Prince Charles is reportedly having second thoughts about passing the Duke of Edinburgh’s title to his younger brother Prince Edward.
The heir apparent to the British throne inherited the title upon the death of his father Prince Philip on April 9. It was expected that after he ascends to the throne and becomes the King of the United Kingdom, he would pass on his late father’s title to his youngest sibling, Prince Edward. It had been known for a long time that the late Prince Consort intended to bestow the title to his youngest child Prince Edward, who is currently Earl of Wessex, unlike his elder brothers Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, who are Duke of Cornwall and Duke of York respectively.
At the time of Edward’s wedding to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, a statement by the palace had announced that they would be titled the Earl and Countess of Wessex. However, the statement also noted, “the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have also agreed that the Prince Edward should be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the present title now held by the Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown.”
As revealed by the palace, the Duke of Edinburgh’s title will merge with the Crown when its holder Prince Charles takes over the throne. As the new monarch, he can then decide whether to bestow it on his brother or another member of the royal family, or hold it in abeyance for a time in the future.
According to a new report in The Sunday Times, the Prince of Wales is now thinking about changing the original decision about the title that he had taken with his parents. A friend of the 72-year-old was quoted as saying, “It is up to him what happens to the title. It will not go to Edward.”
Another source claimed, “Edinburgh won’t go to [the Wessexes] as far as the prince is concerned.”
A spokesperson for Prince Charles released a clarification on the matter, but shied away from confirming that the royal still plans to transfer his title to his younger brother. The statement to People magazine read, “All stories of this nature are speculation and no final decisions have been taken. It would be inappropriate and disrespectful to the Queen to comment on matters of accession and we will be maintaining our long-standing policy of not doing so.”
The Wessexes have themselves also commented on inheriting the title in the past, noting that the final decision lies with Prince Charles. While Countess Sophie revealed that her late father-in-law had asked them if they would consider taking on the title just two days after their engagement, her husband noted that his elder brother Prince Andrew could have been the first choice for it.
“It’s a very bittersweet role to take on because the only way the title can come to me is after both my parents have actually passed away. It has to go back to the Crown first. My father was very keen that the title should continue, but he didn’t quite move quickly enough with Andrew, so it was us who he eventually had the conversation with. It was a lovely idea; a lovely thought,” Edward said.
Prince Andrew was gifted the Duke of York title upon his wedding to Sarah Ferguson in 1986, which he still sustains despite quitting royal duties in 2019 due to public uproar over his alleged involvement with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.