Prince Edward given Duke of Edinburgh title
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King Charles’s rumoured plans for a slimmed-down monarchy have been seemingly overshadowed this week, an expert said. Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams noted how within just days a series of title changes involving members of the Royal Family in the line of succession have taken place. This string of changes is seemingly in contrast with the long-rumoured desire of the sovereign to streamline the Firm to make it more agile, modern and cost-effective.
Mr Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “The idea of a ‘slimmed-down monarchy’ hasn’t been much in evidence this week with Archie and Lili receiving titles automatically and it being announced that Edward will become Duke of Edinburgh.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed on Wednesday their wish for their children Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana to be styled as Prince and Princess.
The toddlers became eligible for their full titles on September 8, upon the accession to the throne of King Charles.
However, since their parents relinquished the use of their HRH styles upon stepping down as senior royals in the spring of 2020, the young prince and princess will also not be styled as His and Her Royal Highness.
The Sussexes first shared their decision regarding the titles while confirming their daughter had been christened.
A spokesperson for the family said: “I can confirm that Princess Lilibet Diana was christened on Friday, March 3 by the bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Rev John Taylor.”
A few hours later, a new statement from Meghan and Harry’s office added: “The children’s titles have been a birthright since their grandfather became Monarch. This matter has been settled for some time in alignment with Buckingham Palace.”
Two days after it was made official the Firm had gained a new prince and princess, Buckingham Palace announced King Charles had given his younger brother Edward the Dukedom of Edinburgh.
A Palace statement 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.”
This new appointment also affected Edward’s wife Sophie, who upon her marriage was made Countess of Wessex but will now be known as the Duchess of Edinburgh.
Speaking about the new appointment, Mr Fitzwilliams said: “This is a signal honour as he inherits the title that his father was known throughout the world by.
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“He is involved with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, which as helped millions of young people worldwide since it was first founded by his father in 1956.
“It has been expected that he would inherit the title after Prince Philip’s death, as promised after his marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999.”
Mr Fitzwilliams noted that the King’s decision to honour Prince Philip and Elizabeth II’s wish to see the Dukedom of Edinburgh being given to their younger son doesn’t mean that, in the long term, the title now held by Prince Edward will remain within the Wessex family.
He said: “On his death it is intended to revert to the Crown, thus reducing the number of royal dukes.”
The decision by the King not to have one of Edward and Sophie’s children retain the Dukedom may signal that, in the long-run, the Firm will shed a number of royal title holders, eventually bringing to completion the streamlining of the monarchy.
Of the Wessexes’ children, James has been given the courtesy title of Earl of Wessex, and following the death of Prince Edward he will become the Earl of Wessex and Forfar.
Lady Louise Windsor, on the other hand, did not see her title changed.
The use of titles for Prince Archie and Princess Lili also doesn’t imply the monarchy is to gain them as working members in the future, given the children are growing up in the US and won’t choose whether to take on a more active role in the Firm for several decades.
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