Meet the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall: Prince William and Kate Middleton change titles after Queen's death
The titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had been used to refer to William and Kate
LONDON, UK: Prince William and Kate Middleton have changed their titles to Duke and Duchess of Cornwall on social media. The official @KensingtonRoyal Twitter and Instagram profiles were modified to state that the "Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge" are the accounts' owners shortly after Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday that the Queen, 96, had passed away at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The eldest son of the current British monarch has the title of Duke of Cornwall, while his wife holds the title of Duchess. The titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had been used to refer to William and Kate, both 40. The Queen, William's grandmother, bestowed the titles to them on their wedding day in April 2011.
The titles of Prince and Princess of Wales are also likely to pass to them. Prior to the Queen's death on Thursday, King Charles III, who held the title of Prince of Wales, also held the Scottish titles of Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. As Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate are all set to inherit those titles too.
As part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend, William and Kate most recently travelled to Wales with their two oldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. A male heir apparent is often granted the title of Prince of Wales. Prior to taking the throne (and abdicating after a few months), Edward VIII held the position for most of his life.
After William's grandmother death, the title of Prince of Wales will not automatically transfer to him; instead, the monarch must do so. When he was just 9 years old, King Charles himself was given the title of Prince of Wales by his mother. In 1969, Queen Elizabeth formally installed Charles as the Prince of Wales during an investiture at Caernarvon Castle.
Princess Diana, the late mother of William, had previously held the title of Princess of Wales after her 1981 marriage to King Charles. The two got divorced in 1996; the following year, she was killed in a vehicle accident. Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall will now serve as Queen Consort. Sally Bedell Smith, the biographer of the Queen, told PEOPLE earlier this month that Kate has "learned by observing" Queen Elizabeth as she gets ready for her future position as Queen Consort. "She knows what resonates. She will have absorbed a lot from this Queen," Smith said.
The late Queen and Kate share important characteristics for the job — quiet stoicism, unwavering secrecy, and steadfast loyalty — despite having a 56-year age gap. Their allegiance to the throne is unshakeable, they never express opinions on divisive political matters, and their public personas are carefully managed. The Queen's unofficial maxim for public life, "Never complain, never explain," is also embodied by Kate.