This post is essentially quite a short and informal yes/no guide to what the Duchess Of Cambridge’s actual titles are. We have been in conversation recently with a lot of people about what is correct form for Kate and where the line is drawn. We hope this short guide is helpful to anyone desiring to clear up once and for all any title misconceptions they had.
Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge
The Countess Of Strathearn
Catherine Cambridge (Informal)
Catherine Mountbatten-Windsor (Informal)
Best Option: The Duchess Of Cambridge
Worst Option: Kate Middleton
Okay. The Duchess Of Cambridge hasn’t been a Middleton since her wedding day and officially has no surname now. Princess Kate is just wrong as the title of Princess is reserved for royalty by birth, however taking the female form of William’s title, Kate can be styled as Princess William. Duchess Kate is incorrect because there is a designation in her title, names don’t enter into it!
Kate, as well as being Duchess Of Cambridge, is known as The Countess Of Strathearn in Scotland and The Baroness Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland.
Play it safe and always try to refer to her as ‘The Duchess Of Cambridge’, if needed you can always call her ‘Kate Cambridge’ as a last resort, but don’t jump on the ‘Kate Middleton’ bandwagon – it undermines her position and title!
photo credit: Jason Simpson via photopin cc
Agreed, it’s pretty annoying when the media and other people do that. Great informative article!
I do think however that the Duchess should be given the title Princess Catherine be for their baby is born.
What is she going to have to curtsy to her own child because she or he will be higher then their mum?
Yes a then Kate was not royal be for she married Prince William but i mean when charles become’s king camilla becomes queen consort or princess or whatever it is .
I think Duchess Catherine deserve’s the title Princess Catherine be for the child is born.
That’s my thought on the whole thing she deserve’s this title Princess Catherine.
I’m sorry if u do not like my comment but this is how i feel as no matter what i am a huge fan of the royal’s.
Let’s make one thing clear here. Not only is it not a person’s title that determines if they rank higher or lower than other members of the Royal Family (which is determined by the order of precedence) but even if your point were the case about rank being determined by title, the Duchess Of Cambridge would still rank about any Princess because a Royal Duchess does rank above a Princess.
There is no need for the Duchess Of Cambridge to be given the title of Princess, especially not under fears she’d have to curtsey to her own child (which she most certainly would never have to do!)
Just as a follow-on to this, the current Order of Precedence for Ladies stipulates that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge must yeild precedence to HM The Queen (obviously) and TRH The Duchess of Cornwall, The Countess of Wessex and The Princess Royal (in that order). However, the waters are muddied by the intricacies of royal protocol. As she was born a commoner, the Duchess of Cambridge only enjoys her precedence when in the company of her husband. When she is alone, she must ‘yeild precedence’ (ie, curtsey) to ‘Princesses of the Blood’ – ie, TRH Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York.
That’s not the half of it! Similar rules apply to the Duchess of Cornwall, who only outranks the Princess Royal if she in accompanying the Prince of Wales. If the Prince is absent, then the Duchess must curtsey to the Princess. If the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are both at an event and both their husbands are present then the Duchess of Cambridge curtsies to the Duchess of Cornwall but if the Prince of Wales is absent then the Duchess of Cornwall must curtsey to the Duchess of Cambridge! If both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge are absent, then it reverts to normal and the Duchess of Cambridge goes back to curtseying to the Duchess of Cornwall.
Must cause terrific confusion if father and son walk in and out of the room a lot for any reason!
A useful and informative guide, albeit with one or two minor errors; several of the forms listed as ‘correct’ would never, to my mind, be correct. ‘Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’, for example, while probably broadly-speaking acceptable, is more befitting of a divorcee than a married woman. Similarly, while technically correct, it would be pretty bizarre to refer to Her Royal Highness as ‘Princess William’.
I would never regard it as ‘correct’ in any sense to refer to the Duchess as ‘Catherine Cambridge’ or ‘Catherine Mountbatten-Windsor’, informally or otherwise, as this is to strip her of all royal titles altogether. As far as the Mountbatten-Windsor surname is concerned, it is employed only on such occasions where a surname is legally required and no good monarchist should ever concede that the Royal Family even have a surname! They have a name given to their dynasty and that is all. Down that road, republican barbs about ‘Mrs Windsor’ lie!
It is true that the Duchess may be addressed as the Countess of Strathearn in Scotland and as Lady Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland but I would adjudge it unusual (in the same way as the Queen is technically ‘Duke of Lancaster’ when in Lancashire and toasted as ‘the Duke of Normandy’ on the Channel Islands). Of course, ultimately, your conclusion that the “best option” is Duchess of Cambridge is the wisest and most technically correct course. All the ones you list as “incorrect” are, indeed, incorrect, including and perhaps especially ‘Duchess Catherine’, given that it nevertheless pops up again in the comments on this article!
In point of fact, ALL members of the Royal Family should be referred to by their titles, where they have them, and certainly all wives. The Prince of Wales, for example, ought never to be referred to as ‘Prince Charles’ but frequently is. Likewise, it was ALWAYS incorrect to refer to the late Diana, Princess of Wales as ‘Princess Diana’ and remain incorrect no matter how frequently people did so (and, indeed, continue to do so).
While it is still technically correct to refer to the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex or the Princess Royal as, respectively, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward or Princess Anna (as they are all princes and princesses of the blood) it was only correct to address the late Dowager Duchess of Gloucester as ‘Princess Alice’ after the Queen gave special dispensation allowing Her late Royal Highness to be styled as such. This is because Princess Alice was not a princess by birth but by her marriage to the Queen’s uncle, the late Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. Princess Alice was actually born Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott (daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch). Now, on the other hand, her sister-in-law, the late Dowager Duchess of Kent, COULD be legitimately addressed as ‘Princess Marina’ because, although a British princess only by marriage, Her late Royal Highness was born Princess Marina of Greece (granddaughter of King George I of the Hellenes).
It will only ever be correct, therefore, to address the Duchess of Cambridge as ‘Princess Catherine’ if and when the Sovereign grants a similar dispensation as was granted to Princess Alice allowing her to be so styled. The diminutive ‘Kate’, I would argue, should be avoided, it being impertinent outside the Royal Family to refer to someone by a family nickname. Even her husband has avoided using it in public since their marriage.
To receive the latest Royal Central posts straight to your email inbox, enter your email address below and press subscribe.
Join 663 other subscribers