Keira Knigthley takes her husband’s last name eight years later

Finally, he has made up his mind to do it. Keira Knigthley has started the bureaucratic process to sacrifice her last name in favor of that of her husband, James Righton, whom she married in 2013. Anglo-Saxon custom always prioritizes the male over the female after the wedding, something with which the actress had not compromised so far. In 2019 and on the occasion of the renewal of his passport, Knightley valued the possibility of starting the procedures although he backed out at the last moment, he explained to the magazine Glamour. Now, for reasons that have not transpired – perhaps he will explain it in his next interview – he has begun the procedures.

British musician James Righton and his wife, British actress Keira Knightley, arriving at the 20th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards


It dates back to the Normans

The actress has been carried away by a British tradition that dates back to the High Middle Ages but with which countless current women feel perfectly comfortable

The actress has been carried away by a British tradition that dates back to the High Middle Ages but with which countless current women feel perfectly comfortable and that does not imply any conflict with their feminism. They even point out that each woman can choose or not, unlike in the past: in fact, it is a voluntary matter and does not translate into any practical advantage. On the contrary: it is a mountain of paperwork to change one last name for another in Social Security, banks, credit card companies, the voter registry and, indeed, the passport office.

In Britain, almost all married women (90% according to a 2016 survey), abandon their original surname and take that of their husband. “Which is quite surprising, since this tradition comes from patriarchal history, from the idea that a married woman became one of man’s possessions,” says Simon Duncan, professor emeritus at the University of Bradford, UK. Kingdom, who has investigated this custom in the study Understanding Tradition: Marital Name Change in Britain and Norway.

He had a very bad time shooting sex scenes with Michael Fassbender in ‘A Dangerous Method’.


In the United States, the same custom prevails, although in recent years many couples have opted for “namemeshing”, that is, merging his and her surnames with a hyphen. However, it is estimated that only 20% of American women choose to retain their birth name after marriage, a lower percentage than in the 1970s and 1980s, according to data collected by Stephanie Reid, Ph.D. of Regent University. . In any case, although adopting the husband’s last name is the common norm in Canada, Ireland, India, New Zealand and Australia, it is not the heritage of Anglo-Saxon countries or historically linked to the British Empire. It happens in more places.

Feminist commitment

He has spoken out against the abuse of retouching using Photoshop, has criticized the patriarchal power of Hollywood

That the actress has given up after eight years of resistance does not detract from her feminist commitment: she has often spoken out against the abuse of Photoshop retouching, has criticized the patriarchal power of Hollywood and criticized the artificially radiant appearance of Kate Middleton hours after giving birth in the book Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Another Lies, by Scarlett Curtis.

The poster of 'King Arthur' with the retouched bust of Keira Knightley

The poster of ‘King Arthur’ with the retouched bust of Keira Knightley


During a recent episode of the Chanel Connects podcast, Knightley reminded filmmaker Lulu Wang and producer Diane Solway of something she said last year in an interview with The Financial Times, confessing that after being a mother for the first time in 2015, she included a clause in her contracts not to shoot sex scenes, as she no longer felt comfortable. In fact, he referred to having lived through horrible scenes and the need to get drunk to shoot them.

Now she has added the following: “It is partly vanity, I am too vain and I have had two children, so I prefer not to be in front of a group of naked men, but it is also because of the masculine gaze. I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the look of a man. “Different would be one whose nude had to do with motherhood and acceptance of the body – as long as the director is not a man – because in that case, his skin would be a simple accessory from a greater story.