While many may have been surprised by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Catherine “Kate” Middleton named their newborn daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana (especially people named Charlotte), the news comes as no surprise to British bookmakers.
The name Charlotte had been the odds-on favorite for several days — and bookmakers now estimate they will be forced to hand over about 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) to “punters” (a British term for gamblers).
So why were the people so confident the name would be Charlotte? Bookmakers are not exactly sure, but some speculate that a rush to make bets on the name “Charlotte” in the last 8-10 days indicates someone on “the inside” knew what the name would be.
“It sets off alarm bells that maybe there has been information leaked from the palace, and so the public followed the money,” says Nicola McGeady, a spokesperson for the bookmaker Coral, which saw more than 60% of bets on Charlotte in the last 24 hours, producing the company’s largest payout for this type of contest. Likewise, referring to bets made on the baby’s gender in the last six months, McGeady adds, “It should have been a coin toss, but the money was so lopsided in favor of the girl.”
That said, Charlotte had always been spoken of as a favorite, as were the princess’s other names Elizabeth and Diana. It’s the female version of her grandfather’s name, after all — and the middle name of her aunt Pippa.
Before the surge of betting on Charlotte, Alice was the favorite because the Duchess of Cambridge is said to have written a dissertation on Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, according to Rupert Adams, a spokesperson at William Hill.
William Hill maintains it saw more bets surrounding the birth of Prince George, arguably because he is the heir to the throne. Over at rival Ladbrokes, however, betting on the princess was a record—the most individual bets on a royal baby, according to Jessica Bridges, a spokesperson for the gaming company.
And people are wasting no time to make picks regarding the next member of the royal family. At William Hill, gamblers predict Will and Kate will stop at two kids — but if they have a third, then it will be a princess named Alice.