Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Question: Will Kate Middleton become Princess Catherine?

When Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz married Prince Michael of Kent, she became Princess Michael of Kent. When Kate Middleton marries Prince William, she will be known as Princess Catherine, not Princess William. Why is this?
When Kate Middleton marries Prince William she will not become Princess Catherine. She may be known as Princess Kate or Princess Catherine but this will not be her formal title. Diana, Princess of Wales was known as Princess Diana but this was not correct.

In calling her Princess William, you are right. Her formal title will be HRH Princess William of Wales. Like Princess Michael, Kate will take her title from her husband. She will not be a princess in her own right - like Princess Beatrice or Princess Anne. She is a princess by virtue of her marriage only. This is the reason that Marie-Christine is known as Princess Michael of Kent and not as Princess Marie-Christine of Kent.

The Queen could take the step of creating Kate a princess in her own right, but it's not likely - never say never though! Should she do this then I presume Marie Christine and Sophie, Prince Edward's wife, would want the same designation as well.

However, if Prince William is granted a dukedom upon his marriage then Kate will be known as HRH Catherine, Duchess of Clarence (or another available dukedom). If Prince William does not receive a dukedom (and there are reports that say he doesn't want one) then Kate will be known as HRH Princess William of Wales. In time, when William becomes king, she will be known as Queen Catherine.

Although this title is correct, Princess William sounds odd to peoples ears, which is probably the reason why people will call her Princess Kate/Catherine. Let's hope he accepts a dukedom!

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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Anonymous said...

I can't believe how many times I read or hear people get this title business wrong...and I'm not talking about just random people in the street who may not have any prior knowledge about the RF workings but from supposed "experts" & people being actually paid for writing & talking about royalty.

And to me it's not even that hard a concept to grasp! Lol!

Marilyn Braun said...

Yes, her future title is referred to more often as Princess Catherine. She'll be called this anyways but it's not her formal title.

And you're right, I have seen supposed 'royal experts' say that Princess Catherine will be her title. Princess William doesn't sound very natural to peoples ears. Let's hope the Queen gives William a dukedom!

Unknown said...

I'm sure she'll be called Princess Kate. But it's nice to know how the names work officially.

Graeme said...

"HRH Princess William of Wales"? But William isn't the Prince of Wales, Charles is.

Marilyn Braun said...

Prince William is not Prince of Wales. However, as the son of the Prince of Wales, he is known as Prince William of Wales. Much like the Duke of York's daughters are known as Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York. Neither of them are the Duchess of York.

In this case 'Wales' and 'York' are similiar to surnames. William actually goes by 'William Wales' in his military career.

This is not his proper surname though. More information on royal surnames can be found here