King Charles has not made Prince Edward the Duke of Edinburgh because he is saving the title for Princess Charlotte, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
The revelation comes after months of speculation as to why the King has withheld the title from his younger brother, who had been expected to inherit the Dukedom after his father’s death last year.
A source said: ‘Discussions are under way, but the favoured outcome for the King is that this title ought to go to Princess Charlotte.
‘It would be a fitting way to remember the Queen – who, of course, had the title Duchess of Edinburgh – and a way for His Majesty to honour the line of succession.’
As the Prince of Wales’s second child, Charlotte is third in line to the throne, after her father Prince William and brother Prince George.
When the Princess of Wales was expecting her first child, the rules of Royal primogeniture were changed to allow a girl born to the couple the same rights as a boy.
King Charles has not made Prince Edward the Duke of Edinburgh because he is saving the title for Princess Charlotte, The Mail on Sunday has learned. Princess Charlotte is pictured at the Commonwealth Games on August 2
As the Prince of Wales’s second child, Charlotte is third in line to the throne, after her father Prince William and brother Prince George. Pictured (left to right) Prince George, Prince Louis being held by Queen Elizabeth II, Savannah Phillips (standing at rear), Princess Charlotte, the Duke of Edinburgh, Isla Phillips holding Lena Tindall, and Mia Tindall in 2018
The revelation comes after months of speculation as to why the King has withheld the title from his younger brother Prince Edward (pictured with Sophie, countess of Wessex on November 22
In the event, William and Kate’s first child was Prince George, who was born in 2013. But the new rules meant Princess Charlotte’s position at birth in 2015 was not affected by the arrival of her younger brother Prince Louis in 2018.
The title of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh is one of the most senior in the Royal Family.
Charlotte’s position as the second child of the heir to the throne is similar to that of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, who was the second child of Prince Philip and the then Princess Elizabeth.
But unlike Anne she will not drop down the order of succession until her older brother George has children. When William becomes King, George will become Duke of Cornwall and then Prince of Wales – but not Duke of Edinburgh.
A source said: ‘Charlotte’s position is historically significant because she is the first female member of the Royal Family whose place in the line of succession will not be surpassed by her younger brother.
‘So it is constitutionally significant that Charlotte should be given such a corresponding title, because it is not beyond the realms of possibility that she will accede the throne if, for example, Prince George does not have children.’
The title Duke of Edinburgh has been granted three times in the history of the British monarchy. It was created in 1726 by George I for his grandson Prince Frederick who was in the direct line of succession and later became Prince of Wales.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, she recreated the title in 1866 for her second son, Prince Alfred. George VI then bestowed the title on Prince Philip when he married Princess Elizabeth in 1947. The couple became the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
For years it was thought King Charles’s brother Prince Edward, the third son of the Queen and Prince Philip, would be granted the rank.
For years it was thought King Charles’s (centre) brother Prince Edward (left), the third son of the Queen and Prince Philip, would be granted the rank
Charlotte’s position as the second child of the heir to the throne is similar to that of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, who was the second child of Prince Philip and the then Princess Elizabeth
The title of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh is one of the most senior in the Royal Family
Unlike his brothers, who became Dukes upon marriage, Edward was made Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie became Countess. He also became the Earl of Forfar in 2019 on his 55th birthday.
Within the family, however, it was assumed that Edward would become Duke of Edinburgh after his parents’ death – and it was even noted in Prince Edward’s biography on the official Royal website.
In what may have been seen as preparation for the role, Edward took over the reins at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the outward-bound scheme for young people founded by his father in 1956.
He was chairman of its International Council for 17 years and, since 2015, has been chairman of the trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.
A source close to Edward said that the lack of movement on him being granted the title Duke of Edinburgh from the King ‘had not gone unnoticed’.
Now discussions are taking place at the Palace as to what title, if any, Edward will be awarded under the new reign. While the Wessexes are said to be ‘relaxed’ about titles, it will no doubt come as a blow. Should Edward be granted a Dukedom it would stay in his family. At present, his children are styled Lady Louise and Viscount Severn.
The move by the King to focus on the line of succession is significant, as Charles III plans a modernised, slimmed-down monarchy.
A Royal insider said: ‘It shows you what the King is thinking. It’s about promoting those directly in line to the throne rather than those on the edges.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment last night.