Was Princess Diana a Duchess? Everything We Know About Her Royal Title

Princess Diana’s royal title seems to confuse people a bit. After all, she was the only non-royal with “princess” in her public name. Unlike her daughters-in-law, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, and Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, the late-princess never went by a duchess title. Which makes fans wonder: Was Princess Diana a duchess?

Up ahead, we take a closer look at her official royal title, including how it changed after her divorce from Prince Charles.

Princess Diana

Was Princess Diana a duchess like her daughters-in-law? | Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images

Was Princess Diana a duchess?

Technically speaking, Princess Diana was a duchess. However, her Princess of Wales title was much more prominent in comparison. In the royal family, dukedoms are the highest ranking titles offered to sons and grandsons of the monarch. That said, the Prince and Princess of Wales title is an exception to that rule (which is why Prince Charles also goes by Prince of Wales).

The Prince of Wales is a ceremonial title granted to the heir apparent to the King or Queen of England. And, Prince Charles has held that title since 1958. Males in the British royal family pass their titles on to their wives and children. So Diana Spencer became Diana, Princess of Wales upon marriage to Prince Charles in 1981.

In addition to becoming Princess of Wales on her wedding day, Diana also became the Duchess of Cornwall, per Prince Charles’s dukedom. Much like Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cornwall is a special dukedom granted to the eldest son of the reigning monarch (aka, heir apparent). And, although most men receive their peerage upon marriage or majority, Prince Charles earned his dukedom on February 6, 1952, when he was just three years old.

Princess Diana’s royal titles

Royal family members have more than one official royal title. And, upon marriage or majority, they typically receive a title for each country in the United Kingdom. These countries include Britain, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Although, as the queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles did not wait to get married or reach majority for his official titles.

In Britain, Prince Charles goes by Charles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall. So, Princess Diana was Diana, Princess of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. However, in Scotland, he goes by Duke of Rothesay, so Diana was Duchess of Rothesay.

With that said, Princess Diana mostly went by her British royal title, which was Her Royal Highness Diana, Princess of Wales. That said, after she and Prince Charles divorced in 1996, Diana lost her Her Royal Highness status. However, she kept her princess title. Her official royal title Diana, Princess of Wales until her death in 1997.

Camilla Parker Bowles royal titles

As Prince Charles’s second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles has many of the same official royal titles as Princess Diana — including, Princess of Wales. However, she goes by Duchess of Cornwall instead of Princess of Wales, out of respect for the late princess.

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