What Was Princess Diana’s Real Royal Title?

Diana Spencer might not have been born into the royal family, but she was considered a princess. But, the same can’t be said for her daughters-in-law, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Which makes us wonder: What was Princess Diana’s real royal title? Was she really a princess? To get to the bottom of it, we take a closer look at Princess Diana’s royal titles, ahead.

Princess Diana during a visit to a community centre in Brixton, October 1983
Princess Diana visits a community centre in Brixton. | Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Was Princess Diana a duchess?

When it comes to her royal title, many want to know: Was Princess Diana a duchess? And, technically, she was. Although it wasn’t her primary title, she was also the Duchess of Cornwall, as Prince Charles is the Duke of Cornwall. Also, Prince Charles is the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, which made Princess Diana the Duchess of Rothesay.

In the royal family, dukedoms are one of the highest ranking titles. And, the Duke of Cornwall is typically given to the eldest son of the monarch (aka, the heir apparent). That means, Prince Charles’s dukedom is even higher ranking than the peerage in general.

Prince Charles is also Prince of Wales, which made Princess Diana the Princess of Wales. According to the royal family peerage, a prince title is normally secondary to a dukedom. But, Prince of Wales is higher than any dukedom, since it belongs to the heir apparent. Because of its hierarchy — and the fact that it was her husband’s most prominent name — Diana went by her princess status instead of a duchess.

Today, Prince Charles’s wife, Camilla Parker Bowles holds both titles. However, out of respect for the late Princess Diana, she goes by her Duchess of Cornwall title (and Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland).

Princess Diana’s royal titles

Like all other members of the royal family, Princess Diana’s royal titles varied throughout her life. They reflected her family, her marriage, and even her divorce. From Lady Diana to Princess of Wales, here are the details on Princess Diana’s royal titles.

The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer

Dates active: July 1, 1961 to June 9, 1975

Because of her family’s high-ranking status, Diana was born with an official title. From her birth date until just before her 14th birthday, she was The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer.

Lady Diana Frances Spencer

Dates active: June 9, 1975 to July 29, 1981

Shortly before her 14th birthday, Diana became Lady Diana Frances Spencer — or, Lady Diana for short. This is the name the public best knew her for during her engagement to Prince Charles.

Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales

Dates active: July 29, 1981 to August 28, 1996

Upon her marriage to the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), Diana was named Her Royal Highness Princess of Wales. On top of that, she also received several other royal peerages, including Duchess of Cornwall — a dukedom granted to the monarch’s eldest son — and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland. Despite her collection of royal titles, she is most famous for being the Princess of Wales

Diana, Princess of Wales

Dates active: August 28, 1996 to August 31, 1997

Following her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana lost her HRH status. However, she was allowed to keep Princess of Wales in her name. On the date of her divorce until the date of her death, she was known as Diana, Princess of Wales.

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