Will Kate Middleton Inherit Princess Diana’s Title? If So, When?

With Queen Elizabeth’s recent 93rd birthday, chatter over the next era of the monarchy is growing. While it’s generally accepted that Prince Charles will become king, there’s been a bit of speculation over titles. According to Express, if Charles becomes king, Kate Middleton will have Princess Diana’s title: the Princess of Wales. As with all things monarchy-related, it’s complex but actually makes a lot of sense.

So, follow us as we walk through this. As is common knowledge, Prince Charles is heir to the throne and will ascend if the Queen dies or abdicates. The same thing will happen with the rest of the succession line — i.e. if Charles were to die or abdicate, William would become king. As it stands, William’s title (in addition to prince) is Duke of Cambridge. Upon marrying William, Kate became the Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — reportedly use Cambridge as a surname for public purposes, such as school.

Still with us? Good; let’s keep going. Whenever Charles assumes the throne, he will leave behind his current title, Prince of Wales, which will be passed on to the then-heir: William. At that time, according to the Express, Kate will be offered the title William’s late mother held, Princess of Wales — and, insists the outlet, she’ll accept.

The fact that the title hasn’t been used since Diana’s death sometimes creates confusion, as typically a woman who marries into the British royal family inherits the female version of her husband’s title. By this logic, Camilla Parker Bowles would have become the Princess of Wales when she wed Charles. Instead, she is styled as HRH (Her Royal Highness) The Duchess of Cornwall, which is the feminine version of one of Charles’s other titles.

Why? At the time Camilla married Charles, the title was strongly associated with the immensely popular Diana. “Camilla was not popular or well-liked, [though] this has changed a lot since the marriage as Camilla has taken on a lot of patronages and Charles is a lot happier,” royal expert Marlene Koenig told Town & Country in 2018. “Still, [there was] a lot of tension and anger among a certain element of the population — so it was decided that Camilla would be styled as the Duchess of Cornwall, even though, of course, she is the Princess of Wales.”

According to the Express, Kate will accept the title for the opposite reason. Not only is the Duchess of Cambridge popular among the people, like Diana was, but her accepting the title would likely be perceived as a way to honor the late mother of her husband.

Although there’s no way to predict when Kate will assume the title, it might come sooner rather than later. A royal expert is claiming that the Queen might choose to “give up her powers” in two years. If and when she does, William will become the new Prince of Wales, and Kate is expected to follow in Diana’s footsteps as HRH The Princess of Wales.

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