Baby Sheeran: Lyra was 150th most popular girls’ name, but Antarctica is rare

EMBARGOED TO 1800 FRIDAY JULY 19 Undated handout photo issued by the Official Charts Company of Ed Sheeran celebrating toppin
EMBARGOED TO 1800 FRIDAY JULY 19 Undated handout photo issued by the Official Charts Company of Ed Sheeran celebrating topping this week's Official Albums Chart with his album, No.6 Collaborations Project.

The choice of Antarctica as a middle name for Ed Sheeran’s daughter could make her one-of-a-kind.

No babies in England and Wales have been given the frozen southern continent as a first name in the past 24 years, according to official data.

Sheeran confirmed on Tuesday that his wife Cherry has given birth to their first child – a daughter named Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran.

According to the most recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data no children have been given the first name Antarctica since its records began in 1996.

But because the ONS only lists first names registered, it is possible other children may also have Antarctica on their birth certificates.

The ONS data also shows that Lyra was the 150th most popular girls’ name in England and Wales last year, appearing 342 times.

It has grown in use, as when the ONS records were started in 1996, there were no Lyras registered at all.

Three babies were named Lyra in 1999, and its previous highest position was in 2018 when it was ranked 142nd, with 362 babies.

The name has links to music and astronomy, as it derives from the Latin word for lyre, a small harp, and describes a constellation in the northern sky containing the star Vega.

It is also the name of the heroine in Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books, the first of which – Northern Lights – was published in 1995.

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