King Charles May Give Princess Charlotte Queen Elizabeth's Little-Known Former Title: Report
Is King Charles III saving something special for Princess Charlotte?
Over the weekend, The Mail on Sunday reported that the King, 73, may not bestow the Duke of Edinburgh title on his brother Prince Edward as previously speculated. Instead, he may name his 7-year-old granddaughter Charlotte the Duchess of Edinburgh one day. Queen Elizabeth II was known as the Duchess of Edinburgh before she became monarch, and the decision to pass the position to Charlotte would align with Charles' rumored vision for a slimmer modern monarchy.
On the eve of his wedding in 1947 to then-Princess Elizabeth, Prince Philip was made the Duke of Edinburgh, Baron Greenwich and Earl of Merioneth, the Royal Collection Trust reported. The newlyweds were known as the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh until the Queen acceded the throne in 1952, while Prince Philip retained his Duke of Edinburgh styling throughout life.
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"Discussions are underway, but the favored outcome for the King is that this title ought to go to Princess Charlotte," a source told The Mail on Sunday. "It would be a fitting way to remember the Queen — who, of course, had the title Duchess of Edinburgh — and a way for His Majesty to honor the line of succession."
The second child and only daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte is third in line to the throne behind her elder brother Prince George, 9, and followed by her younger brother Prince Louis, 4. While Princess Kate was pregnant with Prince George nearly a decade ago, British Parliament passed the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, ensuring that birth order — not male-preference primogeniture — would determine the line of succession for all royals born after October 28, 2011. Prince Louis' birth in 2018 was historic, as it marked the first time a female royal's spot in line to the throne was not bumped back by the arrival of a younger brother.
Matt Porteous / The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/Kensington Palace via Getty
Elaborating on why it might make sense for Charlotte to be styled as the Duchess of Edinburgh in the future, a source told the Mail on Sunday, "Charlotte's position is historically significant because she is the first female member of the royal family whose place in the line of succession will not be surpassed by her younger brother."
"So it is constitutionally significant that Charlotte should be given such a corresponding title, because it is not beyond the realms of possibility that she will accede the throne if, for example, Prince George does not have children," the source added.
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It was previously believed that the dukedom of Edinburgh would eventually pass to Prince Edward; the title returned to the crown following Prince Philip's death in April 2021. The third and youngest son of the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones became the Earl and Countess of Wessex after they married in 1999. On Edward and Sophie's wedding day, Buckingham Palace even indicated that the Edinburgh appellation was earmarked for them, The Times reported.
Samir Hussein/WireImage Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis joined Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles on the Buckingham Palace balcony on June 5.
"The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have also agreed that Prince Edward should be given the dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the present title held now by Prince Philip eventually reverts to the crown," the palace said in a statement at the time, per the outlet.
Edward, 58, has followed in his late father's royal footsteps by serving as the Chairman of the Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation since 2015, traveling around the world in support of the award for young people and presenting the prestigious prizes each year.
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The Earl of Wessex is the only one of the Queen's sons who has yet to receive a dukedom; his elder brother Prince Andrew became the Duke of York when he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986. Andrew, 62, is still known by the title, though he was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages in January in connection with his former friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The idea of making Princess Charlotte the Duchess of Edinburgh one day would theoretically keep the royal family more streamlined. If Prince Edward inherited the Duke of Edinburgh title, it could eventually pass to his 14-year-old son, James, Viscount Severn.