A new direction. Prince William and Duchess Kate have officially stepped into new roles within the British royal family after Queen Elizabeth II‘s death.
The couple will now be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, according to King Charles III. William and Kate, both 40, inherit the titles previously held by Charles, who will take the throne as king, and Camilla, now the Queen Consort. In his first public speech since his mother’s death, the king also revealed that William and Kate will be the new Prince and Princess of Wales.
“As my heir, William now assumes the Scottish titles which have meant so much to me. He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and takes on the responsibilities, which I have undertaken for more than five decades,” Charles said on Friday, September 9. “Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty. With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given.”
William, formerly the Duke of Cambridge, is now first in line to be king behind his father, 73, whose coronation date hasn’t been revealed yet. The prince’s wife was named the Duchess of Cambridge after her royal wedding to William in April 2011. The twosome share children Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4.
Changes in the royal line of succession come in the wake of Elizabeth’s death at age 96. Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday, September 8, that the longest-reigning British monarch in history passed away “peacefully” at her Balmoral estate in Scotland after being placed under “medical supervision” earlier that day due to ongoing health concerns. William, Charles and Camilla, 75, rushed to the late monarch’s side before she died.
As the world reacted to the royal family’s major loss, subtle tweaks were made to William and Kate’s social media pages. The pair changed their Instagram names to include Cornwall, with the feed including photos from their royal engagements over the years.
Inching ever closer to the throne, William has been preparing for his future reign for several years, learning from his father along the way. In February, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that the former military pilot felt “excited about this new chapter in his life and the challenges he’ll be facing” once he becomes king.
Charles and his eldest child began “working very closely” to plan for their respective futures, even considering how they’d accomplish “the big decision [of] making and creating a slimmed down monarchy,” per the insider. “The way William and Charles see it, less people means less drama.”
The source added: “[Charles] will ensure that his son is up to speed the ins and outs of the royal family on a deeper level and William will help Charles come up with new, fresh ideas about modernizing the monarchy.”
Not only has Prince Harry‘s brother had his sights set on the throne, but Kate has also been working toward someday assuming the role of Queen Consort. The duchess even had the support of her late grandmother-in-law as she rose in the royal family’s ranks.
“Over time, Kate has proved to Elizabeth that she can be trusted and they’ve developed a great relationship,” a source told Us in October 2021, noting that Her Majesty viewed Kate as a “fearless” successor. “Elizabeth feels confident that Kate will make a great queen. … She’s always up for a challenge, believes in herself and feels that she has developed the wisdom, courage and strength to be a success.”