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Why Kate Middleton's pregnancy is big news in America (+video)

Brits are mostly taking Kate Middleton's pregnancy in stride. But in the US, British royalty fascinates the public, and news organizations. ABC News has a baby names poll for Kate and William's child.

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The news did provide a boost to one of Britain's national pastimes — finding new ways to wager money. Bookmakers are now taking bets on the gender of Kate's child, what the infant will be named and the color of his/her hair.

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Joe Crilly, a spokesman for the William Hill bookmaker, said a high level of betting interest is expected, with favored names including Diana, Philip, Elizabeth and Sarah.

In America, ABC News even offered a poll, asking people to rate likely baby names. The leading contenders? James and Grace.

Baby thoughts have been found in some less-than-fully-credible supermarket tabloids for months. They've been trumpeting "stories" about Kate's pregnancies for months, without any apparent basis in fact.

But that didn't keep the public from gobbling them up — the British royals, with their haughty glamour and slightly tragic air, have long captivated Americans.

"I'm always looking for any news of William and Kate," said 19-year-old Stacy McFacken, a clerk at a grocery store in Mentor, Ohio, in August when a number of tabloids offered screaming headlines about Kate's purported pregnancy.

"There's nothing like this in the States," she said. "It's just like all the fairy tales we read about as kids. We all want to be Kate."

Word of Kate's condition, including her hospitalization for complications, was top news on websites throughout the world. Her condition requires specialist treatment but if diagnosed early, it is unlikely to have long-term consequences for the mother or baby, and does not raise the risk of a miscarriage.

But while the parents might be anxious, world leaders stepped in to wish her well. The news was featured prominently on front pages in Argentina, India, France, South Africa and other countries. It sent Twitter into a tizzy, with the hashtag "royalbaby" trending worldwide and used more than 28,000 times in the first few hours following the official announcement. U.S. media websites such as People, Vanity Fair and the Daily Beast provided extensive coverage, with the Huffington Post launching a live blog to track developments.

"The whole wide world is excited," said Shao Hua Huang, a surgical nurse who practices in New York and Connecticut. "We're really happy for her. It's because of England and all the tradition. We Americans followed in their footsteps."

RECOMMENDED: Kate and William: How well do you know the royal couple? Take the quiz

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Associated Press writers Paisley Dodds, Danica Kirka and Cassandra Vinograd in London contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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