King Charles Did Not Follow The Queen's Footsteps When Giving Out Titles

In his first address since the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96, King Charles III of Great Britain — formerly the Prince of Wales — updated his nation and the world on the status of the royal family, including two new royal titles bestowed upon family members (via CNN). Charles' decision to immediately announce those two title changes, in particular, diverged in one important way from how Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth, bestowed that same title on Charles himself at the age of 20 in 1969 (per the Associated Press).

Upon his mother's death, Charles became king of England, while other royal titles remained in flux, as the Daily Mail explains. One such example is Charles' eldest son, Prince William, and his wife, Catherine "Kate" Middleton, who are now next in line for the English throne. On the day that Elizabeth died, it was confirmed that both William and Kate had become the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Wales, but in his address, Charles clarified they would also now carry his former title.

William and Kate are now the prince and princess of Wales

Unlike "king" or "queen," the ancient British royal title of "Prince of Wales" — indicating the male heir to the throne in the case of the prince and the next female in line to be queen as far as the princess — does not immediately transfer upon a monarch's death, but must instead be bestowed by a monarch, as Merriam-Webster explains. Charles' decision to bestow William and Kate with those titles differs from how his own mother handled the line of succession, as she waited 20 years after Charles' birth to give that same title to him.

Middleton now carries the same title William's mother, Prince Diana, carried until her death in 1997, according to Britannica. In his address, King Charles also spoke of his second son, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle, who will remain the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as both have chosen to step away from royal duties. In his speech, the King said (via CNN), "I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas."