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The waiting game of naming royal babies

Prince William’s name was not announced for seven days and the wait for Charles’s took a month.

The names of royal babies are historically not announced straight away, leaving the nation playing a guessing game until the chosen one is finally revealed.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby son is three days old, but Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s names were revealed just two days after they were born.

When William arrived in 1982, his parents the Prince and Princess of Wales waited seven days before deciding on and announcing his chosen forenames.

Diana was thought to have preferred names such as Sebastian and Oliver, while Charles was reportedly holding out for Albert.

When the names were finally revealed as William Arthur Philip Louis it ended a week of intense speculation.

Experts correctly predicted Louis would be among the names in honour of the Prince of Wales’s late great-uncle Lord Mountbatten, as well as Philip in a nod to the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Buckingham Palace revealed at the time that the name William would not be shortened in any way and the duke himself has since insisted he is never known as “Wills”.

Out of courtesy, the Queen has to be told what has been decided before a name is announced.

Prince Harry’s name was announced much more quickly than his brother’s after he was born in September 1984, with the palace confirming it on the day he left hospital and saying that although he was called Henry, he would be known as Harry.

When Princess Beatrice was born in 1988, it was two weeks before her name was known.

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The Duke and Duchess of York at Balmoral with their two-week-old daughter Princess Beatrice (PA)

Her sister’s little known name Princess Eugenie took people by surprise in 1990. It was the second name of one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters.

The Prince of Wales’s name remained a mystery to the wider world for a month and was only declared ahead of his christening in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace in December 1948.

When the Queen’s first great-grandchild Savannah Phillips was born in December 2010, her name was first disclosed at a church service at the royal estate of Sandringham, Norfolk, attended by the royal family.

Although the name had not been officially announced, the Rector of Sandringham made a mention in a prayer for “Peter and Autumn Phillips and their daughter Savannah”.

Royal baby namings have not always been plain sailing.

At Queen Victoria’s christening in 1819, there was a dispute over what she should be called.

Her mother the Duchess of Kent had wanted to call her Georgiana Charlotte Augusta Alexandrina Victoria, but was overruled by a cantankerous Prince Regent, the future George IV, who dictated during the ceremony that she be called Alexandrina Victoria in tribute to Russian Tsar Alexander I.

The duchess was distraught and broke down sobbing during the proceedings.

There was also a change to the intended name of Queen Elizabeth II’s sister, Princess Margaret, in 1930.

She was eventually called Margaret Rose, but her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, later George VI and Queen Elizabeth, were planning to call her Ann Margaret, but changed their mind after learning that King George V disliked the name Ann.

Queen Victoria used to insist that the name Albert be used as a middle name, if not a first, in honour of her beloved consort Prince Albert.

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