How Kate, Princess of Wales will move forward with Diana's iconic title

The title has not been used since the death of Princess Diana in 1997

Kate has been made Princess of Wales, the title previously carried by Princess Diana. PA
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The Princess of Wales title bestowed on Kate following the accession of her father-in-law to the throne will bring back sad memories for many older royal fans.

A quarter of a century after Diana, Princess of Wales was tragically killed in a car crash in Paris, the accolade has been revived and passed onto her eldest son’s wife.

Prince William, who is now heir apparent, has become Prince of Wales, a title previously held by his father, who on Saturday was officially proclaimed King Charles III of Britain.

The mere mention of the accolade stirs up a sense of loss for loyal fans of Diana, something which will no doubt be on Kate’s mind as she carries out her duties under a new moniker.

Diana was seen as a bold barrier breaker within the constraints of the crown and routinely shunned protocol to do things her own way.

A photo of her shaking the hand of a HIV-positive patient at a London hospital in 1987 – a time when people feared the disease could be passed on by touch – was a symbol of her willingness to go beyond what was expected of her, regardless of whether it invoked criticism.

Kate, right, has been given the title of Princess of Wales, previously held by her husband's mother Princess Diana, left. Getty

After marrying Charles, Prince of Wales in 2005 Camilla was given the title of Duchess of Cornwall - not Princess of Wales.

While fans of Diana would have no doubt opposed Camilla being given the honour of carrying the late princess's title, they are likely to welcome the change for Kate.

There now needs to be an investiture ceremony for William, the new Prince of Wales. The title does not automatically pass on to the heir of the throne. It was bestowed on Charles in 1958, six years after his mother ascended the throne.

Before the title was officially bestowed on Charles at a ceremony in Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, in 1969, he moved to Wales and learned the local language.

Following the announcement of William and Kate’s new titles, a royal source suggested the princess is mindful of the connotations associated with the Princess of Wales title.

"The couple are focussed on deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time,” the insider said. “The Prince and Princess of Wales will approach their roles in the modest and humble way they’ve approached their work previously

"The new Princess of Wales appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path.”

In an interview with ITV News upon the announcement of their engagement in November 2020, Kate and William were asked about the late Princess Diana’s legacy.

Kate said she “would have loved to have met” Diana, calling her an “inspirational woman to look up to”.

William said “there’s no pressure” on Kate to emulate Diana because “it’s about carving your own future” as a member of the royal family.

“No one’s trying to fill my mother’s shoes,” he said.

Since marrying into Britain’s royal family in April 2011 at the age of 29, Kate has developed a close bond with her father-in-law King Charles III and his wife Queen Consort Camilla.

She has turned heads wherever she carries out royal engagements and has diligently stuck to protocol.

The mother-of-three, who turned 40 earlier this year, has already made clear where her passion lies – early years development.

In June 2021, she launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of early years experiences in shaping society over the long term.

In a speech during a roundtable discussion to launch the initiative, Kate said only a minority of people understand the “critical importance of the first five years of a child's life, and this is what we really do need to change”.

Kate is also devoted to her family, and the Cambridges recently moved to Windsor, Berkshire, to give their children the experience of country living.

The couple accompanied Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to their new school on Thursday morning where they were greeted by the principal. Within hours, William had to dash to Scotland to be by his grandmother's side as her health had taken a turn for the worse.

The queen died peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday afternoon, Buckingham Palace said. Her death sets off a litany of changes for the monarchy, including the bestowing of new titles and roles for some.

Updated: September 10, 2022, 2:03 PM
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