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We will never see a ‘Princess Catherine’ – can we please have the grace to use her correct title?

Many people assume that because the Princess of Wales is a member of the Royal Family (and is married to a prince), she automatically takes the title of ‘Princess Catherine’. In this post, we will explain why this isn’t the case and why, to the disappointment of many fans, she will – as things stand – never hold the title of Princess Kate.

The drama began with the declaration on Prince George’s birth registration back in 2013 that Catherine was a ‘Princess of the United Kingdom’. A common royal description on such documents, yet this time the title aroused big questions from some who saw it as an indication Her Royal Highness had been made a princess.

After consulting with Kensington Palace, we were told the reason why she was referred to as a Princess of the United Kingdom on the birth document is because she is one… but not quite as you think.

Through marriage she is ‘Princess William’, because she takes the female form of her husband’s titles. In the same way as when a commoner marries, the wife takes her husband’s name and rank, the same is very much true for titles.

Despite this title being held through marriage, it’s incredibly unlikely Kate will ever be made a princess in her own right. In Europe, there is a precedent for this – where in many of the European monarchies, those who marry into the royal families are, by default, made ‘prince’ or ‘princess’ in their own right. This arguably simpler system is not used in the UK however where custom and usage has evolved so that the title is – almost invariably – only given to royals-by-birth or ‘blood royals’.

A special document known as the 1917 letters patent regulates the use of the title Prince/Princess for the most part, detailing that it is to be held by all children of any Sovereign, all children born to sons of any Sovereign and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II created a new letters patent which now grants the titles to all children Prince William may have. Of course, many years later we have seen the result of this letters patent, with George, Charlotte and Louis being Princes and Princesses.

There have been very few occasions when those who do not fit the description of ‘blood royal’ have been given the title in their own right, and this mostly happens in the case of royal widows, such as Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester – allowed to use the title of Princess by Elizabeth II and Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. Needless to say, Catherine fits neither of those criteria.

Following the death of Elizabeth, it is understandable that people are shortening Catherine’s style as Princess of Wales to ‘Princess Catherine’.

However, this is still inaccurate. Her new title does not make her ‘Princess Catherine’ – the title of Princess of Wales is not the same as being a Princess.

For instance, even though people refer Diana, Princess of Wales as ‘Princess Diana’, she never actually held that title and it was used by many as a shortened – though incorrect – version of her title. The same applies to Catherine.

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