Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis Have New Last Names Now

They are the Cambridge kids no more.

Prince George, Kate Middleton, Prince Louis, Prince William, Princess Charlotte
(Image credit: Getty)

We are only 10 days into the month of September, and what a month it has already been for the three Cambridge (or, should we say, Wales) kids: since the start of the month, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis have returned from their summer vacation at Balmoral; moved into Adelaide Cottage, their new four-bedroom home on the Windsor estate; started school at Lambrook, all three together for the first time; and, of course, lost their great-grandmother the Queen, who died on Thursday at 96.

Yesterday, the trio’s parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton, were named the new Prince and Princess of Wales. In the uniqueness that is royal life, this means that George, Charlotte, and Louis have new surnames—formerly George Cambridge, Charlotte Cambridge, and Louis Cambridge to reflect their parents’ Duke and Duchess of Cambridge titles, now that William and Kate are Prince and Princess of Wales, the kids are now George Wales, Charlotte Wales, and Louis Wales. (When William and brother Prince Harry were in school, they were known as William Wales and Harry Wales, to reflect their parents’ Prince and Princess of Wales titles.)

Think about it this way: on Thursday, their first day of school, their new teachers and fellow students at Lambrook met them with one last name (Cambridge)—and by the next day, they had a completely different last name (Wales). That’s confusing for anyone at any age, let alone at ages nine, seven, and four.

In his address yesterday, King Charles III said “today, I am proud to create him [William] Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty. 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.”

According to PEOPLE, as William and Kate take on these new titles, they are focused on “deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time,” adding “the Prince and Princess of Wales will approach their roles in the modest and humble way they’ve approached their work previously.”

In addition to a change in their last name, all three kids have moved up in the line of succession and are now second, third, and fourth in line. Charlotte’s place as now third in line is especially poignant, as prior to a 2013 succession law, she would have been bumped to fourth in line in favor of her brother, Louis. The 2013 law allows the Crown to pass on in order of birth, regardless of gender. Before 2013, succession rules stated the Crown would pass to the eldest male heir and only to a female heir when there were no other male heirs available—case in point, Princess Anne, who is the Queen’s second oldest child, yet is below her younger brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward in the line of succession.

“That might seem like a minor thing, but it is a very big victory for equality,” William previously said of the amendment. “It says to people, which [the Queen] proved more than anyone, that a monarch is a job, and a woman can do it just as well as a man.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

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.