Princess Charlotte, the middle child and only daughter of the Prince and Princess of Wales, enjoyed a close relationship with her late great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, whom she affectionately knew as ‘Gan-Gan’. Royal watchers noted the physical similarities between the pair, but now their connection will reportedly be strengthened in a surprising, and meaningful, manner.
For King Charles III is said to be planning to bestow one of the Queen’s titles, the Duchess of Edinburgh, upon his granddaughter as a ‘fitting’ tribute to his late mother. The title – one of the most senior within the Royal Family – also reflects the senior position of Princess Charlotte as third-in-line to the throne, behind her father Prince William and brother Prince George, nine.
Though it was expected that the Earl of Wessex would inherit the title after the death of his father Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the King has not bestowed it upon anyone, and rumor has it that he has kept the title for his granddaughter. A source told the Mail on Sunday: ‘It would be a fitting way to remember the Queen – who, of course, had the title Duchess of Edinburgh – and a way for His Majesty to honour the line of succession.’
From her marriage until her accession, the late Queen was styled Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. The title of Duke of Edinburgh was held by Prince Philip until his death in April 2021.
Princess Charlotte, who is now seven years old, is third in line to the throne after her father and elder brother Prince George. Rules around the line of succession were changed in 2013 when the Princess of Wales was pregnant to allow girls to have the same rights as their brothers – meaning Charlotte’s position in line to the throne was not affected by the arrival of her younger brother Prince Louis.
‘Charlotte’s position is historically significant because she is the first female member of the Royal Family whose place in the line of succession will not be surpassed by her younger brother,’ the source told the publication. ‘So it is constitutionally significant that Charlotte should be given such a corresponding title, because it is not beyond the realms of possibility that she will accede the throne if, for example, Prince George does not have children.’
It was assumed that the Earl of Wessex would become the Duke of Edinburgh, but the King has planned a slimmed-down monarchy which sources say is about ‘promoting those directly in line to the throne rather than those on the edges’. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson declined to comment.
When William ascends to the throne, Charlotte could also be given the title of Princess Royal – which Princess Anne has held.