The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are counting down the days to the arrival of their second child, with the Royal baby due before the end of the month.
If the baby is a girl, they are expected to choose something like Alice – which was the name of one of Queen Victoria’s daughters and also of the Duke of Edinburgh’s mother, or Charlotte – which as the feminine form of Charles could be a nod to William’s father.
They might choose Elizabeth in tribute to great-grandmother the Queen or Victoria in honour of the baby’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
Diana is also expected to feature somewhere in remembrance of William’s late mother, with other suggestions including Alexandra or Mary, the Queen’s two middle names and the names of her grandmother Queen Mary and great-grandmother Queen Alexandra.
Historically royal names such as James are among the favourite predictions for a boy, along with Philip - which might be chosen out of respect for William’s grandfather. Other possible contenders could be Charles to honour the Prince of Wales, Albert, Arthur, Frederick or even Henry - Prince Harry’s actual name.
Francis is a family name for the Middletons, while Diana, Princess of Wales’s middle name was Frances.
George has two middle names Alexander and Louis, hence the new baby is also likely to be given two middle names. William and Kate chose Alexander as a second name for George because they liked the name and Louis in tribute to Charles’s beloved late great-uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten.
Like last time, William and Kate will wait until the Queen has been informed of the baby’s name before they announce it to the world. She learned her new great-grandson was to be a George – the name her father took as king – when she met the prince for the first time when he was two days old.
Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage, predicted: “It will be fairly likely it will be a family name that perhaps has been used before in the Royal Family, not so likely in Kate’s family. I don’t think it will be anything that will raise eyebrows. I think Charlotte or Alice are pretty good guesses.
“I was a bit partial to Augustus last time for a boy in a nod to the Hanoverian line. I think James is very much a Stuart name so if anyone is interested in history, it’s pretty unlikely.
“I think Frederick is a strong possibility and Philip shouldn’t be discounted. It would be a nice gesture. They all respect the Duke of Edinburgh immensely. Charles is a possibility too.”
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), George rose two places to become the 10th most popular boys’ name in the year of his birth.
The ONS said the full impact of William and Kate naming the future king George might not be seen yet as he was only born midway through 2013.
But parenting website BabyCentre.co.uk reported that George had fallen in popularity since the prince was born, dropping nine places to number 18 in its top 100 boys’ names list.
Sarah Redshaw, managing editor of BabyCentre.co.uk, said: “A lot of mums in our July birth club said Kate had stolen their name and they were going to change it because they didn’t want to be asked if they had named their child after the royal baby.”
She added: “Potentially the same will happen with Kate’s second. For the majority of people, it will put them off. They don’t want something that’s crazy but they want something with a bit more individuality.”
If the new Royal baby is a boy, he is likely to be given a Dukedom one day, most likely on his wedding day if he marries.
A girl might later in life, when William is king, have the honorary style the Princess Royal – which is currently used by Princess Anne. It is customarily given by the sovereign to his or her eldest daughter.
The baby will be styled HRH Prince (forename) of Cambridge or HRH Princess (forename) of Cambridge thanks to the Queen.
She issued a Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm in December 2012 when Kate was just a few months pregnant with George, declaring “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 or with such other titles of honour”.
A Letters Patent in 1917, issued by George V, limited titles within the Royal Family, meaning a daughter born to William or Kate would not have been an HRH but Lady (forename) Mountbatten-Windsor instead and a second-born son would also have lacked the HRH title and become Lord (forename) Mountbatten-Windsor rather than a prince.
Should the baby require a surname, such as on marriage, it will be Mountbatten-Windsor.