Some royal names do not hark back to ancestors, but instead can be read as symbols that have national significance, Harris said.
Take Arthur, the middle names of both Prince Charles and Prince William, which brings to mind the legendary King Arthur and tales of chivalry — a favorite theme ingrained in Britain's literature.
Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936, was christened Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David — the first names were in honor of family members, but the last four were patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Not all British royal names are strictly English, though. Marriages with other European dynasties have brought in new additions to the name pool, like Isabella, Charlotte and Frederick.
Given the weight of history, can William and the former Kate Middleton — widely admired as the fresh, modern face of a crusty institution — break with tradition and call their child something trendy and unexpected?
Experts don't think it's likely. While children further down the line of succession have had more unconventional names — for example, the grandchildren of Princess Anne, the queen's only daughter, are called Savannah and Isla — those first in line to the throne don't have such freedom.
"With royal children it's rarely just the parents who have a say," Harris said.
Safe to say, then, that the baby won't be called Apple or Wayne.
Online: www.royal.gov.uk gives an official account of British royal history.
Sylvia Hui can be reached at http://twitter.com/sylviahui
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