Royal Baby Mania Begins with Questions on Name, Title and Succession

In very exciting news today out of London, Buckingham Palace announced that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and the wife of Prince William, is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Over the past few months, there has been an endless amount of speculation as to whether or not Kate and William could be expecting a bundle of joy, and now the news is confirmed on the couple's official website. But what will they name the baby? If female, could the baby be named Diana? And will she succeed William as the Queen of England?

It's official: Kate Middleton is pregnant

Though many hope that the royal couple might choose the first name Diana as a tribute to William's late beloved mother, it's unlikely, Robert Lacey, author of the Queen Elizabeth biography Majesty, told Good Morning America. "But you're very likely to see Diana in one of the middle names. You might very likely get Elizabeth Diana something. It shows the bravery with which he's kept his mother's memory alive, right down to the ring on Kate's finger."

Royal family expert and journalist Victoria Arbiter suggests Diana's middle name as a possibility. "They may certainly use Diana or indeed Diana's middle name which was Frances as a middle name for their child, but I don't think they would use her name as a first name," she told Yahoo! Shine. "Too much history and pressure associated to the name but I'm sure William would like to honor his mother if it feels right."

Pamela Satran of Nameberry, a baby name guide, agrees that Diana and Elizabeth are both strong middle name contenders. As for first names, she told Yahoo! Shine: "Our top picks for first name for a girl are Charlotte, a nod to both Prince Charles and Carole Middleton, or Victoria, after the famous 19th century queen.

For a boy, we pick Arthur or George. Arthur was the famous King of the Knights of the Roundtable, and is a middle name of both William and Charles. George was Queen Elizabeth's grandfather and king during the first World War."

Royals are usually given four names or more, in recognition of family members, saints, or past rulers. Prince William's full name is William Philip Arthur Louis. If the baby is a boy, Philip, after William's grandfather, or Charles, or even Harry could be options.

Since their wedding in April 2011, Will and Kate have brought interest in the royal family to new levels, partially because of Kate's status as a commoner (not descended from royal blood). One might even expect that the couple could give the child a Middleton family name to acknowledge Kate's background. Her parents are named Carole and Michael and of course there's Kate's sister Pippa, short for Philippa. If Middleton wanted to go further back, a paternal great grandmother was named Olive, which is back in fashion.

As for the line of succession, William follows his father Prince Charles in line to the throne. Thanks to new Cabinet rules as of September, Kate and William's child will succeed William whatever its gender. In other words, if the royal baby is a girl, she will eventually succeed William to become the Queen of England, even if the couple's second child is a boy. The 'spare heir,' Prince Harry, has now been bumped down to fourth place in the line of succession.

The child is both Prince Charles' and the Middletons' first grandchild. If the baby is born while Queen Elizabeth still sits on the throne, it will be the first time in 120 years that a reigning monarch will meet a great-grandchild in the direct line to succession.

Kate and William are known officially as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. According to the Letters Patent of 1917 introduced by King George V, their eldest child will be known as His or Her Royal Highness the Prince or Princess of Cambridge with any other children receiving the title of Lord or Lady until the Queen's death-at which point all of their children would receive the title Prince or Princess of Cambridge.

Congratulations are certainly in order for the royal couple, whose pregnancy symbolizes the continuation of the monarchy. Unfortunately, get-well wishes for Kate are also needed. According to the royal couple's website, Kate was admitted to the hospital this afternoon with Hyperemesis Gravidarium, a severe form of morning sickness, hence the reason for the announcement.

Related links:
Kate Middleton pregnant, world goes #royalbaby bonkers
Tabloid editor resigns over topless Kate Middleton pictures
Pregnant Kate Middleton is in the hospital with hyperemesis gravidarium
Palace says Duchess of Cambridge expecting