People have often admired royalty and obsessed over them, their trends, their ways, and yes, their children and their children's names, for quite some time. They influence society in a different way than other celebrities and leaders, often times. For good and bad!
Some of our favorite royal figures have been those who started out less than royal but in a fairy-tale that is real, they married their king or prince and became royal. People like Lady Diana who became Princess Diana, or the cool movie star, Grace Kelly who became Princess Grace of Monaco. Real life fairy tales are most intriguing of all!
It's not that we have the same opportunity to ever become them; we don't! After all, Diana had to be in the right level of society to ever be a possible candidate for a bride. And of course, we see what a fractured fairy tale looks like in her life, and for Grace, she was a star already and beyond us at the start. But for our children we believe anything is possible.
That fresh life is wrapped in promise and possibility and sometimes our naming reflects that hopefulness and optimism. Lots of people get caught up in that. Remember Kanye insisting his child is as important as the baby heir to the throne, George?
While this name is a bit of a mouthful, with its 5 syllables, the beauty is in the simplicity of those syllables and the myriad way it can be split or shortened to a more manageable nickname. Amanirenas or Amanirena, as she is also known, was a warrior queen of the nation of Kush, which was just south of Egypt. She is known as Kandake or Candace, which is a queen; furthermore, she was also called qore, which meant she was the ruler, not the mere spouse of the true ruler. She battled against the Roman empire when they had swallowed up Egypt. She was a real warrior, and lost an eye in battle. She brought back statues of Augustus, and buried them beneath the entrance to her palace so all would trod over him.
The Roman Empire never conquered Kush in her reign. The exact meaning of her name is unknown, so parents would be basing the meaning on the historical figure, so traits such as fierceness, leadership and pride come to mind. The name could be shortened to Aman, Ami, Amani, Rena or Nira.
The Asian independent nation of Malaysia has a rather complicated royal family, with a number of rulers. The Paramount Ruler Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah stepped down in late 2016, at age 89, from ruling the northern Kedah state. He was the oldest to have held his position. Halim is a baby name that comes from Arabic language roots, and means "gentle; patient and merciful." It is not a common name by any means in America, coming in the list for boys at #5,834 in 2016. It is a much more common name in areas with higher Arabic or Muslim populations, and is rarely if ever given to a baby girl as a name.
A girl's version of the name, however, would be Halima or Halimah. There are some famous Halim's in the world, including athletes such as Halim Medaci, who is an Algerian (French born) soccer player, and Halim Haryanto, a champion doubles badminton player from Indonesia, now playing for the US. There's also a famous Halima, Halima Hachlaf who is a Moroccan runner, who is an up and comer in the international track world.
Considered one of the loveliest current royals in the world, Lalla Meryem's whole title is Her Royal Highness, Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco, and is daughter of the country's late king, King Hassan II. HRH Lalla Meryem has been involved in women's and children's rights issues worldwide. She has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO since July 2001. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. She is concerned with the role of women in Arab society, and advocates for the ratification of the International Convention for the Rights of the Child.
The name "Lalla" means "wine," or "emerald," or "tulip," depending on the language source. It is seen in Arabic names, Spanish and Slavic names. Meryem comes from the Hebrew name "Mary," which traditionally means the bitter. It is the Arabic or Turkish form of the more common name, Mary. It is also said to mean, "wished for child," "star of the sea," or "to swell; as with child."
Willem-Alexander, aka Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, is king of the Netherlands. Born in 1967, the king was educated in the Netherlands and Wales, and served in the Royal Dutch Navy. A busy royal, he has run the New York City Marathon, served on the International Olympic Committee for over a decade, and is a pilot who volunteered for charitable organizations in Africa.
The name Willem is from Old German roots, and the English form William has been used by kings and presidents, and the high and low born alike. Willem ranked #1789 on the 2016 chart of US boys' names, making it a fairly rare boy's name although with very familiar name roots in William. That makes it a good compromise for parents who differ on how different a name they want for their son. Alexander means "defender of men," and is a Greek name. It ranked #17 for baby boys in the US in 2016.
Matilda of Scotland, aka Edith of Scotland, was the daughter of King Malcolm III and Saint Margaret, and born around 1080 AD. She lost most of her family in a short period of time, and regarded her mother as a pious and strong example to follow. This seemed to shape a great many of her attitudes and acts, including the reference to her often washing the feet of the poor and devoting herself to good causes.
She was a strong wife and helped strengthened her husband's rule, despite his serial philandering, and 20 odd illegitimate kids. Matilda is also the name of a much beloved children's book, by Roald Dahl. Matilda is from Old High German, specifically Mahthilda. Maht means might or power, and hilda means battle, so Matilda means "might in battle." Matilda ranked #395 on 2016 girl baby names for the US. Likely nicknames include Matti or Matty, Tilda or Tilly.
Alaric the I was the first king of the Visigoths, from about 395 to 410. His big mark on history was the sacking of Rome in 401, that hastened the fall of the Roman Empire. Known primarily as a military leader, Alaric is the subject of a number of artistic works, including one about the legend of him being buried under the Businto River.
The name Alaric is German in origin and is translated as "noble ruler." It is usually pronounced AL-a-rick. In 2016 it ranked in the US for boys' names as #923, and already in 2017 it's risen to #805. That still makes it a fairly unique name here in America. It could be shortened to Rick or Al. Other options include Aric, Alec or Lars. It's a good name for families looking for a masculine name with strong leader traits, and flexibility in nicknames.
Ezana of Axum was a 4th-century ruler of a vast kingdom that was situated in present-day Eritrea and Ethiopia, as well as Sudan, Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia. While Constantine is credited with being the first Christian emperor, that title actually belongs with Ezana. Ezana also was the first to put a cross on coins. The kingdom of Aksum has a legend that may be true that it began with the uniting of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It was on a major trade route and was a very advanced culture and society.
The name Ezana is of course African, and is said to mean "king," "life," and "ashes." It is a fairly rare name in the US, and only slightly more common in the UK. It ranked #4776 for boys in 2016. Possible nicknames could include Ezzie, Eza, Zane or Zana. Because of the rarity of the name, no strong gender inclinations exist in the hearer's ear, so it could be made a girl's name easily.
A clue to the character of Isabella of France would be her nickname: She-Wolf of France. She was more survivor than a wolf, and was married off as a very young teen to Edward II of England, whom she bore 4 children to, yet he was much more devoted to his male lovers, a sequence of 3 that challenged and threatened everything Isabella possessed: her title, power, even her children, and her own life. She didn't take it lying down, and eventually saw her royal husband killed.
She lived a long life, albeit often not the happiest. The name Isabella comes from the Hebrew name, Elizabeth which means "devoted to God." Isabella was the name of royalty in France, as mentioned, as well as England, Portugal and Hungary. Isabella has become a very popular name in the US for girls; last year it topped the charts at #6 and so far this year it's at #3!
Cynric was an Anglo Saxon king, one of the earliest, who fought alongside and reigned with his father over Wessex. They are the stuff of legends, and much of the histories that include them mix them in different ways with the legends of King Arthur. They've been stated to be his adversaries, relatives or conquerors depending on the source. Cynric is said to have reigned as king over Wessex from 534 to 560, at the time of his death. The kingdom was then ruled by his son, Ceawlin.
The name Cynric is pronounced like cynic, with that "r" in there. It is an English name meaning "royal," or "royal might." The are all kinds of variations, such as Cynrich, Cynrick and Cynrik, as well as Cenrick and Cyneric. It is a very rare name in the US, not ranking since 2007, and then being in the 6000s. So it's a good choice for those liking Anglo Saxon style names you don't often hear.
Harald is a very important name in Norwegian history. First, it was the name of the first king of Norway, Harald Fairhair. He was born in 850 AD and died in 933. Harald Hardrada was king of Norway 1046 to 1056. His legendary exploits garnered him the nickname, "The Last Great Viking." It can be hard to distinguish fact from fancy in some of the related tales, however. Finally, today Harald is the current king of Norway.
Born in 1937, he ascended the throne at his father's death in 1991. The name Harald originates from the Old English "Hereweald;" here means army and weald means power or rule. The Scandinavians composed the name Harald from the German harja, meaning army and wald meaning rule. Harald is a very unusual name as far as Americans are concerned, ranking only in the 12,000s! This is great for those who want a strong leader name, that seems familiar (Harold) with a little twist.
Queen Tamar was born in 1166 AD in the country of Georgia, and was the first child of King George III and Queen Burdukhan. Her father determined she would be his successor, and to ensure his people would accept her as ruler, since she's be the first female to hold that position, he made her co-ruler when she was just 12 years old. She was very successful as queen and ruled over what is known as Georgian Golden Age.
The name Tamar is Hebrew and means, "date palm." There was were two Tamars in the Bible as well, but neither had the happiest of stories. One married an evil man that God allowed him to die, and the second was raped by her half-brother. Both were King David's children. Tamar ranked in 2016 at #2241. Tamar could be shortened to Tam, Tami or Tama. Or maybe Mari?
Haile Selassie was the last king of Ethiopia, descended from a long familial line dating back to King Solomon (from the Bible), according to their country's tradition. He was born in 1892 and died as a result of a murderous coup in 1975. He was named Tafari, and assumed the name Haile which means "power" when he became king. He led Ethiopia into the League of Nations, and was the first African modern king to tour Europe. He modernized Ethiopia, made education a priority and established a constitution that provided for equal rights.
Italy, long coveting control, got him exiled for a time, but Haile garnered support from other European nations and returned. Eventually famine, and a guerilla war ended his reign and life. Haile (hahLEE) can work for both boys and girls, and in fairness I will admit this is my youngest daughter's middle name, with slight spelling modification, Haillee. It is a rare name in the US.
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard is the current Queen of the Netherlands. She was born in 1938, and ruled the country from 1980 to 2013, when her son Willem-Alexander assumed rule. She and her family were exiled to the US and Canada during Hitler's occupation of the Netherlands. She eventually became a beloved figure in her country, after some controversy and rockiness in the beginning. Part of the society's acceptance came as she bore the first male heirs to the throne since 1890.
The name Beatrix comes from Latin roots and means, "blessed, or brings joy." What a lovely name for a precious new baby girl. Beatrix is a German form. Another notable Beatrix was Beatrix Potter, the author and illustrator of the Peter Rabbit books. Nicknames include Bea, Bee or Trix, or Trixie. It ranked in the US in 2016 just out of the top 1000, so definitely not a commonplace first name in America.
The name Askia means, according to some, "limitless; guardian; from the ash tree farm; reward and defender." It is an African name and is rarely used in the US. In fact, between 1880 and 2015, only 329 babies were dubbed Askia according to the Social Security Administration. Askia comes from the great African ruler Muhammad I Askia, born Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr Ture. The exact time and place of birth are unknown, but he died in 1538 in the Songhai Empire of Gao in West Africa.
He is known as one of the greatest leaders of the continent, at least, and his empire was vast. He was a great warrior, but a better statesman and he set up provinces, governors to rule them and had a standing army, a fleet of war canoes and a cabinet. They oversaw much of what our modern cabinet does; finance, justice, water, protocol, forests and had ambassadors.
Remember the TV Xena: Warrior Princess? Well, that was loosely based on the legend of this warrior queen. While her brother ruled a peaceful kingdom for 10 years, Amina studied military tactics, warrior skills and built a strong alliance among her soldiers. When her brother died, she became the nation of Zaria's warrior queen. Zaria was in present day Nigeria. She reigned for 34 years and greatly expanded her kingdom's wealth. She would conquer neighboring lands, make them vassal states, and therefore expand areas for safe travel for trade. She built walls and cities sprang up within those. Many still stand and are called "Amina's Walls."
She was called daughter of Nikatau, woman as capable as a man. She never married nor had children, although she'd chose a warrior from each battle to stay the night with her. She'd have him executed in the morning, so no one ever spoke of her sexual exploits. Tough chick! The name Amina is of Muslim and Swahili origins and means "trustworthy; faithful." It ranked #321 in 2016 for girls in the US, but is much more common in other parts of the world. Nicknames include Ami, Mina and Minni.
You'd think the richest person in all history would be rather well-known, but sadly, chances are you don't know his name. It was Mansa Musa of the Mali Emprire. This region included Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Senegal and Guinea. This 14th century-West African ruler had an incomprehensible amount of wealth. Best estimates put it around $400 billion, but it could be greater. His empire possessed the greatest majority of gold and salt in the world. He reigned for 25 years, and his trek to Mecca is the stuff of legends. Along the way, he stopped in Cairo with his hundreds of richly dressed attendants, camels, and gold.
He gave away to the poor so much gold, he destabilized their currency for years after. European cartographers put Mali on the map following this glitzy caravan. Mansa also greatly increased the wealth and the status of education in Timbuktu, and built a shrine still standing today. Mansa as a name means, "king," and it's harder to get more royal than Mansa. Not a common name in the US, it is short and would work well with a lot of different middle names and surnames, also.
The name Makeda is believed to have Hebrew roots, and means either "cup," or "beautiful." You probably have heard of her by her other name, the Queen of Sheba. Legends abound about this beautiful queen of a kingdom believed to have existed in the 19th century BC. The main one, with some historical authenticity to it is that she made a trek to Israel, across thousands of miles, the Red Sea and the desert to meet another legendary ruler, King Solomon.
He was likewise beguiled by the beautiful and wise woman, and they are said to have had a son who began their dynastic rule in Ethiopia that continued directly with only a few brief interruptions until the late 1970s. The name made the US charts first in 1969, but remains a very rare name here. It lends itself well to nicknames such as Mak, Keda or Mae.
The third Persian king of the Achaemenid Empire, Darius I or Darius the Great, reigned from 522 to 486 BC. He is credited with some impressive building projects and his impressive administrative skills. He developed standards of measurements for his empire, allowed those conquered to maintain their own religion and built temples or holy sites for them, and he headed expeditions and established land and sea routes for trade. Some notable sites he was responsible for building or rebuilding include two large palace cities; one at Persepolis and another at Susa. He also created roads, a canal on the Nile and the Red Sea, and his death tomb carved in a mountainside survives in Naqsh-e Rustam.
The name Darius is from Persian origins and means "good," or by some sources, "kingly." A few kings named Darius are mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. It ranked #501 in 2015. CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour, born in Iran, named her son Darius. The name Darius is found in other areas of the world, such as the Middle East and Greece. Nicknames include Darry, Dar or Dare. Some people have taken to naming their daughters Darius or something akin to it, although in far fewer numbers than sons.
Ayesha is an enduring and popular name worldwide, and has a special meaning in India for a royal who was a romantic figure and eventually became a feminist icon. Ayesha as she was known, was actually named Maharani Gayatri Devi. She fell in love while middle-school age with a dashing royal, twice her age. She already had 2 state sanctioned spouses, but they over time made it clear she was to be the third and his favorite. This occurred when she was 19 years old. She was stylish and popular, but later she showed a strong spine and ran for legislature there and won in what is considered the largest landslide vote in world history.
She endured the humiliation of a six month imprisonment for being an adversary of Indira Gandhi, but remained strong and principled. She died in 2009 at the age of 90. The name Ayesha ranked #636 in 2016 for girls and is an Arabic name meaning "woman; life." Her mother chose this name from a character in a novel, not realizing until later it was a Muslim name, but she loved the name and it stuck. Aisha was also the name of the prophet Mohammed's favorite wife.
King Solomon was son of King David of Old Testament Bible fame, and was renowned for both his wisdom and wealth. He started his reign in approximately 967 BC. He was responsible for building the temple in Jerusalem. He was written about in the Book of Kings, and the II Chronicles. He is said to have written most if not all of the Book of Proverbs, as well as The Song of Solomon. He reportedly had hundreds of wives, and he ruled for about 40 years.
His supposed affair with the Queen of Sheba was said to have borne a son, Menelik who is said to have traveled to Israel to meet his father, but returned as promised to his mother and ruled there. Solomon is a Hebrew name from the word shĕlōmōh meaning "peacefulness." It ranked # 376 in 2015 among US boys' names. Historically, the most popular the name has been in America was in 1880, when it topped out at #198.
Casimir III also known as Casimir the Great, was from Poland, born in 1310 and died in 1370. He ruled from 1330 to 1370. Known as the "peasant king," he was considered a skillful leader with peaceful leanings and diplomatic skills. He unified the government of Poland, expanded their territory by annexing some of Russia and Germany, and established the first Polish university in Krakow. His empire had increased from 50,000 square kilometers to 90,000 at his death. His legacy included building over 50 castles, developing a system of law, and founded new towns and fostered church building.
He also restored rights to Jewish citizens. The name Casimir means "bringer of peace; or announcing peace." Some say it actually means, when parsed out, "destroyer of peace," so go figure! The Polish pronunciation eliminates the middle syllable, whereas the German includes all three. Nicknames include Cas, Caz or Mir. It could be spelled Kasimir, or Casmir. It is a rare name in America, ranking in the lower 5000s.
The United Emirates is a federation, consisting of seven districts. The head is typically the emir of Abu Dhabi and is also federation president. At present that person is Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who has been in charge since his father's death in 2004. He is one of the richest rulers in the world, with an estimated wealth of $5 billion. Much of this is from oil, with a reserve of 97.8 billion barrels. There's also a substantial sovereign wealth fund valued at $800 billion. He has paid a high price in military personnel losses in the fight against Islamic terrorists, particularly ISIS.
The name Khalifa means "caliph; successor." It is a Muslim name. In the US, still the name is mostly uncommon. In 2016 it came in at #942; for girls it ranked #15,212! Pretty rare for girls! Rapper Wiz Khalifa has made it a more familiar name among hip hop enthusiasts and younger parents. Khalifa could be shortened to Khal, Khali or even Lifa.
Tomyris is another tough lady who stood up to conquerors and wasn't willing to settle on anyone else's terms. She lived in an empire in central Asia, around present-day southern Kazakhstan, western Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. She was a warrior as well as royal, and she is best known as the person who finally defeated Cyrus the Great, in 530 BC. Unfortunately for Cyrus his actions brought down her wrath. First, he made a lame marriage proposal to her; rejected! Then he captured many of her soldiers, including her beloved son.
While in captivity, he committed suicide. Tomyris avenged her son and supposedly drank Cyrus' blood as a sign of her total vanquishing of her enemy. Tomyris has one of those old/new sounds to it as a baby name. It is said to mean "brave leader," which is cool for a girl's name. You could call baby Tomyris, Tomy, Myris or Tory.
The current queen of Jordan may look like a beauty queen, but she is a woman of substance. She is a strong voice in the Arab world for women's rights, in terms of things such as speaking out against honor killings, and for health and education for all. Born in Kuwait, she and her family were forced to flee her native land and while living in Jordan, once finishing her university studies she met the prince of Jordan. The "commoner" and the royal fell in love and married. His uncle was to assume the throne, but his father on deathbed named the prince his heir, and Rania the commoner became Queen Rania.
She is a proponent of technology and has a Facebook page and a youtube channel to further her causes. The name Rania means "singing queen," and is pronounced ran Yah. It ranked at #1223 in 2016 for US girls. It has many variations, such as Reina, Rayna, Raina and Reyna, or Reya. Nicknames could include Rain, Ran or Nia.
Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria was born in 1756 in Mannheim, Palatinate (Germany) and died in 1825. He was the first king of Bavaria, reigning from 1806 to 1825. He had a strong alliance with Napoleon, and was credited with stabilizing and organizing the region. He also got the army in order, and expanded the grand Schleissheim Palace and the Hofgarten. He was an art collector and commissioned four paintings from Peter Paul Rubens.
The name Maximilian is from the Latin word meaning, "great." It ranked in America for boys in 2016 at #481, and so far in 2017 it is at #523. So it's not particularly common, but is certainly well known. The obvious nicknames are Max or Maxy. You could also use Milian or Mil. Because of the length of the name, if using as a first name it'd be best to pair it with a short, one-syllable middle name.
Sources: Britannica.com, DACB.org, BehindTheName.com, EnglishMonarchs.co.uk, MetMuseum.org, Ducksters.com, Names.org, HuffingtonPost.com, BlackPast.org, HistoryAndWomen.com, ZeeNews.India.com, Telegraph.co.uk