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The New Daily
The New Daily
The New Daily and AAP

Royal reshuffle: Prince gets legacy title for birthday

The King has handed his late father’s title of the Duke of Edinburgh to his brother Prince Edward, honouring the late Queen and Philip’s wishes.

Charles conferred the title on the former Earl of Wessex in celebration of his youngest brother’s 59th birthday.

Sophie, the former Countess of Wessex, is now the Duchess of Edinburgh and their 15-year-old son James, Viscount Severn is the new Earl of Wessex.

It comes after another title change this week when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex began officially using the titles prince and princess for their children Archie and Lilibet.

The new duke and duchess were in Edinburgh – their first outing with their new titles in the city that inspired them – later on Friday, at a reception to mark the first year of conflict in Ukraine.

“His Majesty The King has been pleased to confer the Dukedom of Edinburgh upon the Prince Edward, on the occasion of HRH’s 59th birthday today,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

“The title will be held for HRH’s lifetime.

Some on social media questioned the decision, prompting a comeback from veteran royal commentator Dickie Arbiter.

“The dukedom was last created for Prince Philip in 1947, upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, who held the title of Duchess of Edinburgh before acceding to the throne in 1952.

“The new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are proud to continue Prince Philip’s legacy of promoting opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to reach their full potential.”

The dukedom – which in the past has been hereditary – will not, however, pass down to the Edinburghs’ son James when Edward dies.

This paves the way for one of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ children to potentially be given the title in the future, with Prince Louis the most likely candidate.

Edward and Sophie’s son James would become the Earl of Wessex and Forfar when Edinburgh title reverted to the crown, the Palace said.

Edward will also remain for his lifetime the Earl of Forfar, another of his titles, but will use the Duke of Edinburgh because it is the more senior Scottish title.

Philip had always wanted his youngest son Edward to inherit his title, but the decision ultimately was down to Charles as monarch.

When Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones married in 1999, they were given the titles the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

But Buckingham Palace also announced Edward would eventually one day succeed his father as the Duke of Edinburgh – but not until after the death of both Philip and the Queen.

In keeping with the letters patent issued when King George VI gave Philip the title in 1947, the King inherited the Edinburgh dukedom when his father died – but he did not use it.

On the death of the Queen six months ago, Charles acceded to the throne and the title merged with the crown and could be granted to someone else.

Philip’s desire for Edward to have it recognised his son’s decades-long commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the youth scheme that is one of Philip’s greatest legacies.

The late monarch held the courtesy title of Duchess of Edinburgh following her marriage, as did the Queen Consort when the King inherited the title.

The changes were swiftly updated on the royal family’s website on Friday morning, minutes after the official announcement.


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