Politics

What is the Princess Royal title, who can hold it and who’s next in line

There are a large number of official titles given to members of The Royal Family, often determined by degrees of seniority or place in the line of succession.

Since 1987 Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and the late Duke of Edinburgh, has held the title of Princess Royal, and now MyLondon is taking a look at the history and the future of the title.

The Princess Royal is typically the eldest daughter of the monarch and it works in much the same way as the Prince of Wales title, both senior and high-ranking members of the Royal Family.

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King Edward VII with his wife Queen Alexandra, his sons Prince George (later King George V) and Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, and his daughters Princess Louise, Princess Maud and Princess Victoria

There have been seven Princess Royals, the inaugural of whom was Princess Mary, the eldest daughter of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria.

The princess was given the title in 1642 as it was Queen Henrietta’s desire to mirror how the eldest daughter of the King of France was given the title ‘Madame Royale’.

Following Princess Mary the other Princess Royals include, Princess Louisa Maria (daughter of King James II and VII), Princess Anne (King George II), Princess Charlotte (King George III), Princess Victoria (Queen Victoria), Princess Louise (King Edward VII), Princess Mary (King George V) and Princess Anne (Queen Elizabeth II).

While the rights of primogeniture do come into play, the inheritance of the title is not guaranteed if the previous incumbent is still alive.

What is the Princess Royal title, who can hold it and who's next in line

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When King George V died his daughter Mary was still the Princess Royal, meaning that when King George VI came to the throne his daughter Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth, could not inherit the title even though she would have been eligible to hold it.

The title is held for life and unlike other titles upon the Princess Royal’s death it is not automatically inherited by her eldest daughter, it instead goes back to the monarch to bestow it upon their own daughter, if they have one.

Looking to the future, if Princess Anne does not outlive her brother Prince Charles, when he becomes king there is a chance the title will go into extinction for a few years as the Prince of Wales has no daughters.

However, when Prince William comes to the throne his daughter Princess Charlotte would become eligible to assume the title and will become the eighth Princess Royal.


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