Royal baby: Odds slashed as Charlotte overtakes Alice in baby name bets

As Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, await the arrival of their second child, it appears that potential baby names remain a topic close to the public's heart. Alice had been a firm favourite with the bookies, but now a new name has had a last minute surge in popularity – Charlotte.

Kate and William's second baby is now a week overdue

"This gamble on Charlotte has taken us all by surprise," bookmakers William Hill said in a statement. "As in the last 24 hours, 90% of the wagers have been for Charlotte. Someone could easily have let something slip."

Charlotte also headed the list with the public in 2013, and it clearly remains a strong favourite. One notable royal who shared the moniker was Queen Charlotte, the beloved wife of George III who reigned from 1760 until 1820. She had a reputation as kindly, elegant and a patron of the arts, who sponsored musicians such as Handel, Bach and Mozart.

Another was the popular Princess Charlotte of Wales, who would have become Queen of the United Kingdom if she had not died while giving birth in 1817. The name is also of special important to the Middletons as Kate's younger sister Pippa's middle name is Charlotte.

Kate and her younger sister are very close and some commentators think the new baby could be named after Pippa

British bookmakers Ladbrokes also reported an increase in bets on the name Charlotte during the last several days. Odds have been slashed to 7/2 for Charlotte, while the odds for Alice are now 6/4.

The gender of Prince William and Kate's child has been kept under wraps - as was the case in 2013 before Prince George was born - but eagle-eyed royal fans have been watching to see if the British royals have been giving away clues.

The royal enthusiasts with their sweet treats

Fans who have been gathering outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital for over a week now were delighted by a sweet delivery of cakes and pastries arranged by William and Kate on Tuesday morning.

Kensington Palace has confirmed that the couple arranged breakfast so that the waiting crowds knew "they were thinking of them" - but the boxes of pastries were reportedly wrapped in a pink ribbon, in what has been considered a hint at the gender of the unborn child.

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