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The royal name game
The Sussexes and Wessexes get new titles
It’s been a busy week for royal titles, with Archie and Lilibet becoming Prince and Princess and Prince Edward being awarded the title of Duke of Edinburgh, at last.
People magazine revealed Lilibet has been christened in California – and taken the title of Princess, alongside her brother, who can now be called Prince Archie. “The children’s titles have been a birthright since their grandfather became monarch,” a Sussex spokesperson told People magazine. “This matter has been settled for some time in alignment with Buckingham Palace.”
The pair inherited the titles once their grandfather became monarch – despite Meghan’s assertion to Oprah that Archie was denied the title of Prince.
Meanwhile, King Charles has finally bestowed the title of Duke of Edinburgh on his brother Prince Edward, to mark his birthday – something the late Queen and Prince Philip had desired. “His Majesty The King has been pleased to confer the Dukedom of Edinburgh upon The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Forfar, on the occasion of His Royal Highness’s 59th birthday,” Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
This means Sophie, Countess of Wessex becomes the Duchess of Edinburgh and their son, James, Viscount Severn, takes the title of Earl of Wessex. His sister, Lady Louise, keeps the same title. “The new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are proud to continue Prince Philip’s legacy of promoting opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to reach their full potential,” the Palace said.
The line of succession has changed, following the death of the Queen. Prince William is now first in line to the throne, followed by Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Now, fifth in line to the throne, is Prince Harry, with Prince Archie sixth and Princess Lilibet seventh. Prince Andrew takes eighth place, Princess Beatrice ninth and her daughter Sienna 10th, squeezing ahead of Princess Eugenie and August.
As to why some family members are princes and princesses and some are not – it comes down King George V, who like Charles, wanted to slim down the monarchy. He issued a Letters Patent in 1917 which decreed the children of the sons of the monarch and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should be called prince or princess. This is technically why Beatrice and Eugenie are princesses and Princess Anne’s children, Peter and Zara, are not. Beatrice and Eugenie can not pass on their titles to their children. However, Anne was actually offered titles for her children, by the Queen, but turned them down. Edward and Sophie, likewise, decided not to take titles for Louise and James. Harry and Meghan and Andrew and Sarah, took up the right. It has, unsurprisingly caused great discussion as to whether it’s understandable or hypocritical.
As to why all of the Cambridges have titles - in 2012, ahead of the birth of Prince George, the Queen issued a new Letters Patent to apply the rule to all children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, not just male heirs.
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Kate on manoeuvres
It’s official - there are no circumstances in which the Princess of Wales does not look amazing. Take Wednesday’s freezing conditions, when an unseasonal dumping of snow on Salisbury Plain (and the rest of the UK) didn’t stop Catherine, looking impossibly chic in camouflage while taking part in a battlefield casualty drill.
As the new Colonel of the Irish Guards, she made her first visit to the 1st Battalion after taking over from her husband last year, and did a spot of first-aid exercises. Attempting to put a tourniquet on a dummy, the Princess apologised, saying: “It’s the first time I’ve done this”.
The following day, Catherine and Prince William visited a west London Muslim centre to meet aid workers recently returned from the earthquake disaster areas in Turkey and Syria and UK-based fundraisers. This time, the Princess wore an Alexander McQueen dress and a black and white hijab.
Camilla’s Happy IWD party
The Queen Consort hosted a lunchtime Buckingham Palace reception to mark International Women’s Day last Wednesday, and among the notable women attending, such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire.
Shaking Camilla’s hand and curtseying, the actress said: “I’m so excited to meet you.” And it seems Camilla felt the same too as she revealed she is a massive fan of Happy Valley. Asking Lancashire about the smash-hit BBC One drama, the star of the show replied: “Well, there’s no season four.”
Since 2015, Camilla has been president of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival, which this year ends today on London’s South Bank. During the reception, the Queen Consort raised her hand when WOW founder Jude Kelly asked the assembled guests whether they believed that “one day there will be gender equality”. She also thanked Camilla for supporting WOW and “fighting the good fight, dreaming the good dream and being kind to yourself as well as everybody else”.
The only way is Essex for Charles
The King and Queen took a day trip to Colchester this week to celebrate its new status as a city. Colchester officially became a city in November 2022, having been awarded the status during Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
On Tuesday, the couple made a beeline for its castle, where Charles was handed a “Best King” picture by a young fan. But among all the engagements on the whistle-stop tour, the highlight for us had to be Charles and Camilla ‘almost’ meeting Colchester Zoo’s baby white rhino. The couple looked very amused while unveiling an easel revealing its name - Dara (Hebrew for “pearl of wisdom”). The ever-thoughtful Charles promptly said to zoo staff: “I do hope it grows into a substantial animal.”
Remembering the Queen and her corgis
Talking of animals blessed by royals… if you are in London, don’t miss the lovely new exhibition opened this week, The Queen and her Corgis. The Wallace Collection has a collection of photographs of the late monarch with her beloved dogs. On now, until June 25.
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