But did you know that several long-ago royal couples from a very different region of the world gave similar boosts to a handful of Arabic baby names in the U.S. — as far back as the 1930s?
In January of 1938, 17-year-old King Farouk of Egypt married 16-year-old Farida Zulficar in Cairo. LIFE made Farida a cover girl in February. The magazine even correctly defined her name as “unique” in the accompanying story.
Right on cue, the baby name Farida appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data:
- 1940: unlisted
- 1939: unlisted
- 1938: 6 baby girls named Farida [debut]
- 1937: unlisted
- 1936: unlisted
The name dropped off the charts the next year, but returned a few decades later. These days, dozens of U.S. babies are named Farida every year.
Interestingly, Farida Zulficar’s first name at birth was not Farida. It was Safinaz. (The components safi and naz mean “pure” and “pride” in Arabic.)
Why the name change? Because Farouk’s father Fuad had decided that all members of the royal family should have identical initials (to match his initials, naturally). Hence, the five children he had with his second wife were named Farouk, Fawzia, Faiza, Faika, and Fathia. To fit the pattern, Safinaz’s name was changed to Farida before her marriage to Farouk.
Farouk and Farida went on to have three F-named daughters — Ferial, Fawzia, and Fadia — before divorcing a decade later. Several years after that, Farouk was deposed.
Do you like the name Farida? Do you like it more or less than Safinaz?
- Farida of Egypt – Wikipedia
- “King of Egypt Marries His Prettiest Subject” LIFE 14 Feb. 1938.
Image: © 1938 LIFE