Monday, April 29, 2013

Diverted by a Name: Jacquetta

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I am currently reading a historical fiction novel based on English royalty in the 1400s. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory is the story of a woman who became a critical piece in what would be called the War of the Roses. Names in novels are always of interest to me, as are English royalty names, and in this book it is the main character's name that had me diverted. She was the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort to King Edward IV: Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

According to Behind the Name, Jacquetta is the British female diminutive of Jacques, which is the French form of Jacob or James. Other diminutives are Jacqueline (English and French) and Jacquette (French). While Jacqueline has been the favored version in the States, Jacquetta had been consistently recorded by the SSA from 1916 through 2002. The most Jacquettas were born in 1988 (55). Jacqueline is also declining in usage lately, but with the emergence of Etta as a given name and nickname, Jacquetta could be a fresh choice.

Behind the Name also lists Bine and Coba as alternatives to Jacquetta from other languages. Bine (ranked #79 in Slovenia) is Danish and short for Jacobine. Since Jacobine is pronounced yah-ko-BEE-nuh, I would think Bine is pronounced BEE-nuh. Coba is Dutch and short for Jacoba (ranked #341 in the Netherlands). And since Jacoba is pronounced yah-KO-bah, I would think Coba is pronounced KO-bah. There is also the Italian version, Giachetta, which is pronounced jah-KET-tah and is the female diminutive of Giacomo (James).

Another interesting note about the title character: Jacquetta of Luxembourg and her husband Richard Woodville, 1st Earl of Rivers, had 14 children. Their names were Elizabeth, Lewis, Anne, Anthony, Mary, Jacquetta, John, Richard, Martha, Eleanor, Lionel, Margaret, Edward, and Catherine.

What do you think of Jacquetta?


1 comment:

  1. I am a huge fan of the Shakespearean version Jacquenetta but your version is equally delightful.


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