Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Births, Famous Faces

George is set to be the fourth most popular baby name of 2014 in the UK, with an additional 1,400 predicted to be born next year compared with 2013. If Australia continues its trend of taking baby name inspiration from the UK Royals, there could be a sharp rise in the popularity of George locally.

We have found a royal naming trend, with the birth of a royal baby typically increasing the popularity of that name by almost a third (32%) the following year, equating to an average of 1,400 additional babies in the UK born with the same royal name.

With 4,340 George’s born each year, this trend would indicate a total of 5,740 being born in 2014 – pushing it from 12th position to the fourth most popular baby name for a boy.

The royal naming pattern was uncovered through analysis of historic birth indexes available on our site, detailing every baby born in England and Wales between 1837 and 2005. The number of babies born with the same name as a royal baby was compared with the year that royal baby was born, and the following year. Every royal from King Edward VII (born in 1841) to Princess Eugenie (born in 1990) were included in the study.

The research uncovered that:

  • Prince Andrew’s birth was found to have the biggest impact in actual terms, with the number of ‘Andrews’ born in 1961 increasing by more than 5,500 compared to the year of his birth (1960);
  • In percentage terms, the birth of Zara Phillips saw the biggest rise, with the number of ‘Zaras’ increasing by 92% after she was born;
  • Other royals to have a significant impact on birth rates include King George VI (increasing the popularity of that name by 1,431 the year after his birth), Princess Margaret (3,760), Princess Anne (1,507), Peter Phillips (2,607) and Prince William (2,581);
  • The youngest royals, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie, all had only a small impact in actual numbers, however in percentage terms the increase was significant (expanding the popularity of the names by 55%, 37% and 69% respectively);
  • On average male royal babies were found to have a bigger impact in real terms (resulting in an average of 1,664 instances of the name the following year, as opposed to 1,010 for females), yet female royal babies had the biggest proportional impact (increasing the popularity of the name by 43 per cent, compared to 24 per cent for boys). An explanation for this could be that female royals tend to have more unusual names – like Eugenie and Zara.
  • King George III was the first monarch of Australia, and the last monarch in America.

In fact, the only royal born in the past 170 years whose name decreased in popularity after their birth was King George V, with the number of ‘Georges’ born in 1866 falling by more than 7,000 compared to the year before. But rather than revealing that the monarch was unpopular, it is thought to be down to the impact of London’s last Cholera pandemic on the population.

Derived from the Greek name Georgious, which means farmer, George has been a British staple name for centuries and is the third most common name for English monarchs (6 times) since 1066 after Henry (8 times) and Edward (8 times).

Brad Argent, Content Director, from Ancestry.com.au comments: “The countless birth, marriage and death indexes available at Ancestry.com.au are not only provide key records for family history research, but allow us to look back over the pages of history and observe some interesting trends.

“Prince George of Cambridge not only has a name steeped in royal traditional but shares a moniker with the country’s patron saint - fitting given how his arrival has united the country over the past few days.”