Photograph by Bogdan Maran, European Pressphoto Agency

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A royal well-wisher waits outside St. Mary's hospital in London.

Photograph by Bogdan Maran, European Pressphoto Agency

The Name Game for the Royal Baby

Bookies lay odds. We give background on possible names—from James to … Elvis?

Britain's bookies have been doing brisk trade on Royal Baby stakes with eager punters from all around the land.

They're betting fancy money on everything from what the newborn's first word will be (7/4 he'll say "papa") to whether it will be William or Kate holding the little bundle of joy when they emerge from the hospital (presently William 4/7; Kate 6/4). But it's the name of the future king that has captured the nation's imagination and most of the betting.

For most of the past few months, girls' names have been the hot favorites since Kate was understood to have caught herself starting to say "daughter" once when referring to her baby. Alexandra and Mary became betting favorites. Yesterday's announcement, though, that the new arrival was an eight-pound, six-ounce baby boy left many a gambler out of pocket.

George and James are now the red-hot favorites—especially James.

Not only is James the name of two English kings and six Scottish ones, it is also the name of Kate's brother. English betting firm Ladbrokes is offering 2/1 on James. The odds on other baby names are below.

George: A distinguished royal name if ever there was one, George was used by six English kings, most recently the Queen's own father and grandfather. It certainly suggests continuity and tradition while still being modern; George was one of the most popular boy's name in Britain last year. Odds on George have shorted to 5/1.

Harry: A nickname for both Henry and Harold, Harry is also the name of William's brother. As far as tradition goes, both Henry and Harold have long had royal ties. Britain has had eight kings named Henry in the past thousand years, although none since the 1500s, and two King Harolds, one of whom was defeated at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 by William the Conqueror. None of them were ever called Harry as far as anyone knows, but the newborn's popular uncle certainly is. Ladbrokes gives 5/1 on Harry.

Philip: While there is no King Philip in the rolls, Philip is the name of the baby's great-grandfather, the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who recently turned 92. Both William and Charles have Philip as one of their middle names. Odds on Philip: 10/1.

Charles: Two British kings have borne the name, as does the baby's grandfather Prince Charles. Odds 20/1.

Arthur: The name has obvious resonance with the legendary sixth-century King Arthur, who defended Britain against the Saxons. Both William and Charles have Arthur as one of their middle names. Odds 16/1.

Further afield are names such as Ethelred. This was a popular name in Anglo-Saxon England, with no fewer than seven kings bearing the name (which means "noble counsel"). The most recent of them was unfortunately nicknamed Ethelred the Unready; he has not been well remembered by history and as an infant apparently defecated in the baptismal font. Few people seem to believe William and Kate will burden their son with this name, but if you fancy a flutter, English betting agent Paddy Power is offering 200/1.

There is always the possibility—however remote—that William and Kate might decide to name their baby after The King himself: Elvis. The latest odds on that are 500/1. The bookies seem to like the sound of Elvis better than Kai, the name British soccer star Wayne Rooney gave his new son. At last pegging, Kai was at 1000/1.