Will Kate Middleton Become Princess of Wales Now The Queen Has Died?

With the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III to the British throne, the structure of the monarchy changes, meaning members of the family in direct line of succession under Charles have moved one step closer to the throne.

With his father's accession, Prince William becomes first in line to the British throne. However, this does not mean that he automatically assumes Charles' old title of Prince of Wales.

The Prince of Wales is the title bestowed on the eldest son of the monarch by the monarch themselves—it is not hereditary. This means that William will not become Prince of Wales until Charles decides to give him the title.

Kate Middleton New Titles?
Kate Middleton photographed at Royal Ascot, June 17, 2022. The royal has assumed a new title of The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge after Queen Elizabeth II's death. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

William does however automatically accede to a new title when Charles becomes king; that of the Duke of Cornwall.

This title, according to a 14th century charter, can only be held by the eldest son and heir of a reigning monarch.

What Does This Mean for Kate Middleton?

As William's wife, Kate assumes the courtesy titles of her husband. Before the queen's death she was styled HRH (Her Royal Highness) The Duchess of Cambridge, derived from William's title as the Duke of Cambridge.

After the queen's death the royal added a second duchessdom to her list of titles becoming HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.

The duchess is also technically a princess; Princess William of Wales. She is also a Countess; the Countess of Strathearn, and a Lady; Lady Carrickfergus.

If Charles decides to make William HRH The Prince of Wales, then Kate will by virtue be styled HRH The Princess of Wales with this title taking precedence over all others.

The last holder of this title, technically, was Camilla, the queen consort who became Princess of Wales upon her marriage to King Charles in 2005. However, Camilla did not use the title out of respect for Charles' first wife, Princess Diana.

Diana held the title from her marriage in 1981 and continued to be styled as Princess of Wales until her death. There was a change in her form of address after her divorce from Charles in 1996, from HRH The Princess of Wales to Diana, Princess of Wales, which reflected her new status.

The adoption, inheritance and accession of royal titles is a complicated process which is overseen by the Royal College of Arms—the institution in charge of family coats of arms and heraldry in Britain.

On Thursday, following the announcement of Elizabeth's death, it was confirmed per the BBC that the new monarch would rule under his own name, taking officially the title of His Majesty King Charles III.

There was some uncertainty over whether the royal would keep his Christian name or whether he would follow in the royal tradition adhered to by his grandfather King George VI, who was born as Prince Albert but changed his name to the more British sounding George in 1936 when he became king.

In a statement paying tribute to to his mother, the new king said: "The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

"During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held."