May it be in the far, far distant future, but, when Prince William becomes King William, what titles will his children have? If the royal family continues on in its tradition, exclusive titles await the Wales trio, People reports.
Like his father before him (and his father before him), Prince George is set to likely become the next Prince of Wales when his father becomes King. If King Charles is still alive when George marries (and William is still holding the title of Prince of Wales), George will likely receive a dukedom, although which dukedom he will receive remains unclear. (William became Duke of Cambridge upon his 2011 wedding; Prince Harry became Duke of Sussex when he married in 2018.) “It’s likely that King Charles will continue the tradition,” People reports.
When William becomes King, George will be the new heir apparent and will inherit the dukedoms of Cornwall and Rothesay (which are currently held by William and will automatically be George’s upon Charles’ death). The Duke of Cambridge title, however, will not automatically go to George, even though it was held by his father; that title will revert to the Crown and be available to someone else. It is also highly likely that George will become the Prince of Wales, but, unlike the Cornwall and Rothesay dukedoms, that title is not automatically bestowed; it must be conferred upon George by the reigning monarch. For context, Charles named William and Catherine Prince and Princess of Wales just one day after taking the throne. William will likely do something similar for George.
As for Princess Charlotte, she stands a good chance to one day become the Princess Royal, a title currently held by Charles’ only sister, Princess Anne. The title is traditionally bestowed on the monarch’s eldest daughter, and, in both Anne and Charlotte’s cases, they’re not just the eldest daughter, but the only daughter in their respective families. It’s not a guarantee, though—like the Prince of Wales title, it must be awarded, rather than inherited. Anne was given the title by the late Queen in 1987, when she was 36 years old. “Only one living woman can be called the Princess Royal, which is why Queen Elizabeth never held the title,” People reports. “Her aunt, Princess Mary, possessed it until she died in 1965.” (By then, Her late Majesty had been on the throne for 13 years.)
As Charles has no daughters, Charlotte is the next potential Princess Royal. “That, of course, is a long way off and dependent on two factors: Prince William would need to be king, and Princess Anne would need to no longer be alive,” People reports. “Although the Princess Royal title is exclusive—there have only been seven women with the title of Princess Royal since its introduction—it has a lower status than a royal dukedom. So it’s possible that Princess Charlotte will be given a peerage when she gets married, making her a duchess instead. Ultimately, it will be a decision made by the current monarch.”
Interestingly, even though only seven women have held the title, there has already been a Charlotte as Princess Royal—the daughter of King George III used the title from 1789 to 1828.
What about Louis? He “may also someday receive a title that currently belongs to another family member,” People reports. “Prince Andrew is now the Duke of York, the traditional title for the monarch’s second oldest son. Louis may be the next Duke of York, but he can’t hold the title at the same time as his great-uncle.” Harry never received the Duke of York title for the same reason Her late Majesty was never Princess Royal—Andrew was still alive when Charles became king.
In addition to the aforementioned titles they likely have to look forward to, all three are His or Her Royal Highnesses—their birthright—and will keep their HRH and prince or princess titles for their whole lives, barring them being taken away. Eventually, when George becomes king, he will swap “His Royal Highness” for “His Majesty.”
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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