LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have named their newborn daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, a choice that honors the baby’s late grandmother Princess Diana and her great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth.
The news, announced in a statement on Monday from the couple’s Kensington Palace residence, was eagerly awaited by royal watchers and bookmakers who had been placing bets and speculating on the subject since the baby’s birth on Saturday.
“The baby will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge,” Kensington Palace tweeted.
Charlotte, Diana and Elizabeth were all among the names most favored by bookmakers for the princess, who is the fifth great-grandchild of Britain’s 89-year-old Queen Elizabeth.
Earlier on Monday, a May Day public holiday in Britain, the birth was marked with simultaneous royal gun salutes in London’s Hyde Park and at the Tower of London - 41 and 62 respectively, honoring a tradition which celebrates the birth of every prince or princess, regardless of their place in the succession.
A peal of bells also rang out from Westminster Abbey, where William and the duchess, Kate, were married in 2011.
Charlotte, fourth in line to the British throne behind her brother Prince George, father William and grandfather Prince Charles, was born two days ago in a London hospital.
William and Kate are expected to travel to their country residence in southern England in the next few days to present their daughter to the queen, who is spending time nearby.
Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, welcomed the choice of names, saying they were “perfect”.
The birth has provided a welcome distraction for many Britons from campaigning by political parties for Thursday’s knife-edge general election.
Many newspapers have devoted reams of newsprint to the royal birth, pushing political coverage off the front pages.
Some, such as the Daily Mail, were quick to provide readers with articles on the origin of the name Charlotte.
“Fit for a princess!,” the paper’s online version said. “A long history dating back to the 17th century, and meaning ‘petite’ and ‘feminine’, why the name Charlotte is perfect for the new royal baby,” it wrote in a headline.
Others were less enthusiastic. The Independent published a list of stories it said had been edged out by the royal news.
“Away from the ... birth of the Princess of Cambridge, however, the rest of the world has continued,” it wrote.
Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy and Gareth Jones; Editing by Louise Ireland