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

Tribal Journeys welcomed by Stz’uminus at Shell Beach

Paddlers came from various nations, including the Heiltsuk, Namgis, Hesquiaht, and Alberta Cree

Town adds public access lifering to improve water safety at Transfer Beach

The lifering is easy to use and includes instructions on the protective housing case for emergencies

Chemainus Harvest House still demands attention in summer

Food bank supplies dwindle with diminished donations

No shortage of water supply in Ladysmith despite stage three water restrictions

Water restrictions remain in place to service community in case of an emergency

Mamma Mia! smashes Chemainus Theatre Festival ticket sales record

Total expected to surpass 30,000 tickets before the show ends on Aug. 31

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Victoria’s Outset Media and Walmart Canada partner on local edition of popular game

Most Read