Was Queen Elizabeth a Princess? How Her Royal Title Has Changed over the Years

In the British royal family, official titles are a way to determine one’s ranking, marriage status, and bloodline. And, since members with His or Her Royal Highness tacked onto their titles don’t technically use the royal family’s last name, they’re also key for naming royal babies. With that said, Queen Elizabeth’s royal titles have changed multiple times throughout her lifetime to reflect both her status and family. And, as the longest reigning monarch, many want to know: Was Queen Elizabeth a princess?

Up ahead, we take a closer look at Queen Elizabeth’s royal titles, including what she was called when her father, King George VI was monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth’s royal titles changed many times in her life. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Was Queen Elizabeth a Princess?

In the royal family, most children start off as princess or prince — so long as their father has an official royal title. However, that’s not always the case. For example, the queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward is the Earl of Wessex (not a duke) and his children are James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor. But, for Queen Elizabeth’s case, she was, in fact, a princess.

Queen Elizabeth was born “Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York.” At the time, her parents were the Duke and Duchess of York — just like Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are now — and so their daughters’ (including Princess Margaret) official royal titles included “of York” to link them to their parents.

When her father was crowned King, he dropped his dukedom. And, as a result, the then Princess Elizabeth changed her name to “Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth.” Queen Elizabeth’s royal title remained that was until she married Prince Philip in 1947.

Queen Elizabeth’s royal titles

In addition to being a princess, Queen Elizabeth was also a duchess and, of course, a queen. And, on top of that, she holds various royal titles in other regions and commonwealth countries. Take an in-depth look at Queen Elizabeth’s royal titles, ahead.

Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York

As we previously mentioned, Queen Elizabeth was born into a royal title and was known as Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York until her father, the Duke of York was crowned king in 1936.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth

After King George VI ascended the throne, Princess Elizabeth dropped the York (since her father no longer held a dukedom). She changed her official royal title to Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh

In the royal family, sons and grandsons of the monarch typically receive a dukedom upon marriage or majority. And while Prince Philip was not directly related to the king (he is the queen’s cousin, though!), he still earned a dukedom on his wedding day. This gesture likely had something to do with his royal origin (Prince Philip was a prince in Greece and Denmark) or the fact that his wife was heir apparent. Prince Philip received the Duke of Edinburgh title, so Princess Elizabeth was Duchess of Edinburgh.

Her Majesty

While Prince Philip still holds his Duke of Edinburgh title, Queen Elizabeth dropped her duchess status after ascending the throne. Queen Elizabeth’s royal titles changed a lot in her early years. But, as the longest reigning monarch, she has gone by Her Majesty for most of her life.

Duke of Normandy and Lord of Mann

In addition to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth has a few other royal titles. In the Channel Islands and the Isle of Mann, she goes by the Duke of Normandy and Lord of Mann.

Duke of Lancaster

Because she owns the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster, Queen Elizabeth is technically the Duke of Lancaster.

Defender of the Faith

As the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the queen is also the Defender of the Faith. Therefore, you might see her royal title stylized as “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

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