There’s been much excitement following the early announcement that William and Kate are expecting a baby. There’s much to discuss here at the Royal Post! To kick things off, let’s talk titles. Here we go!
The current state of titles in the British Royal family, and who can claim the title of HRH Prince and HRH Princess goes back to King George V in 1917. In an attempt to streamline the royal family, letters patent were issued stating “the children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour”.
So, when William was born he was HRH Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales.
Under these rules, the children of the Queen, when she was Princess Elizabeth, would not have received titles. So, in 1948 The Queen’s father, King George VI granted letters patent declaring that children of the marriage of HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, should “have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names in addition to any other appellations and titles and honour which may belong to them hereafter”.
The 1917 letters patent also stated that “grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line … shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms”
So, what does this mean for William and Kate’s children?
If the Queen is still on the Throne when their first child is born, an eldest son will receive the title of HRH Prince <name>. Other sons and daughters will have the titles of the children of a royal Duke. So, an eldest daughter will receive the title of The Lady <Name> and any subsequent sons and daughters will have the title of The Lord <name> and The Lady <name>.
Now, all of this changes again when Prince Charles becomes King. When this happens, all of William and Kate children will all become HRH Prince and HRH Princess, as children of the heir to the throne.
Isn’t that interesting? However, there are reports now that the Palace is saying that an eldest daughter will also receive the title of HRH Princess <name> since times have changes and a daughter will have the same rights to inherit as a son.
Let us know what you think in the comments!
UPDATED January 12, 2013: “The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.”
I’m surprised it doesn’t say “all LEGITIMATE children….” I mean, look at Prince Albert!