Name game

By George! What Will The Royal Baby Be Called?

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

What will the royal baby be called?

Royal baby names have always been an object of fascination, and guessing the name of the forthcoming Windsor tot has turned into Britain's most compelling parlour game with which the nation is collectively whiling away the last few days of Kate's pregnancy before the birth, expected any day now.

The bookies are still favouring a female baby with the hot favourite name now Alexandra, at 11/8 (meaning if you put on £8 you would get £11 back). Then it's Charlotte at 6/1 (put on £1 and get £6 back) followed by Victoria and Elizabeth (both at 7/1) then Diana (8/1).

If you want to bet on a boy, then you'll get much better odds. George is the favourite (10/1) followed by James (12/1) and then a big gap to Philip at 33/1.

My own personal hunch is a boy called George. Second, third and fourth names are likely to be family payback time, and personally, I am not ruling out a Henry in the mix as William loves his little bro. I think you can forget Charles, but not Michael, which, although seriously un-royal, would be a nice gesture of inclusion to the Middletons. And Philip would be a good way of telegraphing to the world that his grandpa is not really the cantankerous old tyrant he is sometimes portrayed as.

CNN Royal Contributor Victoria Arbiter agrees with me (up to a point): "Traditionally the royals tend to stick to dynastic names," she says. "With a sense of history and continuity. You have only to look at the current titled royals, those who were born into the family, to see how important that element of continuity is. But there are still plenty to choose from. Given that William and Kate are by nature a traditional couple my guess would be George Philip Arthur Charles for a boy with Albert thrown in for the long shot and Alexandra Elizabeth Frances for a girl with Alice and Eleanor thrown in as the female long shot."

Personally I think Alexandra might be a little too Russian for a British Royal but you have to give serious credit to Arbiter's instinct - the girl did grow up in Kensington Palace after all (her father is former Royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter).

Pamela Redmond Satran, the naming expert who runs the site, also agrees we won't be seeing any wacky names.

"I think it's a given that they'll choose a name with a royal pedigree, and one that's been traditionally used by British royals and one that has positive associations. Charlotte would seem to be a good choice for a girl as it's a nod to Prince Charles. Mary's been mentioned lately and that would make a so-dowdy-it's-cool choice with a nice royal pedigree, as it was the name of the queen of a century ago.

"Meanwhile, the famous Queen Victoria's real first name was Alexandra, which has also been frequently mentioned as a favorite for the royal couple. But I kind of think Alexandra is too de la mode, or at least it is for me. It sounds a bit like the name you would choose if you wanted your child to sound like a princess, whereas if your child is really royal, why try that hard?"

When forced to make her call, Satran says that if she were "in London with a couple of quid to burn" she would plump for George as her chosen boy name, with Frederick a distant second.

"Both are classic, kingly, and cool," she says, adding that whatever the gender, she thinks there will be four names in total, and that one of them will be a nod to the Middleton.

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"So perhaps Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Carole or George Philip Charles Michael."