Does Camilla Parker Bowles Officially Have the Late Princess Diana’s Title of ‘Princess of Wales’?

When we think of the Princess of Wales, the image that comes to most people’s mind is that of the late Princess Diana. But over the length of British history, there have been many Princesses of Wales, since the title has been passed down since the fourteenth century. Prince Charles is the current Prince of Wales, so does that now make his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, the true Princess of Wales? Turns out, it’s not quite that simple.

The public loved Diana as the Princess of Wales

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

When Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981, she became the Princess of Wales, and she remained with that title until her death in 1997. Princess Diana has also often been called “the people’s princess” because she had enormous support from the public. Her kindness and generosity made her the public’s favorite member of the royal family.

Even after her divorce from Prince Charles, Princess Diana retained the title of Princess of Wales. She did lose the style of Her Royal Highness but was allowed to be known as Diana, Princess of Wales. The queen wanted to allow Princess Diana to retain Her Royal Highness, but Prince Charles fought to have it removed. This reportedly deeply hurt Princess Diana, as it separated her from the rest of the royal family, and made it so she would have to curtsy to all those that had the honorific.

In a sweet gesture, Prince William, who was 14 at the time, reportedly tried to comfort his mother, by telling her: “Don’t worry mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King.”

Unfortunately, this would never happen, since Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car crash. When she passed, the entire United Kingdom and the world, mourned her death. Since she was still known as the Princess of Wales at the time of her death, the public of this generation will probably always remember her that way.

The public resented Camilla Parker Bowles

Unlike Princess Diana, Parker Bowles has not enjoyed the public’s support for most of her life. The public generally thinks of her as the woman responsible for Princess Diana’s unhappiness because of her long affair with Prince Charles.

During his marriage to Princess Diana, it became known — to the press, to the public, and to Diana — that Prince Charles was carrying on with Parker Bowles. For this reason, the public will likely always resent her. Parker Bowles had to fight incredibly hard to even be allowed to marry Prince Charles. It took many years for the public to forgive her, and to this day, many still don’t.

Is Camilla Parker Bowles the Princess of Wales?

When Parker Bowles married Prince Charles, she did technically become the Princess of Wales, but she has never actually used the title. Instead, she has styled herself as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.

The most likely reason that Parker Bowles does not use the Princess of Wales title is that it would upset fans of the late Princess Diana. During her lifetime, the public became accustomed to Diana as The Princess of Wales, and so to avoid any hurt feelings or confusion, the prince and Parker Bowles have decided to use The Duchess of Cornwall as her title.

In some ways, it shows Princess Diana a certain level of respect, to allow her to continue to be the only Princess of Wales in this generation. But, it could be simply a matter of self-preservation for Parker Bowles. Since people loved Princess Diana, Parker Bowles knows that it’s important to honor her. Parker Bowles has worked hard to gain the trust of the public, and this will become even more important if Prince Charles ever becomes king.