One of the Duchess of Sussex’s complaints during the Oprah interview was that she and Harry were told that when Charles becomes king, he will change the Letters Patent to exclude Archie (and now Lilibet Diana) from having the choice to become a prince or princess. The Letters Patent ensures that the grandchildren of the monarch’s sons will all be princes and princesses if they so choose, or if their parents choose for them. The Letters Patent is still used today and Charles can’t change it until he’s king. Which means that Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren have the right to be princes and princesses when they come of age. Meaning, Lady Louise Windsor is about to become another pawn in the petty war between Prince Charles and Prince Edward over royal titles. Lady Louise will turn 18 years old later this year. Gee, I wonder if her parents want her to be a princess?
Prince Edward and Sophie could be planning to cock a snook at Prince Charles. After reports that Charles could refuse to allow his youngest brother to inherit the Duke of Edinburgh title when Charles becomes King, I hear that Edward’s family may start using a new moniker of their own. When the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, turns 18 in November, she will be legally entitled to style herself Her Royal Highness Princess Louise, in the same way as her cousins are known as HRH Princess Beatrice and HRH Princess Eugenie.
‘If Charles is going to play silly games over titles, Edward and Sophie might need to ensure that they use the titles their family already have,’ one of their friends tells me. ‘Louise is a humble teenager and doesn’t act like a princess, but she is one — that’s a fact.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman declines to comment, but it’s true that Letters Patent issued in 1917 assign a princely status and the style of Royal Highness to all children of a monarch’s sons. Sophie made clear in an interview last year that it would be up to Lady Louise and her brother, James, who currently has the title Viscount Severn, how they styled themselves in future.
‘We try to bring them up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living,’ the Countess said. ‘Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them, and can decide to use them from 18.’ But she added that it was ‘highly unlikely’ they would do so.
Crucially, since then Charles’s friends have caused shockwaves by letting it be known he might not allow Edward to become the Duke of Edinburgh, even though he had agreed this, and it was publicly announced, when the Earl and Countess were married in 1999. Viscount Severn would have become the Earl of Wessex when Edward became a duke.
I’m laughing! Honestly, I kind of hope Sophie and Edward do this and encourage Louise to style herself HRH Princess Louise. It’s not that I’m geared up to throw this kid in the spotlight – in fact, it bothers me a lot! – but it’s just a really funny turn of events for Charles. He’s so desperate to streamline the monarchy and whoops, here comes another HRH and another princess. It would not surprise me at all if this was Sophie and Edward’s scheme all along, and likely why they’ve been pushing Louise a lot lately.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.