Prince Charles is supposedly considering whether to give Prince Edward his late father’s royal title, which his brother is expecting to inherit. After his father, Prince Philip, passed away in April, his Duke of Edinburgh title was handed over to Charles.
In the event that Charles becomes King, he will merge the title with the Crown. Then, the new monarch can decide whether he wishes to bestow it on his brother, another royal, or hold it in abeyance.
It had been commonly thought that the title of Duke of Edinburgh would automatically be passed on to Edward. When he wed Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, Buckingham Palace stated that the couple would be formally titled the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and mentioned, “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have also agreed that the Prince Edward should be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the present title now held by the Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown.”
The possible change of plan was first reported in The Sunday Times where a friend of Charles was quoted saying, “It is up to him what happens to the title. It will not go to Edward.” Another source hinted that as far as the Prince is concerned, the title wouldn’t go to the Wessexes.
While Buckingham Palace declined to comment, a spokesperson for Prince Charles told PEOPLE that “All stories of this nature are speculation and no final decisions have been taken. It would be inappropriate and disrespectful to the Queen to comment on matters of accession and we will be maintaining our long-standing policy of not doing so.”
Since Prince Philip’s death and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s exit from their roles as working royals, Edward, 57, and Sophie, 56, have become more significant members of the royal family publicly. The couple has been championing Philip’s Duke of Edinburgh award.