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Research into 230 million birth and marriage records dating from 1837 reveals Royal wedding naming pattern

Research into 230 million birth and marriage records dating from 1837 reveals Royal wedding naming pattern
  • Records reveal increase in babies named after new royals following royal weddings
  • Popularity of the name ‘Diana’ doubled the year she married Prince Charles in 1981
  • Elizabeth and Victoria also increased in popularity the year of their marriages

The popularity of the name Kate is set to soar next year ahead of the Royal wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William, according to new research.

The findings from Ancestry.com.au, Australia’s number one family history website1, were collated by mapping the popularity of baby names in the year following royal weddings from more than 230 million birth and marriage records available on the site dating from 1837.

The records show that the popularity of the name Diana doubled in popularity the year Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981 compared to the previous year.  

The same trend can be observed when examining the number of Elizabeths born the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding in 1947, as well as her mother’s in 1923. There were an additional 846 Elizabeths born in 1923 compared with the previous year, and a further 124 born in 1947 compared to 1946.

And the trend isn’t only true of the 20th century – the number of Victorias born increased by 35 per cent the year Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were wed in 1840.

According to the latest data on baby names from the UK’s Office for National Statistics, the name count for babies with a derivative of the name ‘Kate’ totalled 2,466 in 2009. An increase in the popularity as seen with the name Diana the year of her wedding would make the name one of, if not the most popular name of 2011.2

Further details on the royal wedding naming pattern for the regal brides can be seen below:

  • Wedding of Lady Diana and Charles, 1981 – Name Diana increased in popularity by 100 per cent in 1981 compared to 1980
  • Wedding of Elizabeth and Philip, 1947 –Name Elizabeth increased in popularity by 10 per cent in 1947 compared to 1946
  • Wedding of Elizabeth and Albert, 1923 – Name Elizabeth increased in popularity by 14 per cent in 1923 compared to 1922
  • Wedding of Beatrice and Henry, 1885 – Name  Beatrice increased in popularity by 23 per cent in 1885 compared to 1884
  • Wedding of Victoria and Albert, 1840 – Name Victoria increased in popularity by 35 per cent in 1840 compared to 1839

Further study of the birth indexes reveals a similar influence on Britons’ choice of baby names inspired by royal baby births.


For example, the names William and Harry rose in popularity throughout the nineties and early noughties following the births of the two princes3.Zara, Andrew, Anne, Beatrice and Eugenie are further examples of names chosen by the public after being given to a royal child4.

Considered ‘core’ historical records by family history researchers, the 318 million records within the fully name-searchable Birth Marriage and Death Indexes are available at Ancestry.com.au and are of great significance to family historians both in Australia and internationally.

Ancestry.com.au Partnership Development Manager, Brad Argent comments: “Birth, marriage and death records help millions of people in Australia and around the world in their genealogical journey and allow the unique observation of fascinating social trends, including this Royal naming pattern.

“Many Australians will either feature or know someone listed in the England and Wales Birth Marriage and Death Indexes, making them a truly meaningful historical resource.”


1. comScore, 2009, based on genealogy related websites selected from the Family and Parenting sub-category under the Community category

2. Source ONS: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/glance/uk-snapshots.asp. The total females born with the name ‘Kate’ or derivatives in 2009 (‘Cate’, ‘Catherine’ (her real name), ‘Katie’ and ‘Katy’) totalled 2,466. An increase in popularity as seen with the name Diana (which doubled when she married) would see the name increase to 4,932 born in 2011. As the top three most popular females names of 2010 had a count of 5,201, 4,555 and 4,479 respectively, the name Kate would be pushed into the top three and potentially the most popular name of the year  

3. The name Harry saw a 12-fold increase across the 16 years following Prince Harry’s birth. The name William doubled in popularity across the same period

4. In the years after the births of key royal family members, the following royal names increased in popularity – Zara (20 fold), Anne (7 fold), Andrew (2.5 fold), Beatrice (6 fold) and Eugenie (2 fold)


Australia’s leading family history website, Ancestry.com.au contains more than 930 million records in its Australian and UK collections, including the Australia Birth, Marriage and Death Index, Australian Convict Transportation Registers, Australian Free Settlers, Australian Electoral Rolls, New South Wales SANDS Directories, as well as the most complete online collection of England, Wales and Scotland Censuses and the England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes.

Ancestry.com.au was launched in May 2006 and belongs to the global network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Ancestry.com Operations Inc.), which contains six billion records. To date more than 20 million family trees have been created and 2 billion profiles and 45 million photographs and stories uploaded.(Figures current as of 28 October 2010)

The Ancestry global network of family history websites:www.ancestry.com  in the US,www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.ca  in Canada, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.dein Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.frin France, www.ancestry.sein Sweden andwww.jiapu.com in China.