Why Prince William Wasn’t Supposed To Be the Duke of Cambridge and Who Was Originally Offered the Title?

Upon marriage, British princes usually receive a dukedom from the monarch so when Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011 they were given the titles the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But the title wasn’t supposed to go to William initially.

Here’s who that title was originally for and why that person did not want it.

Prince William
Prince William | Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images

Who did not want the title and why?

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s youngest son, Prince Edward, was actually offered the Duke of Cambridge title years before it went William.

When Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 the queen was going to make him the Duke of Cambridge, but Edward had other ideas. Instead of taking that title he wanted something different. He actually didn’t want a duke title at all and requested that his mother make him an earl instead. Edward asked if he could be the Earl of Wessex after the character Lord Wessex from the film Shakespeare In Love.

“He liked the sound of it and asked the queen if he could have that instead,” a royal courtier previously told The Telegraph.

The queen granted his request and therefore his wife couldn’t become a duchess so she was named Countess of Wessex.

Edward’s title is going to change

Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Prince Edward and Prince William
Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Prince Edward and Prince William | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Although he got the title he wanted on his wedding day, Edward will likely still be getting a dukedom title in the future. It is widely believed that Edward is going to become the next Duke of Edinburgh when his father passes away.

Edward began taking over duties for Prince Philip after he retired in 2017. While Edward is expected to receive the title, things can always change depending on who the monarch is at the time.

According to Town & Country, if Prince Charles is king when Philip dies then he could technically inherit the title as it would back to the crown but he can still give it to his brother if he so chooses. If the queen is still the monarch then she can reissue the title to Edward.

Will Prince George be the next Duke of Cambridge?

Prince George and Prince William
Prince George and Prince William | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

So will the Duke of Cambridge pass to Prince George one day?

Currently, William’s son has Cambridge in his name already as his official royal title is His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. If George is married before his father becomes king, Charles will likely offer his grandson another dukedom. When Willliam is king George will also be entitled to a few more titles as eldest son and heir apparent including the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall.

The BBC noted that the last person to hold the Duke of Cambridge title before William was another Prince George. He was the grandson of George III and the only son of Prince Adolphus Frederick, the 1st Duke of Cambridge.

Read more: Prince Charles Feuded With His Brother Prince Edward Because of What He Did To Prince William