William and Kate Plan to Go by Their First Names and Not Titles as Part of Modernizing the Monarchy

Get ready for the “royal revolution,” everybody.

Prince William Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Change may very soon be coming to the royal family, ushering in a new modus operandi colloquially known as the “Cambridge Way” which could include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge scrapping those titles and being called simply William and Catherine.

Shakeups in royal protocol are apparently underway in the aftermath of the couple’s Caribbean tour, which was met with ample controversy. And, in addition to going by their given names and not their titles, other examples of—as the Mirror calls it—“stuffy formality” may be going by the wayside as well, like eliminating curtsies and bows when on duty in an attempt to continually modernize the monarchy.

“They want to be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition,” a source told the Mirror, which reported that “the prince plans to tear up the rulebook to ‘move with the times.’”

After the Caribbean tour, “when the team arrived back in London, the couple had a debrief with aides,” a source told the outlet. “They went over everything and pinpointed specific things that went wrong and how to improve moving forward. The general consensus was that the tour seemed out of date, out of touch, too formal and stuffy. So now it’s more ‘Wills and Kate’ instead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge—‘just call me Wills’ type of thing. They want to try to avoid the bows and curtsies in public, be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition and focus on a modern monarchy.”

After the debrief about the tour, the Mirror’s source said “the general consensus of the tour was that it was ‘silly’ to have pushed old royal traditions, and the couple wished they could turn back time and do things differently. If they could wave a magic wand and go back in time, they would change almost everything about the Caribbean tour.”

The Sun calls the modernization a “royal revolution,” which will include William employing around 70 fewer aides than his father, Prince Charles, when William becomes Prince of Wales upon his father’s taking the throne. He also plans to create a more cost-effective, less formal team, work on “comfortable and credible” good causes—about five or six in total, The Sun reports—and focus on shorter, solo trips rather than tours like the longer one just undertaken in the Caribbean.

“William and Kate will modernize how they work,” a source told The Sun. “It’s a breath of fresh air…It is not a criticism of how it was done in the past. But times are changing.”

The Cambridges are “perceived as the royal stars” that will “cement the monarchy’s position globally and secure the Commonwealth,” according to the Mirror, and they are self-aware enough to know that without change, the monarchy won’t survive. As such, the Mirror reports there are future plans for “an overhaul of the entire monarchy with the rules and traditions that surround it, including Charles and Camilla,” the outlet reported. The focus for now, however, “will be on William and Kate so that they can represent the future of the monarchy,” the source said. 

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.