Prince Edward title: Why is he Earl of Wessex and not a Duke?

AS THE Queen's youngest child, you'd be forgiven for not having known much about Prince Edward to date.

But the 57-year-old royal, also known as the Earl of Wessex has been making headlines recently thanks to his comments about the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fallout.

The father-of-two – along with his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex – is also increasingly taking on a more prominent role in the frontlines of his famous family.

So, get to know him better…

What is Prince Edward's full title?

The monarch's third son has been officially known as HRH Prince Edward since his birth in 1964.

However, on his wedding day to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, he also became the Earl of Wessex.

Normally, when male children of the sovereign marry they receive a dukedom – like Prince Harry did, when he became the Duke of Sussex after walking down the aisle in 2018.

The title of Earl ranks below that of Duke, but there is believed to be a good reason that Prince Edward opted out.

Why is he an Earl not a Duke like his brothers?

It caused much surprise when Prince Edward married that he wouldn't be joining his older brothers – Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall as well as Prince Andrew, Duke of York – in receiving a dukedom.

However, it was decided by Her Majesty that he would instead inherit the title of Duke of Edinburgh when his father, Prince Philip, passed away.

The monarch was understood to be keen to ensure her husband's dukedom didn't fall dormant in order to continue his good work, like the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

According to Royal Central, Prince Edward then requested to be called Earl of Wessex, because one of his favourite films Shakespeare In Love featured a character of the name.

This meant that when his children were born, in 2003 and 2007 respectively, they became Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Will Prince Edward become the Duke of Edinburgh?

In recent years it has appeared to be almost a certainty that the Earl of Wessex would one day inherit his father's title.

The prince has been heavily involved in the DofE Award for a number of years.

Discussions were once more raised about what would happen to the title when Prince Philip ultimately died, aged 99, in April 2021.

In June 2021, Prince Edward described the prospect of becoming Duke of Edinburgh as "bittersweet".

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he explained: "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.”

It will then be up to his older brother, Prince Charles, to pass it onto him when he becomes king.

However, in the same interview, his wife, the Countess of Wessex, revealed that Prince Philip had approached them shortly after they became engaged with the belief that they should become the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh one day.

What is the Earldom of Forfar?

The Earl of Forfar is a Scottish title referring to Forfar, the county town of Angus in Scotland.

It was first created in 1661, but became extinct in 1715.

Prince Edward received the title on his 55th birthday in 2019, and uses it whenever he is in Scotland.

The earl's son James – who will one day become Earl of Wessex – is set to inherit it on his father's death.

Who else has been Earl of Wessex?

The title Earl of Essex was first used in 1019 when Godwin was given it by the Danish King Cnut the Great.

When Godwin died in 1053, it was passed to his son Harold Godwinson – who would be the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, before he was killed at the Battle of Hastings by William the Conqueror.

In 1066, it was then given to the new king's relation, William FitzOsbern, however when he was killed by the Count of Flanders at the Battle of Cassel in 1077 it then went dormant again.

It was left unused for more than 920 years – until Prince Edward acquired it.

In other royal news, we told you what Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor's nursery might look like.

The Duchess of Sussex plans to give her £4,800 Cartier watch to her baby girl.

And royal fans praise Prince William and Kate Middleton's message of congratulations.

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