Buckingham Palace says ‘title will be held by Prince Edward for His Royal Highness’s lifetime’
King Charles has conferred the title of Duke of Edinburgh on his youngest brother, the Earl of Wessex, on the occasion of his 59th birthday, honouring the wishes of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
The title will be held for the lifetime of Prince Edward and means his son, Viscount Severn, now becomes Earl of Wessex.
Buckingham Palace announced the news in a busy week for royal titles, in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirm their children will use the titles of “prince” and “princess”.
A palace statement said: “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. The title will be held by Prince Edward for His Royal Highness’s lifetime.
“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. 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 new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will be in Edinburgh later today where they will attend a reception to mark the first year of conflict in Ukraine.
Edward was promised his late father’s title more than 20 years ago on his marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones in June 1999 when the Queen made him Earl of Wessex and Buckingham Palace announced he would in time become Duke of Edinburgh.
When Philip died, in April 2021, the title went to his eldest son, Charles, and when Charles became King, the title returned to the crown. Charles was then able to confer it on whom he chose, though it has long been thought it would go to Edward.
The Earldom of Forfar, another of Edward’s titles, remains with the new Duke of Edinburgh for his lifetime. Since the Dukedom of Edinburgh is the more senior Scottish title, this is what Edward will use. Viscount Severn will become the Earl of Wessex and Forfar when the title of the Duke of Edinburgh eventually reverts once more to the crown.
Prince Philip was made Duke of Edinburgh in November 1947, just before his wedding to the then Princess Elizabeth.
The dukedom has previously been created four times for members of the royal family: in 1726 for Prince Frederick, the eldest son of King George II; in 1764 for Prince William, brother of King George III, as part of the joint title, the Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh; in 1866 for Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria; and in 1947 for Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
( International )