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Britain's newborn prince named George Alexander Louis

 

It’s a name fit for a king: George Alexander Louis.

Prince William and Kate Middleton officially announced the name of their newborn son, now third in line to the throne, Wednesday.

Kensington Palace said the royals are "delighted to announce" their son's name, adding that the 2-day-old baby and third-in-line to the throne will be known as "His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge."

Noble names are steeped in history, which explains why thousands of bets rolled in to British bookmakers for the name George, the name of six previous British kings. The moniker evokes the steadfastness of the queen's father, George VI, who rallied the nation during World War II.

Meaning farmer or earth worker, George was the 12th most popular name for boys born in England and Wales in 2011. St. George, a 4th-century Christian martyr, is the patron saint of England.

The name Louis could be a tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh's uncle and the last British Viceroy of India before independence in 1947. William's father, Prince Charles, was close with Mountbatten, who was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army in 1979.

The announcement from Prince William and Kate -- just two days after the baby's birth -- was quick, by royal standards.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh took a month before settling on the name Charles for the Prince of Wales. Princess Diana and Prince Charles took a week before settling on William's four names.

For now, the baby is expected to stay out of the spotlight after making his first "public appearance" in the arms of his parents outside of London's St. Mary's Hospital on Tuesday.

Earlier Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II visited with her new great-grandson at Kensington Palace for the first time, before William and Kate took the royal baby to visit his maternal grandparents in Bucklebury, a village west of London.

The 87-year-old monarch made a short trip from Buckingham Palace by chauffeur-driven Bentley and spent about half an hour visiting the two-day-old Prince of Cambridge. The baby is her third great-grandchild and the third in line to the British throne.

Prince Philip, who is recovering at Windsor Castle after exploratory abdominal surgery last month, did not accompany the queen.

Afterwards, William, Kate and the baby left the palace in a Range Rover, bound for the home of Kate's parents Michael and Carole Middleton.

William is taking two weeks' paternity leave from his job as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, and palace officials said he and Kate would now spend "private and quiet time for them to get to know their son."

Palace officials said Prince Harry has also been to see his new nephew whose name hasn't been revealed yet. "We're still working on a name," William told reporters Tuesday as he and Kate took the baby home from St. Mary's Hospital, promising to let the world know "as soon as we can."

That could be anything from a few hours to several weeks -- the queen did not announce the name of William's father, Prince Charles, until a month after his birth in 1948.

Bookmaker William Hill has George -- the name of six previous British kings -- as the favorite at 2-1 odds, with James at 4-1.

Images of the prince, his little hand peeking above a white crocheted wrap, blanketed the front pages of British newspapers Wednesday. The Daily Mail offered a photo album image with the headline "Baby's first royal wave.

The prince slept through his debut public appearance -- though William assured the media he had "a good pair of lungs on him."

As well as selecting a name -- or more likely four names -- William and Kate will soon choose a photographer for the baby's first official portrait.

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said the couple would probably choose someone "eminent and hopefully British." William's baby portrait was taken by society photographer Lord Snowdon, the former husband of the queen's sister Princess Margaret.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.