Kate Middleton and Prince William are currently in Scotland for a quick two day visit, but please be advised that they do *not* go by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they’re in the country. Instead, Kate and William are formally known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn. Give them a warm, confused welcome!
So, why are William and Kate’s Scottish titles different?
Just a few hours before William and Kate married in 2011, the Queen gave William not one but three titles, and Buckingham Palace releasing the following statement:
“The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus. Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.”
Upon marrying William, Kate was also granted his titles—which means that along with being Duchess of Cambridge, she is Countess of Strathearn in Scotland as well as Lady Carrickfergus when she goes to Northern Ireland.
We have a deep dive on Kate’s titles (and how they’ll change over time) right this way, but interesting fact: When Prince Charles ascends the throne and becomes King of England, he’s expected to give his current title, Prince of Wales, over to Prince William since Will is his heir apparent. This means Kate will ditch “duchess” and become Princess of Wales, making her the first person to use this title since it was held by Princess Diana. Note: Charles’s wife, Duchess Camilla, decided to forgo using the Princess of Wales title out of respect for Di.
It’s definite possible that Kate won’t use the title either, but royal experts think she most likely will. “It’s hard to see it not happening. I’m sure it’ll be a bit of a bittersweet moment,” a source told The Telegraph in January 2022. “This is her [Diana’s] son and his wife, so in some ways, it will be coming full circle—but it will also be a poignant reminder of what we all lost.”
Formal titles aside, Kate and William are planning to go by their first names as a way to modernize the monarchy and make the vibes a little less formal. A source recently told The Mirror that “they want to be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition.”
This particular decision comes amid their disastrous royal tour of the Caribbean, which was seen as incredibly out of touch and resulted in protests.
“When the team arrived back in London the couple had a debrief with aides,” the source added. “They went over everything and pinpointed specific things that went wrong and how to improve moving forward. The general consensus was that the tour seemed out of date, out of touch, too formal and stuffy. So now it’s more ‘Wills and Kate’ instead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge… ‘Just call me Wills’ type of thing. They want to try to avoid the bows and curtsies in public, be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition and focus on a modern monarchy.”
Of course, just because William and Kate want people to call them by their first names doesn’t mean their official titles will disappear in more formal settings. So expect them to be called Earl and Countess of Strathearn when they visit Scotland henceforth…at least on paper.
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