Kate Middleton, The First Non-aristocratic Commoner To Marry A British Heir

Kate Middleton's upcoming marriage to Prince William will give her a total makeover in terms of social status, while her extremely ordinary and middle-class background accorded with privacy, the royal marriage will provide her a charmed life in the spotlight and a comfortable room in the history of the United Kingdom.

Despite the fact that Prince William is the first future British king to marry a non-aristocratic woman, so far no strong opposition, except the traditional royalists, from the British people has been heard as the wedding date gets nearer. It looks like they are already prepared to accept a commoner future Queen Consort.

The monarchy also accepted the fact that the establishment needs to respond to the call of times and adopt sweeping changes in their custom and tradition for the survival of the monarchy.

After the wedding, Kate Middleton would outrank other titled women in the realms including Prince William's distant cousins (Lady Gabriella Windsor, Lady Davina Windsor etc.).

As a daughter of an untitled commoner, Kate's status is placed in the bottom line of the social class system in the UK, but the marriage will make her leap in the Order of Precedence of women in the United Kingdom.

So what will be Prince William's title after the marriage?

Traditionally, a senior male member of the royal family is always created a royal duke by the monarch following the wedding. Duke is the highest hereditary rank in the British peerage and is usually granted to the sons of the monarch.

Some speculated that the Prince might be created a Duke in his own right, suggested titles include: Duke of Sussex because he currently lived in the Sussex area in North Wales or Duke of Clarence because his father’s London residence is Clarence House. 

Others even suggested the Duke of Windsor. However, royal experts doubted if the Queen would grant the future British king with a title related to the disgraced king, Edward VIII. Duke of Windsor was the title granted by King George VI to his older brother when the latter gave up the throne to marry Wallis Simpson.

If Prince William would become the Duke of Clarence, his future wife will be automatically called the Duchess of Clarence, but if the Prince would not accept any noble title as reported earlier, Kate Middleton would be known simply as Princess William of Wales but not Princess Catherine because she will not be created a princess in her own right.

The last woman to be created Princess in her own right was Princess Alice, the dowager Duchess of Gloucester. She was the wife of Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, and the mother of Prince Richard, the current Duke of Gloucester.

Unlike other constitutional monarchies in Europe where a wife would become a Princess upon marrying a Prince, in Great Britain marriage does not automatically create a woman a Princess in her own right.

In 1981, when Lady Diana Spencer married the Prince of Wales, Buckingham Palace office released an official statement regarding the status of the bride:

Following the marriage, she will be known as Her Royal Highness, Diana, the Princess of Wales,".

The official statement further emphasized that she is not Princess Diana because she was not born a Princess nor The Princess Diana because only children of the reigning sovereign should have “The” before their names”. But people outside the United Kingdom who are untutored with British titles, continue calling her Princess Diana (The Royals, Kitty Kelley, 1997).

Once Prince Charles ascends the British throne, Prince William will take the title of Prince of Wales. Catherine will be titled Princess of Wales but she should not be called Princess Catherine because she would not be created a princess in her own right.

Post a Comment