The Titles of Will and Kate’s Children

There’s been much excitement following the early announcement that William and Kate are expecting a baby. There’s much to discuss here at the Royal Post! To kick things off, let’s talk titles. Here we go!

The current state of titles in the British Royal family, and who can claim the title of HRH Prince and HRH Princess goes back to King George V in 1917. In an attempt to streamline the royal family, letters patent were issued stating “the children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour”.

So, when William was born he was HRH Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales.

HRH Prince William in 1982

HRH Prince William in 1982

Under these rules, the children of the Queen, when she was Princess Elizabeth, would not have received titles. So,  in 1948 The Queen’s father, King George VI granted letters patent declaring that children of the marriage of HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, should “have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names in addition to any other appellations and titles and honour which may belong to them hereafter”.

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles

HRH Princess Elizabeth and HRH Prince Charles

The 1917 letters patent also stated that “grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line … shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms”

HRH The Duke of Gloucester and his daughter The Lady Rose Windsor

HRH The Duke of Gloucester and his daughter The Lady Rose Windsor

So, what does this mean for William and Kate’s children? 

If the Queen is still on the Throne when their first child is born, an eldest son will receive the title of HRH Prince <name>. Other sons and daughters will have the titles of the children of a royal Duke. So, an eldest daughter will receive the title of The Lady <Name> and any subsequent sons and daughters will have the title of The Lord <name> and The Lady <name>.

Now, all of this changes again when Prince Charles becomes King. When this happens, all of William and Kate children will all become HRH Prince and HRH Princess, as children of the heir to the throne.

Isn’t that interesting? However, there are reports now that the Palace is saying that an eldest daughter will also receive the title of HRH Princess <name> since times have changes and a daughter will have the same rights to inherit as a son.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

UPDATED January 12, 2013: “The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.”

I’m surprised it doesn’t say “all LEGITIMATE children….” I mean, look at Prince Albert!

UPDATED June 2013: It has been announced that the child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will hold the title Prince or Princess of Cambridge

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Categories: British Royal Family, Duchess of Cambridge, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Royal Baby Watch, Royal Titles

11 replies

  1. Now that the law of succession has changed and gender no longer is an issue all of the children should be given the title of HRH. I also think the forfeiting of these titles, as in the case of Princess Anne’s children, is ridiculous. I realize there are many people that feel the monarchy is a waste but they should wake up. If England ever did away with the monarchy tourism in that country would drop off dramatically! I say bring on the titles and I look forward to a long line of new young royals!

  2. Shouldn’t this mean that Princess Beatrice or Princess Eugenie should actually be Lady Beatrice or Lady Eugenie?

    • No, because of the 1917 Letters Patenty they are Princesses because they are the children of a son of the sovereign. It seems that Prince Edward and Sophie’s children do not have the titles prince and princess in an attempt to streamline the royal family somewhat.

  3. If this baby is a girl, and therefore future queen, it seems odd to not have HRH immediately. Smart move on the palace’s part to clear that up.

  4. If their child is a girl, I think the Queen should issue letters patent as her father did in 1948, to ensure that the child is given a royal and princely status from birth. It WOULD be quite interesting however for a baby girl who was to be the Queen, was intially born as a “mere” Lady. The baby will still technically a commoner however, as is anyone not the Sovereign or a member of the peerage. This is never discussed, but is actually true. If you don’t believe me, feel free to look it up.

  5. Methinks if the Queen is still alive at the birth of the child, new letters patent will be issued to include a female heir to the throne.

  6. I’ve missed your posts – is everything okay?

  7. I think even a step further will occur between now and the birth. A letters patent will be created stating that ALL grandchildren of an heir to the throne (Charles, in t his case) will be HRH Prince or Princess Whatever. The Queen is in perfect health and it’s just a matter of time until Harry has children, so with one fell swoop, that whole next generation will be covered. Having any children of William be born NOT as prince or princess, and then it changing upon the death of QEII would seem rather fake and artificial in these current times of modernizing the Royal Family..

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  1. Royal Baby on the Way! « The Rose of Europe
  2. Royal Baby on the Way! | The Lady and the Rose

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