Let's take a look back in history at the names of the rulers of Scotland in specific. I chose Scotland and this time period because of the variety of interesting names of their rulers. Now, this isn't going to be a history lesson. I won't pretend to be well versed in European History. This is strictly about the interesting names.
House of Alpin:
843-858 Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed)
858-862 Donald I
862-877 Constantine I
889-900 Donald II
900-943 Constantine II
943-954 Malcolm I
971-995 Kenneth II
995-997 Constantine III
997-1005 Kenneth III
1005-1034 Malcolm II
House of Dunkeld:
1034-1040 Duncan I
1057-1058 Lulach (The Fool)
House of Canmore:
1058-1093 Malcolm III Canmore
1093-1094 Donald III (Donald Bane)
1094-1094 Duncan II
1094-1097 Donald III (Donald Bane)
1107-1124 Alexander I
1124-1153 David I
1153-1165 Malcolm IV
1165-1214 William I
1214-1249 Alexander II
1249-1286 Alexander III
1286-1290 Margaret ('Maid of Norway')
House of Balliol:
1292-1296 John Balliol
1332-1346 Edward Balliol
House of Bruce:
1306-1329 Robert I (The Bruce)
1329-1371 David II
House of Stewart:
1371-1390 Robert II
1390-1406 Robert III
1406-1437 James I
1437-1460 James II
1460-1488 James III
1488-1513 James IV
1513-1542 James V
1542-1567 Mary, Queen of Scots
House of Stuart:
1567-1625 James VI (James I of England 1603-1625)
After this, Scotland fell under England's rule. For more names of rulers after this time period, take a look at our post about the names of Male Rulers of England, and our list of Female Royalty Names too.
Here are the most usable names from above and a little more information about each of them:
Kenneth - This king's name was Anglicized from the Gaelic Cináed meaning "born of fire". Kenneth also comes from the Gaelic name Coinneach, derived from caoin meaning "handsome". In the US, Kenneth had the most births within the mid-1950s. It was a Top 100 name from 1898-2001. In 2015 it ranked at #199.
Donald - From the Gaelic name Domhnall, Donald means "ruler of the world". It comes from the old Celtic elements dumno meaning "world" and val meaning "rule". This name has been very popular in Scotland. In the US, it was most popular from the 1930s-1950s. In 2015, there were 690 boys given the name for a rank of #441.
Constantine - This name comes from the Latin name Constantinus, which comes from Constans meaning "constant, steadfast". Constantine has been around since the early 1900s in the US, but it has never been popular. There were 91 boys given the name in 2015.
Malcolm - Malcolm comes from the Scottish Máel Coluim meaning "disciple of Saint Columba". This king killed Macbeth who had usurped the throne and murdered his father. Shakespeare's characters in "Macbeth" (1606) are based on these kings. Malcolm has always ranked in the Top 1000, and its best year was 1992 at #206. In 2015, it was #420.
Duncan - This name is derived from the Gaelic name Donnchadh which means "brown warrior". There were two kings of Scotland with this name and one of them was also featured in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. Duncan has always ranked in the Top 1000 but it's never ranked all that popular. It ranked best in 1997 at #378. It was at #793 in 2015.
Edgar - Edgar comes from the Old English elements ead meaning "wealth, fortune" and gar meaning "spear". Edgar ranked well back in 1918 but declined a bit after that until the mid-1980s. Currently, Edgar ranked at #317 in 2015.
Alexander - Alexander comes from the elements alexo meaning "to defend" and aner meaning "man". This is a common name that was used for Scottish kings as well as those from Poland, Yugoslavia, Russia and others. Alexander has always been used in the US, but it really peaked in 1993 with over 20k births. It's been a top 10 name since 2008, currently ranking at #8.
David - David comes from the Hebrew dwd which means "beloved". Beside the king of Israel, there were two Scottish kings named David along with many other important men through history. David has always been a Top 50 name. It even ranked at #1 in 1960. In 2015, it is down to #18.
William - William comes from wil meaning "will, desire" and helm meaning "helmet, protection", both Germanic elements composing the name Willahelm. William has been used well by the Normans, the English, the Scots and others. William was a Top 10 name from 1880 to 1975, including many years at #2. It dipped to the teens and twenties but it is currently ranked back up at #5.
John - John comes from the Hebrew Yochanan meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". It is possibly the most popular name for boys in history, having been given to a fifth of all English boys in the Middle Ages. In the US, it has always been well used. It was #1 from 1880-1923 and remained in the Top 10 until 1986. In 2015, it is down to #26.
Edward - Edward comes from the Old English elements ead meaning "wealth" and weard meaning "guard". Edward has been used throughout Europe in various spellings. It ranked in the Top 100 in the US from 1880-1997. It's slowly inching downward now and it ranked at #158 in 2015.
Robert - Robert comes from the Germanic name Hrodebert which contains the elements hrod meaning "fame" and beraht meaning "bright". Three kings of Scotland had this name, including the pictured Robert the Bruce. In the US, Robert was the #1 name from 1924 to 1939. It was in the Top 10 all those years until 1989. It remains in the Top 100, ranking at #63 in 2015 which is the lowest it has ever ranked.
James - James comes from the Latin Iacomus which comes from the Greek Iakobos, which comes from the Hebrew Ya'aqov. It is said to mean "supplanter". King James ruled Scotland before becoming James I of England in the House of Stuart. As a name, James ranked in the Top 5 for 100 years (1880-1980), it dipped to the teens, but James was back up to #7 in 2015.
Queens:Margaret - Margaret comes from the Latin margarita, derived from the Greek margarites meaning "pearl". There were Queen Margarets in Scotland and Denmark, and a princess in Hungary. Margaret has always ranked well in the US. It's biggest year was 1921, but it was in the Top 10 until 1939. It left the Top 100 in the 1970s and 1980s, falling to 2015's rank of #154.
Mary - Mary ultimately comes from the Hebrew Miryam. It's meaning isn't certain but theories include "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". It's also possible that Mary comes from the Egyptian name mry meaning "beloved". There have been two Queen Marys of England and one of Scotland. In the US, Mary has been extremely popular, it was #1 or #2 from 1880-1965. Mary left the Top 100 in 2009, but still ranks at #124 in 2015.
Which of these royal names do you love the most?
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