Princess of Wales

Princess of Wales (Welsh: Tywysoges Cymru) is a British courtesy title held by the wife of the Prince of Wales, who is, since the 14th century, the heir apparent of the English or British monarch. The first acknowledged title holder was Eleanor de Montfort, wife of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. It has subsequently been used by wives of post-conquest princes of Wales.

Princess of Wales
Tywysoges Cymru
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

since 9 April 2005[1]
StyleHer Royal Highness
ResidenceClarence House
Inaugural holderJoan of Kent

The title is currently held by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (the former Camilla Parker Bowles), second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, since their marriage on 9 April 2005.[1] She does not, however, use the title,[1] because of its association with the previous holder, Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in 1997. Instead, she uses the title of Duchess of Cornwall, the feminine form of her husband's highest-ranking subsidiary title.

Status of the title

The Princess of Wales is not a princess in her own right. There have been some Princesses of Wales who were addressed as such: for example, Alexandra of Denmark and Mary of Teck were called "Princess Alexandra" and "Princess Victoria Mary", respectively. However, that was because they were already princesses when they married. Diana, Princess of Wales, was commonly called "Princess Diana" following her marriage to the Prince of Wales, but this was incorrect because she was not a princess in her own right.

Although not granted the title in her own right, the future Queen Mary I was, during her youth, invested by her father, King Henry VIII, with many of the rights and properties traditionally given to the Prince of Wales, including use of the official seal of Wales for correspondence. For most of her childhood, Mary was her father's only legitimate heir, and for this reason, she was often referred to as "the Princess of Wales", although Henry never formally created her as such. For example, Spanish scholar Juan Luis Vives dedicated his Satellitium Animi to "Dominæ Mariæ Cambriæ Principi, Henrici Octavi Angliæ Regis Filiæ".[2]

Other titles of the Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales, by virtue of her marriage to the Prince of Wales, takes on the feminine equivalent of her husband's titles. Thus, upon marriage, the wife of the Prince of Wales assumes the styles and titles of Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, and Countess of Chester.

The Princess of Wales is known as the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, and the Prince of Wales is known as the Duke of Rothesay there, the dukedom being the title historically associated with the heir to the Scottish throne. She is known as the Duchess of Cornwall in the far south west of England, and as the Countess of Chester in Cheshire.

Native princesses of Wales

Several consorts of Welsh princes of Wales were theoretically princesses of Wales while their husbands were in power. Llywelyn ab Iorwerth's consort, Joan, Lady of Wales, used that title in the 1230s; Isabella de Braose and Elizabeth Ferrers were likewise married to princes of Wales, but it is not known if they assumed a title in light of their husbands' status.

The only consort of a Welsh prince definitively shown to have used the title was Eleanor de Montfort, the English bride of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales. Their only child was Gwenllian, who was taken prisoner as an infant following her father's death. Gwenllian was the last native Welsh princess to actually be described as Princess of Wales, which was not an official title; Edward I had her raised in Sempringham Priory in Lincolnshire, far from where any Welsh rebels could find her, and once appealed to the Pope to increase funds to the priory by writing that "...herein is kept the Princess of Wales, whom we have to maintain."

Princesses of Wales

This is a list of Princesses of Wales.[3]

Person Previous name Birth Marriage Became Princess of Wales Spouse Change in status Death
Joan, Countess of Kent 19 September 1328 10 October 1361 Edward the Black Prince 7 June 1376
(husband's death)
7 August 1385
Lady Anne Neville 11 June 1456 13 December 1470 Edward of Westminster 4 May 1471
(husband's death)
16 March 1485
Infanta Catherine of Aragon 16 December 1485 14 November 1501 Arthur, Prince of Wales 2 April 1502
(husband's death)
7 January 1536
Princess Caroline of Ansbach 1 March 1683 22 August 1705 27 September 1714 George Augustus of Brunswick and Lüneburg 11 June 1727
(husband's accession)
20 November 1737
Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha 30 November 1719 17 April 1736 Frederick, Prince of Wales 31 March 1751
(husband's death)
8 February 1772
Princess Caroline of Brunswick 17 May 1768 8 April 1795 George, Prince of Wales 29 January 1820
(husband's accession)
7 August 1821
Princess Alexandra of Denmark 1 December 1844 10 March 1863 Albert Edward, Prince of Wales 22 January 1901
(husband's accession)
20 November 1925
Princess Mary of Teck 26 May 1867 6 July 1893 9 November 1901 George, Duke of York 6 May 1910
(husband's accession)
24 March 1953
Lady Diana Spencer 1 July 1961 29 July 1981 Charles, Prince of Wales 28 August 1996
31 August 1997
Camilla Parker Bowles 17 July 1947 9 April 2005
(known as Duchess of Cornwall instead)

See also


  1. "House of Commons – Royal Marriage". Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  2. "To the Lady Mary, Prince of Wales, Daughter of Henry VIII, King of England"
  3. Cecily Neville, wife of Richard, Duke of York, is omitted from this list. Although her husband Richard of York was briefly given various titles, including Prince of Wales, by an Act of Parliament as part of his arrangement to succeed Henry VI as king instead of Henry's own son, he is not generally recognised as such and is not mentioned in any published summary of the topic.


  • Princesses of Wales by Deborah Fisher. University of Wales Press, 2005.
  • 'Tystiolaeth Garth Celyn' Y Traethodydd 1998 ISSN 0969-8930

Further reading

  • Fryer, M.; Mary Beacock Fryer; Arthur Bousfield; Garry Toffoli (1983). Lives of the Princesses of Wales. Toronto: Dundern Press Limited. ISBN 978-0-919670-69-3.
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