‘Ello Gov’na! The royal family is more than just a bunch of freeloading kingmakers, they are also trendsetters. After the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015, The Telegraph reported that the name Charlotte had become the most popular name given to baby girls by its readers. That’s power right there. Although we, as Americans, think we share a lot culturally with the Brits, we actually name our children very differently. In the UK, it’s much more common for parents to name babies with a nickname or shortened form of a name than a traditional name. For instance, parents are more likely to choose the names Hughie or Bobbie instead of Hugh or Robert. This might be surprising news to many of us who tend to think of the Brits as being very buttoned-up. There are also a variety of native British names that are also very popular in the UK but don’t translate their favor across the pond. Names like Arwen, Montague, and Laith are very common in Britain but are scarce in the US. We thought it would be fun to take a look at some very British names for the anglophiles out there and, of course, many of those names were popularized by the British monarchy. Here are 30 British baby names fit for your little prince or princess.
America’s Duchess Meghan Markle gave her son the name Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Naturally, the name Archie has spiked in popularity. The name Archie is a shortened form of the Archibald. The name Archie is of German origin and means “bold,” “brave,” or “genuine.” Archie is a great name and your son would sound very aristocratic with it.
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was Queen consort of the United Kingdom and Queen consort of Hanover as the wife of King William IV. She was born in 1792 and Adelaide, Australia would eventually be named for her. The name Adelaide is a French version of the Old German name Adalheidis which means “noble hood.” The nickname Heidi is commonly associated with the name and either would be cute for a girl.
The name Baxter used to be an Anglo-Saxon occupational surname that meant “baker.” In fact, the word “baker” comes from the feminized form of Baxter, “bakster.” Today, the name is a common given name for both boys and girls and it’s been trending for baby girls.
Princess Beatrice of York was born in 1988 to the Duke and Duchess of York, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Princess Beatrice is 9th in the line of succession after her sister, Princess Eugenie. Beatrice is the anglicized form of the French name Béatrice which comes from the Latin, Beatrix. All forms of this name sound noble. The name means “she who makes happy.” Aw.
In America, you might think of the alternative spelling of the name Bryn, Brynn. In the states, the name became popular for girls starting in 1999. But, in the UK the name and its spelling with one “N” is favored for boys. It’s a Welsh name that means “hill.” Historians think the name was inspired by the Welsh place, Brynmor.
Princess Charlotte was born to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in 2015. As we mentioned, the name spiked in popularity after she was born. Before Princess Charlotte, there was Queen Charlotte, wife to King George III who named a town in the colonies Charlotte (Charlotte, North Carolina) for her. The name Charlotte is the female version and diminutive of Charles. It means, “free man.”
The name Cillian is a popular Irish name that’s origins are in Gaelic. The name means “little church.” English forms of the name are often spelled with a “K” and you’ll often see Killian or Kilian. All of these names are very popular across the UK.
The name Esmae is super popular for girls in Britain. However, the French name was originally given to boys and spelled Esmé. Today, you won’t find many boys with the name in the UK. The name means “respected.”
Edmund I was the King of the English who began his reign in 939. He had two sons who would both become Kings of England. The name Edmund appears again and again throughout the British royal family. The name means “prosperity,” “riches,” and “protector.” If you’re looking for a boy’s name with a storied history of nobility, Edmund is the one for you.
You may name your child Frances, but for the love of all that his holy, please do not call her Franny. Please. Thanks. As you might expect, Frances is a French name that means… France. Mother of Princess Diana of Wales, Frances Shand Kydd is one of many with the name that have ties or are themselves royals. Frances or Francis are names commonly given to both boys and girls. However, the name remains more popular for baby girls.
Fergus is a common Scottish and Irish name that means “the angry one” or “the wrathful one.” Fergus the Great or “Gurgantius” was king of Ergyng, a Welsh kingdom of the early Medieval period. The name is particularly popular across Scotland.
This one is for the Harry Potter fans. Of course, we all know the beloved character, Hermione Granger. But, the name was popular way before J.K. Rowling ever wrote a book. It’s an ancient Greek name that means “well-born” or “stone.” According to Greek mythology, Hermione was daughter of King Menelaus of Sparta and Helen of Troy. The name became very popular in the UK at the turn of the 19th Century and there are a number of countesses and duchesses who have the name.
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Stateside, the name Humphrey is most commonly associated with actor Humphrey Bogart. But, the name Humphrey was enjoyed by many British nobles dating back to the Medieval era. Humphrey comes from the Old English Hunfrith and means “peaceful warrior.”
There have been a gazillion Queen Isabellas. Countless royals have given the name to their daughters for centuries. The name Isabella comes from the same root at Elizabeth, the Hebrew, Elisheba. The name means “pledged to God.” Often, the nicknames Bella or Izzy are associated with this name.
Idris I of Morocco was the first ruler and founder of the Idrisid dynasty of Morocco. The name Idris is very popular in the UK, in part because it has roots in both Welsh and Arabic. In Welsh, the name means “ardent lord.” In Arabic, the name refers to the Islamic prophet in the Qur’an and means “interpreter.”
Jemima Yorke was an 18th Century British peeress with a title you’re going to think we made up, Marchioness Grey. Jemima is a popular girl’s name in the UK. It comes from Hebrew and means “little dove.”
In the US, many people don’t know that the founder of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Distillery had the first name, Jasper. Across the pond, the name has been given to many nobles including the Duke of Bedford, Jasper Tudor. The name Jasper is actually Persian in origin and means “treasurer.”
The name Leonie is popular for little girls in the UK. It comes from the French, masculine name Leon and means “lioness.” While we found no evidence of this name being used by any royals, you just know they thought about naming a princess the name at some point. Princess Lioness is just too good.
In the UK, Kingsley is a common given name and surname. The name Kingsley is a completely British creation with Anglo-Saxon origins that mean “from the King’s wood” which sounds like something straight out of a fantasy novel. Kingsley is a fun name to say in a mock British accent and we recommend you give it a try.
Most of us associate the name Matilda with the magical character from Roald Dahl’s book, Matilda. But, there have been many noble Matildas in Britain including an Empress dating back to the 12th Century. Empress Matilda claimed the English throne in a turbulent time in British history known as “The Anarchy.” The name Matilda is popular across Europe and means “strength.”
Luitbald is a Germanic name that Leopold comes from. It means “brave people.” The name became popular around the 16th Century across Europe and many members of the Austrian dynasty took the name. Leo is a great nickname for this noble-natured name.
The name Maud is an Old German name that means “powerful battler” and comes from the same root as Matilda. In fact, our friend Empress Matilda went by Maud for short. The name has since fallen out of favor with the last notable Maud in the British family being Maud of Wales. We’re sure Maud of Wales was a nice lady and we hate to make fun of her name and title, but Maud of Wales would make a great name for a band à la Flock of Seagulls.
There are a few ways to spell this Gaelic baby name including Lachlan, Lochlann, and Lachlann. The name means “land of lochs” or “land of lakes” and is associated with the Viking pillages of Ireland in the 9th and 10th Centuries. Lochlan is a popular name for boys across the UK but it’s even more popular in Australia and New Zeland.
Believe it or not, Pixie is a favored name for little girls that refers to a small fairy-like humanoid from British folklore. Pixie is a cute and playful name but it is far from common in the US.
The name Orson comes from Latin and was originally seen more as a surname or nickname. The name means “bear cub” which is adorable. Of course, Americans know a famous one, Orson Welles. While the name has fallen out of fashion in the states, it still enjoys popularity in the UK.
In 2016, Poppy was the 13th most popular name given to girls in England and Wales. Of all the names on the list, Poppy certainly sounds the most British. The name comes from Old English and refers to the red flower. Poppy is a sweet and fun name that we hope picks up steam in the US.
The name Rupert has belonged to all sorts of notable people in history including Kings, Saints, Princes, Barons, and more. The name Rupert is a very German name that means “fame-bright.” Today, you’re more likely to hear the cognate, Robert. But, Rupert was a hot name for the noble class for centuries.
One of the best places to enjoy sweeping views of London is in Regent’s Park on Primrose Hill. A primrose is the first flower to bloom after a frost in spring. The name means “first rose.” While Primrose has been long been used by the British for things like navy ships (there have been several HMS Primroses), they’ve never given the name to a royal. There are tons of nicknames associated with Primrose like Prim, Primmie, Rose, Rosa, Rosie, Pose, and Posie. We’re giving you options people!
Victor has been a popular name in Europe for centuries and has belonged to Kings, Princes, Dukes, Popes, Saints, and just about every type of person. Victor means “conquerer” and has roots in Latin and later French.
Queen Victoria was so great they went named a whole era after the lady! The Victorian Era of the 19th Century was a time of great societal change and Queen Victoria oversaw it for 63 years, the longest any ruler had reigned in England. As you probably guessed, the name Victoria is the feminine form of Victor and has the same meaning.
Are you ready to invest regal power onto your child with a dignified British name? We love the charm associated with these 30 names and think they’d all be appealing and attractive for American babies. As we mentioned, the Brits love shortening formal names and giving nicknames to their children. If any of these seem too stuffy, think of the sobriquets. For instance, Victoria can become Tori or Vickie and a name like Frances can become Frank or Frankie. Get creative and have fun with a name for your child. It just might be a crowning achievement.