If there was one palpable moment of anticlimax after the royal wedding in 2011 when Kate and William tied the knot in front of a global audience of billions, it was perhaps when it came to the bestowing of titles.
The world had, quite naturally, expected the lavish ceremony would conclude with the arising of a new princess, Princess Kate, and there was tangible disappointment when it was announced, shortly after the wedding, that Kate would be known henceforth as the Duchess of Cambridge.
A duchess? Eh? We hadn’t come all this way for a duchess! We wanted a princess!
But no, the palace was very firm. Duchess it was. Of course, duchess is not too shabby in the titles stakes. Duchess is the highest rank in the English peerage (in descending order the ranks go duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron).
However, when the royal press machine tried to convince us that Kate should from now on be known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and William as the Duke of Cambridge, it didn’t fly. Two and a half years later, Kate is still most frequently referred to by the name of Kate Middleton and William is still called Prince William. Their post-marriage names just refuse to stick (in the same way Diana, née Lady Diana Spencer, was continually referred to as Lady Di after her marriage in the tabloids).
But, if a way could have been found to style Kate as Princess Catherine (which the majority of the Continental European gossip magazines do in fact use), the press might have been more ready to change its ways. But the message was a repeated over and over—don’t call her a princess.
OK, then, we’ll call her Kate Middleton, seems to have been the press response.
Only now, it turns out, Kate was a princess all along.
For when Kate and William formally registered the birth of their new baby boy, Prince George, last week, they were required to give their occupations on the official document, and Kate’s job title was listed as “Princess of the United Kingdom”.
A palace spokesman told the Royalist: "Prince William continues to be a Royal Prince. On marriage, Prince William retained the title Prince William of Wales and as the wife of a Royal Prince, the Duchess is entitled to use the name of her husband, Princess William of Wales. It is important to note she is not Princess Catherine so to call her that or Princess Kate would be incorrect."
However, whilst it may not be particularly popular with the powers that be, it is technically OK to call Kate “the princess” when referring to her in the third person.
This is much more fun. Who'd be a duchess when you can be a princess? After all, who would want the same title as Fergie? We feel sure the princess wouldn’t.