Charlotte, after all, is quite the name. Regal and poised, but still accessible, Charlotte is the feminine form of Charles, via the French. It’s feminine, but not fussy. Elegant, but at home on a child, too. It shortens to Charlie or Lottie, but requires no nickname at all. And it shares Charles’ appealing meaning: free man.
Charlotte Brontë makes it literary; Sex and the City’s Charlotte York makes it polished and sophisticated.
England’s adorable Princess Charlotte only increases the name’s appeal. In fact, it entered the US Top Ten the week Will and Kate’s daughter was born, and shows no signs of leaving the top of the charts. As of 2021, it sits at a sky-high #3 in the US, behind only Olivia and Emma.
Another factor: pop culture influences matter. Long before Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, there was Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III. She’s familiar thanks to the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, adapted from a long series of historical romance novels by Julia Quinn. And now, limited series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story will look at the (heavily fictionalized) life of the real-life Charlotte, who married into the British royal family in 1761.
TOP of the CHARTS
With so many people in love with the traditional, yet versatile name Charlotte, others probably feel like this name? It’s a little bit taken.
One possibility might be to consider other feminine forms of Charles: Carla or Karla, Carol, Carlotta, Carlie, Charlene or Charline are all baby girl names in the same family.
But they’re not necessarily a style match for elegant, spirited Charlotte.
So let’s look for some great baby names like Charlotte that could substitute or be a perfect sibling name.
There’s been a Queen Adelaide, just like Charlotte, both from the same era. Both queens share their names with cities, too. And they’re both tailored, but feminine, choices. So there are reasons aplenty to see Adelaide as a substitute for Charlotte. Another strength of this name: there’s really only one way to spell Adelaide. (Okay, there’s Adalaide, too. But the numbers give this one to the ‘del’ spelling by a landslide.) It’s far less common than Charlotte, but every bit as lovely. At the moment, Adeline is topping the charts – especially if all of the various spellings are combined – but Adelaide remains distinctively different.
Beatrice doesn’t sound very much like Charlotte, does it? But it has the same aristocratic pedigree. I mean – the current Queen of England has a granddaughter called Princess Beatrice! And it’s the kind of smart, versatile name that combines femininity and a certain innate strength. You kind of expect Beatrice to take on the world, but maybe after she’s enjoyed a nice cup of tea.
Caroline makes a logical substitute for Charlotte. After all, they’re cousins – sisters, really, as they both come from Charles. They’re both French; Charlotte from Charles, and Caroline from the Latinized Carolus, all descended from the Germanic Karl. While both count as classics, Charlotte has rocketed to the top of the charts, while Caroline has stayed quiet. It’s a Top 100 choice, make no mistake. But it’s not quite as white hot as the version that ends in -lotte.
Celeste shares a first initial with Charlotte, as well as an ending sound. And yet, the two names are different enough that they might belong to sisters. Celeste looks towards the heavens, a name with the same roots as celestial. It might feel slightly frillier than Charlotte, but I think both are at home in a white pinafore, gently old-fashioned names that update to the twenty-first century with ease.
Colette makes this list because, like Celeste, it’s a C name with a ‘t’ ending. But perhaps Colette seems a little breezier than Charlotte. Still, I think the tailored but feminine sound, the literary ties, and the quietly French roots make this a logical Charlotte alternative.
Virtuous and restrained, Constance sounds both elegant and sensible – a tough combination! Despite being a name that everybody knows, no one is using it. And it shares a certain quality with Charlotte – maybe it’s a sense that they’re both nineteenth century revivals, or maybe it’s their spare sounds. Would people be surprised to meet a baby Constance? Absolutely! But it would wear wonderfully well for a child born today.
Eleanor and Charlotte are clearly similar names. They’re traditional, tailored, and worn by women of accomplishment. But it’s possible that Eleanor is so popular that it makes a poor substitute for Charlotte. Then again, evergreen classics like Elizabeth, Mary, and Grace make logical sister names for Charlotte, so why not Eleanor?
Florence recently returned to the US Top 1000, but in England & Wales? It’s been a Top 100 pick for over a decade. It’s equally popular elsewhere in the English-speaking world, suggesting that maybe this place-name with eco-vintage appeal might catch on in the US once more. Besides the ties to every bloom in the garden, Florence brings to mind world-changing Florence Nightingale, as well as the legendary Italian city.
The Italian Francesca gets more attention, but it’s restrained, lady-like Frances that feels a little more like Charlotte. It’s also the middle name of Princess Charlotte’s grandmother, the late Diana Frances Spencer, better known as the Princess of Wales.
For some parents, the appeal of Charlotte is boyish nickname Charlie. If that’s the case, then Georgia is another classic name inspired by royals with a built-in boyish short form. The most common nickname for Georgia is probably Georgie – though Gigi, Gia, Geordie, Gio, and George all work, too.
Another French diminutive of a classic masculine name, Josephine became famous thanks to Napoleon’s beloved, born Marie Josephe, but known to history as the first Empress of the French. The name feels jazzy and spirited, a vintage choice at home in the modern world. Like Charlotte, it comes with plenty of built-in nicknames – a treasure trove of them! – and yet it’s not nearly as popular – at least not yet.
Strictly speaking, Margot is more like Lottie than Charlotte. It started out as a diminutive form of Marguerite, the French form of Margaret. Style-wise, though, it’s Margot that matches Charlotte. They feel effortlessly French, sophisticated enough for a scientist or a judge, but carefree enough for a child. While Margot has risen in popularity in recent years, it remains a less-often heard alternative to the mega-popularity of Charlotte.
Often used as a filler middle, Marie really deserves better. Once again, Marie’s roots are impeccably French. And classic, too, since it’s a form of Mary. All of this makes the name an ideal choice for parents after something simple, instantly familiar, and yet seldom heard.
A mix of traditional favorites Mary and Rose, Rosemary is more than that, too, thanks to the herb. It’s a vintage name at home in the twenty-first century, just like Charlotte.
A sophisticated French name, Simone is the feminine form of traditional Simon. It’s maybe a little edgier, worn by figures like singer Nina Simone and philosopher Simone Beauvoir. But maybe that’s more like Charlotte’s status in the 1990s before it returned to the top of the popularity charts.
Evelyn could be an obvious substitute for Charlotte, but it’s also in the US Top Ten. Instead, consider the equally sharp and tailored Vivian, or even the French Vivienne.
What are your favorite names like Charlotte?
First published on November 26, 2018, this post was updated on April 6, 2020; June 5, 2021; July 16, 2022; March 14, 2023; and May 20, 2023.