October 7, 2022

Let’s talk about royal titles

7 min read


A version of this story appeared in the Aug. 12 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch that brings you the inside track on Britain’s royal family. Sign up here.


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With summer truly upon us and most of the Windsor clan taking a short break, we thought we’d take the opportunity to take a look at the royal titles.

Who has it? Who doesn’t? When and why do royals get them? And, of course, why do some leave them or lose them? Questions like this come up all the time, and frankly, given all the tradition and historical context, we don’t blame you if it’s a little confusing.

Obviously, the head of the British monarchy is your sovereign, and when you address them, it’s “His” or “Her Majesty”. Also, most of the titles are a gift from the king.

Let’s start with what you call the sovereign’s spouse. The traditional title for a female spouse is Queen Consort – which came after Queen Elizabeth II earlier this year expressed her hope that the Duchess of Cornwall Will use this honor one day.. With husbands, it has historically been … the hardest. We all know that Prince Philip chose Duke of Edinburgh, but Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, went with the title of Prince Consort.

With the King’s Children, the game has automatic titles. The eldest son always becomes the Duke of Cornwall. He is also traditionally given the title of Prince of Wales – a role Charles invested in in 1969.

Except for the first-born son, all children and grandchildren of the king are born a prince or princess.

It is worth noting here that royal parents can reject the gift of this title, which was chosen by the Queen’s daughter, Anne, for her children. Additionally, royal parents would want their offspring to follow their own style. So, in the case of the Queen’s youngest son, Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife, Sophie, their children are styled as Earls and are called Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. Is.

Great-grandchildren only get the coveted title if they are direct heirs to the throne, such as Cambridge’s eldest, Prince George.

But wait, don’t his siblings have titles too? You’re absolutely right – but it’s worth noting that the Queen made it Special exceptions Instead of standardizing all Cambridge children, they should achieve equal titles. This is why the two Sussex children, Archie and Lilybet, are not yet a prince or princess. However, this would change after his grandfather Charles became king.

You may also have noticed that senior members of the family are often referred to as “HRH” or “His” or “Her Royal Highness”. With HRH, you are expected to perform duties on behalf of the King. However, there are a few members of the family who hold HRH but do not represent the Queen, such as Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.

And, of course, there are also instances when a royal is asked to stop using the honorific, as happened with Prince Andrew earlier this year, or chooses to abandon theirs, like the Sussexes. . That doesn’t mean Andrew and Harry are no longer princes – the label is still their birthright – and they still Line of Succession. There are also plenty of recent examples of title stripping – think of Diana, Princess of Wales, Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, or Edward VIII after he abdicated.

Spouses of princes also usually receive court titles. So, when Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018, she became Princess Henry of Wales – although she rarely followed through, opting instead for the gifted title of Duchess of Sussex.

If you’ve got all that out of the way, let’s move on to the peerage system. It dates back to medieval times and was designed to ensure that the king was surrounded by a stable group of nobles to help rule the state. The most distinguished rank is duke, followed by marquis, earl, viscount and finally baron. These can be gifted to anyone – royal or non-royal subjects.

If the priority of peerages was not surprising enough, it is further complicated by the fact that an individual may hold multiple peerages of different ranks. Wives of peers also receive courtesy titles, but husbands usually do not.

Titles are, for the most part, viewed formally. But there are still hereditaries – dukes or barons – who can give you a chance to sit in the House of Lords, one of the two houses of the British Parliament, and vote on laws. As the royal family is considered politically independent, they do not hold any seats themselves.

Then, finally, there are knighthoods, which are awarded by the king for extraordinary achievement and given on the advice of the government. Knighted men are called “sirs” and women “dames”. Other non-hereditary awards that may be conferred by the monarch include Commander, Officer or Member of the Order of the British Empire (more commonly known as CBE, OBE or MBE). The sovereign may also choose to award the British Empire Medal or invest an individual with the Order of the Garter or the Order of the Thistle.

Phew, well, that wraps up our review of the complex titles system in the game. It is a complex arrangement rooted in centuries of tradition. There are some who think it is outdated and perpetuates the British class system. But whatever your view, that doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.

Still having a hard time following along? Check out our handy video explainer here.

The Queen was given a private reception at Balmoral.

The 96-year-old monarch was welcomed by a guard of honor at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Tuesday, but the ceremony was held privately. The palace told CNN that the event was tailored to the Queen’s “comfort”. Traditionally, the king inspects a military unit at the gates of the estate to return to his residence. Britain’s PA Media news agency reported that the Queen traveled to Scotland in late July but is understood to have been staying elsewhere in the estate before heading to her main Balmoral retreat this week. The Queen often joins family members at her Scottish residence in the summer, but is expected to break her holiday in September for a brief audience with outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his successor. Will go back to England.

File photo of the Royal Standard flying from the turrets of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Prince Edward ends the Commonwealth Games with a message of hope.

The Earl of Wessex wrapped up the 2022 Commonwealth Games and praised athletes for inspiring future generations of competitors. Taking the podium for Monday’s closing ceremony at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, the Queen’s youngest son told a packed crowd: “Every four years, we try to come together to celebrate our Commonwealth through sport. “. With the manner, style and enthusiasm with which you have competed, worked, co-operated, organized and volunteered, you have once again brought the spirit and values ​​of the Commonwealth to life.” “You have inspired us and hopefully generations to come. You have also shown what unites us,” the prince added. A frequent spectator, he often brought along his wife, Sophie, and children, James and Louise.

Prince Edward closed the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on August 8.

Harry and Meghan will receive a humanitarian award.

The Sussexes and their Archwell Foundation will be honored for their work advocating for Afghan refugees at a charity event next week. The Human First Coalition will present the award to the couple during a benefit event in New York City on Monday. Archwell’s executive director, James Holt, is reportedly set to accept the honor on his behalf. The event will feature traditional Afghan food, music and a bazaar. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut will also receive an award for his services to Afghan refugees at the event, which marks the first anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on July 18.

After 70 years, you’d think the Queen had done it all. And yet, this week we were shocked to learn that he was about to be signed. Featured on UK coinage first time. On the occasion of his Platinum Jubilee, the Royal Mint – the UK’s official coin maker – is releasing a set of three coins celebrating key aspects of his reign: awards and honours, charities and the Commonwealth. His work with

Irish artist and illustrator PJ Lynch, who designed each of the £5 coins, revealed his inspiration, saying: “I initially focused on the Queen’s hands. She is often shaking hands – she The way she greets and speaks to people she meets. It made me think of her signature, which is very symbolic, an instrument of the state when she signs official documents. but also on his personal commitment and determination.”

Although the Queen's signature is one of the most recognizable in the world, it has never been struck on UK coin until now.

“It’s time we all come together to support the world’s future workforce.”

Prince Charles on International Youth Day.

The Prince of Wales on International Youth Day on Friday acknowledged the challenges faced in recent years with a call to action to champion the next generation. In his video message, Charles noted that “from the impact of the public health crisis, and the daunting challenge of living now, to the threat of climate change, much has happened to destroy the hope of the younger generation. ”

However, he said the day provided an opportunity to recognize the achievements of younger generations and praise “resilience and ambition” in the face of “unprecedented global challenges”. Take a look at his full remarks here.

Just a quick heads-up, Royal News readers – we wanted to let you know that we’re going on another short break of two weeks as summer draws to a close (by God, doesn’t it?). But don’t worry, we’ll resume our regular weekly service from September 2.

Take care and see you soon,

Max and Lauren



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