Why was Diana a “princess” and Kate Middleton is not?
After her wedding with Charles, Lady D has always been called princess, while Kate is for everyone “only” the Duchess of Cambridge. Why? Technically, actually, she wasn’t a princess, not even Dian
In monarchies, form is substance, and titles are terribly serious business. You don’t become a princess by popular acclamation. Kate Middleton knows well that she has never been able to boast the title of princess and that, most likely, she will never be able to. The former bourgeois who will one day be the queen (consort) of England, marrying William has become “only” the Duchess of Cambridge. So why did the mother-in-law whom you never met, Lady Diana, become the “Princess of Wales” after her wedding with Charles? This question, which has been recurring for years now, is based on a fact that is actually wrong, namely that Diana was a princess. To try to clarify, let’s go in order.
Kate Middleton married her Prince William
When Kate Middleton married her Prince William on 29 April 2011, she became her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, assuming the equivalent of her husband’s title. The doubts of fans and aficionados of royal events about Kate’s title began when the birth certificate of her eldest son George became public in July 2013. On the document, in fact, in the “occupation” box of the mother was written “princess of the United Kingdom ‘. A title that has never actually been attributed to her by the British royal house. This is because only women born into the royal family can be recognized as full-fledged princesses, as is the case with Princess Margaret, Princess Anne and Kate and William’s daughter Princess Charlotte. Not even Diana has ever been officially princess, even if by custom the media have defined her that way. When she married Charles, the Prince of Wales, in 1981, she was able to use the formula she Royal Highness of her Princess of Wales. However, the title of “Princess Diana” by which she was known to the public was incorrect. The title of princess can precede the first name only if we are talking about “real” princesses. As is the case, for example, for Princess Charlotte, who is such by birth.
Before becoming queen consort, however, Kate could become her Royal Highness Princess of Wales, just like Diana. When Queen Elizabeth II dies, in fact, the titles of the heirs to the throne will change to reflect the change in the line of succession: the eldest son, Prince Charles, will become king of England and the title of Prince of Wales will pass to his son. William since it is not up to Charles as a person, but to the successor to the throne who at that moment will be Kate’s husband. Who, in turn, will leave the title of Duchess of Cambridge vacant and could take on that of Princess of Wales. This is foreseen by a protocol in force at the Court since the 14th century, which however does not constitute an obligation, but provides for a possibility. The title is not in fact handed down by automatic succession but for “the pleasure of the sovereign”. In fact, Charles himself became the twenty-first Prince of Wales not on the day of her birth, but at nine, in 1958. Will Kate agree to take the title of Princess of Wales, belonging to Lady Diana? The inheritance has a weight that not everyone could bear and probably, out of respect for her husband William and her late mother-in-law, Middleton may decide to leave her title to Diana’s memory. But even if she accepts it, she will never “technically” be a princess. Just like Diana wasn’t.
Kate currently has only one path to becoming a true princess: Queen Elizabeth should decide to assign her the title of hers. She has already done so with the Duchess of Gloucester, who became Princess Alice after the death of her in 1974 of her husband, grandson of King George V and a prince by birth. However, this is a remote possibility, given that the ninety-six-year-old sovereign has so far used this “power” only against the widows of her family. What is certain is that when William becomes king, Kate will automatically become queen (consort). As happened to her mother of Elizabeth II, who passed directly from the title of Duchess of York to that of queen consort when her husband George VI ascended the throne after the abdication of her brother Edward VIII.
Sources: IO Donna
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