress. The name had a slight boost in 2009, the year after Diana’s inquest found there was no evidence of foul play in her death, but hasn’t charted since 2011.
Diana is still only #297 in the US, although falling, while in the UK it is #358, and rose in 2013. A popular name in Spain and Poland, it is most popular in Hungary, at #75.
Diana is a beautiful, elegant name, with a history that is divine, noble, and even royal. It seems to have become prematurely dated in Australia, as the name remains in use in other countries, and is popular in Europe. I wonder if the name has become too firmly attached to Diana, Princess of Wales, with her luminous fame and life tragically cut short. Will the baby princess help give Diana a boost, or will it merely underline it as a name reserved for Diana’s family?
Christian Mowatt is the younger brother of Zenouska Mowatt, grandson of Princess Alexandra, and great-great-grandson of King George V; born in 1993, he is 51st in line to the throne. Christian is one of the most common names in the British royal family, especially in the middle. Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, a member of the Danish royal family, was the husband of Princess Helena, the daughter of Queen Victoria. Their son was also called Prince Christian, and he was Queen Victoria’s favourite grandson, a British army officer who fell in the Boer War. Christian is from the Latin name Christianus, meaning “follower of Christ”. It has been used as a personal name since the Middle Ages, and was originally more common for girls amongst English-speakers. It became seen as a boy’s name after John Bunyan’s highly popular The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), where the hero is a man named Christian. Christian has been a traditional name for Danish kings since the 15th century, and Prince Christian of Denmark, the son of Prince Frederik and Princess Mary, is second in line to the Danish throne. Christian was #178 in the 1900s, and disappeared from the charts the following decade. It returned in the 1950s at #280, perhaps inspired by French fashion designer Christian Dior, or Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson, both popular at the time. It rose in the 1960s, and reached the Top 100 in 1971. Its progress has been up and down, and it’s currently #85. It’s a retro name that feels like a modern classic, popular for decades without feeling overused.
Columbus Taylor is the eldest son of Lady Helen Taylor, a grandson of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and a great-great-grandson of King George V; born in 1994, he is 38th in line to the throne. The name Columbus is best known as the surname of Christopher Columbus, the 15th century Italian explorer and navigator under the patronage of the Spanish monarchy. In his efforts to find a safe passage to Asia by sailing west, he initiated the Spanish colonisation of the New World, leading to lasting European contact with the Americas that changed the world forever. The explorer’s Italian name was Cristoforo Colombo; Colombo is the Italian form of the saint’s name Columba, Latin for “dove”, and used by Christians in reference to the Holy Spirit, often symbolised as a dove. A name with Transatlantic appeal, nearly always given in honour of the explorer, and a more eyebrow-raising form of Callum.
Guelph is one of the middle names of Leopold Windsor, the son of Nicholas Windsor, who has been featured on the blog as a royal dad. A grandson of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and great-great-grandson of King George V, Leopold was born in 2009, and as a Roman Catholic, is not in the line of succession to the throne. The House of Guelph was a European dynasty which played a major role in the politics of medieval Italy, but whose territories moved towards Germany early on, and was eventually succeeded by the Kingdom of Hanover – thus giving strong ties to the British royal family. The current head of the House of Guelph is Ernest August, Prince of Hanover, a descendant of King George II, and husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco. The House of Guelph was founded by Welf IV, Duke of Bavaria, of Italian and German heritage; his name is a Germanic one meaning “young dog”, and thus the equivalent of the English word whelp. A very noble name – perhaps even too aristocratic for most.
Hubert was one of the middle names of George Lascelles, the 7th Earl of Harewood, who was the son of Princess Mary, and grandson of King George V, cousin to Elizabeth II. He passed his middle name down to his son, Mark Hubert Lascelles, born 1964, and not in line to the throne due to being born out of wedlock. Hubert is a Germanic name meaning “bright mind”, and became well known because of St Hubert, an 8th century Bishop of Liege. A French nobleman, he became addicted to hunting after his wife died in childbirth, until he had a vision of a crucifix between the antlers of the stag he was pursuing. Even though this legend was taken from the story of St Eustace, St Hubert is honoured as the patron of ethical hunting, having compassion for animals as God’s creatures. Widely venerated during the Middle Ages, St Hubert’s noble ancestry made him a favourite with chivalric and military orders. Hubert has been used in two Disney films – King Hubert is the father of Sleeping Beauty, while in Brave, Hubert is one of Princess Merida’s three brothers. Hubert was #102 in the 1900s, and had left the charts by the 1940s, so this vintage name may appear dated, although it is rising in the UK, and fits in with Hugh and Hugo.
Inigo is one of the middle names of Charles Armstrong-Jones, the son of Viscount Linley, grandson of Princess Margaret, and great-grandson of King George VI; Queen Elizabeth II is his great aunt. Born in 1999, he is 19th in line to the throne, and his middle name is in honour of Inigo Jones, a personal hero of his father. Inigo Jones was a 17th century British architect and stage designer, a royal Surveyor-General, and hugely influential. Some of his many works include the Queen’s House in Greenwich, now used to house the art collection of the National Maritime Museum, the Banqueting House in the Palace of Whitehall, now a museum, and the Queen’s Chapel at St James’ Palace. He also designed Covent Garden square, and undertook repair and remodelling of St Paul’s Cathedral. Inigo is a British form of Íñigo, a Castilian form of the Basque name Eneko, translated as “my little love, my little dear one”. It may go back to Roman times, but from the Middle Ages was traditional amongst Spanish royalty and nobility. Pronounced IN-i-go, this was first used as an English name in Cornwall, but became traditional amongst descendants of Inigo Jones. Those descendants in Australia include meteorologist Inigo Owen Jones, and wealthy grazier Arthur Triggs, whose brother was named Inigo. A sweet yet solid choice, Inigo has been given further dash and a famous catchphrase by Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.
Maximilian Lascelles is the son of Henry Lascelles, the great-grandson of Princess Mary, and great-great-grandson of King George V; born in 1991, he is 66th in line to the throne. The name Maximilian is from the Roman name Maxmilianus, derived from Maximus, meaning “greatest”. There are a few saints named Maximilian, with the 3rd century martyr St Maximilian of Tebessa regarded as the first conscientious objector, because he believed that as a Christian, he could not serve in the Roman army. He has been a hero to the anti-war movement ever since. Maximilian I was a 15th century Holy Roman Emperor, named for one of the St Maximilians – probably Germanic missionary and martyr Maximilian of Celeia – and the name has been traditional amongst European monarchy ever since (the tradition that his name was a cross between two Roman emperors is just folklore). Maximilian is around the 400s here, but significantly higher in the UK. Handsome and regal, Maximilian sounds very imposing – but shortens to popular, friendly Max.
Otis Shard is the son of Lady Emily Shard, and the great-great-grandson of King George V; born in 2011, he is not in the line of succession because his mother was born out of wedlock. Otis is a surname derived from an English form of the medieval Germanic name Ode or Odo, an earlier form of the German name Otto. The surname is very well known in the United States, as the Otises are a prominent family influential in early American politics; aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart was one of their members. Famous musical namesakes include Otis Redding, Otis Rush, Otis Span, rapper Otis Jackson Jr, and Otis Williams, from The Temptations, and another musical connection is the song Otis by Kanye West and Jay-Z, sampling Otis Redding. A rising name in the UK, Otis is around the 300s here, and a very fashionable choice.
Tane Lewis is the brother of Senna Lewis, and great-great-grandson of King George V; born in 2012, he is 30th in line to the throne. As earlier discussed, Tane’s father is New Zealander Gary Lewis, the only Maori to have married into the British royal family, and Tane has a name to honour his heritage. Tane is the god of trees and birds in Maori mythology, the son of the sky father and the earth mother, who clothed his father in the stars and his mother with vegetation. In some legends, he made the first man, and in others he made the first woman, moulding her from soil so she could be his wife. The word tāne means “man” in Maori, and it is pronounced TAH-neh, although I have met boys in New Zealand and Australia called Tane who say their name TAYN. A strong, simple yet evocative name which is a wonderful heritage choice, fitting in with familiar names such as Tanner, Tate, and Talon.
Tewa Lascelles is the brother of Tanit Lascelles, a great-grandson of Princess Mary, and great-great-grandson of King George V; born in 1985, he is 58th in line to the throne. Tewa’s mother was Lori Lee, known as “Shadow”, of Native American descent, and his name was chosen to honour his heritage. The Tewa people are from New Mexico, and the name Tewa comes from a Keres word meaning “moccasins”; it is pronounced TAY-wuh, rather like Taylor with a W instead of an L. Tewa Lascelles, an American citizen, was born in New Mexico, and perhaps the name reflects his birthplace as well. Tewa is in a progressive punk band, following in his family’s musical footsteps, as James Lascelles is a keyboardist with an interest in world music, and grandfather George Lascelles devoted most of his career to opera.
Xan Windsor, Lord Culloden, is the brother of Lady Cosima Windsor, son of the Earl of Ulster, and great-great-grandson of King George V; born in 2007, he is 26th in line to the throne. Xan is named in honour of his father, Major Alex Ulster, and this snappy short form of Alexander seems very versatile. Fresh and futuristic, Xan could belong to either gender, and is of ambiguous cultural background, making it the perfect choice for the modern age.
(Picture shows Tane Lewis, accompanied by his mother, Lady Davina Lewis; photo from The Daily Mail)
Anastasia Elena (Cristiano)
Briella Ivy (Camden)
Eden Perri (Kenna)
Kelli Vasilka May (Keira, Kayla)
Imogen Belle (Jago)
Lillian Margaret (Harry)
Lulu Morrison (Marcelus)
Mara Reid (Cameron, Chelsea, Hudson)
Olivia Catherine Sandra
Reegan Elizabeth “Dash” (Samantha, Annika)
Tully Faye (Hunter)
Ulanni Kaye (Tevita)
Vivienne Mary (Ollie)
Angus Hugh William (Grace, Clare)
Braxton Christopher (Indigo)
Callum Michael (Ozzie, Levi)
Grayson Trent (Scarlett)
Harrison George (Paegan, Jordan)
James Maxwell (Catherine)
Joseph Owen (William, Maija)
Luca Santiago (Jada)
Nate Ty (Kendall)
Preston Jack (Siarna, Harper, Ashton, Mariah)
Sebastian Petar (Sofia)
Ted Kent (Archer, Evie)
Taha Niveed (Talazzul)
This blog post was first published on May 22 2011, and substantially revised and updated on May 14 2015.
Auburn is in Sydney’s western suburbs. The commercial district contains many Middle Eastern and Asian shops and restaurants, and is a focal point for migrant groups. Auburn has the oldest Hindu temple in Australia, which opened in 1977, and one of its busiest mosques – the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque, built by the Turkish community in honour of the Gallipoli conflict of 1915. Auburn is named after an Irish village in Oliver Goldsmith’s poem The Deserted Village; the first line of the poem is, Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain. Auburn was a tiny place near Athlone in Westmeath, and doesn’t seem to exist any more – perhaps it was too deserted. Auburn simply means “red-brown”, and usually refers to dark red hair colours. Auburn has been used as a personal name since the 17th century, more often given to boys. It sounds similar to Aubrey, Aubin, and Auberon, and seems quite distinguished, while its literary ancestor gives it a sentimental air.
Bexley is a suburb in Sydney’s south, in the St George area. It was originally a land grant to Thomas Sylvester in the 1810s, who sold it to James Chandler in 1822. Lydham Hall, the oldest residence in the area, was part of the 1822 sale. Chandler got fed up with the bushrangers, escaped convicts and other undesirables who infested his personal paradise, and sold it to Charles Tindell. By 1856 Tindell was subdividing the land into lots for homes, and by the late 19th century, Bexley was a thriving town. Its best days are behind it, for this suburb has been on the decline since the 1980s. James Chandler named it Bexley after his birthplace in London; the name comes from the Old English, meaning “box tree meadow”. In uncommon use as a personal name since the 16th century, mostly for boys, Bexley has the fashionable X-factor.
Camden is a historic town in the Macarthur Region, in the far south of Sydney. It’s pretty and semi-rural with a “gentleman farmer” atmosphere. The Camden area originally belonged to the Gandangara people; European explorers first arrived in 1795. In 1805, Governor King rather begrudgingly gave 5000 acres to John Macarthur, who had been promised land by Secretary of State, Lord Camden. (The descendants of John Macarthur still live in their ancestral home at Camden Park). Macarthur’s wool industry was so successful, a town was necessary in order to support it. Founded in 1840, by the 1880s it was a thriving concern. Camden was named after its sponsor, Lord Camden – his title is from a Gloucestershire place name meaning either “enclosed valley” or “valley of encampments” in Old English. In use since the 17th century, Camden sounds like familiar choices such as Cameron and Caden, while retaining a hint of its aristocratic past. It is in the Top 100 in the US, and I am seeing it more frequently in birth notices here.
Carlton is the next suburb to Bexley. It is most famous for being the home of the St George Illawarra Dragons National Rugby League team. Carlton was originally heavily timbered, and given as a land grant to Captain John Towson in 1808. When the railway opened in 1884, the land was subdivided and people began moving to the area. Carlton is named after a suburb of Nottingham; I’m not sure why, but assume that it was Captain Towson’s birthplace. The place name Charlton is very common in the UK, and is a linguistic mix of Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse meaning “settlement of free men”. In use since the 17th century, this is a spin on classic Charles, and a variant of Charlton, that I have seen a bit of lately. Like popular Cooper, it is the name of an Australian brewery.
Colebee is a fairly new suburb in Sydney’s far west. It is named after an Aboriginal guide, the son of a tribal chief, who assisted William Cox when he surveyed the land across the Blue Mountains. Colebee also tried to bring a peaceful resolution to the years of conflict that existed between Aborigines and white settlers in the area. For his efforts as a geographer and diplomat, he received the first grant of land that the British made to an indigenous person. He received 30 acres on the South Creek; an area which would later become known as Blacktown, and the location of the suburb of Colebee. The meaning of Colebee is not certain, but I have read a theory that it came from the local word for sea eagle (gulbi). Europeans were struck by the fact it sounded exactly like the English name Colby. If you are considering the name Colby, this spelling not only gives the nickname Cole, but is an important part of Sydney’s history.
Kyle Bay is a tiny picturesque suburb in Sydney’s south, in the St George area, and takes its name from the bay on the north shore of the Georges River. It is named after local shipbuilder Robert Kyle, who was granted land here in 1853. Kyle is a Scottish surname from the district of Kyle in Ayrshire. The name is from a common place name, usually translated as from the Gaelic word caol, meaning “narrows, channel, strait”. As there are no channels or straits in this district, the name may come instead from the legendary British king Coel Hen (“Coel the Old”), otherwise known as Old King Cole. His name is possibly from the Old Welsh coel, meaning “belief, omen”. In use as a personal name since the 18th century at least, it was originally given to both sexes in its native Scotland, but is now considered to be a male name. Kyle first charted in the 1960s, debuting at #233; its use seems to be heavily influenced by the female name Kylie, which was popular in that decade. Rising swiftly, Kyle was a Top 100 name by 1980, peaked at #27 in 1998, and left the Top 100 in 2006 – the year after obnoxious shock jock Kyle Sandilands became a judge on Australian Idol. It’s now around the 200s, so it’s a modern classic still in reasonable use.
Miller is a south-west suburb in the Liverpool area. It was part of the Green Valley Housing Estate built in the 1960s, and the suburb was established in 1965. It is named after Peter Miller, an Irish immigrant who was one of the first settlers in the Green Valley area. His surname of Miller is an occupational one, indicating the bearer worked at or managed a corn mill. In use as a first name since at least the 16th century, it has mostly been given to boys, although I have occasionally seen it given to girls because it is a homophone of the popular girls’ name Milla. Miller is around the mid-200s for boys, so not an unusual choice as a name, although not common either, meaning it might very well hit that sweet spot between “too strange” and “too popular”.
Nelson is a suburb in the north-west of Sydney, in the affluent Hills District. Governor William Bligh received a land grant in this area, and the suburb is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, as Bligh served under his command during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801. Just in case he hadn’t made it clear enough how much he admired Nelson, he called his property Copenhagen Farm in his further honour. Either Nelson had really impressed him, or he was a total crawler. The surname Nelson means “son of Neil” – Neil being from a Gaelic name which may mean either “champion” or “cloud”. It has been in use as a name for boys since at least the 16th century, but Horatio Nelson helped give the name a boost in the 19th. World leader Nelson Mandela and philanthropist Nelson Rockefeller give this heroic name a lot of clout.
Oran Park is a suburb of Camden, once the colonial estate of John Douglas Campbell, and for many years the home of the Oran Park Raceway, which regularly hosted major motorsport events. Since 2011 it has been developed for residential housing. Oran Park is named after the village of Oran in Scotland; its name comes from the Scottish Gaelic word for “song”. Oran is also an Anglicised form of the Irish boys’ name Odhran, meaning “sallow, pale green”. Saint Odhran was a follower of St Columba, associated with the island of Iona. There is a strange legend which says he willingly allowed himself to be sacrificed by being buried alive, in what sounds like a pagan ceremony to ensure a chapel could be built, and then popped his head out to tell everyone there was no heaven or hell! St Columba hastily covered Odhran more securely in earth before he gave any more alarming information about the afterlife, or lack thereof. Said like Orange without the ge (OR-an), this attractive Scottish or Irish heritage choice may appeal to nostalgic motorsport fans.
Richmond is a historic town to the north-west of Sydney, on the Hawkesbury River flats near the foot of the Blue Mountains. The Darug people lived in this area when Europeans arrived in 1788; in 1789 it was explored by the British. The first settlers came to live here in 1794, and by 1799 it was providing half the grain produced in the colony. Because of its long history, Richmond has many heritage-listed buildings, and the University of Western Sydney dates back to 1891. Richmond was named by Governor Phillip, in honour of Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, who was Master General of Ordance in the British government. His title comes from a town in Yorkshire, which was named after the town of Richemont in Normandy; its name simply means “rich hill”. Similar to both Richard and Edmond, this name has a casually expensive feel, and works well in the middle position.
Actor Blair McDonough, and his wife Kristi, welcomed their first child on March 26 and have named their daughter Leni Rose [pictured]. Leni was born at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Blair first gained fame in 2001 as runner-up on the first series of reality TV show, Big Brother. He went on to have a regular role on soap opera Neighbours, and later on Sea Patrol and Winners and Losers. He and Kristi married in Hawaii and relocated to the United States last year.
Nova radio host Tim Blackwell, and his wife Monique, welcomed their sonAlfie Hawthorn on May 2, a brother for their daughter Bo, aged 2; Bo’s birth was featured on the blog. Tim joked that the birth of Princess Charlotte on the same day as Alfie meant that they couldn’t get an exclusive magazine deal. Hawthorn is a suburb of Melbourne, and an Australian rules football club, giving this flower name a sporty boyish vibe.
Two sets of former contestants from Channel Seven’s cooking game show, My KitchenRules, have recently welcomed new babies.
Dan and Steph Mulheron welcomed their daughterEmmy Mae in April [pictured]. Dan and Steph, from Hervey Bay in Queensland, won series 4 in 2013, taking home the $250 000 prize. The popular couple went on the show having already spent their savings on several failed IVF attempts, and the prize money helped give them another chance, falling pregnant after just one round of treatment. The Mulherons, who earned the title of the “sausage kings” for their snagger skills, have also opened their own cafe and written a cookbook together.
Annie and Jason Chesworth welcomed their sonTheodore, known as “Teddy“, on March 5. Annie and Jason, from New South Wales, were contestants on series 5 in 2014. Affectionately known as “Mr and Mrs Cheese”, the aptly named Chesworths help run a handmade cheese factory and cafe in Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, owned by Jason’s dairy farmer parents.
Emma wrote in the blog last year because she and her husband Matt were expecting a baby, and were considering the name Lillia if they had a girl.
They welcomed their baby last November, and he was a boy, so his name isn’t Lillia, but
Arthur is a name that Emma loves, and she is also fascinated by the meaning of “bear man”, as there were many bear references around at the time. The middle name (said with a hard G as in Gilbert, not like Jen) honours his father’s Japanese heritage, and baby Arthur helped to choose it himself before he was born – any time the word gen was mentioned, he would give a little kick! Matt chose the ki part.
In Japanese, you can choose the meaning of a name yourself depending on which kanji (characters) you decide on. In this case, gen means “bowstring” (for archery), while ki means “season”. The reference to bows and arrows was chosen because Emma’s family heritage is Scottish, and her ancestors were famed as skilled archers. Maybe Arthur instinctively knew he was descended from a line of great bowmen!
Congratulations to Emma and Matt on the birth of their son, and what a wonderful name story that honours both parents’ heritage so beautifully.
I hope everyone had a very happy Mother’s Day! It’s expected that the new princess will increase the current trend for baby names inspired by royal traditions, so here are some names for girls from the House of Windsor. I’ve focused particularly on the names of some of the younger royals.
Alexandra is one of the most common girls’ names in the British royal family. It was introduced to it by Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII. A Danish royal, she was extremely popular with the British public, and much admired as a setter of fashion. After her, the name became a favourite to pass down, including to Queen Alexandra’s granddaughter, Lady Alexandra Duff, and her great-granddaughter, Princess Alexandra, the queen’s cousin; Alexandra is one of the queen’s middle names. Alexandra is the feminine form of Alexander, and unlike many other feminisations of masculine names, Alexandra seems to have come first. It was an epithet of the Greek goddess Hera in her role as protector, and can be understood as “she who saves warriors”. St Alexandra was a legendary martyr, and the name is traditional amongst European royalty. Alexandra was #239 in the 1900s, and dropped off the charts in the 1910s and ’20s. Returning in the 1930s, its popularity jumped in the 1950s, and it was Top 100 by the early 1970s. It peaked in 1995 at #14, and is currently #75. A dignified classic with a host of nickname options, including popular Lexi.
Lady Cosima Windsor is the daughter of the Earl of Ulster, and a great-granddaughter of King George V; born in 2010, she is 27th in line to the throne. Cosima is the feminine form of the Cosimo, the Italian form of Greek Cosmas, meaning “order” (related to the British name Cosmo). A famous musical namesake is Cosima Wagner, the daughter of Franz Liszt and wife of Richard Wagner. British socialite Countess Cosima von Bülow Pavoncelli has given the name a very fashionable air, and the name has been chosen for their daughters by celebrities Nigella Lawson, Sofia Coppola, and Claudia Schiffer. You may also remember young actress Cosima Littlewood, who played Adele in the mini-series Jane Eyre, while Australians will be reminded of Cosima De Vito, singer and Australian Idol contestant. Elegant and sophisticated, Cosima is an upper-class choice that works well multiculturally.
Eloise Taylor is the eldest daughter of Lady Helen Taylor, a granddaughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and great-granddaughter of King George V; born in 2003, she is 39th in line to the throne. Eloise is the English form of Éloïse, from the Old French Héloïse. It’s thought to be from the Germanic Helewidis, from name elements meaning “healthy, whole”, and “wood, forest”. The name became famous because of Héloïse, a brilliant medieval scholar and feminist, famous for her scandalous affair and secret marriage to her distinguished teacher, Pierre Abélard, who was castrated in punishment. Their tragic romance has captured people’s imaginations for centuries, and it is a tradition for lovers and the lovelorn to leave letters on their reputed grave in Paris. Eloise entered the charts in the 1970s, making #498. It was the same decade that 8-year-old Eloise Worledge was abducted from her home in Melbourne, with the case still unsolved. Eloise rose steeply in the 1990s, when the song Eloise featured at Eurovision, and joined the Top 100 in 2011. One of the fastest risers of 2013, this pretty, stylish name is currently #71 and still rising. I picked this name to be in the Top 10 by 2028.
Imogen Lascelles is a daughter of Mark Lascelles, and a great-great-granddaughter of George V; born in 1998, she is not in line to the throne as her father was born out of wedlock. Imogen is a name created by William Shakespeare for his romance Cymbeline: in the play, Imogen is a princess of ancient Britain, and a virtuous wife who is falsely accused of infidelity. The name is a variation Innogen, which comes from the Old Irish Ingen, meaning “maiden, daughter”; Innogen was a legendary British queen. Modern scholars consider that the substitution of Imogen for Innogen was a misprint, especially as Shakespeare already used the name Innogen in Much Ado About Nothing, so this would be a rare example of a name created from a printing error. Imogen first entered the charts in the 1970s, debuting at #724 for the decade, perhaps inspired by sexy English pin-up and actress Imogen Hassall. The name Imogen rose steeply during the 1990s, and entered the Top 100 in 2001. Currently Imogen is #34 and stable, and was one of the fastest-rising names in New South Wales for 2013. Chic and British with a superior literary heritage – not too shabby for a “made up” name!
Isla Isla Phillips is the daughter of Mark Phillips, a granddaughter of Princess Anne, and great-granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth; born in 2012, she is 15th in line to the throne. Isla is a Scottish name taken from an archaic spelling of the island of Islay in the Hebrides, which is said IE-luh, not IZ-lay. The island’s name is of unknown origin and meaning. Islay began as a male name in the 18th century, and Isla gradually became seen as a specifically feminine spelling of the name which overtook the male form in the 19th century (Islay is more commonly given to girls now too). Isla first entered in the charts in the 1990s, debuting at #891 for the decade – propelled there by actress Isla Fisher, who was then in popular soap opera Home and Away. The name zoomed up the charts during the 2000s when Fisher became a gossip mag staple as aspiring Hollywood actress and partner of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Isla entered the Top 100 in 2008 at #74 and is currently #13 and rising. I picked this name to be in the Top 5 by 2028.
Ophelia is one of the middle names of Lady Gabriella Windsor, a writer known professionally as Ella Windsor. She is the sister of Lord Frederick Windsor, who has been featured on the blog as a royal dad. Lady Gabriella is the daughter of Prince Michael of Kent, and a great-granddaughter of King George V; born in 1981, she is 45th in line to the throne. Ophelia is well known as the title character’s tragic love interest in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Shakespeare did not create the name, but took it from the Italian form Ofelia in Jacopo Sannazaro’s 1504 pastoral romance, Arcadia – Sannazaro was a huge influence on 16th century literature. The name Ophelia looks to be taken from the ancient Greek ophelus, meaning “help”, to suggest “assistant”. Sannazaro may have invented the name, but there are examples of men in ancient Greece with male forms of the name, such as Ophelion, so it seems plausible that the ancient Greeks could have used Ophelia as a female name. Beautiful and elaborate, Ophelia is rising in the UK, and this seems like a very hip alternative to popular Olivia.
Senna Lewis is the daughter of Lady Davina Lewis; she has received quite a bit of press in the Antipodes, because her father is a New Zealander, the first Maori to marry into the British royal family. Senna is a granddaughter of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and a great-great-granddaughter of King George V; born in 2010, she is 29th in line to the throne. Senna can be a variant of the Arabic name Sana, meaning “brilliance, radiance, splendour”; it is one of the five daily prayers in Islam. It can also be a nature name after the flowering senna plants, whose name has the same Arabic source and meaning. There are numerous varieties of senna, some of which are grown as ornamental trees and shrubs, but widely familiar as a herbal laxative. The name Senna was used for a minor character in the Twilight series, sparking recent interest in the name, but the name had been used several times previously in science-fiction and fantasy. It’s also associated with the Brazilian Formula 1 champion, Ayrton Senna, often considered the best of all time. Similar to popular Sienna, this unusual botanical name has potential.
Sophia is one of the middle names of Lady Amelia Windsor, a daughter of George Windsor, granddaughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and great-great-granddaughter of King George V; born in 1995, she is 36th in line to the throne. Sophia of Hanover was the heiress to the throne of Great Britain, and mother of King George I, and only her descendants can be in the line of succession. It was a very popular name amongst Hanoverian royalty. Sophia is from the Greek for “wisdom”, a cardinal virtue of Greek philosophy that was taken up by Christian theologians, who have seen Holy Wisdom as a divine energy, and in Orthodox Christianity especially, the second person in the Trinity. In Christian legend, St Sophia was a martyr who had daughters named Faith, Hope, and Love – personifications of the chief Christian virtues. Sophia was #181 in the 1900s, and dropped off the charts in the 1930s and ’40s. It came back in the 1950s, the same decade Sophia Loren became an international film star, at #414. It charged up the charts in the 1980s and joined the Top 100 in 1997. Currently it is #16 and rising; when combined with the variant Sofia (climbing faster than Sophia), it is in the Top Ten at #7. Lovely and gracious with a wonderful meaning and history, expect Sophia to keep climbing.
Tanit Lascelles is a daughter of James Lascelles, and a great-granddaughter of King George V; born in 1981, she is not in the line of succession because she was born out of wedlock. Tanit is the name of a Punic and Phoenician goddess who was the chief deity of ancient Carthage, the equivalent of the goddess Astarte. She was a goddess of the sun, moon and stars, a goddess of war and civic protector, a mother goddess, patron of sailors, good luck figure, and fertility symbol. The meaning of her name is disputed – one theory is that it comes from the word for lament, and should be translated as “she who weeps”, perhaps to indicate that she mourns for a dying god, such as Adonis. Others translate her name as “serpent lady”, linking her with Tannin, the dragon-like sea monster of Near Eastern mythology (sometimes called Leviathan), and believe her name is one of the titles of Asherah, from the Bible. Pronounced TAN-it, this is an exotic and unusual name that fits in with Australian name trends.
Zenouska Mowatt is the daughter of Marina Ogilvy, a granddaughter of Princess Alexandra, and great-great-granddaughter of King George V. Born in 1990, she works for a luxury gifts company, and is 52nd in line to the throne. Zenouska is a name her parents created from putting sounds together – she uses Zen as a nickname, and it seems plausible that the inspiration was the Buddhist school of Zen. However, it sounds like a genuine Russian nickname, in the style of Anouska, and seems very suitable for someone of Russian heritage. Zenouska Mowatt is a great-granddaughter of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, who was a granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. It just shows that a “made up” name can sometimes work very well.
(Picture shows Lady Amelia Sophia Theodora Mary Margaret Windsor, who made her début into society in Paris, 2013; photo from Le Journal des Femmes)
Kristel and David were told they couldn’t have children, but just as they gave up trying, they discovered they were expecting a baby girl, who will arrive in a few months. They are still a bit in shock, but naturally overjoyed.
There is only one name they have both agreed on – Grace. As soon as they found out the baby’s sex, Dave began calling her Gracie. As well as both of them liking the name Grace, it seems appropriate, since their daughter feels like something of a “miracle baby”.
However, Kristel is worried that the name Grace is too popular, and hates the thought that their daughter might have to share her name with four other girls named Grace in all her classes at school. She has suggested other names to Dave, such as Amelia, Elisa, and Stella, but he doesn’t care for them. Dave quite likes the name Estelle though.
Kristel believes this might very well be their only child, and she wants her daughter to have a suitable, traditional, classic, feminine name that she will hopefully like and feel proud of.
Another issue is that Kristel and Dave have a one syllable surname that sounds similar to a vocabulary word, such as Cooke, and people have told them that because of this, they need a longer first name to balance their short surname.
The middle name they have picked out is Audrey, a family name which the baby will share with three other generations. However, Kristel is open to suggestions.
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Kristel and David, congratulations on your wonderful and very unexpected news! After years of waiting, of course you want your baby to have the perfect name, and it’s natural to feel that this is your one chance to get it right.
My instinct is that you have got it right, because I immediately connected the name to your situation, with Grace implying a divine gift or blessing, related to the word grateful. The Greek goddesses known as the Graces were also connected with fertility, giving it another level of meaning.
Furthermore, Grace seems to tick all your boxes very neatly, because it’s a classic, traditional, and feminine name. Blog readers are in agreement that Grace is a beautiful timeless classic, simple yet sophisticated, suitable for all ages, and intelligent and professional, so it seems eminently suitable. I think Grace Audrey is a very attractive name combination as well, and love the idea of using a family name that has been passed down for several generations.
But what about its popularity? Grace is in the Top Ten if you look at names without combining spellings, and is #12 on the combined spellings list. That represents just a little over 1200 babies called Grace born in Australia during 2014 (about 0.8% of baby girls). There are around 7000 schools in Australia which accept primary school students, so statistically that isn’t even one Grace per Year 1 class. More good news is that Grace’s popularity has been stable for more than a decade, making it a safe, if popular, choice.
I can’t guarantee that your daughter will be the only Grace in her class, but I would be astounded if there were five girls called Grace. In the case of name-sharing in a classroom (or sports team etc), a nickname is often a help, so should it happen, Gracie could perhaps come to the rescue.
Is Grace too short? I haven’t been strongly persuaded by the argument that a short surname needs a longer name to balance it. Looking at famous women named Grace, singers Grace Jones, Grace Slick (born Grace Wing), and Grace Knight sound perfectly fine to me. In fact Grace Jones was born Beverly Jones, and she chose to use her “too short” middle name Grace instead.
Two short names together do sound quite strong and punchy, and I think there may be a touch of sexism involved, as people seem to be most keen that girls with a short surname be given a longer name. I wonder if you were having a boy instead, and were considering the name Miles, would you be given the same advice, or would Miles Cooke sound okay? If your daughter feels that Grace Cooke is too abrupt for her, she has the option to go by Gracie Cooke if she prefers – and I guess she could always go by her middle name if she wanted to.
In a case where they were worried about name length and popularity, some parents might choose to use Gracie as the name on the birth certificate, but is that the right choice for you? Because you say that you want a traditional classic name, that seems to point more towards Grace than cute Gracie. I get the feeling that you would prefer your daughter had a name like Grace, and kept Gracie as a nickname only.
Whether a name is too short or too popular is a matter of personal choice, and you and Dave are the only people who can answer these questions. But it feels as if you have really settled on Grace already. It’s the only name you agree on, and Dave seems to have begun getting emotionally attached to the name, already thinking of his daughter as little Gracie. I imagine it might be quite a wrench for him to think of her as anything else.
Although I can’t promise that your daughter will love her name, there is nothing wrong with the name Grace, and lots of things that are right. And I can’t imagine anyone not feeling proud to learn the special meaning of their name, and touched to know that their father was already calling them by their pet name before they were even born.
As you say, this is most likely your only child, and I would hate to see you compromise on another longer, less popular name together, such as Estella, and then regret it later. Deep in your hearts, do you already know that her name is Grace?