Henning is a diminutive of Henrick, itself a variant of Henry. Henry originates in Germanic languages and means "ruler of the house". It has been one of the most popular masculine given names over centuries, and in different spellings all over the world. It was a favorite name in royal circles, given to numerous kings of England, France and Castile, as well as to six Holy Roman Emperors. More recently, the famous bearers include Henry James, a British writer, and Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. Henry functions as a surname as well, mainly in French language.