Monday, December 12, 2016

No new titles for Princess Elizabeth

December 12, 1936

King George VI's 10-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, will continue to be styled as Princess Elizabeth, reports the Associated Press.   She is the heiress presumptive to the throne, and cannot be styled as Princess of Wales or Princess Royal.

The title Princess of Wales is "reserved" for the wife of the eldest son of the British sovereign.  The last Princess of Wales was King George VI's mother, Mary, the consort of George V.

The principality cannot be conferred on female heirs.   If Queen Elizabeth, who is 36 years old, gives birth to a son,  he will become the heir apparent.  His titles at birth will be the Duke of Cornwall and the Duke of Rothesay, and his father can name him as Prince of Wales.

However,  Princess Elizabeth, as a female, presumptive heir to the throne, cannot succeed to the two duchies nor be named as Princess of Wales.  The Duchy of Cornwall will remain merged with the Crown until there is a male heir apparent.   The last duke of Cornwall was King Edward VIII.

The eldest daughter of the King is usually styled with the title Princess Royal.  King George VI's only sister, Mary,  was named Princess Royal in 1931 by George V, shortly after the death of his sister, Princess Louise, who received the title in 1905.    Princess Elizabeth cannot be named as Princess Royal until after the death of her aunt.


Matthew Plooster said...

Question: with the changes in succession laws, allowing women equal inheritance of the throne, rather than with preference to males, can a female hold the titles of Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, and Countess of Chester in her own right?

Putting logistics aside, I think it'd be fun to see "Princess Royal" used interchangeably with "Prince Royal," in the case the first born (and future monarch) is a female and the second born is male.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Matthew, no changes were made regarding the Prince of Wales/Earl of Chester titles (which are are not hereditary) which are gift of the sovereign. The title duke of Cornwall was established by Royal Charter in 1337. Only the eldest son of the sovereign can be Duke of Cornwall. The royal charter will have to be changed, and this will not happen anytime soon. When Frederick, Prince of Wales, died before his father, George II, Fred's eldest son, George, could not succeed as Duke of Cornwall. George II did name the future George III, as Prince of Wales. The title Princess Royal brings with it no estate, etc. If the heir apparent is a daughter, she could be created Princess of Wales, but her husband would not be styled as Prince of Wales. However, the male line is set for the next three generations. The succession law has no effect on peerages.