How the Queen ‘rectified’ Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis title issue
Princess Charlotte grabs hands of enthusiastic Prince Louis
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Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge welcomed Prince George in 2013, and his birth signalled a new generation of royalty. The Queen implemented major changes before George was born to ensure that all of the Duke and Duchess’ children would have Prince and Princess titles, however, as only the couple’s eldest son would have been eligible.
Who gets HRH and Prince or Princess titles in the Royal Family is decided based on the Letters Patent issued by the Queen’s grandfather King George V in 1917.
All of the children of the monarch are eligible for titles, as are grandchildren born to the monarch’s sons – but not daughters.
The eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales is also eligible for a Prince title under the Letters Patent, which meant Prince George would have got a title automatically.
But if William and Kate had welcomed Charlotte first, she would not have been eligible for a Princess title under the rules.
According to royal historian Marlene Koenig, the 1917 Letters Patent effectively “established the current system of who is royal and who is not”.
Ms Koenig elaborated: “Children of the Sovereign, grandchildren of the Sovereign in the male line and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.
“Queen Elizabeth II changed the last clause to [include] all of the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.
“This was done at the time the new gender equal succession legislation was about to become law.”
Because of the Queen’s intervention, after George was born, Charlotte and Louis were also born with Princess and Prince titles.
Ms Koenig explained: “If the Queen had not changed this, and William’s first child was a girl, she would’ve been styled as the Lady Charlotte not Princess Charlotte.
“Only the eldest son would’ve had royal tiles until Charles became King, but that was rectified with a new Letters Patent from the Queen.”
When Prince Charles is King, George, Charlotte and Louis will all be grandchildren of the Sovereign through the male line and therefore eligible for Prince and Princess titles anyway.
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The George V convention for royal titles contributed to confusion over the titles of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s two children, Archie and Lilibet.
Archie was born a great-grandchild of the reigning monarch in 2019, meaning he wasn’t eligible for HRH or Prince titles when he was born.
But when Charles is King, Archie will be a grandson of the monarch through the male line, and therefore be eligible for a Prince title.
The Queen didn’t intervene with Archie’s title, and he is styled as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Archie’s sister Lilibet was born in 2021 and she is also without a royal title, so she is known only as Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Mountbatten-Windsor name is used by descendants of the Queen and Prince Philip whenever they require a surname.
While not a Prince or Princess, as the children of a Duke, Archie and Lilibet could have held other titles.
Archie could have used his father’s subsidiary title as Earl of Dumbarton, while Lilibet could have used the title of Lady.
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