Though we adore Kate Middleton as much as the next avid royal fan, we admit we’re not quite as smitten with her official titles — after all, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Lady Carrickfergus is a bit of a mouthful! But this does have us wondering: Will Kate Middleton ever be queen, and what would she be called if that happened?
As it turns out, there’s a big possibility the fashionable Kate could one day add “queen” to her long list of titles: Her husband, Prince William, is currently second in line to the throne, right behind his father, Prince Charles. Though the dashing William, Duke of Cambridge, will have the option of either choosing a whole new name or keeping his current one (in which case he’d be King William V), Kate will be known simply as Her Majesty Queen Catherine — despite previous reports that she’d take on the loftier-sounding “Catherine VI.”
What will be Kate Middleton’s queen name?
The Roman numerals after a title are called “regnal numbers,” which are there to help us tell apart all the monarchs who’ve had the same name. And though Kate has been a pioneer in many ways, she won’t be the first English Queen Catherine: There have already been five.
“Catherine has not been a lucky name for English monarchs,” historical novelist Philippa Gregory wrote for The Telegraph. “The first Queen Catherine was widowed and disgraced, the next abandoned and divorced, one was beheaded and one infertile. But our future Queen Catherine… can be reassured that there are positive associations for the name, too. Every Queen Catherine was deeply loved by her husband (for a time, at least) — a rare event when marriages were arranged for policy reasons.”
However, it seems the royals can’t do anything without first checking with tradition, and it just so happens that custom states that a reigning monarch can tout a Roman numeral… but his or her spouse can’t. Take the current sovereign, for example: While there have been many Queen Elizabeths in England’s history (including the reigning queen’s mother), only the famous Renaissance one was a ruler in her own right. Every other Liz was the wife of a King — leaving the young Elizabeth Alexandra Mary to ascend to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II.
What titles will Kate Middleton have?
Still, there’s no need to feel bad for the lack of a noble “the sixth” in front of Kate Middleton’s presumed future title. Kate will be known as a “queen consort,” or a queen married to a ruling king. Plus, Harper’s Bazaar found that, “The mother of three will inherit all sorts of duchies, earldoms, and ladyships. Once she becomes queen and is given the feminine form of all her husband’s titles, it’s likely that Kate will also be created the Duchess of Normandy, the Duchess of Lancaster, and Lady of Mann.”
And though we’ll be very happy to one day see Kate Middleton on a throne, we’re not in any rush to be talking about Queen Catherine just yet. The feisty, fun-loving Queen Elizabeth II is still the sole ruler of our hearts for now.