What the Royal Baby's Name Will Be and Why

I'm not really a royal watcher, but the one though that kept occurring to me during all the talk about whether Prince William and Princess Kate might name their baby Alexander or George was, "What will the baby's last name be? What is William's last name, for that matter?"

I don't really know how all that royalty stuff goes down, so I thought I'd educate myself and break it down for you.

Turns out, being royalty and all, the baby doesn't require a last name. The baby will be referred to as His Royal Highness Prince (name) of Cambridge. However, if a surname is required, members of the royal household have quite a few options.

Let me break it down for you:

Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged. Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Charles and Diana), for example. The Duke and Duchess of York (Andrew and Fergie) is another example of a house or dynasty.

Related: The 13 funniest #RoyalBaby tweets (so far)

However, according to royal.gov.uk, in 1917 George V specifically adopted Windsor, not only as the name of the 'House' or dynasty, but also as the surname of his family. This continued when his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, took over in 1952. But eight years later The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh decided that they would like their direct descendants to have their own surname distinguished from the rest of the Royal Family. They declared that The Queen's descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor. That name combines Windsor, the family name adopted by King George V and Prince Philip's surname, Mountbatten. So, if they need a surname at any point, all The Queen's children can use Mountbatten-Windsor.

Still with me?

So William and Kate can choose that their baby not have a surname, they can choose that the baby use Mountbatten- Windsor - which is rarely used, the baby can use Wales which is Prince Charles' royal house and what he uses. William and Harry also go by Wales when on military duty, or the baby can go with Cambridge, the royal house bestowed on his or her parents by Queen Elizabeth II when they got married.

I like Cambridge. But then again, it might be liberating to just use one name. Cher seems to like it. What about you? Got a preference?

-By Monica Bielanko

For 9 signs that you have totally caught Royal Baby fever, visit Babble!

19 of Kate Middleton's most stylish maternity looks
10 famous moms caught breastfeeding in public (and we have the pics!)
7 things you should know about the future King of England