Chelsea Clinton Welcomes a Baby Girl—Here’s What “Charlotte” Means

What’s in a name? Here’s a look at the language, the popularity, and even the desserts that go with it.

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Photo by AP Photo/Office of President Clinton, Jon Davidson

Around dinnertime on September 26, Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mezvinsky welcomed their first child: Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky. In a post to her Twitter account, the new mother said that she and Marc “are full of love, awe and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter.”

Although we can’t know why they chose the name, we do know that it’s originally French, and is the female counterpart to Charles, which means “manly.” Charlotte carries with it a few interpretations: Some say it means “freedom,” and others say it is simply the opposite of Charles, or “petite” and “feminine.”

The couple picked a relatively popular name: Charlotte has ranked seventh most popular in 2014 so far, according to the BabyCenter database, a bump up from its eleventh-place finish in 2013. The name declined in popularity in the late 1900s, and between 1979 and 1996 fewer than 500 babies had the name—but since 2008 it’s been in the top 100 girl names. The name maintains popularity overseas, especially in Australia, where it has been a favorite since 2011.

Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky joins author Charlotte Brontë, Sex and the City’s Charlotte York, educator Charlotte Manson, several British queens, and of course, Charlotte of the eponymous spider web fame.  When it comes time for her first birthday, they can skip the cake and serve a Baked Charlotte—an eighteenth-century baked pudding dish, supposedly named for King George III’s wife. Luckily for them, we have the perfect recipe.

The name sounds regal, doesn’t it? If Kate and William end up having a baby princess in the spring, the odds are 25:1 that she will be named Charlotte, according to UK bookmakers, Ladbrokes. Don’t worry Chelsea—we’ll know you had the name first!