From King Charles to Camilla, Queen Consort: How the Royal Family’s titles have changed

Prince William has now received a new title (Jonathan Brady / PA)
Prince William has now received a new title (Jonathan Brady / PA)

The Royal Family’s titles have changed a lot over time, and it can be hard to keep track of who’s who.

Last week, it was Prince William’s turn to receive a new title. King Charles handed over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps to Prince William.

The King handed over the title at a ceremony at the Army Aviation Centre at Middle Wallop on Monday.

Speaking at the ceremony, he joked that the regiment will be left in safe hands. “What a great joy it is to be here on this occasion,” the 75-year-old told veterans, families and staff.

“But also it is tinged with great sadness after 32 years of knowing you all and admiring your many activities and your achievements.”

The King also unveiled a plaque to commemorate the arrival of the first Apache AH Mk.1, which will be installed in a UK museum.

In recent years, other titles within the Royal Family have also changed.

Here are the Royal Family’s official titles, and how they have changed over time.

Charles King

Charles, who was the Prince of Wales, is now king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

He is also king of other Commonwealth realms.

He prefers to use His Majesty rather than His Royal Highness.

He was officially crowned in May 2023.

King Charles III is also Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

The monarch has been known by the title Defender of the Faith ever since it was bestowed on Henry VIII as “Fidei Defensor” by the Pope in 1521 for his early support for Roman Catholicism.

When Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church in 1534, he was named Supreme Head of the Church of England. This was repealed by Mary I but reinstated during the reign of Elizabeth I, who was proclaimed Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

In 1994, Charles, a passionate advocate of religious tolerance, caused controversy when he told of his desire to become “Defender of Faith” rather than “Defender of the Faith” when king.

But he later indicated in 2015 that he would still be sworn in as Defender of the (Anglican) Faith when he became king.

“It always seems to me that, while at the same time being Defender of the Faith, you can also be protector of faiths,” Charles said.

According to the Privy Council website, the new monarch will proclaim an oath at the Accession Council which will begin: “I, (his name as King) by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of my other Realms and Territories King, Defender of the Faith...”

Charles is now the Duke of Lancaster

Revenue from the Duchy of Lancaster — the hereditary landed estate — forms a vital component of the sovereign’s income. Elizabeth II was also the Duke of Lancaster.

This is only a custom for sovereigns, rather than a legal title.  When Henry V, who held the title before he acceded to the throne in 1413, became king, the dukedom merged with the crown and has not been officially recreated.

Camilla Queen

Camilla is, as the wife of the King, the Queen.

Her style is now Her Majesty rather than Her Royal Highness.

She is a queen consort, as was the Queen Mother, rather than a queen regnant who rules in her own right, such as Elizabeth II.

Ahead of Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005, royal aides said Camilla did not want to be Queen and “intended”, when the time came, to be known as princess consort instead — a title which has never been used before in British history.

But, just a few weeks before their nuptials, the Government confirmed that legislation would be needed for Camilla not to become Queen automatically on Charles’s accession, no matter what she wished to style herself.

Elizabeth II ended years of controversy in February 2022 when she publicly endorsed her daughter-in-law to be known as Queen Consort in her Platinum Jubilee message to the nation.

However, official coronation invitations referred to Camilla as simply Queen Camilla.

William The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge

The Duke of Cambridge, as heir to the throne, is now the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge.

As Charles’s eldest son, he has inherited the title the Duke of Cornwall.

William’s great-great-grandfather, George V, combined the Cornwall title with his existing dukedom in 1901.

He became the Duke of Cornwall and York, when his father became Edward VII — but only remained so for nine months, after which he was created, and was known as, the Prince of Wales, on the orders of the king.

As the 25th Duke of Cornwall, William is entitled to the multimillion-pound annual net surplus from the Duchy of Cornwall landed estate. The income will cover the cost of both his public and private life.

William is also Prince of Wales

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have become Prince and Princess of Wales following the Queen’s death, the King has announced.

King Charles III said his son, Prince William, will assume the title he himself held until his succession to the throne, although this is not automatic.

And the title is controversial, having been taken from the Welsh in 1301, when King Edward I, after his conquest of Wales and execution of the last native prince of Wales, David III, gave the title instead to his son, the future Edward II. Since that time most, but not all, of the eldest sons of English sovereigns have been given the title.

As well as Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps

William received the title Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps from his father in May 2024. The handing over of the title took place at a ceremony at the Army Aviation Centre at Middle Wallop.

The King said that he felt “tinged with great sadness”.

William’s Scottish titles

William has also rather controversially inherited the Scottish titles the Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.

Duke of Rothesay – This title of the Scottish peerage was first conferred by Robert III, King of Scots, on his son David in 1398. An act of the Scottish Parliament in 1469 confirmed its restriction to the heir apparent to the throne of Scotland.

Since the 1603 Union of the Crowns, the title has descended alongside the Dukedom of Cornwall.

Earl of Carrick and Baron of Renfrew – Other titles of the Scottish peerage inherited by the heir to the throne under the 1469 Act.

Lord of The Isles – This ancient title, held by those who ruled the Western Isles as vassals of the King of Scotland, was annexed to the Crown by James V of Scotland in 1540, to be passed to his heirs.

Prince and Great Steward of Scotland – The hereditary office of Great (or High) Steward dates from the 12th century. The 1469 Act confirmed that the title should go to “the first-born prince of the King of Scots for ever”.

Kate The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge, and Princess of Wales

The Duchess of Cambridge is now the Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.

Until Queen Elizabeth’s death, Camilla was the Duchess of Cornwall.

When William became the Prince of Wales, Kate became the Princess of Wales, which was last used by William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, when she was married to Charles.

Camilla was also technically the Princess of Wales but never used the title because of its association with Diana.

Kate will also hold the title the Countess of Chester, if William becomes the Earl of Chester.

She is also now the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland — also previously Camilla’s title.

George, Charlotte, and Louis

William and Kate’s children have become Prince George of Cornwall and Cambridge, and of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Cornwall and Cambridge, and of Wales, and Prince Louis of Cornwall and Cambridge, and also Prince of Wales.

The Sussexes with their children, now named the Prince and Princess of Sussex (Alexi Lubomirski / Duke and Duchess of Sussex)
The Sussexes with their children, now named the Prince and Princess of Sussex (Alexi Lubomirski / Duke and Duchess of Sussex)


Archie and Lilibet have officially been named Prince and Princess of Sussex on the Royal Family’s website.

Previously, they were listed as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.

The rules governing the titles of royal children were set out by King George V – Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather – in 1917.

Archie and Lilibet were not prince and princess at birth, because they were not grandchildren of the monarch, but they gained the right to these titles when King Charles acceded to the throne.

When Archie was born, he was too far down the line of succession for such a title according to George V’s restrictions, but now, as the son of a son of a sovereign, he can be an HRH and a prince.

Archie was allowed to become Earl of Dumbarton – one of the duke’s subsidiary titles – when he was born, or could have been known as Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.


Archie’s younger sister Lilibet “Lili” Mountbatten-Windsor is now Princess of Sussex.

It comes after the couple announced that Lilibet, who was born in June 2021, had been christened at their home in California.

Prince Edward is now the Duke of Edinburgh

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

Charles conferred the title on the former Earl of Wessex to coincide with Edward’s 59th birthday in March. 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.

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.

Prince Andrew

Due to sexual abuse allegations linking him to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, which Prince Andrew has denied, he has had his military titles and patronages removed by Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. He was also made a non-working royal, which means that, although he is officially a counsellor of state, he will now no longer take on this role in the King’s absence.

He retains his royal titles, Prince Andrew and Duke of York, as they are his birth-right and it would take intervention from the British government to change.

And, despite a petition to remove the title, Prince Andrew still retains the honour of Earl of Inverness.He is also a Vice Admiral of the Navy.

He lost the following UK military titles:

  • Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British army. He took this role over from his father Prince Philip in 2017

  • Honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth

  • Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment

  • Colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps

  • Colonel-in-chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeth's Own)

  • Colonel-in-chief of the Yorkshire Regiment

  • Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm

  • Royal colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers

  • Royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland

And the following overseas honorary military titles:

  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen's York Rangers (Canada)

  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada

  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess Louise Fusiliers (Canada)

  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment