The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hardly fall within the definition of normal parents-to-be, since their first-born will be third in line to the throne.
But Prince William and Kate are apparently wrestling with one common conundrum facing couples awaiting their first child: Just what to name the baby?
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"We have a short list for both [a boy and girl], but it's very difficult," Kate was widely reported as saying the other day.
"My friends keep texting me names."
British bookmakers have lists of possible names, too. Ladbrokes' betting pool is even offering odds on monikers as diverse as Adele (200 to 1, and likely inspired by the powerhouse U.K. singer) or Elvis (500 to 1, another interesting musical nod).
But those who temper their speculation with historical insight point to other more likely influences over the name of the baby expected in mid-July.
"Royal baby names tend to be chosen on the basis of tradition, after previous monarchs or royal godparents," says Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal historian and blogger.
So a name like Elizabeth, Anne or Mary might find favour if this child is a girl. Charles, George, Edward or James might be possibilities if it's a boy.
Rumours and speculation about the baby's sex have flown fast and furious, but nothing official has been confirmed. On Sunday, British tabloids were reporting that William's brother Prince Harry was telling friends the baby is a boy. Reports a few days earlier also hinted a boy is in the cards when Kate apparently bought a very fancy pale-blue baby buggy. Then again, other reports suggested Kate almost let it slip she's expecting a girl.
Bets on Alexandra
If the oddsmakers are to be believed, Alexandra was the prime choice for a girl — one bookie even temporarily suspended betting on that possibility.
Ladbrokes was still putting Alexandra at the top of its list last week, at 2-1 odds, and it's a name that Harris says holds a lot of royal history.
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"There were three kings of Scotland in the Middle Ages named Alexander. So at a time when Scotland is discussing devolution, naming a royal baby Alexandra would reinforce the Crown’s connections to Scotland."
Then there's the fact that Queen Victoria's first name was actually Alexandrina, in a nod to her godfather, Alexander the First of Russia.
King Edward VII, who reigned from 1901 to 1910 and whose popularity wavered over time given that he dabbled with both gambling and mistresses, had a very well-regarded wife named Alexandra. And the current Queen, whose second name is Alexandra, also has a cousin with that name who is a hardworking member of the Royal Family.
But what if William and Kate, like so many parents, want to do something a bit different with the name of their first-born?
As much as they might want to, observers consider it unlikely they will stray too far from the royal ways, particularly for the child's first name.
"I think simply that there’s a kind of institutional stuffiness that we call tradition that will be forced upon them," says Ninian Mellamphy, a longtime royal watcher and professor emeritus at Western University in London, Ont.
Beatrice and Eugenie
Within that tradition, though, there may be ways to bring in a name that hasn't had a high profile on the royal roster.
"Drawing on royal tradition doesn’t always mean a well-known royal name," says Harris, pointing to Beatrice and Eugenie, the 20-something daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
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"Princess Beatrice is named after Queen Victoria's youngest daughter Beatrice and Princess Eugenie is named for Napolean the Third's wife. These were names with royal antecedents, but more obscure ones."
Of course, royal names of children high in the succession to the throne tend to be long ones — although rarely as long as that of Edward VIII, who was officially Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, the last four names being the patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
While few other royal names have rivalled that for length, second or third names have given royal parents the opportunity to acknowledge the other side of the family or bring in other historical influences.
Arthur — of Arthurian legend — turns up frequently, and Philip (for the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh) registers in the names of both William and his father, Charles.
This time around, Harris wouldn't be surprised if Elizabeth or Diana (for William's mother) were among the names for a girl, and Philip or Charles or Michael (for Kate's father) show up if it's a boy.
But Mellamphy sees reason to be cautious about Diana, particularly as a first name.
"I think in royal history that Diana will remain unique now because there was all that praise, but all that blame as well. I think if you were called Diana, you'd in some way inherit some nuances of her foolishness."
Even choosing Diana as a middle name seems questionable in Mellamphy's mind.
"I have a funny feeling she's too well remembered and there’s too much ambiguity about our memory of her."
Still, William has shown stubborness and determination in the past, and clearly values deeply the memory of his mother (he gave Kate her iconic sapphire engagement ring). So seeing Diana in his daughter's name would not be a total surprise.
Whatever name the child ends up with wouldn't necessarily have to be the name he or she would use on the throne.
The Queen’s father, George VI, opted for his fourth name, and continuity with his father (George V), rather than use his first name, Albert.
Victoria went with her second name when she became queen in 1837. At that time, Harris says, the name Victoria would have been considered foreign and unusual for a queen.
Now, though, it's a name that seems very regal, and which Ladbrokes puts at 6-1 odds for the next royal baby.
What about Matilda?
One name not on the Ladbrokes' list, but which Harris thinks would be intriguing, is Matilda.
"It's interesting that considering succession reform, and that if the baby is a girl, she will one day be queen. I think it would be interesting if Matilda was chosen just because she was the first woman to make a claim for the English throne in 1141," says Harris.
"I don't think it's a likely choice but it's an interesting one historically."
Mellamphy also looks deep into history and sees names that are unlikely to figure in the considerations of Kate and William.
"They couldn't go back to the beginning of English kings with Aethelstan and names like that, you know, Alfred — not to mention Ethelred the Unready."
While Harris sees the strong historical precedent facing William and Kate, she still expects they will be able to exert some personal influence over the name.
"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have always approached royal protocol their own way," says Harris.
"They were together for many years before becoming engaged. They were able to have a certain degree of private life early in their marriage by living in Anglesey in Wales, and so clearly the baby's name will reflect their own wishes as well as royal traditions."
Earlier on HuffPost:
<strong>FAMILY TREE</strong>: Queen Elizabeth II (a.k.a. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and Prince William's grandmother. <strong>MEANING:</strong> <em><a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Alexandra" target="_blank">Alexandra is of Greek origin and means ‘man’s defender.’</a> </em> WHY WE LIKE IT: When it comes to betting on royal baby names, Alexandra is a frontrunner, and it’s no wonder why. The classic name favours royal tradition. The <a href="ttp://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/04/11/princess_alexandra_royal_baby_name_bets_surge.html" target="_blank">Queen’s great-grandmother was named Alexandra</a>. Also, Princess Alexandra, the only current royal household member to bear the name, is a cousin of the Queen and is <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/05/02/f-royal-baby-name.html" target="_blank">known as a hard worker</a>; she carried out <a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/princess-alexandra-is-sick-cancels-engagements" target="_blank">110 engagements in 2012</a>.
<strong>FAMILY TREE</strong>: James Middleton, Kate Middleton's brother. <strong>MEANING</strong>: <em><a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/James" target="_blank">The name James means ‘he who supplants’ and is of Hebrew origin. </a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT</strong>: James is a favourite among the common people. In a YouGov poll of 1,800 people, a whopping <a href="http://www.firstpost.com/world/queen-victoria-or-king-james-peoples-choice-for-royal-baby-name-954263.html" target="_blank">19 per cent favoured James for a baby boy</a>.
<strong>FAMILY TREE</strong>: Harry, Prince of Wales (a.k.a. Henry Charles Albert David) and Prince William's brother. <strong>MEANING</strong>: <em><a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/David" target="_blank">David has Hebrew origins and means ‘beloved.’</a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT:</strong> David Beckham <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-baby-name-david-beckham-2054439" target="_blank">suggested his name might be a good fit for Will and Kate’s first child</a>. The soccer star is pretty much British royalty, so who are we to argue?
<strong>FAMILY TREE: </strong>Philippa (Pippa) Charlotte Middleton, Kate’s younger sister. <strong>MEANING</strong>:<em> <a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Charlotte" target="_blank">Charlotte, of Old German origins, means ‘free man.’</a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT</strong>: Charlotte is <a href="http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/317775/showbiz/showbizabroad/royals-waiting-by-telephone-for-kate-s-baby" target="_blank">another favourite in betting circles for obvious reasons</a>. This name has historical royal ties -- Queen Charlotte was King George III’s wife – and it’s still quite popular today, according to online baby name guide Nameberry. It <a href="http://nameberry.com/blog/girl-names-2013-our-100-most-popular-so-far#more-26046" target="_blank">earned second place on the site’s annual ranking</a>, and parents love its “feminine yet grownup” feel.
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and Prince William's grandmother. <strong>MEANING:</strong> <a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Elizabeth#qwA1pvxW5c1iTKTx.99"><em>Elizabeth is of Hebrew origin and means God's promise or God is my oath.</em></a> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> Why wouldn't you want to be named after one of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom? Even though sources report that the couple has decided to use <a href="http://hollywoodlife.com/2012/06/11/prince-william-kate-middleton-baby-plans-name-princess-diana/">Elizabeth as one of two middle names</a>, Elizabeth not only honours the baby's great grandmother, but Kate Middleton's middle name is Elizabeth as well.
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> King George VI was King of the United Kingdom from 1936 to 1952. <strong>MEANING:</strong> <a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/George#zuPdDDIpXvFRlxtj.99">Originally of Greek origin, the meaning of George is "farmer". Also there is the story of Saint George, a knight who became the patron saint of England and achieved legendary status after his struggle with a fire-breathing dragon.</a> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> Besides being a dragon slayer, the name George <a href="http://www.britroyals.com/royaltree.htm">goes back to the Royal family's history books since 1660</a>. George VI was also the last male figure in power — this title currently belongs to Queen Elizabeth II.
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Princess Diana, The Princess of Wales and Prince William's mother. <strong>MEANING:</strong> <em><a href="http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Diana.html">Diana is derived from either an Indo-European root meaning 'divine' or from the Latin word 'diviana.'</a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> After Princess Diana's tragic car crash in 1997, Diana would be a wonderful tribute to remember Lady Di. Again, sources say the couple plan on using Diana as a middle name, but we would love to see Diana used as the first name.
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and father. <strong>MEANING:</strong><em> <a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/William#kRsY6f1d4xSc9wCW.99">William is of Old German origin and means protection.</a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> Maybe a reason to follow in his father's footsteps, William Jr. may be a suitable name if the couple had a baby boy. Prince William has always been known for his <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/prince-william-9542068">good grades, his love for sports and being a philanthropist.</a>
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was Queen Elizabeth's sister. <strong>MEANING:</strong> <a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Margaret#TXLuZUx8EPt4sFuw.99"><em> Margaret is of Greek origin and means pearl.</em></a> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> Keeping it in the family, we like that fact that Princess Margaret was the Queen's youngest and only sibling. Margaret lived a life of controversy when it came to her love life and divorce, but <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1384429/H-R-H-The-Princess-Margaret.html">she was remembered for her affection and love for her family</a>, according to The Telegraph. Plus, so many good nickname possibilities!
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Princess Diana's mother's name was Frances Shand Kydd. <strong>MEANING:</strong><em> <a href="http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Frances.html"> Frances, which comes from old French, means to be free.</a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> Another way to keep a grandmother's name in the family, authors have described her as <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-305277/Tragic-life-Frances-Shand-Kydd.html#ixzz2DM6a2WrQ">"certainly complicated" but also "funny, warm, intelligent and energetic,"</a> according to The Daily Mail. We also like this name because it could be used both for a baby girl or boy.
Victoria (Or Victor)
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Queen Victoria <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/12/queen-elizabeth-second-longest-reigning-monarch">spent 63 years on the throne. </a> <strong>MEANING:</strong> <em><a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Victoria">Victoris of Latin origin and means victory.</a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> Queen Victoria continues to be the family's longest reigning monarch and the longest reigning female in power. As a child, she was known as a "patient rebel" — <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/queen_victoria_01.shtml">always aiming to be "good" but also very strong-minded, </a>according to Professor Lynne Vallone.
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Charles, Prince of Wales, father of Prince William. <strong>MEANING:</strong><a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Charles#m61zdhqFAc4ViKV8.99"><em> The name is Old German and means free man.</em></a> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT:</strong> Staying true to a father-son bond, royal sources have said that Prince William has <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/8165275/Prince-William-Let-my-father-become-King.html">been very supportive of his father and that they share a closer relationship</a>, according to the Telegraph. Who knows, maybe this is a trait that will continue with Prince William's son.
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Actually, this name isn't in the family — but it could be. <strong>MEANING:</strong> <em><a href="http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Jason.html">Jason means the healer.</a></em> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> It may not be part of the Royal family's family tree just yet, but "Fledgling Jason Steed" is <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2162555/Prince-William-30-things-know-Duke-marks-30th-birthday.html">one of Prince William's favourite books, according to The Daily Mail</a>. The story follows an 11-year-old boy named Jason Steed who is destined to save himself and his country from a nuclear threat.
<strong>FAMILY TREE:</strong> Okay, we're throwing this one out there but hear us out. <strong>MEANING:</strong> Smythe is <a href="http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Smythe#JcjQC8yGuqc40VS4.99">Old English for 'blacksmith.'</a> <strong>WHY WE LIKE IT: </strong> Kate Middleton has been seen donning a Canadian-made <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/31/kate-middleton-olympic-outfit_n_1723426.html">Smythe blazer several times</a>, including during the 2012 London Olympic Games. And who doesn't like the sound of Smythe for a baby girl? At least it doesn't rhyme easily.
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Back row, third from left.
Undated (St. Andrew's School,1986-1995)
Front and center.