The former Duchess of Cambridge intends to “create a new path” by taking on her role as Princess of Wales, she has said.
King Charles confirmed the changing roles of Prince William’s heir apparent and his wife during his first address to the nation as monarch on Friday evening.
He said: “Today I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been privileged to bear for so much of my life and duty.
“With Catherine by her side, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginalized to the center where vital help can be given.”
The title Princess of Wales has been used since the 14th century by the wife of the heir apparent to the English, then British, throne.
It has not been officially used since the death of Diana, William and Harry’s mother, in 1997 when William was 15 – and is likely to be extremely emotional for many due to the close associations with her.
When Camilla married Charles in 2005, the decision was made not to use the title despite being entitled to it, out of respect for Diana.
The former Kate Middleton is the daughter of Michael and Carole Middleton, a businessman and former flight attendant. She met William while studying art history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. They married in 2011.
During her marriage, Catherine, 40, had charitable interests in early childhood development, mental health, art, sports and substance abuse.
In February 2022, she made a surprise appearance in CBeebies bedtime stories where she read The owl who was afraid of the dark by Jill Tomlinson to wrap up Children’s Mental Health Week.
In May, she and William expressed the Mental Health Minute Messagewhich was broadcast on every radio station in the UK, asking listeners to help those around them who suffer from loneliness.
It is believed that in her higher role within the family, she is likely to undertake more royal engagements and accept more patronages.
A source said: “The new Princess of Wales enjoys the history associated with this role, but will naturally want to look to the future as she forges her own path.”
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: ‘William and Kate focused on fewer charities than Charles, but did more for their chosen ones.
“Kate has been increasingly active and has shown a particular interest in early childhood development, so I imagine she would like her legacy to show that she has made a difference in this area.
The problem of comparison with Diana will not arise because Kate is not Camilla – and because things have moved on.
I think a reconciliation with the Sussexes could well be on the cards – there is strength in stability, yes, but there is weakness in division.
Catherine stayed in Windsor with the couple’s children, George, Charlotte and Louis, on Thursday when William traveled to Balmoral to be with the Queen after being placed under medical supervision.
The couple recently moved from Kensington Palace to Adelaide Cottage, a more modest four-bedroom home on the grounds of Queen’s Windsor Castle. The children were enjoying their first day at nearby Lambbrook School when their great-grandmother died.
In his address, King Charles confirmed that William would also assume the Scottish title of Duke of Rothesay, and Catherine becomes Duchess of Rothesay – a title she can use on visits to Scotland if she prefers.
William and Catherine also succeed Charles and Camilla as Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. They remain the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge but the new titles take precedence.