For most of last year an average of three babies a month were named Diana, but in September, 29 girls became namesakes of the Princess. Chloe claimed the number one spot, followed by Emily, Sophie, Jessica and Megan, according to the Office of National Statistics, which released its annual charts yesterday. Besides Diana's death, another event which appears to have influenced parents' choices occurred in EastEnders. Grant Mitchell, the soap's bad-boy, and his barmaid wife Tiffany's choice of the name Courtney for their daughter may account for the fact that this year Courtney appears in the top 50 for the first time, leaping 34 places to number 20. Another explanation might be the fact that actress Courtney Love, widow of Nirvana star Kurt Cobain, has cleaned up her image.
Boys' names remained far more consistent than girls', with Jack remaining the most popular boys' name for the third year running. The new entry, Joe, at 49, could be attributed to the rising fame of EastEnders heart throb Paul Nicholls, who played the disturbed but appealing Joe in the BBC soap last year.
top 20 girls' names in 1997
top 20 boys' names in 1997