In addition to being the future king’s wife, Prince William, Kate Middleton also serves as a mother and senior royal. Yes, we will discuss her maiden name in a bit. But what does she hold? After his mother, Queen Elizabeth, passed away, her father-in-law King Charles III assumed the throne, and a great discussion erupted.
Then, Charles transferred the title of Prince of Wales to his eldest son and heir, William, renaming Diana, William’s mother, Princess of Wales. The new Princess of Wales likes to go by Catherine, despite being more commonly known as “Kate” and most frequently searched online as Kate Middleton.
PEOPLE intends to refer to the royal as Princess Catherine and the Princess of Wales as the throne changes. However, Kate Middleton will continue to appear in headlines and the first mention of stories so that readers can quickly discover the information they’re looking for.
Technically, Catherine, Princess of Wales should be used instead of “Princess Catherine,” say the etiquette and titles experts at Debrett’s in the UK. In a technical sense, Princess William of Wales is also correct.
Catherine holds the title of Duchess of Cambridge, which she has worn since her wedding in 2011. The Duchess of Cornwall title, formerly held by her mother-in-law, Camilla, the new Queen Consort, has also been conferred upon her.
As opposed to a Queen who has inherited the throne as Queen Elizabeth did, a Queen who is married to a King is referred to as a “Queen Consort.” Prince Philip, Elizabeth’s husband, was given the title of Consort to the Queen. Camilla will be referred to as Queen Camilla in society. The same guidelines will apply to Catherine when William inevitably ascends to the throne.
What’s in a Name?
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was raised in Bucklebury, Berkshire, after being born in Reading, England. She was known and adored by her family and friends as Catherine, but by the time she attended St. Andrews University in Scotland and met her future husband, she had adopted the moniker “Kate.”
Although the general public and press refer to her as Kate, some of her acquaintances, Prince William, and the palace frequently refer to her as “Catherine” in remarks and official communications. According to the records, Kate has been elevated to the status of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge ever since she wed Prince William on April 29, 2011. Queen Elizabeth bestowed the titles upon them to commemorate their marriage and new life together.
William and Kate’s official social media profiles were modified to reflect their status as the “Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge” shortly after Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had passed away on September 8. The eldest son of the current British monarch holds the title of Duke of Cornwall, while his wife holds the title of Duchess.
The next day, Charles stated that his oldest son and daughter-in-law would now be referred to as the Prince and Princess of Wales in his first speech as king. The monarch’s eldest son, who is also the heir apparent, usually receives the highest title. Before ascending and abdicating from the throne within a few months, the Queen’s uncle Edward VIII held the position for most of his life.
The Buckingham Palace website indicates that William and Kate “are now recognized as The Prince and Princess of Wales, having previously been known as The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge,” confirming the maintenance of their duchy rank.
Duchess is never used before as a first name, unlike Princess (i.e., “Duchess Catherine”). The proper way to refer to Catherine is as Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge. The Princess title, however, will be used the most frequently because it denotes a higher rank. (To show respect for the late Princess Diana, Camilla never referred to herself as the Princess of Wales.)
This style will endure until William one day takes the throne in place of his father. Then, like Charles’ wife, Queen Camilla is now, Catherine will be legally referred to as the Queen Consort or simply Queen Catherine.
What about their children?
Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, will have new last names as part of the royal changeover. The kids are now Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Wales as their parents become Prince and Princess of Wales (Just before Kate Middleton announced her pregnancy with Prince Louis, she received advice not to have any more children).
At school, the young royals had the names George Cambridge, Charlotte Cambridge, and Louis Cambridge. At Lambrook School, where they all recently enrolled, they will now be addressed as George Wales, Charlotte Wales, and Louis Wales by their classmates and instructors.
The new last name maintains the tradition started by their father. William attended Eton and St. Andrews as William Wales and served in the army as Captain Wales because of his own father’s status.
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