An article in the New York Post speculates that “if Princess Diana were still alive, she might eventually have received a new title.”
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday has led many to remember the unexpected passing of Princess Diana. Aug. 31 marked the 25-year anniversary of the tragic car crash in which she perished.
During a highly viewed and controversial interview with journalist Martin Bashir in 1995, Princess Diana said: “I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts, in people’s hearts, but I don’t see myself being the Queen of this country.”
Princess Diana enjoyed great public support, and even though she was separated from Prince Charles for several years when the 1995 interview aired, the news that she did not want to be queen of the country sent shockwaves throughout the United Kingdom.
Eight months later, when Diana and Charles formally divorced, Diana was no longer eligible to become queen. At the time, Diana also surrendered the title of Her Royal Highness (HRH).
The Post notes that “after the divorce, it was agreed her new title would be Diana, Princess of Wales.”
Reportedly, the Queen was inclined to allow Diana to keep the HRH title, but Prince Charles demanded it be relinquished. According to custom, the title change obliged Diana to curtsy to others with an HRH — including Prince Charles and her children, Prince William and Prince Harry.
As a sign of favor, after the divorce the palace said that Princess Diana would continue to be “regarded as a member of the royal family.”
Some today wonder how today’s passing of Queen Elizabeth would have impacted Diana’s title.
U.K. Constitution expert Dr. Robert Morris of University College London’s Constitution Unit told the Post: “She would have kept her Princess of Wales title, as that was part of the original divorce agreement. If the princess had remarried, however, she would have lost her title and most likely gone back to being Lady Diana.”
In a sweet anecdote, according to Diana’s butler Paul Burrell, when Diana lost her HRH, her 14-year-old son William told her, “Don’t worry Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King.”
Some now speculate that William might have bestowed a new title on his mother had she survived the car crash in 1997, suggesting that Diana could have qualified for the title “Queen Mother” if she were alive when William ascends the throne.
Though several technical points of tradition complicate the issue, some believe that as king, William would have the power and inclination to bend the rules and officially elevate his mother’s status.
Experts note that any change in Diana’s title would not impact Camilla, Charles’ current wife, who is expected to hold the title “Queen Consort.”
In 2005, Queen Elizabeth announced that when Charles ascends the throne, he will be King and Camilla’s title will be “Princess Consort.” At the time, it was thought the Queen announced the unusual title out of respect for Diana.
In February of this year, Queen Elizabeth reversed her decision and ordered that when Charles becomes King, Camilla’s official title will be “Queen Consort.”
In a touching tribute, Royal author Stewart Pearce, a close friend of Diana, said he believes Diana would have given Camilla her blessing to the title saying, “I am sure that Diana would be in full support of it.
The Guardian reports that Charles, 73, has been next in line for the throne for seven decades – reportedly, his is the longest wait to ascend the throne in the history of the British monarchy.
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