Would Prince William Have Been Able to Keep His Childhood Promise to Restore Princess Diana’s HRH Title as King?

Princess Diana‘s 1996 divorce from King Charles III ended a royal fairytale turned failed modern marriage. One of the terms of their split included Charles revoking Diana’s “Her Royal Highness” title. At that time their teenage son, Prince William, vowed to restore Diana’s title when he became king. Would he have been able to do so if she lived?

Prince William and Princess Diana in side by side photographs.
Prince William and Princess Diana | Richard Stonehouse/Bettmann/Getty Images

Princess Diana gave up her title after divorcing King Charles III

A 1996 New York Times article published details surrounding the divorce agreement between then-Prince Charles and his wife, Diana. The article specifically addressed Diana’s HRH title after her and Charles’ divorce.

The Times wrote upon their split, Diana gave up her right to be Queen of the United Kingdom. She also forfeited the title of “Her Royal Highness.” The late Queen Elizabeth II wanted Diana to retain her title, but Prince Charles was “adamant” that she give it up.

Diana was then obligated to curtsey to others, including her ex-husband and her children, William and Harry. Friends or staff no had to bow or curtsy in Diana’s presence.

The Times continued that the palace said Diana would continue to be “regarded as a member of the royal family” and “from time to time receive invitations to state and national public occasions” at the invitation “of the sovereign or the Government.”

Prince William once vowed to reinstate his mother, Princess Diana’s HRH title

Diana lost her title when Prince William was just 14 years old. Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, shared how the prince tried to soothe his mother regarding this titular moment in his book, A Royal Duty.

“She told me how he had sat with her one night when she was upset over the loss of HRH, put his arms around her, and said, ‘Don’t worry, Mummy. I will give it back to you one day when I am king,'” Burrell wrote.

However, it is improbable William would have been able to restore his mother’s title when he became king, as royal titles typically are not given posthumously. However, upon the 1997 death of the Princess of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II did offer to restore Diana’s HRH title, reported ABC News. The Spencer family declined her offer.

If Diana had lived, would her royal title have changed once Prince William became king?

Princess Diana and Prince William at his confirmation.
Princess Diana and Prince William | Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

Prince William is now the heir to the British throne after his father, King Charles III.

The New York Post speculated some royal watchers believe Diana’s title would have changed had she been alive when her eldest son ascended to the throne. The newspaper theorized Diana may have qualified for the “Queen Mother” title.

However, after King Charles’ death, Diana would have terminated any eligibility for that title. The title of Queen mother translates to “‘widowed Queen Consort.” This title would not have applied to The Princess of Wales if she divorced the King of the United Kingdom.

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