Tuesday, 21 Mar 2023

King had hand forced by Sussexes over Edward’s title, expert claims

Prince Edward given Duke of Edinburgh title

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle forced the hand of King Charles over the issue of the Dukedom of Edinburgh, a royal commentator has claimed. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex started publicly styling their children Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana as Prince and Princess earlier this month, upon confirming their daughter had been christened in California.

Only days later, Buckingham Palace announced King Charles had bestowed the title of Duke of Edinburgh upon Prince Edward to mark his 59th birthday.

But commentator Richard Eden claimed this move came amid a lot of “toing and froing”.

King Charles, the Daily Mail’s Diary Editor alleged, is thought not to have intended to give his younger brother this important title despite this being the wish of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II.

This position is reportedly due to the monarch’s widely-rumoured plan to slim down the monarchy, and the fact that such an important Dukedom was seen as more fitting for a royal in the direct line of succession.

Appearing on the Mail+’ Palace Confidential programme, Mr Eden said: “But then, when Harry and Meghan started using the Prince and Princess titles for their children, it became clear this wasn’t going to happen and then King Charles could hardly justify not giving Prince Edward the title he’d been promised by their parents. It was a big deal and I really think that was behind it.”

In 1999, as he was marrying Sophie Rhys-Jones, Edward was given the title of Earl of Wessex, with the understanding he would be passed on the Dukedom of Edinburgh following the death of his father.

It took almost two years following the passing of the late Queen’s husband to see Edward becoming a Duke.

Buckingham Palace announced the King’s decision over Edward’s title in a statement last week.

It read: “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.

“The title will be held by Prince Edward for His Royal Highness’s lifetime.

“The Dukedom was last created for Prince Philip in 1947, upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, who held the title of Duchess of Edinburgh before acceding to the throne in 1952.

“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 new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh stepped out in Scotland’s capital a few hours later, where they were welcomed by dozens of cheering royal fans.

As noted in the statement, Prince Edward will not pass on to his son James his new title, as the Dukedom will revert to the Crown upon his death.

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This will make it possible for the Dukedom to be re-allocated to a royal closer to the throne.

And Mr Eden believes a similar solution may be adopted with the Dukedom of Sussex, which was given to Prince Harry upon his nuptials with Meghan in 2018.

He claimed: “I have heard it said that part of the reason is that the King wants to stop Archie inheriting that title the Duke of Sussex. So this might be part of that, so he has now set that precedent.

“The problem is, that he’d have to do it with all the royal dukes so he really wouldn’t want to do that to the very well respected Dukes of Gloucester and Kent.”

Archie and Lilibet became eligible for the use of their royal titles following the accession to the throne of King Charles, in line with the 1917 Letters Patent.

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