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Royal wedding: What's in a name?
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Could this be the future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?

The burning royal wedding question in Cambridgeshire boils down to this: What title will Prince William and Kate Middleton be given after they wed?

There are high hopes in some quarters that they could become the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Historian Dr Sean Lang says the last royal Duke of Cambridge was a grandson of George III and an army man.

"He was a bit of a stickler and a great disciplinarian," explained Sean. The title has not been in use since.

"The point about duke is that it's meant to be a royal title," said Sean. "It's not something someone not connected with the Royal Family can hold."

Prince George

The Duke of Cambridge has been a royal title since the reign of Charles II.

The first Duke of Cambridge was a little Stuart prince who only lived for a few months.

The third Duke of Cambridge was a very distant cousin of Queen Anne. He was George, Elector of Hanover, and went on to become King George I.

But the best known Duke of Cambridge, according to Sean, is also the most recent. Plenty of pubs are named after him.

Prince George was a grandson of George III. He inherited the title Duke of Cambridge from his father and was a senior army commander at the time of the Crimean War.

However, he was a traditionalist who believed that army promotions should be based upon an officer's social connections rather than his ability.

"If anyone held back the army for 50 years it would have been the Duke of Cambridge, I'm afraid," continued Sean.

Queen Mary
Queen Mary was a niece of the previous Duke of Cambridge

More romantically, the Duke of Cambridge did not believe in arranged marriages. Royal marriages have to be approved by the sovereign, but the duke ignored this and married Sarah Fairbrother in 1847.

She was an actress, and already the mother of two of his children.

Sarah was ignored by the Royal Family and never received the title of Duchess of Cambridge.

The romance does not seem to have lasted because the duke soon fell for another woman.

Alternative titles

There are alternative titles for Prince William and Kate Middleton.

When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones, they had the title of Earl and Countess of Wessex created for them. The last earl of Wessex was Harold II, who died due to an ill-timed arrow at the Battle of Hastings.

The kingdom of Wessex has not been in existence for centuries.

Or maybe the engaged couple should be granted one of the Scottish royal titles?

After all, they met at St Andrews University not Cambridge University.

Wessex titles for Edward and Sophie
19 Jun 99 |  royal wedding



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