Within days, at any moment, possibly even today, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is expected to give birth. Her son or daughter will be third in line to the British throne. The British tabloids are showing their usual restraint as the young couple anticipates their joyous occasion.
For the rest of Britain it's a chance to cash in. Punters can bet on the baby's sex, time of birth, date of birth and who will be holding the baby when they "first emerge from the hospital. Odds on that are Kate (10/11) and William (10/11) at gambling shop William Hill. There also appears to be a robust market in baby names. Paddy Power (5/4), Oddschecker (5/4) and William Hill (6/5) all have Alexandra as the most likely option even though the baby's sex is not yet known. Other names seen as probably include Charlotte, Elizabeth, George, James, Victoria and Diana. The royals, we're told, are trying so hard to be modern; but if these stolid names suggest anything it's that the royal family is aware of its own obsolescence, that nothing but tradition allows them to keep their immense wealth.
For gamblers with a longer time horizon Paddy Power is taking bets on the name of the unborn baby's first significant other, university, whether s/he will be in the Olympics (25/1), the age of the "first nightclub visit photograph" and career. That last category includes art (10/1), history (12/1), various branches of the military, party planning (50/1), modeling (33/1) and distantly journalism (90/1). Paddy Power pointedly does not offer high-living burden on the state but equestrian (14/1) looks like a good bet.