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Prince Charles gives strong hint Royal baby is a boy

Published: 5:25AM Thursday June 27, 2013 Source: ONE News

Prince Charles has given his strongest hint yet that his future grandchild will be a boy.

The eyes of the world are on the Royal family as the due date of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child edges closer, with every comment seen as a possible clue.

And today the Prince of Wales stoked the rumour mill even further after he and the Duchess of Cornwall were given a model bus as a present during a Royal visit to Northern Ireland, with Charles saying it would come in handy as an "emergency" toy.

The expectant grandfather and Camilla were touring a factory which manufactures London's signature red double-decker buses when they were given the model.

Speculation has been rife as to the sex of the baby, who will be third in line to the throne.

But the Royals have insisted they are as much in the dark as the public as to the baby's gender, despite hints to the contrary in recent months.

Today's comments by Prince Charles have been said by some to strongly suggest the Royal couple could be expecting a boy.

"Having been given this [model bus], that will not only be a marvellous memento of the happy occasion, but also I suspect I might be able to wrench it off its plinth in an emergency and give it to small grandchildren, who I'm sure will want to roll it about the floor," he said after being presented with the gift.

Charles sparked laughter among the factory workers and dignitaries who were accompanying him on the tour when he suggested the alternative use for the model, the Belfast Telegraph reports.     

Bets are on

Meanwhile, British bookmakers are taking money on speculation that the Royal baby could come sooner than expected, with suspicions rising that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are fudging the date to retain some privacy and shake off the world's media.

Catherine is reportedly due to give birth in mid-July, but bookmaker Paddy Power today cut the odds on the baby arriving in the first week of July to 4-1 from 8-1 after a surge of money from gamblers who believe the couple could be taking a lead from Princess Diana.

In 1982 Princess Diana - who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 - fooled the public by saying William was due on July 1, but he was actually born 10 days earlier.

Bookmaker William Hill said its latest betting activity suggested the baby would be born on July 17 and a girl.

All the bookmakers reported an increase in betting activity on the Royal birth as the date approaches.

William Hill said turnover has trebled in the last week with over £50,000 pounds ($98,000) wagered on the various markets, and this figure is expected to double in the next week or so.

Paddy Power expected Royal betting turnover to top £300,000 pounds ($590,000) in coming weeks, a 30% increase on the Royal wedding in April 2011.

"The imminent arrival has sent a Royal bump of joy across the country and it's clear punters love nothing more than a Royal flutter," a Paddy Power spokesman said in a statement.

Buckingham Palace sources have said Catherine intends to have the baby in the Lindo Wing at St Mary's, in Paddington, west London, where Princess Diana gave birth to both William and his brother Prince Harry.

Gamblers are favouring Alexandra, Diana, Charlotte and Elizabeth for girl's names and George for a boy.

- with Reuters