Pet form of Wilhelmina , at its peak of popularity in the latter half of the 19th century, when several names were introduced into Britain from Germany in the wake of Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha , whom she married in 1840 . It lost favour in the 20th century, partly because German names in general became unacceptable in Britain during the First World War, and later perhaps also because of association with cartoon characters such as Minnie Mouse (in Walt Disney's animations) and Minnie the Minx (in the Beano children's comic). More recently, however, it has made a modest recovery, influenced perhaps by the British actress Minnie Driver ( b. 1970 as Amelia Driver ).
Dictionary of First Names © Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges 1990, 2003, 2006.