Health: More baby Dianas after Paris death

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The Independent Online
The number of babies named Diana increased dramatically in the weeks following the death of the Princess of Wales - although Diana still did not make it into 1997's top 50 names for girls.

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

1) Chloe

2) Emily

3) Sophie

4) Jessica

5) Megan

6) Hannah

7) Rebecca

8) Lauren

9) Charlotte

10) Georgia

11) Amy

12) Lucy

13) Emma

14) Bethany

15) Katie

16) Shannon

17) Laura

18) Olivia

19) Eleanor

20) Courtney

top 20 boys' names in 1997

1) Jack

2) James

3) Thomas

4) Daniel

5) Joshua

6) Matthew

7) Samuel

8) Joseph

9) Ryan

10) Jordan

11) Luke

12) Connor

13) Liam

14) Benjamin

15) Callum

16) Alexander

17) Harry

18) George

19) William

20) Adam