With Kate Middleton expecting to deliver her third child near the end of April, there's enough of a frenzy across the Commonwealth and around the world over the baby's gender and name. Lost in the mix, however, is what title will be bestowed on the newborn.
And it's in that choice of royal moniker where it gets complicated, with much of the options having to do with the official status of the forthcoming baby's parents, as well as how the birth order of the new arrival's siblings figure into the equation.
That said, the titular choice has already been made, and it's a lengthy whopper. If it's a boy, with royal bookies betting that James will be the top name choice of its parents, the child will be dubbed His Royal Highness Prince James of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As for the arrival being a girl, with the inside track citing Elizabeth as a favorite moniker, Middleton's third baby will have the title of Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Experts who make a living analyzing the lineage of royalty across Europe over the centuries, indicate that the choice has much to do with the status of William and Kate, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cambridge respectfully. The newborn can't adopt a similar title that's already been taken by older siblings Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
Furthermore, the baby will technically be a commoner according to royal decree, as it's not a direct heir to the throne, a distinction that William's brother Harry also shares. The only successors to Queen Elizabeth II who have official royal status are Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George.
However, a decree issued by the Queen in 2015, just before the arrival of Princess Charlotte, allows for heirs and spares to be recognized as princes and princesses. Previously, younger siblings of heirs were recognized as Lords and Ladies.
But the commoner stigma won't last forever. If any of them marry, they'll be given royal status, which will happen to Prince Harry once he marries Meghan Markle.
All clear now?