Thread: British titles
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:05 PM
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The word "prince" has two meanings.
1. Member of the reigning family. Charles and William were born with that.
2. Ruler of a feudal territory designated as a Principality. This is conferred by the monarch.

Charles was born "HRH the Prince Charles". When he was ten, his mother gave him the "Prince of Wales" title. (The investiture ceremony took place when he was nineteen.) Then he became "HRH the Prince Charles, Prince of Wales".

Likewise, William was born with the royal title, but was not given the territorial title until he was an adult.

In the medieval era, the feudal titles indicated actual authority over the territory. In more recent centuries, they gave a vote in the House of Lords. Today, local and national governments do the actual governing, and the royals don't vote in Parliament.

One nitpick: When Charles becomes king, the Principality of Wales will become unified with the Crown. William will not become Prince of Wales until Charles formally grants him the title.