Celebrity Names Blog

The Future Princess of Wales Says Goodbye to Nickname

The Future Princess of Wales Says Goodbye to Nickname
Barcroft/Fame Pictures

After years of speculation, Prince William and Kate Middleton have announced their engagement and the date of their wedding--April 29, 2011. But that isn't Middleton's only big news; the bride has also decided to drop "Kate" in favor of Catherine, her given name.


And she's wasted no time making the switch: mere hours after accepting the prince's proposal, the future princess signed their hotel guest book in Kenya as "Catherine Middleton." The name change was her decision and was reportedly made because she would like to be taken more seriously.


It may also be an attempt to distance herself from the catty nickname, "Waity Kaity," which the British media bestowed upon her in reference to the many years she has waited for a proposal. Whatever her reasons, are we the only ones who've never thought Kate is unsophisticated or childish? Now, Katy is a name we like, too, and yet that's a nickname we can see someone feeling sounds perhaps a little young. (In fact, just a few months ago, The Name Lady advised a Katie looking to take on a more adult name.)


But Kate, well, just think of all the smart, fabulous women named Kate we've been graced with over the years. The unparalleled Katharine Hepburn went by Kate. Kate Spade has made an entire career of selling chic sophistication. Though we'll never know how they manage it, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Kate Capshaw and Kate Bosworth exude effortless class and charm even when the paparazzi catches them in their sweats. The only two questionable Kates we can think of are Kate Moss and Kate Gosselin, but even their sometimes shady pursuits haven't tarnished the name. And who can forget Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise? It has been widely reported that Tom calls Katie "Kate" because he thinks it sounds more grown up.


But we get it. Hollywood isn't the same as being invited to join the royal family, and Princess Catherine does have a lovely ring to it. April 29, the couple's wedding date, also happens to be the feast day of St. Catherine.


We do wonder how Kate's parents feel. After all these years, do they prefer their daughter's nickname? Or, are they happy to see her embrace Catherine? How would you feel? Have  you thought about how you'll feel if and when your child decides to adopt a nickname, go by their middle name or take on some other variation of the name you worked so hard to choose?


If you haven't already, be sure to read our post on the Baby Name Wizard discussing the big names of 2010. And check out the comments, too; several of you think Kate should be a contender!




Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

November 24, 2010 2:51 PM
By Mme.g (not verified)

It would be really helpful if you could link to the original news story - I can find plenty of news about the wedding date and venue, but not too much about the name decision. Thanks!

November 24, 2010 8:32 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think that Middleton's choice is an important reminder to parents that children can always go by nicknames (whether you want them to or not!), but it is still best to give them a full name so that they have that option too when they get older.

I know quite a few little girls named "Kate" just Kate, and I don't really get it. I don't understand the appeal of the name (it immediately calls to mind the rhyming "hate") and I also think it would be much wiser to give the child the flexibility that Middleton obviously desired.

November 25, 2010 2:00 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know a number of people who've tossed aside their nicknames (which some had for the first 20 or 30 years of their lives) for their "full" names: Debbie is now Debra, Kathy is now Kathleen, etc. I can get used to calling them by their "new" names, however, a nickname is part of one's identity and distancing oneself from it seems odd to me. I am called by both my full name and its nickname. I am also called JR (my first and last initials). I hope that Catherine is still called Kate by those who know and love her.

November 30, 2010 1:37 PM
By Meghan Eileen (not verified)

Both of my brothers started going by nicknames in their 20's - Patrick became Paddy (which to me sounds younger), and Michael became the more "grown-up" Mike. But the nicknames never stuck with me, I still use their full names.

November 30, 2010 2:42 PM
By Shammy (not verified)

Our daughter is named "Lily," not Lillian, or Liliana, because we didn't want a name that came with a nickname. Her middle name is longer, though, and we chose it with the possibility in mind that she may someday prefer to use it, or even a shortened version of it, as her primary name (as I do, myself).

November 30, 2010 4:09 PM
By Genie Apple (not verified)

Mme.g : here's a somewhat interesting article i recently read about Kate Middleton's name, it mentions the name decision, too, albeit fleetingly.

November 30, 2010 8:53 PM
By Clemency (not verified)

I'm one of those Kates that was called just Kate, plain Kate, so for me it's not a nickname but my real, full name. And I've always liked it that way, as it's unusual among most women who call themselves Kate.
Kate may be a nickname for many Catherines, Katherines, Kathryns, Kathleens and Caitlyns, but that doesn't alter the fact that the name has been around for many centuries, a lot longer than many names most would consider 'proper' first names. I think Kate has definitely earned its stripes as a stand-alone proper name.
Do I wish I had the option of using Catherine instead as I've got older? No, never. My mother's name is Catherine (nickname Cathy) and I don't feel like a Catherine...it's a completely different name to mine. Kate is a perfectly serious name with a venerable history, and I have to say that I'm surprised at Kate Middleton for changing back. It's not like she was going by Muffy or Bitsy or Jinty, after all.

December 3, 2010 1:16 PM
By Bue (not verified)

The switch to Catherine by the media actually happened because the first question at the photo op was what she liked to be called. She said she doesn't mind either, but her family call her Catherine.

March 31, 2013 1:39 AM
By Cuc Taflinger (not verified)

Educational posting, it is nice to finally find some worthwhile writing online, I am honestly grateful to come across a blog that is not full of the usual trash, bless you.

June 29, 2013 3:33 PM
By CretLancert (not verified)

September 3, 2014 6:05 AM
By url (not verified)

One thing I just want to say is that your design is so perfect! You certainly know how to get a girls attention! I'm glad that you're here.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.