Questions about the Process of Accession

Questions about the Process of Accession

Will Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, be Queen?

As the consort of the new Monarch, The Duchess of Cornwall is now HM The Queen Consort. This does not mean she has the same rights or powers as Queen Elizabeth. The title is a reflection of her new status as the monarch’s consort.

When will the investiture of the new Prince of Wales take place?

Although it has been announced that The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge will become The Prince of Wales, his investiture is not likely to take place until after the Coronation. An investiture is not essential, as the issuing of Letters Patent by the King will officially confer the title Prince of Wales onto his son and is sufficient for the change to take place.

Will The Duchess of Cambridge become The Princess of Wales?

The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge, immediately became HRH The Princess of Wales on 9 September 2022 and should be styled as such. She can also be styled, Catherine, Princess of Wales, but not Princess Catherine.

If William is Prince of Wales what happens to the titles of Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge?

Prince William will still be Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge. 

Prince William is also now the Duke of Rothesay and will be known as such on official visits to Scotland. He has also inherited the titles Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland; all titles traditionally held by the heir to the throne.

Will the Cambridge children be given new titles?

The Cambridge children are now styled: HRH Prince George of Wales, HRH Princess Charlotte of Wales and HRH Prince Louis of Wales.

Will the Sussex children be given new titles?

Under the current law, Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor will now be styled Prince Archie of Sussex and Princess Lilibet of Sussex. Usage of HRH will be determined by the Palace but given that their parents do not currently use HRH, the children are likely to follow suit.

Can the Duke of Sussex and Duke of York be stripped of their titles?

No. The only way a peerage can be removed from a title holder is by an Act of Parliament. In practice this is unlikely to happen. Historically a peer could have his title, lands and privileges removed by attainder, but this practice has since been abolished. The last time an Act of Attainder was used was in 1798, against Lord Edward FitzGerald (a younger son of the 1st Duke of Leinster) for leading the Irish Rebellion of that year. He died in prison of wounds received during his capture; his property was confiscated but the attainder was repealed in 1819.

Will things change for the other members of the Royal Family?

All members of the Royal Family will move up one place in the Line of Succession, but their status and styles are unlikely to change unless the King awards them new titles.

Who and what are the Counsellors of State?

There are five Counsellors of State: the monarch’s spouse and the next four adult members of the Royal Family in the Line of Succession (those that have reached the age of 21 and are resident in the UK). They are authorised to carry out official duties on behalf of the monarch in the event that he or she is unable to or is unavailable (either due to illness or absence abroad).

Counsellors are authorised to carry out most of the monarch’s official duties with the exception of the following: Commonwealth business; the dissolving of Parliament (unless the monarch instructs the Counsellor to do so); the creation of peers; appointing a PM.

By law, the Counsellors of State are now: The Queen Consort, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Sussex, The Duke of York, and Princess Beatrice. Counsellors have to be 21 (18 for the heir to the throne) and domiciled in the United Kingdom; Prince Harry is still eligible as he has a home here (the lease on Frogmore Cottage was renewed in February 2022). Counsellors of State were first created in 1911 by George V and established by the passing of the Regency Act of 1937.

Will the King become the Head of the Commonwealth?

This is not a hereditary role. However, the Queen expressed her wish that Prince Charles should take over when he becomes king and he was appointed her designated successor at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on 20 April 2018.

Do you think The Duke of York will return as a working member of the Royal Family?

Questions concerning The Duke of York should be directed to Buckingham Palace.

What roles will Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice have in the new Royal Family?

Princess Beatrice is likely to become one of the Counsellors of State, this will be confirmed in due course.

At this stage, it is not known if the Princesses will have any other role in the ‘new’ Royal family. If they are to become full or part time working members of the Royal Family, this will be announced in due course by the Palace.

When will Edward be made Duke of Edinburgh?

When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 he was granted the title of Earl of Wessex. It was announced by the Palace at the time that he would be elevated to the Dukedom of Edinburgh after the death of his parents, in recognition of his work on the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

When The Duke of Edinburgh died in 2021, the Edinburgh title was inherited by his eldest son, The Prince of Wales. Now that Charles is King the dukedom of Edinburgh has reverted to the Crown. This means that the title is now ‘free’ to be regranted. For this to happen, the King will have to issue Letters Patent awarding a new grant of the Edinburgh title to his brother.

If The Earl of Wessex is made The Duke of Edinburgh, the styles of his children are unlikely to change, although Viscount Severn could be styled Earl of Wessex. This change would need to be confirmed by the Palace.

Will Edward also be granted his father’s other titles?

Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was also Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich. These titles passed to his eldest son upon his death and have now reverted to the Crown.

It is unlikely they will be automatically granted to The Earl of Wessex, they are now free to be granted to anyone the King chooses.

Who are the working members of the Royal Family?

It has long been said that when he became king His Majesty wanted to reduce the size of the Royal Family. It has already been reduced quite dramatically and, with 54 countries currently in the Commonwealth it seems unlikely it would be reduced much more. However, we will not learn the answer to this question until after the official mourning period is over and the King is settled in his new role.

At present, the working members of the Royal Family are:
• HM King Charles and The Queen Consort
• The Prince and Princess of Wales
• The Earl and Countess of Wessex
• The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
• The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
• Princess Alexandra
Princess Alexandra and the Gloucesters may well now retire , but we shall no doubt have confirmation from Buckingham Palace in due course.

What are the styles of the Royal Family?

Styles refer to how members of the Royal Family should be addressed. There are complex rules which should be adhered to and these can be found on our etiquette page dedicated to the Royal Family, here

Is there a dress code we should follow to indicate respect for The Queen?

In the past, members of the public wore black armbands on the left arm. The bands were 3-3.25 inches in width.
Newsreaders, civil servants and other public persons, will be wearing black.

What changes will be made to coinage/stamps/uniforms?

For questions regarding coinage, please contact the Royal Mint
For questions regarding stamps, please contact the Royal Mail
For questions regarding passports, please contact the Passport Office.
For questions regarding uniforms, please refer to the relevant military body:
Royal Navy
For information regarding police uniforms, we suggest you contact your nearest force.
For information regarding Commonwealth and Overseas Territories, please contact the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
For questions regarding heraldry and ceremony please contact the College of Arms

What are Letters Patent?

Letters Patent are documents issued by the reigning monarch to confer a dignity, or to clarify a right.

For example, in 1917 George V issued Letters Patent to clarify the situation of the immediate Royal Family and who was entitled to be called Prince/Princess and use HRH.

The term ‘Letters Patent’ is attributed to Sir William Blackstone KC (1723-79), an eminent judge and politician, who stated:
‘...they are not sealed up, but exposed to view, with the great seal pendant at the bottom, and are usually addressed by the Sovereign to all the subjects of the realm...’


MPA House
66 Baker Street
Weybridge KT13 8AL
United Kingdom
Get In Touch
Subscription Enquiries
+44 (0)330 3339699
General Enquiries
+44 (0)20 3950 5240
Join our weekly newsletter
Subscription Form
MPA House
66 Baker Street
Weybridge KT13 8AL
United Kingdom
Designed by Anna Ocipinska. Developed by BuiltByGo. © 2022 Debrett’s. All Rights Reserved
My cart
Your cart is empty.

Looks like you haven't made a choice yet.