A new title. King Charles III has formally announced that his youngest brother, Prince Edward, will inherit their late father Prince Philip’s Duke of Edinburgh honor.
“His Majesty The King has been pleased to confer the Dukedom of Edinburgh upon The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Forfar, on the occasion of His Royal Highness’s 59th birthday,” a statement read on Friday, March 10. “The title will be held by Prince Edward for His Royal Highness’s lifetime.”
The duchy was last held by Philip, who died in April 2021 at the age of 99, who received the title in 1947 after he married Queen Elizabeth II.
“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 royal family’s statement continued, noting that Edward’s wife, Countess Sophie, will be known as the Duchess of Edinburgh.
Edward and the former publicist, 58, were previously named the Earl and Countess of Wessex by the late queen — who died in September 2022 at the age of 96 — upon their 1999 marriage, instead of a dukedom like his brothers and nephews. Edward was later conferred as the Earl of Forfar in 2019 to celebrate his 55th birthday.
Elizabeth and Philip shared four children together: Charles, 74, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Edward. Following the former Duke of Edinburgh’s death, it was widely predicted that Edward would receive the title since he did not already hold a dukedom.
“There’s talk, actually, that when Prince Charles becomes king, the title Duke of Edinburgh will go to Prince Edward, the queen’s fourth child,” author Andrew Morton speculated to Us Weekly in April 2021. “He has been the head of [the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award], which is this organization where teenage kids go camping and hiking. … Very character building.”
Edward’s new title has already been updated on the family’s official website, which also reveals that his 14-year-old son, Viscount James, has become the new Earl of Wessex. Edward and Sophie also share 18-year-old daughter Lady Louise, who did not inherit a new title due to the order of succession. Louise and James, despite being the children of a prince, have never opted to use official HRH titles.
“We try to bring them up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living,” Sophie previously told the U.K.’s The Sunday Times in June 2020. “Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but it’s highly unlikely.”
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Charles’ decision to bestow the duchy of Edinburgh on Edward comes shortly after Us confirmed that he had requested that son Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, needed to vacate their Frogmore Cottage residence reportedly in favor of Andrew, 63, occupying the space. (The Duke of York had allegedly been asked to downsize from the Royal Lodge following his sexual assault scandal, which he’s denied.)
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