Will Prince William Become Prince of Wales? How His Official Royal Title Will Change When Prince Charles Becomes King

When Prince William and Kate Middleton married in April 2011, William received an official royal title change and went from prince to duke. However, he could soon go back to prince status and become the Prince of Wales.

In the royal family, official titles are an honor given to those on their wedding day or with certain ranking within the family. Royals are typically born into their titles and often referred to as prince or princess until the queen or king grants them a new one to symbolize a significant right of passage (marriage or adulthood). With that said, there is a reason why Prince William is considered a duke, not a prince.

Curious to know why Prince William is a duke? We share the details, plus how his official royal title will change when Prince Charles becomes king, ahead.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince William won’t consider himself a duke forever. | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Why is Prince William called Duke of Cambridge?

Upon William and Kate’s wedding, Queen Elizabeth II dubbed William the Duke of Cambridge. Royal dukedoms are typically given to blood princes — sons and grandsons of the monarch — and are the highest titles from within the family. A prince receives the honorary title upon marriage or the age of majority (adulthood).

Prince of Wales current holder

Not all royal princes experience a title change before they marry. But, Prince Charles did. When his mother became the Queen of England, Charles became heir apparent which made him the rightful Prince of Wales. However, Charles wasn’t the official Prince of Wales until 1958 — six years after his mother was made queen — as the monarch grants the title change.

Will Prince William become Prince of Wales?

William has been second in line to the British throne since birth, but that will soon change when his father becomes king. Once Charles is sovereign, William will move up on the royal line of succession to heir apparent. At that point, William will become the Prince of Wales. However, he can’t go by the official title until Charles grants it to him. Should Charles forgo the title change — or wait until its too late — nothing will change for William. Prince of Wales or not, he will still be heir apparent and one day become king.

In addition to Prince of Wales, William could also receive a new dukedom.

Will Prince William become Duke of Cornwall?

William could also change his name to Duke of Cornwall. Right now his father holds the title, as the eldest son of the reigning monarch goes by Duke of Cornwall. When Charles becomes king, it is likely that Prince William will change his official title to Duke of Cornwall. However, the honor will not automatically occur when his father becomes king. He must wait for Charles to grant the name change and mark it with an official ceremony.

When Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, she became the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess of Wales. However, she does not go by her princess status out of respect for the late Princess Diana, who held the title before her death in 1997. Should William become the Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, Kate Middleton will likely go by one or both titles.

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