- Written by Sean Coughlan
- Royal reporter
Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Edward has been named the new Duke of Edinburgh.
King Charles III gave the title to his younger brother on Prince Edward’s 59th birthday.
It’s a title closely associated with their father, Prince Philip, who was Duke of Edinburgh for more than 70 years, until his death in 2021.
The new duke and his wife, Sophie, who became the Duchess of Edinburgh, will be in Edinburgh later on Friday.
The couple is expected to attend an event in the Scottish capital marking the first year of the war in Ukraine.
But anti-monarchy group Republic said the “views of Edinburgh residents” should have been considered before the address was given as a “Christmas gift”.
Prince Edward became the Duke of Edinburgh nearly two years after the death of his father, Philip, who assumed the title in 1947 when he married then-Princess Elizabeth, who later became Queen Elizabeth II.
It was understood that Philip wanted Edward, his youngest son, to take the title, but the decision was left in the hands of King Charles.
This means that Edward, who is 13th in line to the throne, will attend the coronation in May as duke, with a title once synonymous with his late father.
With Prince Andrew, Duke of York, no longer a “working royalist”, there could be a more high-profile role for Edward, the king’s younger brother.
At the end of last year, Parliament rushed to amend the law to add Prince Edward and his sister, Princess Anne, to “counsel of state” who can act on behalf of the monarch.
In his earlier career, Prince Edward worked in theater and television productions, but increasingly focused on public duties, including taking over a number of roles from Prince Philip as he got older.
This included supporting the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, set up by Prince Philip in 1956, which provides activities and training programs for young people in the UK and abroad.
When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, Buckingham Palace announced that “in time” it was expected by the Queen and Prince Philip that Edward would eventually become the Duke of Edinburgh.
Although it is a prestigious title, it does not come with any land or income.
But the declaration was challenged by Graham Smith of the anti-monarchy group Republic.
“If we are to have such silly titles,” said Smith, “it should be decided by Parliament or by the government—and it should not be possible for a head of state to bestow upon his family.”
The title of Duke of Edinburgh would not be hereditary, so when Edward died it would not go to his children, but could be given to another senior member of the future royal family.
But Prince Edward’s former title of Earl of Wessex will now go to his 15-year-old son, Viscount Severn.
Upon the death of Prince Philip, the then-Prince Charles inherited the title of Duke of Edinburgh, but did not use it. When Queen Elizabeth II died last year, the title reverted to the Crown and could be passed on to someone else, as is happening now.
“The new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are proud to continue Prince Philip’s legacy of promoting opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to reach their full potential,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Friday.
The first Duke of Edinburgh was created in 1726, when King George I of Hanover gave the title to his grandson, Prince Frederick. The title was recreated by Queen Victoria in 1866 for her second son, Prince Alfred, and it was created again in 1947 for Prince Philip.
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