24 Apr 2018

Royal baby name: What is the prince likely to be called?

8:22 am on 24 April 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child - her second son - and speculation continues about what the baby will be called.

The new baby boy has been taken home by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The new baby boy has been taken home by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Photo: AFP

With Arthur, Albert and Philip among the current bookies' favourites for a boy, it appears the public expect the royal couple to opt for a traditional name, rather than something more left-field.

But experts say there is a chance the ultimate name choice might also reflect the Middleton side of the family.

For their first two children, the duke and duchess chose traditional options, seen as a tribute to previous members of the Royal Family.

George Louis Alexander was a nod to six former kings, as well as Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana reflected William's mother and grandmother.

But might the royal couple be tempted to pick something more modern for their third child?

The experts are doubtful.

"Tradition plays a huge part in the British Royal Family, even in the 21st Century," says Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine.

"It will probably be something we have heard attributed to a prince... before. It's quite likely to follow the traditional route that William and Kate seem to favour."

"Family links are tremendously important in this," adds royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams.

"You want a name that resonates, a name that's got family links and is popular.

He said Albert was among the "possibles".

"There has been a renewal of interest in the Victorian era. After the success of Victoria on the small screen, there's more popular interest in these royals and it's a chance to pay tribute to one of the great royal romances."

However, while the decision may be guided by tradition, there is no strict protocol royal family members must adhere to.

"There are no hard and fast rules these days, it is much more relaxed," says Mr Little.

Rules or not, Mr Fitzwilliams argues the Royal Family tends to think about three things when picking a name.

"When you choose a name for a royal baby there's the personal [preference]; there's the link with the royals past and present; but also you think about the public," he says.

Mr Little adds: "The Queen would obviously be consulted and, while she might not necessarily intervene and prevent a name from being used, she would certainly be aware of the name, long before any public announcement."

The favourites

Bookmakers correctly predicted Prince George's name in 2013, but were wide of the mark two years later with the birth of Princess Charlotte. The name Alice was considered favourite in 2015.

As Catherine went into labour, the median odds for the third baby's name, if it was a boy, were:

  • Arthur - 6/1
  • Albert - 11/1
  • Philip - 11/1
  • Frederick - 13/1
  • James - 13/1

While the Queen might not make the final decision, it was not that long ago that reigning monarchs were known to interfere.

Queen Victoria vetoed her grandchildren's baby names if they did not suit her tastes, while the late Princess Margaret's parents wanted to call her Anne - before a complaint from King George V led to it being abandoned.

There are no set rules, but some names, such as those belonging to current royal family members, are likely to be avoided.

"In the past there were several Princess Alices at once and that led to a bit of confusion," says Mr Little.

So could we see a name more in line with more popular tastes?

The UK's top male baby names of 2018 are Liam, Noah, Logan and Oliver.

But the experts say we are unlikely to see a Prince Logan in April.

Mr Little says: "Sometimes people go off on tangents - we see that both with this Royal Family and with overseas royal families."

Examples might include the Queen's first granddaughter Zara - a never-before-used royal name meaning star or flower in Arabic.

And the name Savannah was the choice of Princess Anne's son Peter Philips and his wife Autumn for their baby daughter born in 2010.

But while William and Kate may well go for a traditional first name, the experts say there is a chance the couple could choose a name to represent the Middleton side of the family.

"I think they are more likely to stick with the traditional route, the royal side, but the Middletons could be reflected in the second or third name," Mr Little says.

Mr Fitzwilliams believes William and Kate are likely to pick a name that "pays homage" either to an ideal or a historical figure they admire.

He says: "I think Arthur for a boy. What's wonderful about Arthur is it conjures up a kingship that never existed - Camelot was an egalitarian paradise and of course there was the quest for the Holy Grail.

"It's one of the great royal legends - and that's my bet."