Royal baby a Cancerian 'who could change monarchy'

You don't need a horoscope to predict a life of palaces and privilege for Britain's royal baby -- but astrologers say the future king will be a sensitive Cancerian who could help "transform" the royal family.

The child follows both his father Prince William and his late grandmother, Diana, princess of Wales, by being born under the sign of the crab.

William's wife Kate gave birth to the baby in London at 4:24 pm (1524 GMT) on Monday. Had the as yet unnamed Prince of Cambridge arrived just 34 minutes later, he would have been a Leo with a quite different astrological character.

As a Cancerian born under a full moon, the child is expected to have an unusually strong relationship with his parents and grandfather, Prince Charles, as well as sharing character traits with Diana.

Penny Thornton was Diana's astrologer for six years in the 1980s and has also met Prince William and studied his chart.

"Kate is a Capricorn and William a Cancerian, so straight off the bat you can see what a close bond these three will have," Thornton told AFP.

"Diana's imprint is also strong with the baby's ascendant-descendant axis picking up her Venus. I would also suggest that Charles will be a huge mentor for his grandson."

Baby Wales was born under a rare planetary configuration known as a "Kite", she added, suggesting he has a special talent and "powerful destiny".

There are few more potent fates than being king -- the job the baby will take on after Prince Charles and Prince William -- and Thornton said that the child could have a "transformational quality" as head of state.

"Obviously the monarchy as it is today is not appropriate in 50 years' time so he will be part of the change, much more informal," she said, adding that he would do "something that helps the world, heals."

This carries an echo of Diana, who frequently visited AIDS victims in London hospices and worked for a ban on landmines before her death in a Paris car crash in 1997.

"If he had not been born a future king, I think he would follow a career in research, medicine -- gynaecology, psychiatry -- an interest in how the planet works," Thornton added.

Other famous Cancerians include former South African President Nelson Mandela and, less auspiciously, Britain's King Edward VIII, whose abdication in 1936 to marry a US divorcee prompted a royal crisis.

If the future king had been born slightly later, his personality would have been significantly different -- Leos, whose sign is the lion, are typically seen as fiery, flamboyant and dramatic where Cancerians are more emotional.

Kate's mother Carole Middleton reportedly told friends the baby would be a Leo, while many journalists Monday also assumed this after the crossover point between the two star signs passed with no announcement of the birth.

Cancerians are renowned by astrologists to be protective and emotional, given that they are supposedly ruled by the moon, but are quick to retreat back within their shell.

But astrologer Patrick Arundell said the baby's actual birth sign would give him "regal power" and a "very special aura".

"Leo has the star quality but Cancer is very powerful," said Arundell.

"These people don't have to shout about their power. A cardinal sign like Cancer might not shout but people know they're there."

Astrologists argue it was always written in the stars that this special baby would be a Cancerian.

"People think 'here's a horoscope and this horoscope influences your life' but it's the other way round," Thornton said.

"The planets reflect who we are... the fact that it came right to the edge, he was never destined to be a Leo."

As with so many other elements of this royal baby's life, perhaps his astrological fate was firmly set from the start.