Estelle (given name)

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Gender female
Word/name Latin, Occitan, French
Meaning star
Other names
Related names Stella, Estella, Esther

Estelle is a female given name whose immediate origin is French, and for which the generally accepted meaning is star.[1]

Saint Estelle was a martyr who purportedly lived in Aquitania in the third century AD although the earliest references to her date from the Middle Ages; the earliest formats of this Saint's name: Eustella/Eustelle and Eustalia, obviously morphed into Estelle due to association with estela: Occitan for star, of which Estelle is essentially a phonetic rendering, and star is the meaning generally assigned the name Estelle, although the format Eustalia suggests the name's true root is the Greek eustales: well-groomed.[2] Despite the reported popularity of the saint [3] the name Estelle was afforded little evident usage prior to the publication in 1788 of the pastoral Estelle by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian: the first famous historical namesake: Estelle Fornier (née Dubœuf), muse of the composer Berlioz, was born in 1797.[4] Best-known overall in France due to model Estelle Lefébure (born 1966),[5][6] the name Estelle has proven substantially more popular in Belgium than France.[1]

Estelle came into vogue in the British Isles in the mid-19th century likely as a variant of the similar Stella which had recently become fashionable: Estelle was also in effect promoted via utilization by a number of novelists who wrote in English, most notably by Charles Dickens in variant form for the character Estella Havisham in his novel Great Expectations published in August 1961 after being serialized weekly from December 1860 with Estella being introduced in Chapter 8 on 19 January 1861. The general scholarly consensus is that in choosing Estella as the name of the remote love object of his novel's focal character: Pip - whose full given name is Philip - , Dickens was evoking Sir Philip Sidney's poetic wooing of the unattainable Stella in Astrophel and Stella (1591). [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] Several other widely read authors of the day gave the name Estelle to major characters in their novels, Catherine Gore in Romances of Real Life as early as 1829 although most examples date from mid-century, such as Annie Edwards in Creeds (1859), E.D.E.N. Southworth in The Lady of the Isle (1859), and Augusta Jane Evans in St. Elmo (1866).[13]

Estelle and Estella remained popular from roughly 1880 to 1930, with a marked decline in usage since 1960.[1] Estelle has overall been more popular in the United States than in the British Isles, with there being at least two prominent American namesakes: writer Estelle Anna Lewis (1824–1880) [14] and society woman Estelle Skidmore Doremus (1830–1905),[15] who significantly predate the name's mid-19th century British vogue.

Estelle is also used as an alternative form of Esther.[16]

The newborn Princess' parents Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel chose their daughter's names in consultation with King Carl Gustaf:[17] in announcing the Princess' given name the King termed Estelle "a name which is very close to the heart of the Princess [Victoria] and also the family." [18] It was widely speculated that to honor World War II hero Count Folke Bernadotte - great-great-uncle and godfather to King Carl Gustaf - the newborn Princess was named after the Count's wife: the former Estelle Manville of Westchester County New York,[19][18][20] an idea endorsed by Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, longtime Stockholm Palace spokeswoman: (quote) "The Crown Princess was always interested in matters relating to ending conflict...Folke Bernadotte in that area was a pioneer." [21] However this has not been confirmed by any member of the Swedish Royal Family.

The name Estelle made headlines in February 2012 when King Carl Gustaf of Sweden announced Estelle as the given name chosen for his newborn granddaughter - see Princess Estelle, Duchess of Östergötland - , news which the Daily Mail reported under the banner She's already a star! [22] referencing the standard interpretation of Estelle as star. The choice of a French name with only a peripheral profile in Sweden - a 2012 year-end tally would estimate that a total of 663 Swedish residents bore the given name Estelle [23] - touched off a flurry of media debate with writer Herman Lindqvist, who has acted as a historical consultant to the Swedish Royal Family, expressing the extreme negative position thus: "Totally unexpected and inappropriate...No name for a future ruler...Estelle sounds like the name of a nightclub queen".[24] Conversely top Scandinavian royalty pundit Kjell Arne Totland (no) reacted positively, calling Estelle "a very nice name, rich in tradition yet modern".[24]

List of people with the given name Estelle[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Estelle". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Sabine Bring-Gould. The Lives of the Saints
  3. ^ Roberts, Margaret (1881). France. London: Gilbert & Rivington. p. 176. 
  4. ^ "Berlioz in Meylan". The Hector Berlioz Website Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Le prénom Estelle". Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Ins and Outs of French First Names". Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  7. ^ Alexander, Michael (2013). A History of English Literature. NYC: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 95. ISBN 9780230368316. 
  8. ^ Bauer, Matthias (2014). "Dickens and Sir Philip Sidney: desire, ethics and poetics". In Norbert Lennartz, Dieter Koch (eds). Texts, Contexts and Intertextuality: Dickens as a reader. Göttingen de: V&R Unipress. doi:10.14220/9783737002868.21. ISBN 9783847102861. 
  9. ^ Braun, Heather L. (2012). The Rise and Fall of the Femme Fatale in British Literature, 1790–1910. Lanham MD: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 70. ISBN 9781611475623. 
  10. ^ Meckier, Jerome (December 2009). "Great expectations, "a good name?"". Dickens Quarterly. Johns Hopkins University Press Baltimore MD. 26 (#4): p.248. 
  11. ^ Reed, Jon B. (Autumn 1990). "Astrophil and Estella: A Defense of Poesy". Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900. Rice University Houston TX. 30 (#4): pp. 655–678. doi:10.2307/450565. JSTOR 450565. 
  12. ^ Schor, Hilary M. (2004). Dickens and the Daughter of the House. Cambridge Cambs.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521440769. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Portraits of American Women Writers". The Library Company of Philadelphia Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "Estelle Emma Skidmore". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  16. ^ Thomas W. Sheehan. Dictionary of Patron Saints (2001) OSV Inc Huntington IN p.103
  17. ^ "Prinsesse Estelle "lyder som en natklubdronning"". Berlingske Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "The New Future Queen of Sweden's Name & Title". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  19. ^ "Naming Princess Estelle a "political statement" by Swedish Royal Family". The Local: Sweden's news in English Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  20. ^ "Sweden royal heir baptized as pomp dislodges scandal". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  21. ^ "Estelle - Ärger um Namen von Schwedens kleiner Prinzessin". Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Estelle - reactions to a royal name giving in Sweden" (PDF). Centrul de Onomastică Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary: "Klingt wie der Name einer Nachtklub-Königin"". Focus Online Retrieved 31 March 2016.