Kate Middleton has been the Duchess of Cambridge ever since she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey in 2011. But she could drop that title in favor of a new one when Queen Elizabeth dies and Prince Charles becomes king. The only catch is that the title once belonged to Princess Diana, and has become closely associated with her memory.
As Insider reported today, Prince William will become the Prince of Wales when his father ascends to the throne which means that Kate will technically become Princess of Wales. However, Camilla Parker Bowles does not use the title even though she married Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales, in 2005.
According to the Daily Star, Camilla does not use the Princess of Wales title out of respect for Princess Diana. Even though Diana was stripped of the HRH designation after her divorce, she was still allowed to use the title and it has almost become synonymous with her public persona, even after her death. So Camilla opts to use the Duchess Of Cornwall title, which is the feminine form of her husband’s secondary title.
So, could Kate Middleton do the same when she legally becomes the Princess of Wales?
On the one hand, she may choose to continue the tradition of declining to use it out of respect for Princess Diana’s memory. But Kate and Camilla have very different public personas. In a 1995 Panorama interview, Princess Diana referred to her as the third person in her marriage to Charles. The former Mrs. Parker Bowles has long been seen as the villain who broke up that royal union.
So, if Camilla had decided to use the Princess of Wales title, it would more than likely have been seen as a slap in the face of Diana’s memory.
But Kate’s story is different. As Insider notes, some see her as a modern-day Prince Diana. According to Reuters, an Ipsos MORI survey conducted this year reported that Kate and her husband William were the most liked British royals, after Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth. In 2012, Newsweek reported that she was worth £1 billion to the British fashion industry because of her influence on consumer buying decisions.
So, there’s reason to believe that Kate Middleton using the Princess of Wales title could be welcomed by the British public, despite their abiding love for Princess Diana. Perhaps Kate will use it to honor Princess Diana, the royal who captured the public’s heart and the mother-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge never had the chance to meet in person. Only time will tell.