As of this morning, Kate Middleton, now Prince William’s fiancée, is a queen-in-waiting. But what will her titles be before Prince William takes the throne?
The world of the British monarchy is complex. Filled with long-standing traditions and regulations, navigating the roles of the Windsor family is like reading a book of chess instructions. He’s the abridged version of Kate Middleton’s future of royal stylings:
Though the only title Middleton will be legally entitled to is that of her husband, it will be for the Queen to decide who gets what. Upon marriage, Middleton would become Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales, though the media would shorten her title to Princess Catherine, a title legally reserved for princesses of birth.
(More on NewsFeed: Prince William And Kate Middleton Announce Their Engagement)
Normally upon marriage, royal men receive a title as a gift from the current monarch. For William, it’s expected that he’ll become a Duke. According to The Daily Mirror, possible titles include the Duke of Clarence, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of Connaught or the Duke of Sussex. Upon his Dukedom, William’s wife would become a Duchess, unless of course William doesn’t accept the title, which would leave the couple’s titles as Prince and Princess William.
If Prince Charles takes the throne as king, William would be bumped up to the title of Prince of Wales, making Middleton the Princess of Wales, a title that now belongs to Camilla Bowles, who has never used it because of the sensitivity to her involvement in the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Instead, she uses the title Duchess of Cornwall, which would also pass to Middleton if Prince Charles were to become king. It’s widely hinted that Camilla would then take the title of Princess Consort, instead of Queen, to avoid public scrutiny. Still, Charles may choose to pass on the throne entirely, and let it pass directly to William if the Queen’s current reign carries on for many more years – as it could.
(More on TIME: Photos Of Kate Middleton, Now A Queen-In-Waiting)
When Prince William does become king, Middleton would become the Queen Consort – “Consort” being the official title of the reigning monarch’s spouse – and would be known as Queen Catherine, though she would not be line to rule if anything happened to her husband. Instead, the throne would pass directly to one of her children, likely the oldest male, or to Prince Harry, William’s younger brother.