July 24, 2013 at 5:24 PM ET
Natalie Howard swears she’s not a gambler. But her friends should take note: She’d be a great person to bring along on a trip to Vegas.
Howard accurately guessed the royal baby’s name (George) and birthday (July 22), but that’s not all: She was just three minutes off with her guess that the baby would arrive at 4:21 p.m. on Monday. (The baby was born at 4:24 p.m. local time that day.)
“I love it!” Howard told TODAY.com on Wednesday. “I’m a big fan of the royal family, and I’ve always been a big history buff.”
Howard, 44, of Houston, Texas, submitted the prediction via TODAY's RoyalBabyGuess.com feature, which received nearly 13,500 guesses before the debut of Prince William’s and Duchess Kate’s newborn. Of those submissions, 405 anticipated that the baby’s first name would be George. (The most popular name guess, Diana, got submitted 1,556 times.)
Other fun facts:
Howard confessed that her time-of-day guess was a fluke, but she said she had good reason for mulling the name George.
“To be quite honest, I was torn between George and James, but I had a feeling it would be George,” she said. “I think ‘George’ is a nod for continuity. Queen Elizabeth’s father, of course, had that name.”
She also had a rationale for picking July 22.
“When it initially came out that bookmakers had money on July 13 and July 16, I discarded those dates right away. I figured they were red herrings so people would put money on them,” Howard explained. “Then (Kate’s mother) Mrs. Middleton said she was hoping for a Leo. That would bring us to July 23, but that was several days past the palace’s announcement of mid-July. So I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to guess the 22nd.’”
Howard actually submitted multiple guesses at TODAY's RoyalBabyGuess.com, a tactic that did not violate the website’s rules. She said she had fun getting swept up in royal baby fever and anticipating details about the future monarch. (If the baby had been a girl, Howard guessed her name would have been Elizabeth.)
She noted that this isn’t the first time she’s made predictions about British royalty.
“It’s really weird because when Prince William was getting married, I knew that he had a choice of uniforms,” Howard said. “I was guessing as a joke — no one was really interested in this but myself, not even my mom — but I kept saying, ‘I think he’s going to go for the red uniform.’”
Howard said her strong interest in history and royalty stems from her upbringing in Europe. She was born and raised in Germany and didn’t move to the United States until she was 18. After arriving here, she served in the U.S. Army and then became a police officer. Today she works as a fraud investigator for an insurance company.
She said she became hooked on the TODAY show shortly after her arrival in the States.
“The TODAY show is what helped my English get better,” she said. “And now I’ve been watching the show ever since I was 18! If I ever have to miss any of it, I tape it!”