Why Kate Middleton is Duchess not Princess revealed – Princess Diana title broke tradition

Kate Middleton looks set to become queen consort in the future, due to Prince William being second in the line of succession to the British throne. The couple tied the knot back in 2011, at Westminster Abbey. Following the nuptials, the pair took on the styles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. However, Prince William still retains the title of Prince William.

However, despite officially being a member of the Royal Family, Kate is not known as Princess Catherine.

In contrast, Prince William’s late mother was widely known as Diana, Princess of Wales, or Princess Diana.

It came after she married Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales in 1981.

Just a week before the couple were granted a divorce in August 1996, a letters patent was issued by Queen Elizabeth II.

It saw the former wife of a son of the Sovereign, of a son of a son of a Sovereign, or of the eldest living son of the eldest living son of the Prince of Wales, no longer being able to hold the style of Royal Highness.

This meant that Princess Diana was no longer able to be addressed as Her Royal Highness.

Princess Diana was known as a princess, but it wasn’t her official title

Instead, she continued to be styled as Diana, Princess of Wales.

Even Diana herself pointed out that she was not officially a princess, Metro reported.

So, what is the rule when it comes to princes and princesses in the British Royal Family?

It seems that royals may only take on the title if they are born into the Royal Family.

However, the usage is restricted – and this means that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s child will not automatically be able to enjoy the style.

Under King George V’s Letters Patent of 1917, the title Princess and the use of Royal Highness was restricted to the daughters of a British sovereign, the male line granddaughters of the British sovereign, and the wife of a British prince.

This latter instance is where a woman marries a prince and can take on his princely title – such as the wife of Prince Michael of Kent is known by Princess Michael of Kent.

Kate Middleton and Princess Diana’s sweetest mothering moments in pictures

Princess Diana and Kate Middleton pose with their young families

As such, Princess Anne’s children did not automatically become princes or princesses, while the offspring of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew did.

Prince Edward’s children would technically have become princes or princesses, however he and his wife Sophie took on the title of Earl and Countess of Wessex after their marriage.

Their children’s names are styled as Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

It’s believed that the Queen offered to change the archaic rule so that Princess Anne’s children had the same opportunity of having an important title as her brother’s offspring did.

However, it’s thought that the Princess Royal and her ex-husband Mark Phillips opted against their children taking on the royal monikers.

Queen Elizabeth II has made a number of changes to the rule of succession and royal titles in recent years, in a bid to abolish some outdated and sexist laws.

In 2011 for instance, she altered the law so that daughters born to an heir would maintain their line in succession to the throne, rather than any younger brothers they may have taking precedence.

How did Kate Middleton become a royal?

Early life

Kate Middleton, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was born on 9 January 1982 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, England.

She was born to Michael and Carole Middleton, a former flight dispatcher and air hostess. The couple founded a party supplies company, Party Pieces, in 1987 – now estimated to be worth £30 million.

Kate has a younger sister Pippa Matthews, 34, and a younger brother James Middleton, 31.


Kate and her family moved to Amman, Jordan, in 1984, where the future Duchess was educated at an English-speaking nursery school.

After moving back to Berkshire the family sent Kate to private school, St Andrews School. She went on to briefly study at Downe House before moving onto Marlborough College where she boarded.

For university the young Kate attended the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. Here she was awarded an undergraduate MA (2:1 Hons) in history of art.

Relationship with Prince William

Kate met Prince William when they were both studying at St Andrews, and both living in St Salvator’s Hall. Famously, William reportedly took a fancy to Kate after she wore a see-through dress during a fashion show.

In 2003 the couple began dating and lived together during their second year of university.

The couple split in April 2007, however, in October they were back together.


Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with his late mother Princess Diana’s engagement ring in October 2010. The couple were holidaying in Kenya at the time.

On 29 April 2011 they married at Westminster Abbey with a whopping 26 million watching the event live.

Kate wore an Alexander McQueen dress worth a reported £250,000 on the big day.

Kate assumed the title “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge” and also become the Duchess of Cambridge on the day.

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