In this Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, watch children playing football at a school in the town of Asni, in the Atlas mountains, Morocco. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/Pool via AP, File)

Diana? Alice? Elizabeth? Britons bet on new royal baby name

Harry and Meghan haven’t announced the baby’s gender or due date

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, may be keeping plans about their impending baby under wraps, but that hasn’t stopped everyone in Britain from trying to guess the gender and the name of their first child.

If Britain’s bookmakers are to be believed, it’s definitely a girl — and Diana may well be one of her many names.

READ MORE: B.C. residents can bet on royal baby’s arrival date, gender, name and more

The William Hill agency closed the betting on the baby’s gender a few days ago after an “avalanche” of bets poured in from people convinced the royal couple is having a girl.

“The secret’s out, as far as we’re concerned,” firm spokesman Rupert Adams said. “It could be because someone somewhere has seen the scan, or someone has heard something.”

While Adams acknowledged there’s always a chance the surge was based on nothing, he said average betting patterns over the years suggest there’s usually some truth in rumours.

So far, Diana is topping the bookmakers’ list as a front-running name — William Hill has put the odds at 4/1. Victoria, Alice, Grace and Elizabeth are close behind, while Albert, Arthur and James are popular guesses for a boy.

“A ridiculous number — 80% of bets taken — are for the name Diana,” Adams said. He said he personally doubts Harry would choose a name that so directly evokes his iconic mother’s tragic death in 1997 but added: “There’s every chance of it being a middle name.”

Carolyn Harris, a royal historian who teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, agrees that Diana could be a middle name. That’s what Harry’s brother, Prince William, and his wife Kate did for their daughter, Princess Charlotte (the three-year-old’s full name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana).

“The choice of Diana as a first name would place a lot of pressure on the royal baby, as the press would constantly compare her to her famous grandmother,” she said.

Harris believes Harry and Meghan may adopt a similar approach to the naming of other recently born royal children lower down the line of succession: Choosing a moniker that’s traditional, but one that doesn’t frequently appear within the royal family.

She also thinks a possible middle name could be Ruth — after one of Meghan’s great-grandmothers, as well as Diana’s maternal grandmother, Lady Ruth Fermoy.

Some observers speculate that Meghan, who has long spoken out about women’s rights, could go for a name that evokes strong women in history — a theory Harris thinks has substance.

“A name associated with prominent female historical figures in Britain and/or the United States is certainly a possibility,” she said. Eleanor, for one, could honour both Eleanor Roosevelt and Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of England in the 12th century.

Harry and Meghan haven’t announced the baby’s gender or the due date, which is widely believed to be sometime in late April.

The pair declared Thursday they are keeping the birth private and won’t be sharing news about the baby’s arrival until they’ve told family and friends. That has led many to jump to the conclusion that they are planning a home birth at their new residence, Frogmore Cottage, close to Windsor Castle outside of London.

Home birth or not, the scenario will be quite different from the media circus that lasted for days outside the London hospital where their sister-in-law Kate’s three children were born. That will significantly dampen the name and gender betting frenzy, according to William Hill, which reported taking “hundreds of bets a minute” every time palace officials announced that Kate had gone into labour.

Whatever name they choose, the new baby will not automatically have the official title of prince or princess. Those titles were given to all three children of William, the eldest son of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne.

Instead, Harry and Meghan’s baby is expected to be styled the Earl of Dumbarton if a boy and Lady Mountbatten-Windsor if a girl. That said, the child’s great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, could change that if she wants the baby to be a prince or princess.

Harry’s first child will be seventh in line for the throne, bumping down Harry’s uncle, Prince Andrew.

Sylvia Hui, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

Two-sailing waits continue Victoria to Tsawwassen

Backlog continues despite extra sailings over Easter

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

Saanich soccer player survives bout with flesh eating disease

Harinder Sandhu picked up the disease after soccer game

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Most Read