Prince Philip's Duke of Edinburgh title is promised to Prince Edward, but experts say Prince Charles was always going to inherit it first

Prince Philip's Duke of Edinburgh title is promised to Prince Edward, but experts say Prince Charles was always going to inherit it first
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the unveiling of a statue of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother during a visit to Dorset.Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
  • Prince Charles will inherit the Duke of Edinburgh title from his father, Prince Philip.
  • It was promised to Prince Edward but will be bestowed on him only when Charles ascends the throne.
  • "When Charles is king, the Edinburgh peerage reverts to the crown," a royal expert told Insider.

The late Prince Philip's Duke of Edinburgh title has passed to Prince Charles, as his eldest son and heir to the throne.

While the title's next holder will be Charles' brother Edward, Earl of Wessex, royal protocol dictates that the title must first revert to the crown upon Charles' ascension to the throne, as outlined in King George VI's Letters Patent on November 19, 1947.

The peerage was created for Philip when he relinquished his status as a European royal to marry Queen Elizabeth II. It was said that after his death, the title would pass to "the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten," as noted by the royal expert Marlene Eilers Koenig in her blog.

Speaking with Insider, Koenig explained: "When Edward got married, the announcement of his new title Earl of Wessex also included a statement that he would receive the title Duke of Edinburgh only after the title reverted to the crown."

"This means when Charles is king, the Edinburgh peerage reverts to the crown. This will allow Charles to create a new Dukedom of Edinburgh for his brother," she added.


The college of arms, which controls and grants coats of arms in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as some Commonwealth countries, confirmed in a statement last week that the title would first go to Charles.

"These peerages are hereditary and on the death of His Royal Highness have passed to his eldest son, HRH The Prince of Wales," the statement says. "In the event of the Prince of Wales or any subsequent holder of these titles succeeding to the Crown, these titles and all others held will merge with the Crown."

The college of arms' statement also accounts for Prince Philip's other titles that he inherited the day after he was granted his HRH title on November 19, 1947, such as Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, of Greenwich in the County of London.

He officially became a British prince on February 22, 1957, when the title was granted to him by the Queen in a new Letters Patent. The statement added: "A declaration of the same date communicated Her Majesty's will and pleasure that her husband be known as His Royal Highness The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh."

It is unlikely that Prince Charles will use the title, as he already has a long list including the Prince of Wales as well as the Duke of Rothesay when he is in Scotland and the Duke of Cornwall when he is visiting southwestern England. Prince Edward holds only the title of Earl of Wessex.


The royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams described the Duke of Edinburgh title to Insider as now "dormant" and said previous monarchs including King George I and Queen Victoria had re-created the title for their sons after it had lain dormant.

"This is the way titles can go, and then the title gets re-created when a new monarch ascends the throne," Fitzwilliams said.

Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.