The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 21st August 1996, to declare that a former wife (other than a widow until she shall remarry) of a son of a Sovereign of these Realms, of a son of a son of a Sovereign and of the eldest living son of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales shall not be entitled to hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness.
(London Gazette, issue 54510, Aug 30, 1996, p. 1/11603.)
This ruling was deemed necessary when the marriages of two of Queen Elizabeth’s sons ended in divorce:
- The Duke of York and his wife divorced in May 1996. From this point on Sarah was no longer HRH The Duchess of York, but Sarah, Duchess of York.
- The then Prince of Wales (now Charles III) and his first wife divorced in August 1996, from which point on she became known, officially, as Diana, Princess of Wales.