King Charles has not named Prince Edward Duke of Edinburgh because he is reserving the title for Princess Charlotte, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
The revelation comes after months of speculation about why the king has withheld the title from his younger brother, who was expected to inherit the dukedom following his father’s death last year.
A source said: ‘Discussions are ongoing but the favored outcome for the King is that this title should go to Princess Charlotte.
“It would be a fitting way to remember the Queen – who, of course, was titled Duchess of Edinburgh – and a way for His Majesty to honor the line of succession.”
The second child of the Prince of Wales, Charlotte is third in line to the throne, after her father Prince William and brother Prince George.
When the Princess of Wales was expecting her first child, the rules of royal primogeniture were changed to give a girl of the couple the same rights as a boy.
King Charles has not named Prince Edward Duke of Edinburgh because he is reserving the title for Princess Charlotte, The Mail on Sunday has learned. Princess Charlotte is pictured at the Commonwealth Games on August 2
The second child of the Prince of Wales, Charlotte is third in line to the throne, after her father Prince William and brother Prince George. Pictured (left to right) Prince George, Prince Louis held by Queen Elizabeth II, Savannah Phillips (standing in back), Princess Charlotte, The Duke of Edinburgh, Isla Phillips with Lena Tindall and Mia Tindall in 2018
The revelation comes after months of speculation about why the king withheld the title from his younger brother Prince Edward (pictured with Sophie, Countess of Wessex on Nov. 22).
Ultimately, William and Kate’s first child was Prince George, who was born in 2013. But the new rules meant Princess Charlotte’s position at birth in 2015 was unaffected by the arrival of her younger brother Prince Louis in 2018.
The title of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh is one of the highest in the royal family.
Charlotte’s position as the heir apparent’s second child is similar to that of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, who was the second child of Prince Philip and the then-Princess Elizabeth.
But unlike Anne, she won’t drop the order of succession until her older brother George has children. When William becomes king, George becomes Duke of Cornwall and then Prince of Wales – but not Duke of Edinburgh.
A source said: ‘Charlotte’s position is of historic significance as she is the first female member of the royal family whose place in the line of succession will not be surpassed by her younger brother.
“So it is constitutionally important that Charlotte gets such a corresponding title, because it is not impossible that she will take the throne if, for example, Prince George has no children.”
The title of Duke of Edinburgh has been awarded three times in the history of the British monarchy. It was created in 1726 by George I for his grandson Prince Frederick, who was in the direct line of succession and later became Prince of Wales.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, she recreated the title in 1866 for her second son, Prince Alfred. George VI then bestowed the title on Prince Philip when he married Princess Elizabeth in 1947. The couple became the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
For many years it was thought that King Charles’ brother, Prince Edward, the third son of the Queen and Prince Philip, would receive the rank.
For many years it was thought that King Charles’ brother (centre), Prince Edward (left), the third son of the Queen and Prince Philip, would receive the rank
Charlotte’s position as the second child of the heir to the throne is similar to that of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, who was the second child of Prince Philip and the then-Princess Elizabeth
The title of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh is one of the highest in the royal family
Unlike his brothers, who became dukes upon marriage, Edward became Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie became Countess. He also became the Earl of Forfar in 2019 on his 55th birthday.
However, it was believed within the family that Edward would become Duke of Edinburgh upon the death of his parents – and it was even mentioned in Prince Edward’s biography on the official Royal website.
In what may have been seen as preparation for the role, Edward took over the reins of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the youth outgoing program founded by his father in 1956.
He was President of the International Council for 17 years and, since 2015, Chairman of the trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.
A source close to Edward said the lack of movement when he was given the title of Duke of Edinburgh by the King “hadn’t gone unnoticed.”
Discussions are now taking place in the palace as to what title, if any, Edward will be bestowed under the new reign. While the Wessexes are said to be “relaxed” about titles, it’s bound to come as a blow. If Edward were given a dukedom, it would stay in his family. Currently his children are named Lady Louise and Viscount Severn.
The king’s move to focus on the line of succession is significant, as Charles III plans a modernized, slimmed-down monarchy.
A Royal insider said: ‘It shows you what the King thinks. It’s about promoting those who are directly in line for the throne rather than those who are on the fringe.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson declined to comment last night.