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Keen royal watchers will recall the sense of disappointment that set in after Kate married William and the queen announced that she would be known as the Duchess of Cambridge, and not by the much more regal title of Princess Catherine.
We didn’t want a duchess, we wanted a princess and that was what reports at the time had led us to expect we would be getting. But, no, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge it was, and so there was little surprise when Meghan and Harry were given the same treatment after their marriage last year.
Technically, Kate is also known as Princess William and Meghan is Princess Henry, and there is no reason why they could not be referred to as princesses by the palace. In fact, the failure to do so has been a bit baffling.
But now a new theory has been put forward by the royal historian Kate Williams, speaking on Yahoo’s royal show, The Royal Box: It’s all Camilla’s fault.
Diana was brutally stripped of the title Her Royal Highness after her divorce, but, in a nonsensical compromise widely criticized at the time, she was allowed to go by the title “Diana, Princess of Wales.”
However, the meddling with the normal nomenclature may have created a precedent, Williams suggested, telling the show: “That’s why it’s duchess throughout the royal family—because Camilla is a duchess.”
Fascinating stuff, to fans of the minutiae of class-based British protocol.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the writer Victoria Arbiter also stated that Camilla’s title of “Duchess” may have affected that given to Kate and Meghan. Although Arbiter was a guest on the show, and was in conversation with Williams when Williams made the comment, we are happy to make it clear that Arbiter made no such suggestion.