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This Royal Family Member's Name Is Surprisingly Getting More Popular

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The British royal family touches many aspects of culture ― from style choices and toy trends to magazine features and hit TV shows. There’s also evidence to suggest that the royals’ names influence parents’ baby name choices, even across the pond.

The name Diana got a major popularity boost in the United States in the early 1980s, after Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles. In fact, Diana rose on the Social Security Administration’s official list of popular baby names from No. 118 in 1980 to No. 75 in 1981 and then again to No. 63 in 1982.

Similarly, the names George, Charlotte and Louis rose on the list in the years following the births of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. And recently another name of a royal family member has been climbing up the popularity chart: Camilla.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (formerly Camilla Parker Bowles), has not always been the most popular member of the royal family, but over the past seven years, her name has seen a rise ― from No. 374 in 2015 to No. 257 in 2020. The name fell off the list of Top 1000 baby names in the U.S. in 1979 and didn’t reappear until 2001, but since then, the trend has been generally upward.

But is this boost because of, in spite of or completely unrelated to the duchess? We asked baby naming experts to share their thoughts.

The Royal Connection

The increase in the popularity of the name Camilla might seem surprising to those who remember Camilla Parker-Bowles’ former reputation as the “most hated woman in Britain,” but that doesn’t appear to be relevant to most parents’ choices today.

“I believe the generation that are now of childbearing age have little or no memory of Diana and the scandal of Camilla being the ‘other woman,’” said BabyNames.com founder Jennifer Moss.

Royal family members at Trooping the Colour, the queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019, in London. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in mint green, stands before Prince Charles. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand at left with their children George, Charlotte and baby Louis.  (Photo: Chris Jackson via Getty Images)
Royal family members at Trooping the Colour, the queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019, in London. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in mint green, stands before Prince Charles. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand at left with their children George, Charlotte and baby Louis. (Photo: Chris Jackson via Getty Images)

Royal family members at Trooping the Colour, the queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019, in London. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in mint green, stands before Prince Charles. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand at left with their children George, Charlotte and baby Louis. (Photo: Chris Jackson via Getty Images)

“Parents recognize her as a bearer of the name but are not taking the royal family into consideration when it comes to the name Camilla,” echoed Sherri Suzanne, a baby name consultant and the founder of My Name for Life. “A whole new generation of parents have grown up since Princess Diana’s passing and Charles’ remarriage. When considering Camilla as a name, there is not much discussion among my clients about the royal family in this case.”

Interestingly, the name Camilla ranks lower in England and Wales (at No. 446) compared with the U.S., so perhaps the association plays a bigger role in the duchess’s homeland. Laura Wattenberg, founder of namerology.com and author of “The Baby Name Wizard,” noted that the British royal family seems to hold more sway over British baby names.

“For instance, the names of the young princes, George and Louis, are many times more popular in England than the U.S.,” she noted. “Meanwhile, the name Camilla is twice as popular in the U.S. as in England, and I don’t think Camilla Parker Bowles factors into most American parents’ thinking.”

Baby name consultant Taylor Humphrey pointed out that Camilla isn’t the only part of the Camilla Parker Bowles moniker rising in popularity.

“Parker is also sitting high-and-mighty in the Top 100 Most Popular Names, at No. 95 for boys and at No. 128 for girls,” she said. “While Bowles has never been ranked in the Top 1000, I am seeing a sweeping new trend of ‘surnames as first names,’ which includes these plural-sounding last names, like Townes, Rhodes, Collins, Briggs or Banks.”

The Reason For The Popularity Boost

“I see the name Camilla rising in popularity as part of a trend towards long, feminine names with great nickname options,” Humphrey said. “From the poetic, three-syllable Camilla, one can easily derive Cam, Cammy, Ami, Milla or Millie.”

Wattenberg noted that style is the key factor driving the rise of Camilla in the U.S.

“It’s a light, elegant classic that was extremely uncommon in parents’ and grandparents’ generations,” she explained. “That balances a fresh, contemporary sound with a grounding in tradition. It’s the same fashion recipe behind other fast-rising names, like Amelia and Oliver.”

The Amelia comparison was echoed by Moss.

“Many times the sounds of names become trendy ― think of the Aiden, Brayden, Jaden trend,” she noted. “Camilla has similar sounds to very popular names, including Mia, Amelia, Emily, Mila and Caroline.”

The ‘Camila’ Effect

Even more popular than Camilla is Camila, the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian version of the name. In 2020, Camila was the 11th most popular name for baby girls born in the U.S. (Meanwhile, Camila ranked lower in England and Wales at No. 974.)

Singer Camila Cabello's first name has catapulted to No. 11 on the most popular names list.  (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images)
Singer Camila Cabello's first name has catapulted to No. 11 on the most popular names list. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images)

Singer Camila Cabello's first name has catapulted to No. 11 on the most popular names list. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images)

“Names that work in Spanish and English have been on the rise in the U.S. for a while now, as we see with other popular Top 100 names, like Luna, Isla, Mateo and Santiago,” Humphrey said. “It’s easy to see why Camila has risen to the top of the charts: It’s versatile, multicultural and delightfully mellifluous. It rolls right off the tongue.”

Moss pointed to pop culture as part of the reason for the rise of Camila among parents today.

“I think more of an influence would be pop singer Camila Cabello for that age group,” she said. “Camila with one L is more popular in Latinx culture, as the two Ls would make a Y sound. And, yes, because of the influence of Camila Cabello, the one-L spelling is rising on the charts.”

Pamela Redmond Satran, a co-founder of the popular baby names website Nameberry, added that Matthew McConaughey’s wife, Camila Alves, has also brought some attention to the name.

“Camila Cabello is definitely the star inspiring the popularity of the names Camila and Camilla,” she added. “I’d say most parents are choosing the name despite Camilla Parker Bowles, not because of her.”

If Camila enters the Top 10, perhaps Camilla will continue to climb in tandem, but either way, it seems that Cabello has more of an effect on parents these days than the future queen consort.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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