I’ve mentioned it before here, and I’ll say it again, my family don’t do so-called family names, and I can name a handful of relatives with very strong opinions why. No one is named after another family member, and to be honest, whilst good for not tying each other down to certain names, it does leave many wonderful names out-of-bounds. I know I could probably use them if I really wanted, but I feel myself resistant to it.
This sets the scene for this series of posts, because there are some really nice names in my family tree that deserve some love. And we’re going to kick it all off with Clotilde.
She’s a recent addition to the family tree, and in part, my fault she’s now off-limits. My sister was recently confirmed, and yup, her confirmation name is Clotilde, as suggested by yours truly. She put me in charge of suggesting name for her, and originally settled on Beatrice, if not for her love of the character in Much Ado About Nothing. I then suggested Clotilde off-handedly, partly due to the irony of what she stood for, which has a connection with her favourite game as a child. She liked it, and the rest is history.
Do I regret suggesting Clotilde? In part, yes, just as I have regretted suggesting Jack as a name for my younger brother, since I now have a theory that Jack can be a sibling for anyone: Jack and Jill; Jack and Zuleika; Jack and Sybil; Jack and Enzo. See what I mean? I remember reading a book as a child, with a Jack/ Rowan/ Stroma sibset. For this reason, I love Jack. But I can’t use him, because that’s exactly what my brother is called.
Clotilde is the French form of Clotilda, which itself comes from the Germanic name Chlotichilda, composed of two Germanic elements:
- hlud, meaning famous
- hild, meaning battle
St. Clotilde was the wife of the Frankish king Clovis, whom she converted to Christianity from Paganism. She was born in 475 AD in Lyon, as the daughter of King Chilperic II of Burgundy, and sister of Chrona. Her father was slain by his brother Gundobad in 493 AD, after which Clotilde went into exile.
She married King Clovis in 493 and together they had 5 children:
- Ingomer (died young)
- Chlodomer (495-524) – King of the Franks at Orléans
- Childebert I (496-558) – King of the Franks at Paris
- Chlothar I (497-561) – King of the Franks at Soissons. King of all Franks from 558.
- Clotilde (d. 531) - Married Amalaris, King of the Visigoths
On the death of their father in 511, the four sons of Clovis divided his kingdom up between them, the other being Theuderic, from King Clovis’ first marriage.
What makes this name an ironic choice for my sister comes in what St. Clotilde stood for: mercy, and my sister’s favourite game as a child was called mercy. You may have heard it called Peanuts, or even Uncle, but those who haven’t heard of it, fear not, the link will take you to a page all about it. For those who may not want to link click, basically, mercy is a game of strenght, involving the two opponents interlocking hands, and twisting them, causing pain until one shouts mercy, as a sign they give in. The other player wins. It sounds pretty agressive, but then you’ve never seen how rough ‘n’ tumble the football (soccer) game can get in the school playground. I have the scars to prove it.
But St. Clotilde isn’t the only famous bearer of this name, there are also two Princesses who were named Clotilde, the first one being Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Born to Prince August and Princess Clémentine of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1846, married in 1864 to Archduke Joseph Carl of Austria, she had seven children:
- Archduchess Elisabeth Klementine Klothilde Maria Amalie of Austria (1865-1866)
- Archduchess Maria Dorothea Amalie of Austria (1867-1932)
- Archduchess Margarethe Klementine Maria of Austria (1870-1955)
- Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria (1872-1962)
- Archduke László Philipp Marie Vincent of Austria (1875-1915)
- Archduchess Elisabeth Henriette Klothilde Maria Viktoria of Austria (1883-1958)
- Archduchess Klothilde Maria Amalie Philomena Raineria of Austria (1884-1903)
The second Princess Clotilde is from the Savoy family. Born Princess Ludovica Teresa Maria-Clotilde of Savoy in 1843. She is notable as the wife of Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte in 1859. The marriage was a political one, and perhaps as a result turned out to be an unhappy one. They had three children.