20 Baby Names Inspired By French Royalty

Jess Richardson | May 3, 2019 Pregnancy
20 Baby Names Inspired By French Royalty
Image: iStock

Baby Names Inspired By French Royalty
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There's something so profoundly classic about naming a kid after kings and queens, isn't there? We love that we're able to draw from this source, as well as whatever other sources we feel like, when it comes to naming our children. Interestingly, in France itself, French law strictly limited the names that new parents could choose from for naming their own kids! The list was primarily made up of the names of Catholic saints. The law changed only as recently as 1993, now allowing parents to choose whatever name strikes their fancy -- unless they choose something that the courts deem strictly unfit. A few names that have gotten returned for reevaluation recently: "Fraise," which is the French word for "strawberry," and a sweet little baby originally dubbed "Nutella." 

For those looking for more inspiration from antique or classic names, think about a Victorian baby names. These predominately English-derived names are beautiful and worth considering bringing back out to play. It's so nice to not be the third person in class with the same name, after all! We also love old-fashioned nicknames for girls, which is such a great idea because of how strong the nickname game was back in the day -- some of these names don't sound anything like the name they were originally derived from! For folks looking for more regal-sounding names, we love names inspired by The Crown, which are elegant names grandparents will also love. And for the Francophiles out there, consider getting inspiration from Paris itself to draw directly from the City of Lights. 

  • ADELA

    1
    Adela
    iStock

    Adela of Champagne, born in 1140, was the Queen of France and the third wife of Louis VII. She gave birth to the only son her husband had, and was politically active and savvy, and even ruled for a time when her son was away on the Third Crusade. 

  • TRISTAN

    2
    Tristan
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    Tristan is a gorgeous boys' name, and John Tristan, Count of Valois, was a French prince born in 1250. He grew up in the Holy Land and died young, at the age of 20, while on the Eighth Crusade -- but not before bucking his father's wishes for him to become a priest and instead marrying the Countess of Nevers.

  • CATHERINE

    3
    Catherine
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    Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman by birth, but who became the Queen of France when she married King Henry II. The mother of three French kings, she had strong influence over policy decisions after her husband's death, and became arguably the most powerful woman in 16th-century Europe.

  • PHILIP

    4
    Philip
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    King Philip II of France, born in 1165, was known for being handsome and for loving good parties with women and wine. He also transformed France into a power in Europe, and checked the noblemen's power while giving more power to the people. Our kinda guy. 

  • ANNE

    5
    Anne
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    Anne of Austria, born a Spanish princess, married King Louis XIII and acted as regent of France to her son, Louis XIV, for eight years -- overruling her husband's will, which would have limited her powers. She had significant influence of her her son's rule even after her regency ended. 

  • HENRY

    6
    Henry
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    Henry IV was known as the Good King Henry or Henry The Great, and was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon. He was known for many great works in his time during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, including promoting education, public works, and the arts.

  • JOHANNA

    7
    Johanna
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    Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France before the French Revolution, was born Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna, an archduchess of Austria. Early in her life, she was famously beloved by the French people, but then of course she did lose her head eventually. 

  • LOUIS

    8
    Louis
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    There were 18 (or sometimes 19, depending on who's counting) men named Louis who were the King of France, starting with Louis I the Pious in 814 A.D. It's a classic French boys' name and certainly the most commonly associated with kings, including Louis XIV, known as the Sun King.

  • RENÉE

    9
    Renée of France
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    Renée of France, born in 1510, was the daughter of King Louis XII, and an important part of the Protestant Reformation. She was the mother of five, and a childhood friend of Anne Boleyn, Henry II of England's famous second wife.  

  • FRANCIS

    10
    Francis
    iStock

    Francis I of France was known for being a great patron of the arts. He also formed the Franco-Ottoman alliance of 1536 with the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Turkish Empire, who was Muslim. This was a controversial decision given the different religions of the two world powers, but Francis was a wise one. 

  • JACQUELINE

    11
    Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
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    Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut was a Bavarian Duchess who became a Dauphine of France in the 15th century. She lived an eventful life and had several husbands, the last of whom was the one she married out of love. 

  • CHARLES

    12
    Charles
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    Charles VII of France was king when Joan of Arc appeared on the scene in the 1430s, during the Hundred Years' War, and she helped him crush the English troops, which boosted French morale. Eventually, they took back most of France from the English.

  • ELEANOR

    13
    Eleanor
    iStock

    Eleanor of Castile, called "Eléonore" or "Aliénor" in French and "Leonor" in Spanish and Portuguese, was first Queen of Portugal and later was the Queen of France. She was a conduit between the king and the Holy Roman Emperor, and helped negotiate peace between countries. 

  • HUGH

    14
    Hugh
    iStock

    Hugh Capet made Paris the seat of power in France, and began to control the country from this city. He was also the first ruler to refer to himself as the King of France, rather than King of the Franks.

  • BEATRICE

    15
    Beatrice
    iStock

    Beatrice of Burgundy was the heiress of all the Bourbon estates -- and her son became the first Duke of Bourbon, which is where the name of the House of Bourbon got its start. She was known for being exceptionally beautiful.

  • ARMAND

    16
    Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti
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    We just love the name Armand. Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti was intended to take orders, but chose not to become a priest. Known for being a mystic and interested in alchemy, he was also a devout Catholic. 

  • CLEMENTINE

    17
    Clementine
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    Princess Clémentine of Orléans, was the youngest daughter of Louis-Philippe I. She was known for her beauty and accomplishments as a young woman, and as a mother, was tireless in her pursuit of securing children's futures. 

  • ANTOINE

    18
    Antoine
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    Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, was executed by Napoleon -- which made him much more famous in death than he was in life. His killing appeared in Tolstoy's War and Peace as well as Dumas's The Last Cavalier.

  • ROBERT

    19
    Robert
    iStock

    Robert the Strong was born in 830 A.D., and while he was never king, two of his sons were. He defended the northern coast from Viking invasions, although he was eventually killed in battle with them. 

  • BLANCHE

    20
    Blanche
    iStock

    Blanche of Castile was Queen Consort of France in the 13th century, and governed France as regent when her son was too young to reign. She showed herself an excellent leader, and maintained peace in the kingdom.

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