Its source is Rögnvaldr, an Old Norse name meaning "Ruler's counselor."
Ronald emerged among the Scots, and was not widely used in the rest of the English-speaking world until the end of the 19th century. It has had its ups and downs since then.
Most recently, the influence of a ubiquitous hamburger-selling clown has been counterbalanced by that of Ronald Reagan, the former film star who was twice elected to the American presidency.
Older English speakers might send young prospective parents to the video store to check out one of the films of British actor Ronald Coleman (1898-1958), whose suaveness and romantic demeanor influenced use of the name earlier in the century.