If you know anything about the royal family, you know that there are a great number of rules and traditions. We know, for example, that the Queen prefers neutral nail polish colors, and that she discourages personal social media accounts.
That said, the younger generation of royals — the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — have been breaking from tradition a bit. They don’t always adhere to the royal rules from generations past.
One thing that continuously comes up is the question of titles. Prince Charles has been the Duke of Cornwall since his mother’s coronation when he was 4 years old, and Prince of Wales since he was 9 years old. His sons, William and Harry, have been princes their entire lives and received other titles upon their respective marriages. While these titles are largely passed along as birthright, it’s different for the women who have married into the family.
So what will Kate Middleton’s title be when Prince William becomes king?
Queen Elizabeth has been the Queen of England and head of the royal family since her coronation in 1953. Her official title is a long one: Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
It’s always been known since his birth that Prince Charles would be heir to the throne.
With his mother’s coronation, Prince Charles became the Duke of Cornwall. Five years later, he also gained the title of Prince of Wales.
Today, his full title is His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO, CC, PC, ADC, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
When it comes to spouses of the royal family, titles become trickier. Camilla Parker Bowles married Prince Charles in 2005. In doing so, she became the Duchess of Cornwall, GCVO, CSM, PC. She also became the Princess of Wales.
Although Charles is widely regarded as the Prince of Wales, Camilla doesn’t use the title Princess of Wales out of respect for the late Princess Diana.
When Charles becomes king, Camilla will not be known as queen. This was announced prior to their wedding.
Many believe the reason is tied to the controversy that surrounded their affair when the prince was still married to Diana, who was extremely popular with the public.
Camilla will instead be referred to as Her Royal Highness Princess Consort. The term consort is used for those who marry into a monarchy, as opposed to being born in.
This brings us to William and Catherine, currently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. William is next in line to the throne following his father.
William’s full title currently is His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
When Charles becomes king, William will become the Prince of Wales. Kate will then become Catherine, Princess of Wales.
When it’s William’s turn to be king, Kate will have another title upgrade. She will then become Her Majesty Queen Consort Catherine VI.
At that point, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis will become the Princes and Princess of Wales.
One day when George is king, Kate can use the title Her Majesty Queen Catherine, the Queen Mother.
Queen Elizabeth seems to be in excellent health and shows no signs of slowing down, so it may be quite a while until these titles change. Still, it is interesting for fans of the royal family to see how the monarchy will evolve in the 21st century.