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Moms vs. Kate Middleton

I moved to the USA a decade ago from England with my American husband. Our son is named Jack, now we are expecting a girl and I would like to give her a name with some British tradition. I'm a little afraid to name my daughter Katherine/Catherine with a nickname Kate/Cate because of Kate Middleton. I don't want to seem like I'm following in everyone's footsteps by naming my child after a new celebrity.

- Confused_About_Kate

Did Kate Middleton steal my baby name? I have always wanted to name my daughter Kate after my mother, but now I am worried it will become too popular. What do you predict? Is Kate going to be the Jennifer of the 2010s?

- PleaseDon'tKate

There's no bigger celebrity stage than a royal wedding. Catherine "Kate" Middleton's special day made her a global sensation, with round-the-clock coverage of her every move and every outfit. But how much does Kate the Celebrity rub off on Kate the Baby Name?

Skittish parents, I have good news for you. The golden rule of celebrity baby naming is in your corner: it's not about the fame, it's about the name.

Yes, Kate is a fashionable name, especially in the United States. (In the U.K. Kate enjoyed a big '70s-'80s run which may limit its trendiness today.) And yes, if you give birth to a Kate right now you can expect to field questions about the royal bride. But a year from now that should all be in the past. The name Kate is simply too strong, too clean, and too classic for any celebrity to take ownership of it...even a princess. Just look at this very brief list of Kates and Katherines for proof.

Cate Blanchett

Kate Hudson

Kate Moss

Kate Smith

Kate Spade

Kate Winslet

Kiss Me Kate

Catherine the Great

Catherine of Aragon

Catherine Zeta Jones

Katharine Cornell

Katharine Graham

Katharine Hepburn

Katherine Anne Porter

Katie Couric

Katy Perry

Clearly, this is no Miley or Oprah. Kate and Katherine, in all their forms, have so much tradition behind them that they've developed a teflon resistance to celebrity attachments. The former Ms. Middleton merely adds to the name's illustrious history.

As for becoming the "next Jennifer," you needn't worry. There's little chance that Katherine will rise to become even the Katherine of a generation ago, let alone a Jennifer. So if you, the parent, can cope with a few months of princess questions, your daughter, the Kate, should have a long, happy life with her timeless name.


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June 6, 2011 3:12 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Both Kate and Katherine have served me well (since 1981).

June 6, 2011 9:00 PM
By Kate (not verified)

Ditto (since 1980). :-) I have always loved my name for many reasons. I don't think Princess Kate will touch its timelessness!

June 7, 2011 3:12 AM
By janfi (not verified)

Princess Diana was probably the world's most popular woman from the early 80's to mid 90's, and the name Diana didn't become overly popular.

June 7, 2011 1:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I was named Katherine was I was born and I *hated* being one of five or six Kates, Katies, etc in any social setting. The name is so boring! I legally changed it as soon as I could.

June 7, 2011 3:48 PM
By Kate (not verified)

I am in my 50's and was an Irish Kathleen, but growing up as a Kate I did not have much company (lots of Kathy's instead- so I was a little exotic), however I agree its never been a burden. Even during the whole Caitlin/ Katelynn craze, it stood up well. It's fem but strong; historical and modern. Men like it. Very few nicknames, especially of one syllable, wear so well over time. Way better than Sue or Anne or Jo or Jen. I also know a Kat, and based on this website Kathy will be coming back since it is now a great-aunt name, so you will have your options.

June 7, 2011 5:11 PM
By mk (not verified)

I love the name Catherine. It's a name that's been around for years and won't be going away anytime soon. I don't think Kate Middleton is going to make it any more popular than it already is, and the name has always been common enough that I wouldn't assume a child born now was named after her.

June 7, 2011 6:56 PM
By Megan W. (not verified)

I teach ninth grade and this year in one section (20 kids) I had 5 girls with some variation of Catherine. Thankfully, no two were exactly the same! This is name is timeless. I think that's part of what makes it such a good princess name.

June 7, 2011 8:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

As the 8th Kate/Katherine/Kathryn/Katie/Kat (b. 1994) in my grade, the name Kate doesn't seem like it could be "owned" by any one celebrity. Its a very classic, timeless name, but is DEFINITELY popular.

June 8, 2011 1:13 AM
By Top 10 Name of the 70s (not verified)

What is wrong with being associated with a lovely elegant young woman like Kate Middleton??

I am a "Kathryn" Kate - it was way worse trying to tell people there is no "e" or "i" in my name! I know that spelling is almost common now.

I have always prefered "Kate" to any other contraction, but if you would rather, your "Katherine" could be Kitty, Kathy, Kat or Katy.

Kate is not a "trendy" name even though it may be a trend in the US now. I'm sure that growing up in the UK you found (as here in Australia) that there was a Kate in every year at school (and an Elizabeth, Victoria, Sarah and yes, a Jennifer!) - but it does not smack of the rush of Avas, Olivias, Stephanies or, God forbid, Maddisons that mark a trendy name.

It's a classic - and one that would just as well suit your great-grand-daughter as your own child.

June 8, 2011 6:32 AM
By Maggie (not verified)

We have been worried about the same thing -- will everyone assume our Katherine is named after the princess? We were considering the name for our first daughter, and should have used it then before Kate M. was on the scene! Still not sure if we will take the plunge, Katie seems maybe too popular for us (with all the Kaitlyns etc). But Katherine is such a great name overall!

June 9, 2011 10:58 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Sorry, but Kate is already pretty boring to me. I have known SO MANY Kates from my generation (growing up 80s/90s) on down to new babies. I agree that Katherine is an impeccable classic, but personally I think it's time for a new nickname of choice, Kit being my favorite.

June 18, 2011 6:04 PM
By another Kate (not verified)

I'm a Kate and the ONLY person who commented on the relation between my name and Princess Catherine's name was my mother (and since she's a fan of the royals, she was thrilled). If anything, Kate Middleton increases the name's timelessness and its class. She definitely doesn't own it the way Diana does.

January 11, 2012 3:44 AM
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