Royal Protocol 101: Titles and Why She Will Never Be ‘Princess Kate’

(This particular post has to do with British Royal Protocol.)

Kate's Royal Titles

Kate’s title is actually Her Royal Highness, Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn.

And it was never ‘Princess Diana

I couldn’t believe it either when I started researching royal titles last week. But it’s very much true. In fact, a princess is only a Princess (insert name) if she was born into the role. Examples include Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Since neither Kate nor Diana were born royals, they were never merely ‘Princess Kate’ or ‘Princess Diana.’

But what about ‘Princess of Wales?’

Well yes, this is true. When Kate and William are passed down the title of Prince and Princess of Wales, they will both be exactly that. However, Kate will carry the title along with her husband’s name, ‘Princess William of Wales.’ Or even, ‘Her Royal Highness Catherine, Princess of Wales.’ Likewise, it was always ‘Her Royal Highness Diana, Princess of Wales.’

Upon her divorce from Prince Charles, by order of the Queen, Diana was stripped of all royal titles.

Queen Consort Catherine

The good news is, I suppose, that when Prince William takes the throne, the Duchess of Cambridge (never Duchess Catherine or Kate) will become Her Majesty Queen Consort Catherine (VI).

And should Prince William and Kate have a baby girl next time around, she’ll be a Princess through and through.



**This doesn’t mean I will always refer to her with her proper title. I still call her ‘Princess Kate,’ ‘Duchess Kate,’ and the like.
Photo credit: image one

10 thoughts on “Royal Protocol 101: Titles and Why She Will Never Be ‘Princess Kate’

    1. Correct! I accidentally left out “consort,” a very important part, indeed. Thank you!

  1. I think this is only for England because with the continental royals the wives that marry in actually become Princess (insert name here).

    1. Yes! I should have made that more clear. Will edit that in! Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Excellent explanations. In England the name says it all about where you come from. For example if you are lady Louisa, (first name) you were born a lady and your father was an earl. If you are lady Armstrong (surname) then you married lord Armstrong and you got the title that way. Does that make sense?

    1. Ah ha! That’s fascinating. I wasn’t quite sure how that worked. Great to know. Thanks so much for your insight. 🙂

  3. Kate is technically, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Lady Carrickfergus (or close to that spelling) Princess William of Wales. Believe it or not the “the” is actually important. To put HRH in front of Catherine implies she had it from birth, not enjoying the style through marriage as is the case. To call her Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge implies she is divorced. The “the” in front of her title tells you she is her husband’s current wife and not divorced or widowed. But she can’t be called THE Princess William of Wales, because as William is only the grandson of the current Monarch, he is not entitled to a “the” before his title of “Prince” and he still needs to use his Father’s title (of Wales) for the same reason with the “courtesy” title of Prince. Anyway, a Royal Dukedom outranks a prince. LOL There are so many rules, but they all actually make sense and once known, they can really help a lady navigate the social snake-pit that exists in -*most of the time in my experience* – the UK.

    1. Thanks so much for the clarification. Plan on doing an updated post with your points. Thanks again!

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