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Here's Why Kate Middleton Might Never Become Princess of Wales

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

The British Law of Succession was repealed in 2013 and took effect in 2015, replacing the male-preference primogeniture succession with the absolute primogeniture succession where an eldest child of the monarch, irrespective of gender, will be the heir-apparent.

For centuries, since the Norman conquest, Britain has always followed the male-preference primogeniture and never the Salic law. And in the span of 10 centuries, the English/British throne saw six regnant queens (Mary I, Elizabeth I, Mary II, Anne, Victoria, Elizabeth II).

However, the above queens were not considered as heir-apparent, they were only heir-presumptive. And before rising to the throne, they had no clear title distinction of their own.

The Princess of Wales has always been the title of the wife of the heir-apparent, Prince of Wales, since the 14th century, and cannot be given to an heir-presumptive.

The Prince of Wales

The title of the British throne heir-apparent, Prince of Wales, began in 1301, when King Edward I, conferred the title to his son and heir, Edward, who, six years later, would reign in England as King Edward II.

Since then, it became the dynastic title of the heir-apparent to the British throne, but it is not always automatically given. The title, Prince of Wales, needed to be conferred first by the British monarch to her or his unconditional heir before it can be used.

The current Prince of Wales, Charles, was only granted the title in 1958, shortly before he turned 20 years old, and six years after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended the British throne.

When his mother became Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles was known as the Duke of Cornwall. He was invested as Prince of Wales in 1967. Today, the prince is the longest-serving heir-apparent in British history, and at 71, the oldest Prince of Wales and king-in-waiting,

The Princess of Wales

The first acknowledged wife of the heir-apparent to hold the title of the Princess of Wales was Joan of Kent, the wife of Prince Edward, known as the Black prince, and the heir of King Edward III. The Black prince did not live long enough to wear the English crown, he died in 1376, a year before his father's death. His young son ascended the throne instead, as King Richard II.

The Princess of Wales is not a princess in her own right, it is a title acquired by virtue of marriage. In 1981, upon her marriage to the Prince of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer assumed the title Princess of Wales but she was not created princess in her own right.

She was therefore, HRH Diana, the Princess of Wales but never Princess Diana. However, the public, unminding intricate royal protocols of the British monarchy, had called her Princess Di.

There were Princesses of Wales in the past who were called Princess followed by their names just because they were born princesses, example, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Princess Mary of Teck.

Diana might be the last Princess of Wales

Although Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall is legally Princess of Wales upon her marriage to Prince Charles in 2005, the palace preferred not to let her use the title to avoid backlash from the public. 

Diana, Princess of Wales

The title is very much associated to Diana and granting the circumstances of Camilla's controversial relationship to Charles which had been the primary source of Diana's misery while still alive, it might attract anger from the public and worsened the unpopularity of Prince Charles.

Camilla chose to be known as Duchess of Cornwall, the female counterpart of Prince Charles's second title, Duke of Cornwall.

This leads to a discussion that Diana might be the last Princess of Wales title holder.

But why?

The Female British heir-apparent

Since the succession law was repealed in 2013, the heir-apparent of the British monarch is the eldest child, irrespective of gender, this means that if someday the eldest child of Prince George of Cambridge will be female, she will be the first Princess of Wales title holder in her own right.

Which further means that Princess of Wales title can no longer be given to the wife of the Prince of Wales since it is already the title of the female heir-apparent.

Here's an example.

Before King Wilhelm-Alexander of the Netherlands ascended the Dutch throne in 2013, he was known as the Prince of Orange, the title of the Dutch throne heir-apparent. The Netherlands already changed its law of succession in the 1980s to an absolute succession which means that the monarch's eldest child will be the heir-apparent.

Wilhelm-Alexander's wife, now Queen Maxima, was not known as Princess of Orange prior to his accession to the throne, she was only known as Princess Maxima of the Netherlands. She could not be given the title Princess of Orange because this title is reserved to the Dutch female heir-apparent.

Upon the accession of Wilhelm-Alexander to the throne, his eldest daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia became known as the Princess of Orange.

Kate Middleton's future title

Her title as the wife of the future Prince of Wales has not yet discussed since the succession law was repealed in 2013.

But since the Princess of Wales title is now reserved for the female British heir-apparent, and the British monarchy has the stringent protocol in granting royal titles (example a woman marrying into the royal family is not granted with a princess in her own right title), Kate Middleton might never be known as Princess of Wales when Prince Charles ascends the British throne and the Duke of Cambridge will take the title Prince of Wales.

She might retain the title Duchess of Cambridge still.

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