Frenzy of speculation on name and gender of Prince William's and Kate Middleton's second child

British royal couple Prince William and wife Kate Middleton are expecting their second child, and the world has started to guess the gender and the name of the child.

Several news sites like Telegraph and CBC have reported that the name of the child, if it is a girl, is likely to be Charlotte, Elizabeth or Alice, and James, Alexander or Arthur if it is a boy.

Among the girls' names, heavy bets seem to be on Alice, a name that appears several times in the Royal Family tree. The Alices in the family include the second daughter of Queen Victoria and the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria's second daughter. 

On the name Charlotte, Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal historian and blogger was quoted as saying in Canadian news site CBC: "Charlotte would be the feminine version of Charles so it would certainly honour Prince William's father." Charlotte is also the middle name of Ms Middleton's sister Pippa, with whom she is very close.

The CBC article quoted Ms Ninian Mellamphy, a long-time royal watcher on the possibility of the royal baby being named Elizabeth, after the baby's great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, who turns 89 on April 21. Queen Elizabeth will become the longest-serving monarch in British history in September. "She's made the name respectable and interesting," Ms Mellamphy said.

Among the boys' names, Arthur became a possibility because it is a popular middle name for members of the royal family, including Prince William and Prince Charles. The name James is also rich in royal history, with two King Jameses in Britain, and seven in Scotland, according to The Telegraph. Alexander is not very traditional, but it was picked as a possibility because it was chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as one of their first son's middle names. It is also consistently one of the top 30 boys' names in the country.

While there is a frenzy of speculation, there have been no official announcements by the British government.

The couple made the announcement about their second child on October 20, 2014. They already have a son, George Alexander Louis, who was traditionally named after a previous monarch. Prince George, who was born in July 2013, is third in line to the throne.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg