5 August 2013 - 11:59
What’s going on at Buckingham Palace?

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Visits The Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day

Catherine is also Princess William of Wales through marriage.

It’s been quite a week behind the scenes for royal reporters. At the beginning of the week, many were surprised by the Duchess of Cambridge being referred to as a ‘Princess of the United Kingdom’ on Prince George’s birth certificate.

Many royal experts quickly explained this as referring to the Duchess of Cambridge’s other title of Princess William, but some royal reporters recall the press briefing at the time of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011, where they were told that she was in fact not a Princess at all, contrary to the usual way in which wives of Princes take their husband’s rank and title, as is laid down in English common law.

Those who got in contact with the Palace received mixed responses. Some got back that she was definitely not a Princess in any way, others received the response that what we knew about her being Princess William was true and some even reported that she could be a Princess suo jure.

The Express’s Richard Palmer has been incredibly diligent in trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on at Buckingham Palace.

He reports in his latest article that officials initially insisted that Kate was not a Princess in any way; but recently Kensington Palace have performed a U-turn and are saying that she is Princess William of Wales in addition to being The Duchess of Cambridge.


Palmer’s report says, “A senior aide at Buckingham Palace suggested William might simply have taken it upon himself to decide that his wife was a Princess.”

The most likely answer to all this confusion is poor communication at Buckingham Palace and between the offices of royal staff. We know that because wives of Princes take their husband’s rank and title by default, Catherine is also Princess William of Wales through marriage.

To be Princess Catherine officially, Her Majesty The Queen would have had to grant her the title (as font of all honour in the United Kingdom), which is usually done through letters patent. It is unlikely and would be unprecedented for Catherine, in her position, to be granted the title of Princess. We’ve heard no word on any granting of the title of Princess to the Duchess of Cambridge in her own right.

Royal commentator and expert on titles Rafe Heydel-Mankoo has responded to the Palace’s claim that there are ‘no hard and fast rules’ for this, saying, “Someone please tell the spokesman that there *is* a hard & fast rule: it rests upon Common Law. Wives take status of husbands”.

This isn’t the first time the Palace have had confusion over titles either. On the Royal Website for example, it neglects to mention Viscountess Severn being among The Countess of Wessex’s titles and also says Prince William’s ‘full title’ is just ‘His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge KG KT’, when he also holds and Earldom and Barony in his own right as well as being ‘Prince William’ and holding the role of ‘Aide de Camp to Her Majesty’.

photo credit: Defence Images via photopin cc

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Edited by Martin

  • Texas Fan

    Being the daughter-in-law, wife and mother of future kings, it seems to me Kate is entitled to list her occupation as Princess of the United Kingdom. If William had put “Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge” on the birth certificate, then I could understand the confusion.

  • Carolina

    The birth registration didn’t list Princess of the United Kingdom as her title it listed it as her occupation. Regardless of what her official title is she has the rank and occupation of Princess of the UK. This is not complicated.

    I don’t understand how BP can say that Kate isn’t a princess of any sort. Of course she is at the very least HRH Princess William. If Will hadn’t been given his peerage Kate would have been HRH Princess William of Wales. What else do the press people think she’d have been known as? The problem isn’t that how royal wives are styled has changed. The problem is that the royals now employ staff that have no idea how titles and other matters royal work.

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