Royal baby name: Speculation soars as due date nears

Speculation is mounting over what names Prince William and Kate Middleton, here at her last public appearance June 15, may choose for the royal baby.

How do royals choose a baby name and when will it be revealed? Here are some names Kate Middleton and Prince William might consider.

What's in a name? A whole lot, when you're talking about the name of a royal baby.

With a very pregnant Kate Middleton due to give birth to the future heir to the British crown in mid-July (her due date is widely reported to be July 13), speculation is mounting about just what she and Prince William will name their new addition.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have decided to keep the baby's gender a secret to themselves and the public, and Kate has said publicly that the parents-to-be have lists of names prepared for a boy or a girl.

Royals choose "dynastic names, names with a sense of history," said CNN royal contributor Victoria Arbiter. These traditional names provide the "elements of continuity that the survival of the monarchy depends on."

Arbiter's predictions? "Alexandra Elizabeth Frances Mary for a girl and George Philip Arthur Charles for a boy."

Alexandra, which Arbiter points out is the Queen's middle name, is currently a front-runner among bettors should William and Kate welcome a daughter. Elizabeth, of course, would honor the baby's great grandmother and great, great grandmother, but it is also Kate's middle name. Frances is "Diana's middle name and also Michael Middleton's middle name,” Arbiter said.

Related: Complete coverage of the royal baby at MSN's Wonderwall

As for a boy, George is a popular guess for a first name and also a popular name choice for monarchs: There have been six previous King Georges. Philip would be in honor of Price Philip and Arthur is a "middle name shared by a number of royal men that recalls the legend of King Arthur,” Arbiter said.

Many royal followers have predicted that William and Kate would use Diana as one of the names for a baby girl, in honor of William's late mother Princess Diana, but Arbiter disagrees.

"I don't want to end up eating my words," she said, "but I would be very surprised. I really don't think they'll use Diana for a first child."

Kate Middleton already faces so many comparisons with Diana, she explained, and the name could be "a terrible cross to bear for any child moving forward."

In addition, she said "William and Harry are very keen to honor their mother privately" and might avoid the name "out of respect to the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla.”

Diana would be a more likely name choice for a second or third child, Arbiter said.

Related: Photos: Kate Middleton's maternity style

Kate and William are traditional, Arbiter said, but "they tend to march to the beat of their own drum." Still, we can safely assume that the name won't be something like "North” or "Apple.” Arbiter said two under-the-radar names the couple might consider if the baby is a girl could be Eleanor or Alice.

Eleanor would be for "Eleanor of Aquitaine…a strong female role model," she said.

And Alice is "also a long-shot for a girl," in tribute to Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.

As for when the royal baby name will be revealed, it's all part of the detailed Palace plan. The public will be informed that Kate Middleton is in labor "when she's in her [hospital] room and comfortable,” Arbiter said. After the baby is born, a birth announcement will be placed on an easel outside of Buckingham Palace.

"That will be the first we know of the sex of the baby and the time of birth,” Arbiter said, but the announcement will likely not include the baby's name.

After all, Prince William's name — William Arthur Philip Louis — wasn't revealed for a week after his birth. And, Arbiter noted, it took William and Kate "three weeks to announce their dog's name.”

Whatever name they choose, there's a good chance it will soar in popularity in the U.K. and the U.S.

"Arthur, George, Alice, Eleanor/Ellie have all become quite cool again," said Arbiter. "Like all things William and Kate, it's highly likely that we'll see an increase in popularity based on the names they pick."

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