Prince Edward’s delight at being presented with his father’s dukedom by King Charles on his 59th birthday was short-lived when it was learned that a shocking caveat had been placed on the treasured gift!
The Duke of Edinburgh has traditionally been a hereditary title, with Edward’s wife Sophie also raised to the rank of the duchess.
Yet, Buckingham Palace stated that it “will be held” by Prince Edward exclusively for the rest of his life. Instead of passing it to either of his two children, it will revert to the Crown to be dispersed.
While Edward’s son James, 15, now takes on the Earl of Wessex title, his 19-year-old daughter Lady Louise’s status stays unchanged, a situation is seen by many as “unjust” and “archaic”.
“[Louise] seems to be a very bright young lady with the potential to be a royal star so I think she would be a great asset,” royal expert Phil Dampier tells New Idea.
“It is unfair, of course, that she is older than her brother but beneath him in the line of succession. While James is now the Earl of Wessex, her status remains the same. The ancient primogeniture laws need to be changed to reflect that.”
The late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip first promised the dukedoms to Edward and Sophie, 58, on their wedding day. Now that it will be restored, the Windsors have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to right a royal wrong.
After Edward dies, the ruling monarch may make Louise the Duchess of Edinburgh in her own right, conferring on his “favorite grandchild” the title borne by Prince Philip for 73 years.
“Sophie in particular is very frustrated and thinks the King should have thought to put something in place for Louise to inherit the Edinburgh title after her dad,” a source tells New Idea.
“It’s something she’s steeling herself to bring to Prince William to keep in mind for when he’s the king.”
Nevertheless, a fresh Windsor battle between the Edinburgh and the Waleses may be brewing, with rumors that William, 41, may be eyeing the highly desired title for his own daughter, Princess Charlotte, 7.
Given that the Queen was Duchess of Edinburgh before rising to the throne, it would be a “fitting way to remember [her] and a way for His Majesty to honor the line of succession,” a source told a British newspaper only weeks ago.
Who obtains the title next is a choice that will very certainly rest on William’s shoulders.
“He might well want Charlotte to have the title, especially as she is next in line to the throne after George,” says Phil.