Soraja is not used for sure (it sounds very different from Soraya
). The use of Soraya
comes basically from Soraya
Esfandiary, precisely, known in Spanish as Princesa Soraya
), never as Reina Soraya
) or Emperatriz Soraya
) (at my knowledge), as sometimes she was called in English.
She was very popular in Spain because of the gossip press (which is very influential in some Spanish social classes), not only because of her story but because she was a regular visitor of Marbella.
Since it is a Persian name and not an Arabic one, it is not surprising that it was completely unknown before the 20th c. Moorish were Arabic, Syrian, Berber and Slavic people, but not Persian, and the used names were Arabic even among Berber Moorish and Muladi Moorish (Muslims from Iberian Christian
The INE (Instituto Nacional de Estadística) doesn't offer the possibility of detailed searches by name or other information that the 50 first names for every decade in the 20th c. (or the 100 first for the last five or six years), so I can't assure that Soraya
was completely unknown before Princess Soraya
and Shah's wedding. But, since the IDESCAT (Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya) has more detailed data, it is possible to extrapolate the Catalan results for the whole state.
Before 1950, Soraya
was completely unknown and between 1950 and 1959 it was very seldom used (4 or less times in Catalonia). The use of the name appeared in the 60s (#618, 47 times) and grew in the 70s (#208, 324 times), being only remarkable in the 80s (#96, 737 times), coinciding with her time as socialite.
In the 90s and from 2000 to 2007, the name declined (#112, 402 times and #133, 222 times) as her appearances in the gossip press.