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Sarah Ferguson entered the Royal Family in 1986 when she married Prince Andrew. The couple produced two children in Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie but divorced after 10 years together. Fergie retained her title as Duchess of York, and after some time dropped the HRH from her name, and she may be the last to do so.
Will Sarah Ferguson have to drop the Duchess of York from her name?
Sarah Ferguson is the Duchess of York in name only, as she no longer completes duties on behalf of the Royal Family.
She only took on the title as a spouse of Prince Andrew on their wedding day, when Queen Elizabeth II bestowed it unto them.
The Duchy will remain theirs for life, but after its current holders relinquish it, there is no clear successor.
Royal titles must abide by the rules of male primogeniture, which states any honours pass strictly down a male line.
As such, neither Eugenie nor Beatrice can take on the Duchy of York, although they will remain Princesses of York.
When the holder of a Duchy dies, it floats back to the reigning monarch, who may administer it where they choose.
So whoever is on the throne, most likely Prince William, given his father is older than Prince Andrew, will get to choose who gets the Duchy of York next.
One user on US question and answer site Quora explained: “The Dukedom of York will be inherited by the oldest legitimate son of the current duke.
“Of course, the current duke has no sons, so unless that situation changes, the title will go extinct and will be available for the monarch at the time to recreate and confer on whoever they want.
“Of course, the title is usually given to the second son of the monarch, so we would need to know who the monarch will be at the time.
“Given that Prince Andrew is twelve years younger than Prince Charles, it seems likely that when Prince Andrew dies and the dukedom becomes available, Prince Charles will have already died and Prince William will be the king.”
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“Prince William’s second son is Prince Louis, so he will be a prime candidate to get the dukedom.
“But isn’t it be nice to consider the possibility that, in the thirty or so years before then, the amount of sexism in the British Peerage will have fallen to the extent that Princess Charlotte, as the second child of the monarch, could be the first woman to be created Duchess of York in her own right?”
The process applies to every Duchy held by the Royal Family, including the Duchy of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip is the current holder of the title, and Prince Edward may take it on when the 99-year-old dies.
When the title goes back to the crown, experts believe the Queen’s youngest son will take it.
One source told the Sunday Times he will get the honour thanks to his dedication to the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
They said: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is very much Prince Edward’s thing.
“That is a big part of what he does now because he will be the next Duke of Edinburgh.”
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