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What’s behind the latest royal baby name?

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Classic and elegant, Elizabeth is one name that never goes out of style. And with so many different versions, it’s a name that you can always make your own. Even now, modern royals Price Harry and Meghan Markle have taken the name for their latest arrival, but given it their own unique and personal touch.

What does it mean?

According to Nameberry, Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew name Elisheva, meaning ‘pledged to God’. It’s also one of Nameberry’s top girls names for 2021, one of the most popular Hebrew names for girls and also one of today’s most classic and usable girls names starting with E. And while the name offers endless charm and elegance, its appeal lies in its versatility, with so many adaptations such as Elisabeth, Libby, Lizzie Beth, Bess and Betty.

Famous Elizabeths

The name Elizabeth appears in popular culture, classic literature, and of course the royal family. Famous Elizabeths include actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Betty Grable, Elizabeth Banks, Liz Hurley and Elisabeth Moss.

There are iconic characters such Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Beth March from Little Women and Bessie from Enid Blytons’ Magic Faraway Tree series. There’s also Betsy from the film Wolverine and hilarious Liz Lemon from popular television series 30 Rock.

Last but not least, it’s a name favoured by royal families over generations with Queen Elizabeth I, the late Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, and of course England’s current Queen, Elizabeth II.

The royal addition

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continue the royal tradition in honour of the Queen, Harry’s grandmother … Just not in a way that was anticipated. After much speculation and surprise, the couple named their newborn daughter Lilibet Diana, an unusual version of Elizabeth that has never made the top 1000 names in the UK or USA. The name Lilibet is in fact the royal family’s pet name for the Queen, given by her father, King George VI. This was recently revealed in the Netflix series The Queen, and according to Nameberry, Lilibet has now become has the most researched name in Russia.

A modern take

The couple revealed that they will shorten the name to Lilli, a variation of the more classic spelling of Lilly. While again an unexpected choice, the nickname has a contemporary feel that sits perfectly next to her brother’s name, Archie. The couple settled on Diana as a second name, a strong choice in itself as name of the Roman goddess of hunting, but more importantly a fitting one as a memory of Harry’s beloved mother, the late Diana Princess of Wales.

So, the Duke and Duchess have chosen a strong, classic and widely used name, with just a little twist. And while this alternative aligns with their decision to leave royal life (and give birth to a royal baby in America), it’s also deeply entwined with family history and their strong connection to the Royal Family.

Now the question is – will the name, once so little known, suddenly be taken on by the rest of the world with equal delight and enthusiasm? Or will other even newer versions of Elizabeth be embraced in years to come?

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