Baby names

Royal baby: British baby name trends

With the royal baby on the way, we look at some of the popular baby name trends to come out of Britain.

kate-will-1 Photo: Photos: FameFlynetUK/FameFlynet

With Kate Middleton due any day now, speculation over baby names for the newest royal have been on the tips of everyone's tongues for months. Will they select a traditional palace name like Elizabeth or Charles, or take a risk with something more adventurous? Whether you're eagerly anticipating the royal birth or remain completely indifferent, there's no denying that a new type of British Invasion is crossing the pond and taking shape in North America — one that involves trendy baby name.

Royal names:

Recent research reveals that royal baby names are already soaring in popularity. While William has been a generally popular name for decades, watch for a significant increase in little baby Harry's as Will's popular younger brother influences his dedicated fanbase.

After the recent influx of unique baby names — one need only look to Hollywood celebrities for creative inspiration in that department — parents-to-be may opt for something simpler and, ultimately,  more quintessentially British. As author and creator Jennifer Wattenberg recently told us, "Watch for 'ladies and gentlemen'-style names. We haven't had a lot of Georges and Arthurs [in], which have always been popular in the UK."

And you can thank Britain's multiple king George's and the mythical King Arthur for their enduring popularity throughout the U.K. Finding inspiration in their royals — both real and imagined — has always been common practice.


Boy bands:

Niall. Zayn. Liam. Harry. Louis.

Believe it or not, some baby name experts are predicting a rise in all five names for boys thanks to boy-band-of-the-moment One Direction. "[They] interesting from a name perspective because they have names that never reached the same height in popularity in North America," Wattenberg says.

So while they may boast common monikers in their native England, to North Americans these mostly traditional-sounding names will sound positively — and refreshingly — exotic.



Thanks to the immensely successful PBS series Downton Abbey, baby names originating from the 1920s will see an upswing in popularity. For boys, you can name them after beloved characters Matthew, Thomas, Richard or Alfred. With the girls you have a wider selection to choose from with names influenced from characters Edith, Mary, Anna, Ethel, Isobel, Rose, Lavinia, Gwen, Vera or Daisy.


Few countries have a storied history as rich in iconic figures as the United Kingdom. For those who want to steer clear of traditionally royal baby names, you can turn to history texts for some inspiration instead. You may uncover names like Winston, Oliver, Darwin, Byron or Isaac to suit your new little bundle of joy. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, female names like Charlotte, Emily, Agatha, Florence or Jane might appeal to you.


Giving your child a literary name isn’t just for bookworms. Here are some suggestions of popular names ripped from the pages of some of the world’s best pieces of fiction.


For girls there is Arabella (Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones to Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers to Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure), Emma (Jane Austen’s protagonist), Guinevere (the ill-fated queen of Camelot), Hermione (the young Harry Potter heroine) or Juliet (Shakespeare's tragic star-crossed lover).

If you're expecting a baby boy you can go with Darcy (Jane Austen's brooding hero in Pride & Prejudice), Heathcliff (for Emily Bronte's moody lead in Wuthering Heights), Romeo (Shakespeare's ill-fated hero) or Sebastian (a name that appears in the Bard's Twelfth Night and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited).

This article was originally published on Jul 18, 2013

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