One of the remarks I often hear when a new personality joins the celebsphere is that lots of babies will be named after them. We assume that the public are easily swayed. Happily, the stats certainly show that when it comes to children, we’re not such slavish followers.
Kate Middleton. There, I’ve said it. Young, pretty, about to marry the future king of England. Will there be a surge in the name “Kate”?
Probably not. If you look at the Office of National Statistics data on baby names in England and Wales, they annoyingly only give out historical information for years ending in a 4. But in 1984, 3 years after the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, there was no interest in the name Diana for the public at large. In 1984, Diana didn’t make the top 100. Nor did it make the top 100 in 1998, the year after her death, so there wasn’t a “memorial surge” either.
That’s not to say that traditional royal names lack popularity. In 1984, Victoria was 7th and Elizabeth was 25th. Last year, Elizabeth was 43rd.
But what about Kate? Weirdly for a name that crops up in celebrity circles, and is fairly classless, it doesn’t feature in the top 100 at all. Katie makes 31st in 2009, but there’s no space in the top 100 for Kate or Catherine, despite the Zeta-Jones, Winslet and Moss of fame and beauty.
It seems we are more conservative with our boys names. In 2009, there’s space in the top 10 for Harry (3rd with Henry at 37th), Charlie (7th and 58th as Charles) and William (8th). Cry “God for Harry”! He’ll probably be the best man at the wedding of the decade.