Is the British stage being set for a second Queen Charlotte?
If you’re the betting type, the chances have been as good as 4-1, according to recent lines from London’s oddsmakers. Of course, that’s if the first child of Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton turns out to be a girl.
In recent days, the name of Charlotte has joined such traditional favorites as Elizabeth, Ann and even the sentimental favorite, Diana, the name of the prince’s tragic and much-beloved mum. Alexandra remains the betting favorite, with odds as high as 5-2.
On the boy’s side, George, Charles and James, stuffy though they seem, have found their way to the top.
No matter the gender, the royal baby will be born third in line to the British throne. Granddad Prince Charles, 64, will one day follow his mother, 87-year-old Queen Elizabeth. Next will come Charles’ son, William, 31, who would be followed by the new kid.
On Monday, a swarm of media – social and otherwise – homed in on St. Mary’s Hospital in London, awaiting Middleton’s arrival.
It isn’t clear exactly when that will take place. The duchess’s actual due date has never been announced. Buckingham Palace has said only that the baby is due in July. But the royal baby’s future stepgrandmother, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, gave a clear hint on Monday by saying: “I think by the end of the week he or she will be there.”
The birth’s confirmation process is rooted in tradition, but it will be televised in high-definition, which was something else that didn’t exist the last time there was a royal baby. The duchess’s doctors will sign a birth notice. The notice will be hand-carried to a car. The car will be driven to Buckingham Palace. Then the notice will be placed on an easel in the forecourt of the palace, informing the world of the baby’s birth and possibly his or her name.
News producers have been holding meetings with palace officials about the staging of the announcement for the last several months.
“It’s gotten down to the level of detail that three minutes after the notice has been put on the easel, they’ll cut off the signal,” one producer involved in the planning told the New York Times.
That producer and several others said they had been assured that the baby’s birth would be announced only between 8 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. in London, or between 3 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in New York. Sometime later, photographers will have their chance to see the family as they leave the hospital.
In the annals of British royalty, the name Charlotte – the feminine version of Charles – gets mixed reviews.
King George III married Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in Germany. As the one and only Queen Charlotte, she became our city’s namesake. George turned out to be an unremarkable catch who eventually fumbled away the American Revolution.
Upon their engagement, the king reportedly told his teenaged German bride “not to meddle” in palace affairs. That didn’t stop George from meddling with her. The royal couple had 15 children before George went mad.
Here in the colonies, the town named after Queen Charlotte has joined the rest of the civilized world – and millions of cable watchers, too – on baby watch.
Debbie Townlevy, with the British Ladies Club, makes no pretense of objectivity when it comes to the name. The 23-year resident of Charlotte also has a daughter by the same name.
Alison Pearce, past president of the British Club of Charlotte, said “Queen Charlotte” has a nice ring to it, and maybe it would get her adopted hometown another nonstop flight to London.
The New York Times and ABC News contributed.
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