World kept guessing over name of Britain’s baby princess

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LONDON: Royal watchers around the world waited to discover the name of the two-day-old British princess born to Prince William and his wife Kate, which could be announced on Monday.

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Gun salutes at Hyde Park and Tower Bridge will also celebrate the birth, after senior members of the royal family visited the couple’s Kensington Palace residence to see the baby.

Speculation over what name might be given to the princess, who is fourth in line to the throne after her nearly two-year-old big brother Prince George, has heated up in recent days.

Alice and Charlotte are vying to be the bookmakers’ favourite, followed by Victoria, Olivia and Elizabeth.

But some commentators urged the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to name the princess after William’s mother Diana, who died in a 1997 car crash aged 36, prompting an outpouring of public grief.

“As the nation waits, why the Princess must be called Diana” read a headline on the front page of The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“William’s late mother was there in spirit, outside the hospital on Saturday, her oval sapphire and diamond engagement ring on the hand Kate used to adjust the sleeping baby’s shawl,” journalist Allison Pearson wrote in the article.

“William gave his fiancee that ring so that his mother, as he said, could be part of their wedding, and I’m sure her name will be passed on to his daughter in the same spirit of commemoration.”

There have been a flurry of bets placed on the birth, and one punter walked away with £15,000 ($23,000, 20,000 euros) after placing a £10,000 wager the baby would be a girl.

Jessica Bridge of bookmakers Ladbrokes said that the betting markets had been “total mayhem” over the last 24 hours.

“Bookies all over the UK are hoping and praying for any name other than Alice, Charlotte, Victoria, Elizabeth, Olivia, Alexandra or Diana,” Bridge said.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the royal couple could travel later on Monday to Anmer Hall, their secluded 10-bedroom mansion on Queen Elizabeth II’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

The monarch was seen attending church there on Sunday, so it is likely she will meet her fifth great-grandchild for the first time at the private country residence where William and Kate now spend most of their time.

Prince Harry is away in Australia and will have to wait a while longer to see his niece, who has replaced him from the number four spot in the line of succession.

After completing his secondment with Australian army units in Perth and Sydney, he will undertake an official tour of New Zealand from May 9 to 16.

Harry sent a message of good wishes to the family.

“She is absolutely beautiful,” Harry said. “I can’t wait to meet her.”

The new baby is fourth in line to the thrones of Britain and 15 other states including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica.

She is behind the Queen’s eldest son Charles, 66, grandson William and great-grandson George in the line of succession.

However, the baby is the first major royal who cannot be overtaken by any future younger brothers following changes to the monarchy’s rules to remove gender bias.

Kate gave birth within three hours of being admitted to St Mary’s Hospital in central London on Saturday.

William was present for the birth at 8:34am (0734 GMT) and the princess weighed in at eight pounds and three ounces (3.7 kilos).

William then brought a rather stunned-looking George to the clinic to meet his little sister.

It was the first time since his own birth at the hospital in July 2013 that George had been seen at a public event in Britain.

A beaming William and Kate then left hospital carrying their newborn, cheered by hundreds of well-wishers who had gathered outside the hospital’s private Lindo Wing along with massed ranks of photographers.

To mark the arrival, many London hotels and restaurants celebrated with regal-themed afternoon teas and landmarks including Tower Bridge and the Trafalgar Square fountains were lit up in pink on Saturday.

AFP

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