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Update: Buckingham Palace has just announced that Queen Elizabeth II has passed away on Thursday 8th September at 96 years of age.
Following the news, it has also been announced that Prince Charles will be known as King Charles III.
Queen Elizabeth II Obituary: A Lifetime of duty and love
When it comes to royal titles, it can often get a little confusing as the lines blur and members of the royal family change positions. Prince Louis almost didn’t get a royal title and Princess Charlotte will never be a Duchess.
As the royals’ positions change, their titles will too. For example, when Prince William becomes King, Kate Middleton will be known as Queen Consort, a role that she is reportedly already preparing for, and Prince George could inherit his father’s Dukedom.
Although it has been suggested that Charles may hand the crown straight to William, if he decides to remain as monarch it will also have an impact on the Duchess of Cambridge’s official title.
Charles currently holds the title Prince of Wales, and has since 1958 – the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history. However, it is not automatically given to the male heir. In fact, it is the decision of the ruling King or Queen.
As King, William is now heir apparent and it is likely that his father will pass the title down to him.
The Constitution Unit at University College London explains: ‘Charles was created Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was aged 10, with an investiture at Caernarvon Castle in 1969.
‘As an adult, Prince William might expect to become Prince of Wales soon after his father’s accession; but that will be a matter for the new King to decide because, strictly, the title is not heritable.’
If Charles does offer the Prince of Wales title to his eldest son, Kate’s official title will also change. It is expected then that the Duchess of Cambridge will be known instead as Catherine, Princess of Wales.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall currently holds that title, although she does not use it publicly out of respect for the late Princess Diana who became known as the Princess of Wales upon marrying Charles in 1981.
This story has been updated to reflect the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing on Thursday 8th September 2022.