LONDON – Queen Debbie doesn’t quite have the right ring to it. King Bob just sounds wrong.
Naming a baby is no easy business, but much more is at stake when it comes to finding the right name for a future monarch.
Britain’s bookmakers have some ideas to offer to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge: Alexandra is the clear favorite, with the odds slashed at 2-1 as of Thursday. One of the bookies, Coral, said that at one point betting on the name became so furious that it had to suspend it.
Elizabeth, Diana and Victoria are close behind, following widespread speculation that the royal couple’s first child will be a girl.
All things considered, the bookies are likely on the right track.
“Royal names tend to be based on previous monarchs, relatives and godparents to ensure continuity,” said historian Carolyn Harris, who lectures at the University of Toronto’s school of continuing studies.
“(The names) are not generally something out of the blue. It will be something that fits into the royal lineage, names used by previous kings and queens,” she added.
Alexandra appears to be a good bet – it’s the name of Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandmother, a Danish princess who married Edward VII.
The full name of Elizabeth herself also includes Alexandra, as well as Mary, her grandmother.
It’s not clear why people suddenly became so enthusiastic about the name Alexandra over the past few days, though Simon Clare, a spokesman for the bookmaker Coral, offered a clue: Many of the bets appeared to be coming in from Berkshire, the county that’s home to royal residence Windsor Castle.
“With these sorts of markets you don’t expect a rush of money. Generally it comes once people think they know what’s happened,” he said. He added, however, that it could also just be that “someone at the local pub said Kate quite liked the idea of the name.”
Given the weight of history, can William and the former Kate Middleton – widely admired as the fresh, modern face of a crusty institution – break with tradition and call their child something trendy and unexpected?
Experts don’t think it’s likely.
“With royal children it’s rarely just the parents who have a say,” Harris said.