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The sweeping implications of royal baby No. 2

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The royal family's announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child had the United Kingdom abuzz Monday and sent royals watchers and baby name oddsmakers into overdrive.

The new royal baby — a sibling to Prince George — will be born fourth in line to the throne currently occupied by Queen Elizabeth II, bumping Prince Harry to fifth. For those of you keeping score at home, here's the line of succession when royal baby No. 2 arrives:

1. Prince Charles
2. Prince William
3. Prince George
4. Royal baby no. 2
5. Prince Harry
6. Prince Andrew
7. Princess Beatrice
8. Princess Eugenie

And while second-born royal children are usually not crowned sovereign, some have occasionally ended up as monarch, the Telegraph notes:

The country's last king, George VI, was not meant to accede to the throne and only did so when his older brother Edward VIII abdicated over his love for American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1936. George VI's father, George V, was also not destined to wear the crown. But he outlived his older brother the Duke of Clarence and Avondale — Prince Albert Victor — who died from flu in 1892. George V became king in 1910.


Being the so-called "spare to the heir" can often be a difficult role to fulfill within the royal family.

"Second-born royals are characteristically less cautious and enjoy the freedom that comes with not having to prepare to rule as monarch," the Press Association's Laura Elston writes. "But the position is open to criticism as the privileged and sometimes troublesome younger sibling to a future sovereign attempts to carve out a life for themselves."

"It's a tricky position to have because constitutionally there isn't really a defined role," noted royal expert Victoria Arbiter told Yahoo News. "Prince Andrew has been subjected to the most awful nicknames — Hermes Andy, Randy Andy — when he was next in line after Prince Charles. Prince Harry has had this sort of reputation of being somewhat irresponsible — the party-loving prince."

Meanwhile, U.K. bookies are already offering odds on the name of the unborn child. Elizabeth, Victoria and Henry top the list of current favorites at 10 to 1, while William and Kate get 12 to 1:

• Elizabeth 10-1
• Henry 10-1
• Victoria 10-1
• Charlotte 12-1
• Arthur 12-1
• William 12-1
• Alice 12-1
• Philip 12-1
• Alexandra 12-1
• Catherine (Kate) 12-1
• Charles 12-1
• James 16-1
• Mary 16-1
• Frances 16-1
• Albert 20-1
• Alexander 20-1
• Diana 20-1
• Spencer 20-1

And pundits from Aberdeen to 10 Downing Street are wondering what the news of the new royal baby will mean for Scottish independence.

"Perhaps it’ll boost the unionist cause," James Kirkup writes in the Telegraph. "After all, the Royal Family are at least supposed to be the Union incarnate, the physical embodiment of the ties that bind us together. While the rest of us still tend to describe ourselves as English/Scottish/Welsh *and* British, the Royals have no national identifier — or more accurately, they have all of them: the Queen, for instance, is English, Welsh and Scottish. She is British."

Recent polls, however, show support for Scottish independence is growing, increasing fears among politicians that the Sept. 18 referendum will end the 307-year union between Scotland and England.

"There’s still an implied belief that the Royals remain special and different," Kirkup continues. "Magical, if you like. Frankly, magic is just what the campaign for the Union has lacked. So maybe, just maybe, a new focus on the Royals will cause Scots to waver, and cleave back to the Union."

Maybe not. According to a flash poll conducted by London's Guardian newspaper, 84 percent do not think the royal baby will save the union.

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