Why Princess Eugenie Did Not Become a Duchess When She Got Married

Don't all members of the royal family get named dukes and duchesses when they get married? Not exactly...

Princess Eugenie and Jack BrooksbankTim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

The thing to know before we get into why Eugenie didn’t become a duchess on her wedding day is how people become dukes and duchesses in the first place (and here’s the difference between being a “duke” and being a “prince”). The answer is that dukedoms, (when they aren’t inherited) are granted by the reigning monarch. That’s how Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, came to be the Duke of Edinburgh. He was granted that dukedom by his soon-to-be father-in-law, King George VI, on the eve of his wedding to the then-Princess Elizabeth.

Most British princes are eventually granted the title “Duke”

Most British princes are given the title of “Duke” upon marriage, though some are given the title upon coming of age. Prince Charles became Duke of Cornwall when he was just four years old on the occasion of his mother’s coronation as Her Royal Majesty, The Queen. But not all princes become Dukes. Prince Edward, for example, the Queen’s fourth child, elected to become an Earl upon his marriage, preferring to wait to inherit the Edinburgh dukedom upon his father’s passing.

But what about princesses?

The harsh truth, perhaps, but only sons and grandsons of the monarch receive royal dukedoms. So when Eugenie (born Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York) got married, there was no precedent for her to be named the duchess of any realm. And as a female, she isn’t eligible to inherit her father’s Dukedom of York. This is true despite that a non-royal female who marries a prince will take on the title of “duchess” if her husband is granted a dukedom.

It could be in the Queen’s prerogative to make an exception, but while the Queen is very fond of and attached to both Princess Eugenie and her older sister, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie (or as she is formally known, “Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie”) is not engaged fulltime in the career of being a member of the royal family. However, given that she once said being called a princess is “one of the things that bugs me most in this world,” we don’t think she minds. Find out 13 more things you never knew about Princess Eugenie.

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Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York–based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest and in a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction, and her first full-length manuscript, "The Trust Game," was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.