Keira Knightley: my name is a spelling error

Moral of the story? Never let a bad speller register a baby's name...

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Am I the only one who has to Google Keira Knightley’s name to check I’ve spelt it right? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve written about the Oscar-nominated actress, but is it “ei” or “ie”? I never have faith in my conviction… 

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So it’s reassuring to hear that the unusual spelling of Keira’s name was actually a mistake, courtesy of the 29-year-old’s mother, Sharman Macdonald. 

“I was meant to be named ‘Kiera’, after a Russian ice skater who was on the TV one day,” the actress tells 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.”

And it turns out Keira’s dad, actor Will Knightley, wasn’t too pleased with the mix-up…  

“Apparently, when she came back he said: ‘WHAT THE F**K? You’ve spelt her name wrong!’ 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.” 

Knightley – who stars as Joan Clarke opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the Alan Turing biopic – also spoke about why she’s a supporter of non-conformity: “Break the rules. I’ve always hated the idea that you should be wearing this or that, because it makes me feel like I’m getting everything wrong. I hated it at school, and I don’t want it as an adult. 

“If you want to wear a f**king flowerpot on your head and that makes you happy, then wear a f**king flowerpot on your head.”

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Watch our exclusive interview with Keira Knightley and the Imitation Game cast below: