‘Our daughter has the most popular name of 2022 it bridges our two cultures’

A mum has explained why she chose to give her little girl a name that is now top of the 2022 baby name charts – and its special significance for her family. A list published by Babycentre revealed that the name Sofia is now the most popular girls’ name in the UK, knocking Olivia off the top spot.

Back when Maria Bataller gave birth to her little girl Sofia, seven years ago next Valentine’s Day, the gorgeous name was already a strong favourite among parents-to-be, but Maria and her partner Warren had chosen it for a very personal, meaningful reason.

Maria, 37, who is the co-founder of Capikooa, a company that makes children’s balance boards, now lives in Cambridge with Warren, Sofia, and their five-year-old son Nolan. The couple has been together for 12 years, falling in love at around the same time Maria moved over to the UK from Spain in 2010.

She hasn’t however forgotten the country where she grew up. Many of Maria’s friends and family members can’t speak English, and when the time came for her and Warren to start a family of their own, they wanted to choose a moniker that would feel familiar to loved ones on both sides of the ocean.

The name Sofia, which is a name of Greek origin meaning ‘wisdom’, is also a very fashionable choice in Spain, meaning Maria’s relatives would feel just as at home pronouncing it as Warren’s relatives would. It was Maria who suggested the name, after deliberating over other cross-cultural options such as Lucia and Victoria

Maria told the Mirror: “It was very, very important, especially for me. For my family, it was important.

“My parents don’t speak English and some of my friends don’t. It was really important to me that they were going to pronounce the name properly and that it would have a meaning for them as well.”

According to Maria, her friends and family were very happy with her daughter’s name, although she added this ‘wasn’t so much [the case] with my son’s name [Warren]’.

Maria added: “People think it’s a beautiful name. I mean, people sometimes write it wrong, with the ‘ph’ instead of the ‘f’ or sometimes they call her Sophie. Actually, I think my daughter doesn’t mind it because it is beautiful anyway, whether it’s Sophie, Sophia, or Sofia. I probably mind more than her!”

Having always thought of Sofia as being an ‘old-fashioned name’ that wasn’t very popular, Maria was pleasantly surprised to learn it was so widely loved.

For Maria, ensuring her daughter stays connected to her Spanish ancestry is very important. Although the ties with the Spanish royal family hadn’t been the key reason for her decision, she finds this aspect ‘interesting’ and likes the historical association with Queen Sofia of Spain, who reigned until the 2014 abdication of her husband, King Juan Carlos I.

Most importantly of all, of course, little Sofia is said to be very proud of her name, which Maria says suits her very well indeed.