Australia-bound Prince Harry set to miss royal birth

Australia-bound Prince Harry set to miss royal birth

LONDON - Prince Harry seems set to miss the birth of his niece or nephew when he flies back to Australia on Monday, as his sister-in-law Kate waits to go into labour.

Harry, who is on attachment with the Australian army, was briefly back in Britain at the weekend, giving him a chance of being in town for the birth of his brother Prince William's second child, which is due by the end of the month.

But it seems he may not get to see the new prince or princess - who will take his place as fourth in line to the throne - until he returns in mid-May.

Army captain Harry, 30, will spend time with Australian army units in Perth and Sydney before he embarks on an official tour of New Zealand from May 9 to May 16.

Alice, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Victoria remain the favourite girls' names with the bookmakers, while James, Arthur, Alexander and Philip are the favourite boys' names.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has defended William and Kate opting to use private health care for the birth rather than the state-run National Health Service.

As with the couple's first child Prince George, who was born in July 2013, the baby is set to be born in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London, where prices start at £5,215 ($7,900, 7,280 euros) a night.

"I think it's a total matter of choice for people -- what they use and where they have their babies," Cameron told Sky News television.

"I believe in choice, I believe in people being able to do what they want to do.

"All I hope and pray for is there'll be happy, healthy news for that wonderful couple and for the whole country."

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