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What’s in a name? For royals, a lot it turns out

A woman wearing a betting shop odds board, printed with Royal Baby names, walks past the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, where Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth, in London July 17, 2013. The first child of Prince William and his wife Kate is due in July, with the couple saying they have no idea of the sex of the royal baby, who will be third in line to the British throne.


Tuesday was a day of firsts: a milestone glimpse of the glowing Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their first-born, who in turn offered his inaugural regal wave on his way to his first ride in the family Range Rover. The only first missing, actually, was the baby's first name.

Despite the fact that the royal baby is just one day old – and that it may be days or even weeks before his name is officially announced – the third in line to the British throne is already the subject of heated speculation over what his name should be. British bookmakers are reporting a huge surge in royalty related bets, CNN reports, taking in over $1.8-million from people around the world who are wagering on everything from the royal baby's name to his future career.

Ladbrokes took 50,000 bets in the hours after the Duchess of Cambridge went into labour Monday morning. Company spokesman Alex Donohue said the public rushed to put small amounts of money, such as a pound, on the royal infant's name because they "want to be involved."

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As with most things involving the royals, choosing a name will likely have more to do with history and tradition than personal preference. Here are some considerations the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will likely have to take into account when deciding on a name for their newborn:

  • Although most royals are known by their first names, members of the British monarchy are traditionally given at least three or four names. Prince William is actually William Arthur Philip Louis. And Queen Elizabeth’s full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.
  • Noble names – ones that nod at family history – are generally favoured by the royals. This explains why, in online bidding, the odds-on favourite among bookies is currently “George.” As of Tuesday afternoon, online betting site Paddy Power was offering 2-1 odds for George, which is one of Prince Charles’ middle names and also used by both the Queen’s grandfather (George V) and father (Albert Frederick Arthur George, who assumed the name ‘George’ when he ascended the throne). Other favourites include James (after James VI, who united England and Scotland), Alexander, Louis and Arthur (after King Arthur, and also one of William’s middle names). Other names that appear among the betting options but that are probably less likely? “Barack” (250-1) “Charming” (500-1) and “Kong” (500-1).
  • Other names the couple is likely to avoid are ones that nod at the family’s German roots and the old name for the House of Windsor: Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. During the First World War, King George V changed the royal surname to Windsor to appease anti-German sentiments and distance the family from its roots.
  • Members of the Royal Family do not need a surname, but when one of the current royals does need one (like when they get married), they use the name Mountbatten-Windsor. Prince William, however, has been known to use the name of his royal house, Wales, in his role in the military.
  • The Royal Family has been known to take their time before deciding on a name. It took Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh a month before deciding to call the Prince of Wales Charles Philip Arthur George. And a week passed before Princess Diana and Charles officially announced William’s names.

With reports from The Associated Press

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