Is Prince William a Prince, a Crowned Prince or a Duke?

Having a title is something that very few people have the honor of ever experiencing in their lives. As we know, many of the members of the British royal family have titles, whether it be “prince”, “princess”, “duke”, “countess”, or something else.

If there was only one title to be had per person, it would be pretty easy to keep track of. However, the fact that many of the royals have more than one title, and things are constantly changing, it can become somewhat bewildering at times.

Prince William
Prince William | Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images

While a lot of royal fans may assume that Prince William is nothing more than a prince, that is not the case. Let’s break down when and how royal titles are received, and what they all mean.

What is Prince William’s official title?

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined The Queen and Members of the Royal Family to attend this year’s Order of the Garter service in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain, established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago. The Order includes The Queen, who is Sovereign of the Garter, The Duke of Cambridge and several senior Members of the Royal Family, and twenty-four knights or ladies chosen in recognition of their work. Knights of the Garter are chosen personally by the Sovereign to honour those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally. Supernumerary, or ‘Stranger’ Knights, are overseas monarchs appointed to the Order, and are in addition to the twenty-four knights or ladies — The King of Spain and The King of the Netherlands attended this year’s Garter Day service, during which they were installed as Supernumerary Knights of the Garter. Earlier in the day The Queen held a private Investiture in the Garter Throne Room at Windsor Castle, where Lady Mary Peters was invested with the Order's insignia by Her Majesty. During their visit to Northern Ireland in February, The Duke and Duchess congratulated @Olympics gold medallist Lady Mary on her appointment to the Order of the Garter. Kensington Palace/PA @TheRoyalFamily @koninklijkhuis #GarterDay #WindsorCastle

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Most often, we hear William being referred to as “Prince William”. As it turns out, he has more than just the one, easy to remember title. Prince William is also known as His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus.

It is important to remember that the prince wasn’t born with all of these titles. From the time of his birth until marriage, he was His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales. On the day of his wedding to Kate Middleton, William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, granted him the titles of “duke”, “earl”, and “baron”.

What do all of these titles mean?

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Dr Malik Ramadhan is the divisional director of emergency care and trauma at the Royal London Hospital, where 12 casualties from the London Bridge attacks on 3 June 2017 were taken. He was one of scores of doctors, nurses and other staff who were called into work on that Saturday night to treat those injured. Malik was cycling home at 10pm after finishing his shift when he saw large numbers of police cars driving towards central London — after speaking to the London Ambulance Service to find out what was happening, Malik turned around and returned straight back to work. On his role in the response to the attack, Malik said: "I was the resuscitation room commander. I ensured the injured patients had their scans and surgery at the right time and always had the right number of people looking after them. We performed emergency surgery on six patients lasting between an hour and three to four hours.” Speaking on the role of the team, he said: “Everyone rallies around in a crisis; it’s what we’re all built for. The public should know that the NHS and NHS staff are geared up for things like this and that if they do happen they will be looked after to a very high standard.” Today The Duke of Cambridge presented Dr Malik Ramadhan with his OBE for services to Healthcare, at an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Anyone can be nominated for an honour; visit @CabinetOffice to find out more how you can nominate someone for an honour or award. PA @NHSBartsHealth #Investiture #BuckinghamPalace

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All of the titles that Prince William holds may leave many royal fans wondering what they all mean. Titles are a way to rank the members of a royal family. A prince is the son or grandson of a ruling monarch. In order to be a prince, the person must be a direct descendant, therefore having royal blood.

It is also important to note that someone is born a prince, as William was. So what is a duke? He is the ruler of a small territory and ranks directly below the king or queen. Other titles that are given to royal family members are granted according to how far they are from inheriting the throne, for example, marquess, earl, and viscount.

Is William a prince, a crowned prince, or a duke?

William is a prince, a crowned prince, and a duke. A royal family member doesn’t lose the title of “prince” upon becoming a “duke” as one might assume. The fact that William is both a prince and a crowned prince, though, raises the question as to what the difference is between the two.

While a prince is a direct descendant of a ruling monarch, a crowned prince, such as William, is one that is in the direct line of succession to the throne. Since William will be king upon the death of his father, Prince Charles, he is technically a crowned prince.

Why don’t all of the royal family members have titles?

While some royal family members have one title, others have several, and some have none at all. Zara Tindall, for instance, the daughter of Anne, Princess Royal, never had a royal title.

Currently 18th in line for the British throne, her parents chose not to give her and her brother, Peter Phillips, royal titles when they were born. Recently, there was speculation as to whether or not Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son would get a title. His parents chose not to give him one at this time, and it was their personal choice. 

Royal titles are a bit confusing, especially when someone has more than one. Prince William has another, very important title to look forward to in his life when he ascends the throne as king.