Why Kate Middleton is using Princess Diana's former royal title, but Camilla, Queen Consort, didn't

kate, camilla
Catherine, Princess of Wales pictured left, and Camilla, Queen Consort, right.IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images, Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • Kate Middleton was made Princess of Wales when King Charles III took the throne.

  • She is the first person to use the title since Princess Diana, who died in 1997.

  • Camilla, the new Queen Consort, never used the title even though she was entitled to.

Prince William inherited King Charles' former Prince of Wales title when he took the throne earlier this month, while Kate Middleton inherited the Princess of Wales title.

"Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales," the king said of William during his first speech as monarch on September 9.

"With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground, where vital help can be given," Charles added.

Kate in a pink sparkly dress. William in a blue suit and button down.
Kate Middleton and Prince William.Pool/Getty Images

The Prince of Wales title has been reserved for heirs to the British throne since it was first used by Edward II in 1301, according to Britannica. Charles was formally given the title by Queen Elizabeth II at an investiture in 1969, according to his biography on The Prince of Wales' official website.

The Princess of Wales title was used by Princess Diana upon her marriage to Charles in 1981, and she was allowed to keep using it after they divorced in 1996. However, when Diana died in 1997, the title reverted back to the crown.

Why Camilla didn't use the Princess of Wales title

Kate is the first person to use the title since Diana's death, even though Camilla — now Queen Consort — was entitled to use it in the past.

When Camilla married Charles in 2005, she became the Princess of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall because royal women inherit their husband's titles, according to the Daily Express. However, she opted to be styled as Duchess of Cornwall out of respect, due to the controversy that would have come with using Diana's title, the publication added.

Marlene Koenig, a royal historian, previously told Town & Country that Camilla "was not popular or well liked" when she first wed Charles, adding that this has changed in recent years.

queen consort camilla brooch
Queen consort Camilla before the Service of Thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Koenig added that due to the "tension and anger" among parts of the British population, it was decided that Camilla would be styled as Duchess of Cornwall.

Both Camilla and Charles were criticized by the British tabloids in the 1990s and the early 2000s when news of their affair was leaked. As Insider previously reported, an intimate transcript of a 1989 phone call between the then-Prince of Wales and Camilla was released to the press in November 1992, which revealed their relationship. At the time, Charles was still married to Diana.

Charles publicly admitted to having an affair in a 1994 interview, saying he had remained faithful until the relationship "became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried," according to Elle.

Backlash against Charles and Camilla resurfaced in 2020, when their affair was portrayed in the historical Netflix series "The Crown." At the time, the couple disabled their Twitter replies due to a wave of pro-Diana comments.

As Koenig said, Camilla is better received than she used to be. In a 2022 YouGov poll that ranked the most popular members of the royal family, Camilla was ranked eighth place with a 40% popularity rating.

Kate, meanwhile, was ranked second place with a 68% popularity rating. The late Queen Elizabeth II was ranked first place with a 75% popularity rating.

Camilla became Queen Consort upon King Charles' accession to the throne, as per the wish of the late Queen. The Queen announced that Camilla should take the title in an announcement shared with the public for her Platinum Jubilee in February.

"When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service," the Queen said in the statement.

Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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