April 27, 1923
King George V today issued a statement regarding the status of his new daughter-in-law, the duchess of York.
"In accordance with the settled general rule that the wife takes the status of her husband, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on her marriage as become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York, with the status as a Princess."
This announcement "has set as rest a question which has caused considerable discussion the last few days," according to the New York Times.
It was evident that Lady Elizabeth was a duchess following her marriage to His Royal Highness the Duke of York, but "there was no clear precedent as her accession to the rank of Princess and the title of Her Royal Highness." It was noted that if the Prince of Wales does not marry, the duchess would become the mother of the heir presumptive to the throne, "and that she would receive the full status of a wife of Royal Prince, but there was some doubt as to whether she had already attained it or whether it would be conferred on her by special grant."
The king's declaration has made it clear that the new wife of the Duke of York is a royal highness and a princess due to her marriage, and no special conferment of a title and rank is required. George's ruling "establishes a precedent which undoubtedly will be applied" if his other sons marry outside "the royal circle." Due to "changes made during the war in regard to other members of the royal family [has] opened the way for descent from royal rank and for the gradual merging of the children of royal blood into the ranks of commoners.
The new duchess of York has become the fourth lady in the land behind Queen Mary, Queen Mother Alexandra, and Princess Mary, Viscoutess Lascelles.