Looking for a Romanian heritage name other than Nadia? Seeking an intriguing royal choice beyond Mary and Margaret?
Thanks to Photoquilty for suggesting one option: our Baby Name of the Day, Ileana.
Whatever her origins, Ileana has a regal air in Romania. First there’s a mythological princess, a dark-haired, brave, faithful, and hard-working girl who triumphs over a monster. Okay, there’s a noble prince who does the heavy lifting. But Ileana seems to have a little more gumption than the average fairytale figure.
The 20th century gave us a real life Princess Ileana of Romania, the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand I. She married an Austrian Archduke. Like her mythological namesake, Ileana’s accomplishments speak of diligence and a sensible outlook. She brought the Girl Guide Movement to her country and worked with the Red Cross, too. During World War II, not only did she work as a nurse, she converted her family’s castle to a hospital. While she ultimately gave up her titles and lived in exile, Ileana continued to live an exemplary life. Late in her years, she took religious orders and established a monastery in Pennsylvania.
Hollywood royalty also has claimed the name. Angelina Jolie played FBI profiler Ileana Scott in 2004 thriller Taking Lives. There’s also Ileana Douglas, an actress with a long list of credits, from Cape Fear to Ugly Betty. She’s the granddaughter of two-time Oscar-winning actor Melvyn Douglas.
There are also Spanish and Indian uses of Ileana that lend her a certain international vibe. The only thing that might give parents pause is Ileana’s similarity to a cluster of similar-sounding names. The chart-topping Ella has encouraged adoption of picks like Eliana (#411 in 2009).
But if you’re looking to honor your roots in Romania, or maybe that study abroad semester in Bucharest, Ileana is a viable option.