Why Many Royal Fans Are Hoping the Royal Baby Arrives Today

April 23 marks two important days in English history

Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

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England has a good reason for wanting the new royal baby to be born on Thursday.

Thursday, April 23, marks two important events in English history – the traditional celebration of William Shakespeare's birthday and St. George's Day.

While Shakespeare's exact birthday is unknown, records indicate that he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and died on April 23, 1616. Thus, April 23 is generally celebrated as his birthday, with special events taking place at his home of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Thursday is also St. George's Day, which is the feast day of St. George, the patron saint of England. While St. George never actually set foot in England during his lifetime, he was officially named the protector of the royal family and the patron saint of the country during the Middle Ages.

St. George's cross is used as the English flag and is featured in the Union Jack flag for the United Kingdom.

Celebrations of St. George's feast day in England died out in popularity after the late 16th century, but it regained popularity in recent years as a day to celebrate English culture and history.

St. George's Day also marks an important day for the royal family. Nominations for the Order of the Garter, the highest and oldest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom, are announced on April 23. In June, on the Monday of Royal Ascot week, members of the Order of the Garter attend a special ceremony at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

April 23 also marks other special anniversaries in English history, including the death of poet William Wordsworth in 1850 and the birth of painter J.M.W. Turner in 1775.

However, betting firm Ladbrokes isn't counting on the royal baby arriving on Thursday. The current odds-favorite birthdays are Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26, which are tied with 5-1 odds.

Keep reading People.com for more news on the royal birth.

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Updated by
Lindsay Kimble

Lindsay Kimble is a Senior Digital News Editor and the Sports Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She's worked at PEOPLE for over seven years as a writer, reporter and editor across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Super Bowl to the Met Gala. She's been nominated for the ASME NEXT Awards for Journalists Under 30, and previously wrote for Us Weekly while on staff at Wenner Media.

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