Prince Edward discusses future Duke of Edinburgh title
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Prince Edward’s daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, turns 18 today. This means she can decide if she wishes to use the HRH title she is entitled to. Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, opted against giving their children HRH titles from birth, instead preferring for them to have as normal a childhood as possible and styling them as children of an Earl instead. Sophie has previously explained that Louise will be able to choose whether to use the title herself when she turns 18, although the Countess the Sunday Times last year she thinks that it is “unlikely”.
When Edward and Sophie tied the knot in 1999, they were given the titles of Earl and Countess of Wessex.
It is customary for royals to be given new titles by the Queen on their wedding day.
The sons of the monarch traditionally receive dukedoms ‒ Prince Charles is the Duke of Cornwall and Prince Andrew the Duke of York ‒ but Edward instead opted for the lesser title of Earl.
However, this was not originally the plan.
Edward was reportedly going to be the Duke of Cambridge, but he liked the sound of the name Wessex due to a character in his favourite film Shakespeare in Love.
Instead, the title was given to Prince William when he married Kate Middleton 12 years later.
A royal courtier told The Telegraph in 2010, a few months before William and Kate married, that the title was supposed to be Edward’s.
The courtier said: “Prince Edward was going to be the Duke of Cambridge, but he watched the film Shakespeare in Love, which had a character called the Earl of Wessex.
“He liked the sound of it and asked the Queen if he could have that instead.”
The newspaper also claimed Prince William did not want to be a Duke.
The courtier said: “He says he was born Prince William and wants to continue to be known as that.
“He wants Kate to become Princess Catherine.”
Traditionally, royal princesses receive their titles through birth rather than marriage — hence Meghan Markle, for example, will never be a princess, but Lady Louise can if she wishes to be.
While Charles’ late wife was known as Princess Diana, her real title was Diana, Princess of Wales.
It is understood that Edward will become the Duke of Edinburgh when Charles becomes King, succeeding his late father Prince Philip in the title.
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Sophie said in an interview with The Telegraph in June that Philip had personally asked Edward in person if he would take the title.
She said: “We sat there slightly stunned. He literally came straight in and said: ‘Right, I’d like it very much if you would consider that.’”
Edward had already taken on some of his father’s patrongages and serves as a trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.
When Edward and Sophie married in 1999, a Buckingham Palace statement said the Queen, Philip and Prince Charles had agreed that Edward would be given the title after Philip’s death.
Edward addressed the matter in July when speaking to the BBC.
He said: “Yes, it was fine in theory ages ago, when it was sort of a pipe dream of my father’s and of course, it will all depend on whether or not the Prince of Wales, when he becomes king, will do that.
“So we’ll wait and see.”
Charles inherited his father’s title upon his death.
However, when he ascends the throne, the Duke of Edinburgh title will be reabsorbed by the crown.
Should Edward then be given the title, Sophie’s title would also change.
She would become the Duchess of Edinburgh, a position formerly held by the Queen and now held by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
A recently unearthed letter shows Edward was bizarrely asked to become king of Estonia.
People magazine discovered reports from 1994 detailing a letter from the Estonian Royalist Party to the Queen, requesting for permission for Edward to be crowned the country’s monarch.
The Mirror reports Buckingham Palace called the proposal a “charming idea but a rather unlikely one”.
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