Speculation mounts in countdown to Britain's royal baby

Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:45pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Speculation about baby names, hair color and hypnosis swirled around Britain's Duchess of Cambridge on Thursday during her last solo public appearance before she gives birth to a royal heir.

British glossy magazine Grazia reported the duchess has considered using hypno-birth for a delivery expected next month in which women use a form of self-hypnosis to control pain by learning techniques to boost production of pain-relieving hormones.

Bookmakers said bets favored the duchess joining the growing band of women dubbed "too posh to push" by opting for a caesarian rather than a natural birth.

The royal family has declined to give any details on plans for the first child of Prince William and Kate Middleton, 31, who have been officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since their marriage in April 2011.

A royal spokeswoman said she was aware of rising speculation about the birth but declined to confirm or deny any details for the baby who will be the third in line to the British throne after Prince Charles and his oldest son William.

"This is a happy occasion and there is lot of speculation about what the duchess might and might not do but this really is a private matter," the spokeswoman said.

Royal watchers expect the baby to be born at St Mary's Hospital in central London where Princess Diana gave birth to William, who turns 31 next week, and his brother Prince Harry.

The duchess was under scrutiny for any hints about the baby during her last solo public engagement on Thursday when she launched Princess Cruises' new 3,600-passenger vessel Royal Princess in Southampton on England's south coast.   Continued...

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cuts a ribbon to release a bottle of champagne during the naming ceremony of the 'Royal Princess' cruise ship in Southampton, southern England June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth