Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Name of Thrones: Belgium

To expand my knowledge of names from around the world, I'll be periodically focusing on modern monarchies and the names of royal family members. I'm going to try to focus on names that aren't heard much in the US, rather than hash out whats popular across cultures.

Feel free to suggest countries in the comments!

This week, to Belgium!

Mathilde - Queen of Belgium
While German cognate Matilda has been sweeping the English-speaking countries lately, Mathilde hasn't been on the US charts since 1911. Pronounced "ma-TEEL", it's arguably more delicate than the German version, but keeps the strong meaning: "battle-mighty". If you're looking for something French but think Michelle, Elaine and Danielle are too popular, Mathilde might be for you!

Astrid - Princess of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este
Very strong and very Scandinavian, this would be perfect for a headstrong little girl. It means "divinely beautiful", and was recently the name of a character in the children's favorite How to Train Your Dragon, voiced by America Ferrera.

Amedeo - Prince of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este
While this name is most familiar to English speakers as Amadeus, Mozart's middle name, I think this Italian form would fit right in today. It means "lover of God", and is also the first name of painter Modigliani. Next to Giovanni, Alessandro or Leonardo, why not Amedeo?

Aymeric - Prince of Belgium
A distant French relative of Emery, I hadn't heard of this name until starting my research. But ultimately, I don't think this name is too foreign. The Ay-beginning sounds like Abraham or Aidan, and the -ric ending ties it to Frederick or Eric (a total name nerd like myself could point out that spelling it Aimeric would translate literally to "lover of Eric" - not a bad way to honor a father or grandpa). The meaning is "brave" or "industrious", and I can picture an Aymeric as a force to be reckoned with.

Joachim - Prince of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este
Actor Joaquin Phoenix uses the Spanish spelling, but Joachim makes the sound softer and more Biblical. The name would follow the Jacob-Joshua-Joseph pattern, but individualize it while keeping the nickname Joe. An excellent option!

Laetitia - Princess of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este
Very light and happy, Laetitia means "gladness". The tia-ending keeps it feminine, while the ae-combination in the beginning makes it more exotic than Letitia. A little Laetitia would stand out in a crowd of Lily's, Layla's and Lucy's!

Are these names too foreign? Or are they usable here in the US?

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