From Princess Aurora and Prince Philip to the newest Princess Merida, Disney films have featured a succession of memorable royal heroines and heroes — a few may even serve as baby-naming inspiration to us common folk.
Adella is one of King Triton’s daughters in The Little Mermaid, a sister to Alana, Andrina, and the movie’s heroine, Ariel — the King clearly believed in same-letter sibsets. Adella, more often spelled Adela, is a rarely heard variation of Adele, which has been recently revived due to the popularity of the single-named singer.
Princess Aurora is the romantic heroine of Sleeping Beauty, and her name projects that same romantic aura. In ancient myth, Aurora was the lovely goddess of the dawn, whose tears turned into the morning dew. Aurora, which can have the peppy nickname Rory, is now the most popular it has ever been, standing just outside the Top 200 on the Social Security list.
Belle is the French word for beautiful, which is an apt description of the lovely heroine of Beauty and the Beast, one of Disney’s spunkiest princesses. Through the influence of the Twilight movies, it’s Bella (not to mention Isabella) that has taken off with baby namers, but Belle has a lot to recommend itself, including references like ‘Southern belle’ and ‘belle of the ball’.
Prince Caspian is a leading heroic figure in several of the Chronicles of Narnia books by C. S. Lewis and in the Disney-released film interpretations of those books. Lewis was inspired by the name of the Caspian Sea, the salty body of water between Asia and Europe. Although this evocative name isn’t found in most baby name books or on any popularity lists as yet, it has definite potential for wider use.
The Little Mermaid’s Eric is one Disney Prince who actually hails from a real country — Denmark — and one who has real-life marine skills and duties. Eric is the single most popular Scandinavian name ever in the United States: it has been consistently in the Top 100 since 1950, and brings to mind the authentic Viking hero Erik the Red.
Flynn Rider, born Eugene Fitzherbert, is the adventurous bandit in Tangled who, after a requisite number of exploits and escapades, marries the heroine, Rapunzel. Flynn is a lively Irish surname with a strong hint of Old Hollywood glamour. Its meaning of ‘reddish’ would make it a perfect choice for a little carrot-top.
In the 2007 mostly live action film Enchanted, Giselle is the name of the ingenuous princess, portrayed by Amy Adams, living in the fantasy animated kingdom of Andalasia. Giselle is a French name with a graceful image, through both its association with the ballet of that name, and its similarity to the word gazelle.
The exotic Jasmine is a young princess from the enchanted land of Agrabah in the 1992 Disney version of Aladdin and its two sequels. The fragrant floral name Jasmine was first used as a girls’ name around 1900, then faded, until Aladdin’s heroine appeared onscreen, when it burst back into popularity, rocketing up to Number 23 in 1993.
Princess Merida, the main protagonist of Disney/Pixar’s Brave, is a feisty, athletic, independent medieval Scottish princess with wild red hair. Her name, however, is not Scottish but Spanish, a place name in both Spain and in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Merida has the distinction of being the first Pixar Princess.
Prince Naveen is the charming — if opportunistic — free-spirited and musically talented royal of an unnamed European principality who, in The Princess and the Frog, has the bad fairy-tale luck of being turned into a frog. Naveen — also spelled Navin — is an Indian name meaning new.
Brave and fearless as a storybook prince should be, Philip, in the 1959 Sleeping Beauty, was undoubtedly given that name to evoke the then young and handsome British Duke of Edinburgh. Philip, the name of one of the twelve apostles, is a solid boys’ classic found in literature from Jane Austen to Dickens to Raymond Chandler. Currently, the Phillip spelling is slightly more popular.
Disney’s first African-American princess, Tiana has to go through some difficult transformations before she unites with Prince Naveen in the 2009 The Princess and the Frog. The delicate name Tiana evolved as a diminutive of names like Tatiana and Christiana, and was already well used way before the film’s debut, coming onto the pop charts in 1975; it’s currently at Number 334.