The world’s most famous newlyweds, Prince William and his bride Catherine Middleton, will now be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
This came about by royal decree on the day of the wedding by William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch.
In royal terminology, Elizabeth “gifted” the titles to her grandson and grand-daughter-in-law.
A dukedom is the highest rank among the British peerage.
However, technically, Kate is “only” a duchess, not a princess, yet. There had been some rumors that the Queen would’ve conferred the title of princess to her immediately, but that hasn’t happened yet.
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A spokesman for Buckingham Palace told the media: She [Kate] is not a princess in her own right. That title has not been conferred on her. Her title is that of duchess. So she is not Princess Catherine. And to call her Princess William of Wales is misleading.
There is some historical precedence for these delays and confusions in titles.
For example, the Queen’s husband, Prince Phillip, had to wait for ten years after their marriage in 1947 before he received the “prince” title.
Thus, he became a prince in 1957 (but only by order of his wife, the Queen).
Indeed, when Prince married Elizabeth, he was force to give up his title as the prince of Greece and Denmark. (He also had to renounce Greek Orthodoxy to the Anglican church). He was named Duke of Edinburgh prior to being named Prince.
Back to William and Kate.
William, who was born Prince of Wales, now also becomes the Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus – titles also bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth.
This means that Kate is now also the Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus.
There has not been a Duke of Cambridge since Prince George, a grandson of George III (whom the Americans fought against for independence).