The Edinburgh Children

The Edinburgh Children

Under the terms of the Letters Patent of 1917, the children of The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are entitled to use the style of Prince and Princess, being a son and daughter of a son of a monarch. However, when Prince Edward married in 1999, it was announced by Buckingham Palace that any children of the marriage would instead use the courtesy titles of the sons or daughters of an Earl, Prince Edward’s then most senior peerage.

Letters Patent, Crown Office 19 June 1999 

House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW  

Letters Patent have passed the Great Seal of the Realm, dated 19th June 1999 granting unto Her Majesty’s Son, His Royal Highness Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, C.V.O., and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten the dignities of Viscount Severn and Earl of Wessex.  

  1. I. P. Denyer 19th June 1999.

This agreement about the styles of any children of Prince Edward, was reached with the late Queen Elizabeth, the then Prince Edward and Miss Rhys-Jones. When they married, the prince was given the titles Earl of Wessex, and Viscount Severn. This meant that any son they might have could use his father’s subsidiary title (Viscount Severn) and any daughter could use the style of Lady before her name. 

At the time it was posited that this was against the ruling of the 1917 Letters Patent. It should be remembered that royal styles and titles are a matter of the monarch’s prerogative and although the monarch cannot strip a peerage from any member of their family, they can restrict the usage of a style or the usage of HRH, without issuing further Letters Patent. 

On 10 March 2023, Prince Edward was further granted the title of Duke of Edinburgh. At this time, Buckingham Palace confirmed that his son would no longer be known as Viscount Severn, but would instead be styled James, Earl of Wessex.

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