The Future of the Duke of Edinburgh Title

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Imperial Majesty
Jun 29, 2004
Currently the heir to the Edinburgh title is Prince Charles as the eldest son of the title-holder.
The Letters Patent provision of 'heirs male of the body' means that Charles will inherit the Edinburgh title on the death of his father.

• If that happens while the Queen is still alive then Charles will add the Edinburgh titles to his present titles. When Charles becomes King the Edinburgh title will merge with the crown.
• If Philip outlives the Queen then the Edinburgh title will pass to Charles, who is already King, and thus will automatically merge with the crown.

It is then intended to recreate the Edinburgh title for Edward.


• If Charles predeceases the Queen then the title would pass to William, who presumably would honour his grandmother's stated wish but...
• If Charles and William predecease the Queen then that sitution reaches Harry, who again presumably would honour his grandmother's stated wish but...

There is a scenario whereby the title is not available for anyone to regrant it to Edward:

• William marries and has a daughter (or a couple of daughters) but no son.
• Charles, William and Philip die before the Queen leaving the daughter (or eldest daughter) as the Queen's heir - then Harry inherits directly the Edinburgh title and it doesn't merge with the crown.

The current succession to the Edinburgh title is the same as for the throne in the first four people.


Philip dies
Charles dies
William dies
Queen dies
Harry inherits and it merges with the crown

add a daughter in there for William and it changes:

Philip dies
Charles dies
William dies leaving the daughter as heiress apparent (can't be replaced by a son)
Queen dies
Harry becomes Duke of Edinburgh and Edward misses out.

The deaths above can happen in any order so long as the three men die before the Queen and William has a legitimate daughter and no sons.

Of course Edward could also inherit the Edinburgh title directly from his father - if:

• Charles, William, Harry and Andrew all predecease Philip (or again William and/or Harry leave only legitimate daughters) then the title would pass to Edward by direct inheritance (along with the Merioneth and Greenwich titles).

Harry can't inherit the title, as it is currently set up, from Edward as Edward has a son who would inherit it assuming that a new regrant would use the standard Letters Patent of 'heirs male of the body'. It would be strange to set LPs for a new title that grants the father only the title and not allow it to go to his son when his other titles - Wessex and Severn - will go to James.

There is no way that BP can say that Edward would definitely get the Edinburgh title as they are fully aware of the inheritance possibilities and so know that there is a chance that

a) Edward won't get it at all or
b) that he could get it through direct inheritance or
c) the most likely that he will get it as a regrant when it merges with the crown at Charles' accession.
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The Queen is fully aware of the Letters Patent that were used by her father to create her husband Duke of Edinburgh. Namely that it would be inherited by the 'heirs male of his body'. She hasn't changed the LPs (and would need an Act of Parliament to do so). She isn't about to deprive her eldest son of one of his rights - the right to inherit his own father's title.

The announcement at the time of Edward's marriage was very clear as seen in this report from the BBC at the time BBC NEWS | Special Report | 1999 | 06/99 | royal wedding | Wessex titles for Edward and Sophie

It has also been agreed that Edward will also become Duke of Edinburgh after the death of his mother, the Queen, and his father, Prince Philip, who currently holds the dukedom.

Note that this states that both Edward's parents have to die before he gets the Edinburgh title meaning that Charles will inherit it from his father and then regrant it to Edward. It will merge with the crown when Charles becomes King and both his parents are dead and until then it won't be available to Edward.

The Wikipedia article says the following: Duke of Edinburgh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It was announced in 1999, at the time of the wedding of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex,_Earl_of_Wessex, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, that he would eventually follow his father as Duke of Edinburgh. However, the process by which this might happen is not simple, and will almost certainly not involve Edward directly inheriting the title from his father. Like any normal dukedom, the present Dukedom of Edinburgh passes to the heirs-male of the first duke, and Edward is currently fifth in this line of succession, following his two older brothers and his two nephews.

Rather, when the present duke dies, the dukedom will be inherited by his eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales,_Prince_of_Wales (or his heir, if he is deceased). If Charles is not yet king when this occurs, he would add "Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich" to his own list of titles,_Prince_of_Wales.
Only after Charles (or his heir) has both inherited the title of Duke of Edinburgh and ascended the throne would the present creation merge in the crown.

Presuming that there is no intention to call a new creation of the Dukedom into being while the current remains active, then, Edward will not be created Duke of Edinburgh until after the death of both his parents. At that point in time the monarch of the day (although in no way legally bound to do so) will presumably carry out the announced scheme.
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The future of the Duke of Edinburgh title

The question of what will happen to the Duke of Edinburgh title is regularly raised and just as regularly answered.
Rather than continually repeating the explanation, two posts that detail the future inheritance of the Edinburgh title have been copied to this "sticky" thread.

Any discussion relating to this subject should be done in the Royal Dukes and Ducal Titles thread.

British Forums moderator
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