Brits bet on Alexandra as royal baby name

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LONDON -- If you believe the bookmakers, the first child of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge will be a girl named Alexandra.

The British betting firm Coral has slashed the odds on the royal baby's name to 2-1 from 25-1 after getting an unusually large flurry of bets on it.

Spokesman Simon Clare said Thursday that the company had taken 10,000 bets on various names but he was surprised to see about $3,080 in bets on Alexandra in a matter of hours.

Elizabeth, Diana and Victoria are close behind.

Bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes also have Alexandra as the 2-1 favorite.

At an outing last month, Kate Middleton appeared to let it slip that the baby, which is due in July, would be a girl.

All things considered, the bookies are likely on the right track.

"Royal names tend to be based on previous monarchs, relatives and godparents to ensure continuity," said historian Carolyn Harris, who lectures at the University of Toronto's school of continuing studies.

Alexandra is the name of Queen Elizabeth II's great-grandmother, a Danish princess who married Edward VII. The full name of Elizabeth herself also includes Alexandra, as well as Mary, her grandmother.

It's not clear why people suddenly became so enthusiastic about the name Alexandra in the past few days, though Clare offered a clue: Many of the bets appeared to come from Berkshire, the county that's home to royal residence Windsor Castle.

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"With these sorts of markets you don't expect a rush of money. Generally it comes once people think they know what's happened," he said. He added, however, that it could also just be that "someone at the local pub said Kate quite liked the idea of the name."

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