Titles have been a topic du jour in the royal family of late—from Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet officially becoming so (after all, as their parents correctly said, it is their birthright), to Prince Edward inheriting the Duke of Edinburgh title like his parents always wanted.
Now the title conversation has shifted to Princess Charlotte, who, Robert Jobson writes in his latest book Our King, is set to eventually receive one of the “grandest royal titles”—specifically at her grandfather King Charles’ request. Currently, Charlotte sits at third in line to the throne behind her father, Prince William, and her older brother, Prince George. She made history as the first female member of the British line of succession to not be leapfrogged by her younger brother, Prince Louis, who prior to 2012 would have jumped over his sister in the line of succession simply because he is male. Not so anymore, thanks to a directive from Queen Elizabeth, set in place before William and Kate began having children. (George was born in 2013.)
And, though George’s future as king is already being planned, eventually, The Mirror reports, Charlotte will become Duchess of Edinburgh, an extraordinarily prestigious title in the royal landscape. It’s also a sweet nod to her late great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, who, though obviously monarch, was also the Duchess of Edinburgh, as she was married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Upon Edward’s becoming the new Duke of Edinburgh last month, his wife Sophie—formerly Countess of Wessex for nearly 24 years, since their marriage in 1999—is now the Duchess of Edinburgh. When Edward dies, his title will revert to the Crown—most likely William by then—and not be passed on to his own son, James, Viscount Severn. That will set up Charlotte at that time, hopefully in the far distant future, to inherit the title.
“Sensitive to the fact that nine-year-old Prince George’s future is already mapped out, Charles has been careful to reserve one of the grandest titles for Princess Charlotte—currently called Lottie by her mother and Mignonette (French for cute little thing) by her father,” Jobson writes. “Although the King has made his brother Edward the new Duke of Edinburgh, the title is only for life. After Edward dies, Charles has made it clear Charlotte (now aged seven) should become Duchess of Edinburgh.”
It all aligns with Charles’ famous “slimmed-down monarchy” plan, Jobson continues.
“Charles, determined to reduce the size of the royal family, wants such senior titles to be given only to its working members and stop it expanding further,” he writes. “The move by the King to focus on the line of succession is significant, as Charles III plans a modernized, slimmed-down monarchy.”
When it comes to the Edinburgh decision, Charles (in this writer’s opinion anyway) really got it right—honoring his parents’ wishes for Edward to inherit the title, while simultaneously looking out for Charlotte. Well done, Your Majesty.
Our King is out tomorrow.
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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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