Royal Baby: 5 Things to Know About Kate Middleton and Prince William's First Child

While observers have speculated about the baby's gender and name, his or her title is one of the things already known.

LONDON -- Kate Middleton and Prince William are nearing the birth of their first baby.

Middleton, known here as the Duchess of Cambridge, went into labor early on Monday.

With the world's media waiting for the news of the baby's arrival, speculation is running wild on his or her possible gender, name and other issues.

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Here is THR's look at 5 things to know about the royal baby:

1. Due date:
Middleton was believed to be due on Saturday, July 13, but the royals never shared an exact date. British tabloid media just before the reported due date ran stories highlighting that Prince William was planning to go play polo that weekend, leading to first chatter that the baby may come a bit later.

Either way, photographers and camera crews outside her hospital in London's Paddington neighborhood have been lying in wait for weeks.

News that Middleton went into labor finally broke as the new week started.

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2. Gender:
The royals have mostly been careful not to give any indication of the royal baby's gender.

But Middleton herself earlier this year may have accidentally hinted that it would be a girl. Media reports in March said that she was given a white teddy bear by a woman during a social engagement. "Thank you, I'll take that for my d-," she replied before cutting herself off midsentence.

Bookmakers have reported that they have in recent weeks mostly received bets on the baby being female.

3. Name:
Some of the most intense speculation has been about the royal baby's likely name.

Bookmakers have offered odds that show that most people expect the kid's name to be Mary, Alexandra, Elizabeth, Diana or Victoria. Boys' names haven't been drawing many bets in recent weeks.

But Middleton and Prince William may not name the baby right away. The British royal family has actually developed a reputation for taking their time with naming decisions.

Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana announced Prince William's name only after seven days. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip even waited about a month to name Charles.

Kate and William themselves waited three weeks to pick the name of their cocker spaniel: Lupo.

4. Title: 
The royal baby will carry the title of "His or Her Royal Highness Prince or Princess of Cambridge," the royals have announced.

That is in line with Queen Elizabeth II’s previous proclamation that Prince William's daughter would get the title "princess."

That is a change from a decision by the Queen's grandfather, King George V, who had decreed that daughters, even first-born daughters, would only be allowed to be called "ladies." Sons are always automatically called "princes."

"All the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names," the Queen said in a statement earlier this year in announcing the change.

5. Royal succession rank:
The baby will be third in line to assume the British throne behind Prince William. Prince Charles is currently the first in line.

The child will move ahead of Prince William's younger brother, Harry.

If the baby is a girl and the couple has a boy later, the situation could become somewhat tricky. The British Parliament has passed legislation that changed a 312-year-old law that said that a younger male heir would jump ahead of his older sister in the succession ranking.

But parliaments in the rest of the British Commonwealth also have to pass the change and have agreed to do so. However, procedural challenges have held up the rule change in Australia and Canada for now.

Twitter: @georgszalai