Prince George: Kate Middleton praised by panel for birthday photo
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The Prince of Wales title is a historic royal title that has been awarded by several monarchs to their sons over the centuries. The current Queen awarded Prince Charles the title in 1958 when he was aged nine, and he is the longest-serving Prince of Wales in royal history.
As it currently stands, only a male heir can be awarded the Prince of Wales title, while the Princess of Wales title is reserved only for the wife of the Prince.
The last person to publicly use the Princess of Wales title was the late Princess Diana, Prince Charles’ first wife.
But when the Queen was still known as Princess Elizabeth, she was never able to hold the Princess of Wales title in her own right while supporting her father, King George VI.
So when Prince George takes the throne, he may have to introduce major changes if his first child is a girl to ensure his daughter can hold the Princess of Wales title.
The issue is not likely to be solved during the reigns of Prince Charles or Prince William, as both of their respective eldest children are boys.
Royal historian Marlene Koenig said: “The Sovereign and Parliament will have to deal with titles for a female heir, but they don’t do anything until they have to do so… and there are three males in the direct line to the throne.
“There will be changes if George’s first child is a girl. If he has a boy, they will not deal with it.”
While the issue of women holding the Princess of Wales title may not be addressed for a while, steps have been taken to modernise another royal title.
The Duke of Cornwall title is automatically held by the heir apparent to the throne, which crucially allows the heir to the throne to access their own private funding through the Duchy of Cornwall.
Ms Koenig said: “I do not think the Sovereign will deal with the title Princess of Wales until there is a female heir apparent.
“More important is the title of Duke of Cornwall, which is automatic for the eldest son of the Sovereign. Same for Duke of Rothesay in Scotland.
“The Dukedom of Cornwall was created by royal charter in 1337.
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“If Charles died before the Queen, William could not become the Duke of Cornwall because he is not the eldest son of the Sovereign.
“But since the passage of the 2011 Sovereign Grant Act, the heir to the throne (if a female or not the eldest son) can benefit from the funding from the Duchy.”
The Queen herself never got access to the Duchy of Cornwall, despite the fact she was heir to the throne from the age of 10.
“From Edward VIII’s accession until Charles became Duke of Cornwall in 1952, there was no Duke – and Elizabeth as heiress presumptive never benefitted from the Duchy,” Ms Koenig added.
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