Princess of Wales Title History? From Catherine of Aragon to Princess Diana & Kate Middleton

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Princess of Wales, or Tywysoges Cymru in Welsh, is a courtesy title that has been used for centuries. Typically held by the wife of the heir apparent to the English (later British) throne, the title currently belongs to Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William.

Before the spouse of the heir to the British throne held the title, there were native Welsh princesses—yet there is only one wife of a Welsh prince who definitively used the title “Princess of Wales”: Eleanor de Montfort, the wife of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (also known as Llywelyn the Last). Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was one of the last princes of Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England. Yet, for clarity, this list will only define those who use the title who were married to the British heir to the throne.

There’s a movement to get rid of the Prince and Princess of Wales titles; actor Michael Sheen said in 2020 that Charles should forfeit the title when he inherits the throne. If he gave up the title, Sheen said, it would be a “really meaningful and powerful gesture for that title to no longer be held in the same way as it has before, that would be an incredibly meaningful thing I think will happen.” Sheen added, “Make a break there, put some wrongs of the past right, don’t necessarily just because of habit and without thinking carry on that tradition that was started as an humiliation to our country.” However, that didn’t happen; one of the first things Charles did was bestow the title on his son, Prince William. (More on that appointment, here.)

As the Prince of Wales title has historically been given to the oldest living son and heir apparent of the current British monarch, a Princess of Wales title has not historically been given on its own. (Ie Queen Elizabeth was not Princess of Wales, because she was not the heir apparent.) Yet, with the 2013 change to the rules of succession, there can now be a female heir apparent—but only time will tell if there will ever be. a solo Princess of Wales.

Without further ado, here’s a definitive list of all the Princesses of Wales throughout history.

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Joan of Kent (1326 or 1327 – 1385)

Princess of Wales from 1361 until her husband’s death in 1376

Joan, Duchess of Cornwall, Countess of Chester and Countess of Kent, was the first member of the British royal family to use the title of Princess of Wales.

She married Edward of Woodstock, known as the Black Prince, who was King Edward III’s eldest son. Edward III was Joan’s half-first cousin. Yet, Edward died before he inherited the throne, so their son, Richard of Bordeaux—later King Richard II—became king, and Joan became Dowager Princess of Wales.


Anne Neville (1456 – 1485)

Princess of Wales from 1470 until her first husband’s death in 1471.

Anne Neville married Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the son and heir apparent of King Henry VI, in 1740. Edward soon died, and then she married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the younger brother of King Edward IV. Skip forward some history, and Anne actually becomes Queen—but not through a marriage to the Prince of Wales.


Catherine of Aragon (1485 – 1536)

Princess of Wales from 1501 until her first husband’s death in 1502.

Catherine of Aragon was most famous as the first wife of King Henry VIII. Yet before she was married to King Henry VIII, she was the wife of Henry’s older brother, Arthur, Prince of Wales, making her the Princess of Wales. Both Henry and Arthur were sons of King Henry VII. Yet, Arthur died just a year into their marriage, and she was soon betrayed by his brother. And we all know what happened next…


Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1683 – 1737)

Princess of Wales from 1714 until her husband’s accession in 1727.

In 1705, Caroline married Prince George Augustus of Hanover, who was the heir apparent to the Electorate of Hanover and third in the English line of succession. Nine years later, after the death of Queen Anne, her father-in-law became King George I, and her husband, George Augustus was invested as the Prince of Wales and she became Princess of Wales. She became the first woman to get the title at the same time as her husband (versus getting the title through marriage), and the first Princess of Wales in over two centuries. Upon her husband’s accession to the throne as King George II, she became queen consort.


Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1719 – 1772)

Princess of Wales from 1736 until her husband’s death in 1751.

Caroline’s daughter-in-law Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was the next Princess of Wales upon marrying King George II and Caroline of Ansbach’s son, Frederick, Prince of Wales. She became Princess of Wales when she married Frederick, but never became queen consort, because Frederick died before his father.


Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1737 – 1817)

Princess of Wales from 1795 to her husband’s accession in 1820.

Next up is Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who married George Augustus Frederick, the eldest son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. She became Princess of Wales upon their marriage, yet, the two separated after the birth of their only child, Princess Charlotte (although they never divorced). Their daughter Charlotte was expected to ascend to the throne, but both George III and George IV predeceased.


Alexandra of Denmark (1844 – 1925)

Princess of Wales from 1863 to her husband’s accession as King Edward VII in 1901.

Alexandra married Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the son and heir apparent of Queen Victoria in 1863. That same year, her father became King Christian IX of Denmark and her brother became King George I of Greece. Alexandra held the title of Princess of Wales from 1863 to 1901, the longest anyone has ever held the title of Princess of Wales. She became Queen consort upon her husband’s accession to the throne.

Princess of Wales from 1901 to her husband’s accession as King George V in 1910.

Alexandra’s daughter-in-law Mary of Teck was the next to hold the title; Mary married George V, who was heir to the throne when his father became King Edward VII. (George V was actually the second son, but his older brother, Prince Albert Victor, died in 1892). Mary was initially engaged to Albert Victor, but upon his death, she became engaged to George. In 1901, the two became Prince and Princess of Wales. She became the second Princess of Wales to get the title at the same time as her husband.


Diana Spencer (1961 – 1997)

Princess of Wales from 1981 until her death in 1997.

The next Princess of Wales would not be until decades after Mary; Mary and George’s son, Prince Edward, was the next Prince of Wales, but never married while he had the title (he later abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson), and then his younger brother, King George VI, did not have a son .

Therefore, the next Prince of Wales was Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son. His wife, Diana Spencer, became Princess of Wales upon their marriage in 1981, and although they divorced in 1996, she was still styled Diana, Princess of Wales until her tragic early death.


Camilla Parker-Bowles (1947 – present)

Princess of Wales from 2005 until her husband King Charles III’s accession in 2022.

Yes, Camilla Parker-Bowles technically had the title Princess of Wales from her marriage to Prince Charles until his accession to the throne, but due to the popular association with Princess Diana, Camilla was instead styled as the Duchess of Cornwall.

Read more: Why Camilla Doesn’t Use the Title ‘Princess of Wales’


Kate Middleton (1982 – present)

Princess of Wales from 2022 to present.

Kate Middleton, formerly the Duchess of Cambridge, became the Princess of Wales upon her father-in-law’s accession to the throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth. Kate became the third Princess of Wales in history to get the title at the same time as her husband.

In his first speech as monarch, King Charles said of Prince William, “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.”

Read more: Prince William and Kate Middleton Are Officially Prince and Princess of Wales

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