Second Royal Baby: 5 Things to Know
When and where will Prince George’s sibling be born, what's known about gender and possible names, and where will the new baby stand in the line of succession?
With TV camera crews from around the world standing by to hear when Kate Middleton goes into labor with her second child with Prince William, London is awaiting another taste of the royal media circus in the coming days.
Some details about the royal baby and birth have been announced or become known, while others aren’t clear at this stage.
Here's THR’s look at 5 key things to know ahead of the birth of Prince George’s sibling.
When will the baby be born?
Royal aides have been refusing to confirm any official due date beyond saying it’s towards the end of April, while Middleton reportedly told someone in London last month that her due date was “mid to late April.”
This week, some media reports claimed the due date was Thursday, April 23. However, many in British media circles, citing those ever chatty sources, have been mentioning a target date of Saturday, April 25.
Meanwhile, bookmakers have seen people betting on everything, from April 20 right through until May 7, the day of the general election in Britain.
What is clear is that the family is ready. Prince William has finished the first phase of his air ambulance helicopter pilot training early and is already with his wife, the BBC reported in recent days.
Where will the baby be born?
Like last time, the plan is for the second child to be born at the private Lindo Wing of London’s St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, not far from the train station that gave the name to Paddington Bear and close to the couple's London residence at Kensington Palace.
Prince William and Prince Harry were also born in the Lindo Wing, as were Elvis Costello and Kiefer Sutherland.
Prince Charles, however, was born within Buckingham Palace, while Queen Elizabeth II was born at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, now a Chinese restaurant, although a rather upscale one.
Where will the baby stand in the British line of succession?
In 2013, Prince George pushed Prince Harry out of the way to become third in line to the British throne, after Princes Charles and William.
The new arrival will have an even slimmer chance of his getting his or her hands on the crown, landing straight in fourth position. That would be the case whether the baby is male or female following a modernization of the succession rules that took place after Prince William and Middleton were married. The new rules don't rank male kids ahead of females anymore.
One bit of trivia that media reports have repeatedly mentioned in the run-up to the birth: second-born royal babies are sometimes jokingly called "spare to the heir."
What's known about the baby’s gender?
Despite the royal family keeping the lid firmly shut on any insight into the baby’s gender, the British betting public has spoken. And given that they got it right last time around, the gamblers' predictions could be worth paying attention to. Reportedly, nine out of 10 bets placed in the U.K. are on the baby being a girl, currently with odds of around 1/2 compared to a boy’s 6/4.
Prince Charles has said he was hoping that “it will be a girl this time.” And royal experts have emphasized that Middleton and Prince William themselves don't know the gender yet.
“If we have a little girl, the excitement levels could be even higher, because it would add a different dynamic,” said Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills.
Middleton’s uncle told a magazine that he expects the couple to have a baby girl — at least, eventually. “I don’t think they’ll stop at two,” he was quoted as saying. “I’m sure there’ll be a girl in the mix at some point.”
What will the baby's name be?
According to bookies, the top name — by some distance — is Alice, with most odds around 6/4, followed by Charlotte and Elizabeth, which both have odds of between 4/1 and 6/1.
With royal baby names often chosen to pay tribute to key figures, some observers have suggested the name Diana in honor of Prince William’s mother. Ladbrokes has odds of 14/1 on that name.
Meanwhile, the highest-ranking male name is James at 8/1 to 18/1.
Should the second royal baby be, as the odds suggest, a girl named Alice, U.K. bookies are expected to dole out almost $750,000.