Like it or loathe it, royal anniversaries – like royal births – have had a noticeable influence on the naming of British children. It’s a well-established fact that births, accessions to the throne and other anniversaries often see a spike in popularity for that name in the same year. However, in honour of current events, here I want to concentrate on the rather less common name Jubilee.
The earliest occurrence of the name I have found so far is a girl named Jubilee Eddington, who was baptised in Thornbury, Gloucestershire on 4 July 1787. This wasn’t a royal anniversary of any kind – the reigning monarch was George II, who acceded to the throne in 1760 – so perhaps her name simply indicates her parents’ happiness at her birth?
Following the introduction of civil registration in 1837 (coincidentally the year Queen Victoria acceded to the throne), the name was given to just a handful of children over the next 49 years, with only Jubilee Ann Ayrton born in the year of Victoria’s Silver Jubilee. I am intrigued by Jubilee Waterloo Mash (1878) and Jubilee Waterloo Reeves (1883), as their births have no obvious connection with the battle of 1815 – any suggestions for their source would be welcome!
However, the name really takes off with Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, followed by her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, when the name was given to multiple children of both sexes. The combination Jubilee Victoria/Victoria Jubilee is predictably popular, along with Diamond Victoria and Diamond Jubilee/Jubilee Diamond, but the more imaginative variations I found include:
Victoria Jubilia (1887)
Elizabeth Jubilant (1887)
Dulcie Jubileena (1887)
Alice Jubilata (1887)
Elizabeth Jubiletta (1887)
Jubilee Queen (1897)
Royal Jubilee (1897)
Elizabeth Jubilea (1897)
The overwhelming majority of little Jubilees were born in England and Wales – there were just a dozen in Scotland and only two in Ireland.
Both aniversaries also inspired other royal/patriotic names, including countless Victorias, Alberts and Queenies, but also some more imaginative creations:
Queenette Charlotte (1887)
Royal Victory (1887)
The late 19th century was pretty much the peak of the name Jubilee in the UK. It had a brief burst of popularity in 1935 for George V’s Silver Jubilee, and to a lesser extent for the current queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, but on a far smaller scale than during Victoria’s reign. Will we see a revival this year? That remains to be seen!