LONDON — The business of monarchy has always been stacked in favor of men.
Not any more — or so the British government promises.
The first child of Prince William and his wife Kate will be born a king or a queen in waiting, under changes to succession rules designed to overturn centuries of tradition and give royal daughters the same rights as sons.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged Tuesday that the law on succession would be changed at the earliest opportunity. He said whether the baby is a boy or a girl, they will have an equal claim to the throne.
Born to rule, be it a boy or a girl proclaimed the Daily Mail, which noted that the baby had already made royal and constitutional history even before it is born.
Not so fast, caution others.
A royal saga needs a touch of uncertainty, and experts point out that despite politicians' promises, the law giving males primacy in succession has not yet been changed — and the clock is ticking.
We know that the wishes of politicians are written in water, said royal historian Robert Lacey. Law only becomes law when the law is made — and the law has not been made.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge — the former Kate Middleton — was continuing to feel better Tuesday as she spent a second day in a London hospital being treated for acute morning sickness, St. James's Palace said. William visited his wife in the hospital for several hours, as photographers and camera crews from around the world camped outside, eager for news on the royal pregnancy.
Congratulations poured in from around the world at the good news, which follows Kate and William's lavish royal wedding in 2011 and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year.
Bettors in Britain have a range of possible wagers from betting agencies William Hill, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. Odds as of Tuesday morning:
Paddy Power: Twins: 8-1; Triplets 100-1; Quadruplets or more 500-1
Paddy Power: Under 5 pounds, 5-1; 6 pounds to 6 pounds 15 ounces, 7-2
NAME OF BABY
Paddy Power: Catherine 20-1, Diana 9-1, William 16-1, Britney 500-1
Ladbrokes: Catherine 16-1, Diana 12-1, Charles 10-1, Arsene 500-1
Ha ha. As in Arsene Wenger, coach of Arsenal FC soccer team. Anyway, Prince William supports Aston Villa.
WILL BABY BE A VOGUE COVER MODEL BEFORE 18?
William Hill: 33-1
WILL BABY BECOME PRO SOCCER STAR?
William Hill: 1,000-1
AND ONE FINAL THOUGHT:
Everybody has a chance to experience it in their own way, right down to the fact of betting on the names — is it going to be Frances or James or Baby Gaga? said royal historian Robert Lacey.