Keira Knightley: My Name Is a "Spelling Error"

Keira Knightley Hollywood Film Awards - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Keira Knightley Hollywood Film Awards - H 2014

'The Imitation Game' star reveals why her first name has the unusual e-i combination

As the famed mnemonic for English language students goes: "I before E except after C and also if you’re writing down the name of U.K. actress Keira Knightley."

After years of confusion as to whether the Oscar-nominated The Imitation Game actress was simply trying to excite auto-spell checkers, the truth surrounding the unusual spelling of her first name has been revealed.

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"I was meant to be named Kiera after a Russian ice skater who was on the TV one day," the actress told Elle magazine. "My dad fancied her and nicked the name for me. But it was my mum who went to register my birth, and she accidentally spelled "ei" instead of "ie" because my mum's crap at spelling."

When her mother returned home with the birth certificate, Knightley’s father, it seems, wasn’t entirely overjoyed.

"Apparently, when she came back he said: ‘what the f---? You’ve spelt her name wrong'," she explained. "What were they going to do though? Once it’s on the piece of paper, it’s on the piece of paper. And that’s me. A spelling error."