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Prince William, 38, and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 38, are the future heads of the Royal Family. But before William can become King, his father Prince Charles, 71, is expected to reign.
Prince Charles currently holds several royal titles. Not only is he the Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay but he is also known as the Prince of Wales.
The Dukedoms of Cornwall and of Rothesay are traditionally held by the heir apparent and are expected to pass to William when Charles becomes King.
The same rules are thought to apply to the Prince of Wales title.
The tradition of conferring the title on the heir apparent is believed to have begun in 1301 with King Edward I of England.
However, according to constitutional experts, this may not technically be the case.
Experts at University College London’s Constitution Unit claim it will be up to Charles whether or not to pass that particular title to William.
In answer to the question, ‘Will Prince William become Prince of Wales?’, the UCL Constitution Unit website states: “Charles was created Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was aged 10, with an investiture at Caernarvon Castle in 1969.
“As an adult, Prince William might expect to become Prince of Wales soon after his father’s accession; but that will be a matter for the new King to decide because, strictly, the title is not heritable.”
Another constitutional expert has seconded this statement, claiming William will not automatically become the Prince of Wales.
Expert Iaiam MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “The title of Prince of Wales is not assumed automatically by the heir to the throne, and remains within the gift of the monarch.
“In the case of Charles, his mother the Queen created him Prince of Wales in 1958.
“In the event of the Duke of Cambridge being made Prince of Wales, Catherine would automatically become Princess of Wales.”
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He added: “Likewise, with the succession of William, Catherine will become Queen Consort.”
Prince Charles’s first wife Princess Diana was known as the Princess of Wales but the title is not used by his current wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
According to Mr MacMarthanne, this is likely to have been a conscious decision to honour Princess Diana’s memory.
Mr MacMarthanne said: “Presently Camilla is entitled to be known as Princess of Wales, but mindful of Diana, Princess of Wales the decision was taken to use one of Prince Charles’ subsidiary titles.”
Whether or not Camilla will be known as Queen Consort when Charles is king is subject to ongoing debate.
According to UCL’s Constitution Unit, the title Camilla ultimately assumes could in part be linked to public opinion.
The website states: “In deference to public opinion, Camilla has not assumed the title Princess of Wales.
“Prince Charles will no doubt have regard to public opinion at the time of his accession, in deciding whether Camilla should become Queen; and he may also want to seek the advice of the government of the day.
“The fallback position is that Camilla would become Princess Consort as announced at the time of their marriage.”
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