PRINCE EDWARD’S title is unusual in his family because he is an Earl, not a Duke.
Royal titles are often complicated. The rules are as old as time, and there are countless different styles for different royals depending on who they were born to, where they sit in the line of succession, which number child they are, and more.
Senior royals are usually given a new title when they get married, like Meghan Markle and Prince Harry became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their wedding day.
The decision of who gets what title lies with the Queen – she can instill and remove the honour whenever she pleases.
Usually, titles run for the lifetime of the person they are given to.
But in a break from tradition, after their wedding in 1999, Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys Jones became the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Prince Edward: The prince was not made a duke when he married Sophie (Image: GETTY)
Prince Edward: The couple married in 1999 (Image: PA)
The Earl title is a rank below a dukedom, and the initial announcement shocked many.
Both of Prince Edward’s brother are Dukes – Prince Charles is the Duke of Cornwall and Prince Andrew is the Duke of York.
His sister, Princess Anne, was given the title of Princess Royal in the 1980s.
The change made Prince Edward the first child of a monarch to miss out on a dukedom since the Tudor era.
Wessex family: The family live in Surrey (Image: PA)
Apparently, the choice was the Prince’s own, and he did not want to become a duke even though dukedom was ready and waiting for him.
Prince Edward was meant to become the Duke of Cambridge – a title that belongs to Prince William now – but reportedly rejected the honour.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Royal historian Kenneth Rose said: “Prince Edward was going to be the Duke of Cambridge, but he watched the film Shakespeare in Love, which had a character called the Earl of Wessex.
“He liked the sound of it and asked the Queen if he could have that instead.”
Duke and Duchess are the highest peerages a royal can receive – and all married members in the immediate line of succession are currently Dukes.
Only men can be given a dukedom, meaning a daughter of a Queen or King does not automatically become a Duchess whenever she marries.
This is the case with Princess Anne, who is not a Duchess, and who also chose to not give her children any Royal titles, so they could live as normal a life as possible.
The Earl of Wessex currently undertakes royal duties for his mother, albeit currently in a socially distanced manner, along with his siblings.
Prince Edward: Prince Edward is the Queen’s youngest son (Image: PA)
Earlier in life he briefly joined the marines before quitting and going to work for Andrew Lloyd Webber.
He is notable for being the first child of a monarch to pursue a career in the private sector.
In the 1990s he set up a television production company which focused on making royal history programs.
He lives with his wife and two children, James, Viscount Severn, born in 2007, and Lady Louise Windsor, born in 2003.
Sophie Wessex has been particularly active throughout the coronavirus crisis, regularly appearing in support of Royal charities and initiatives via video link.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex live at Bagshot Park in Surrey.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK