Prince Edward made Duke of Edinburgh for his 59th birthday

The Earl of Wessex has finally received his late father's title

Today, on his 59th birthday, The Earl of Wessex has been made Duke of Edinburgh by his brother, The King.

The move honours the wishes of the late Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who wanted the couple to inherit Philip’s title.

When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys Jones in 1999, it was announced the couple only received an Earldom because they would one day become Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

Edward and Sophie, the new Earl and Countess of Wessex, on their wedding day in Windsor on 19th June 1999.

However, there had been speculation in recent months that Charles would not pass on the title, despite it being available after the Queen’s death last September.

A palace statement said: ‘His Majesty the King has been pleased to confer the Dukedom of Edinburgh upon the Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Forfar, on the occasion of His Royal Highness’s 59th birthday. The title will be held by Prince Edward for His Royal Highness’s lifetime.

‘The Dukedom was last created for Prince Philip in 1947, upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, who held the title of Duchess of Edinburgh before acceding to the throne in 1952. The new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are proud to continue Prince Philip’s legacy of promoting opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to reach their full potential.’

When Philip died, in April 2021, the title was passed to the then-Prince of Wales, but when Charles became King, the title returned to the Crown.

Prince Edward and Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, have finally been made Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, taking on Prince Philip’s title

This means that The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh’s son, James, now 16, moves from being Viscount Severn to The Earl of Wessex, because sons take their father’s secondary title. Lady Louise’s circumstances remains the same however, as she continues at St Andrew’s University.

However, the title will not be automatically inherited by James after Edward’s death: it will revert to the Crown once more.

It also allows for The Duke of Edinburgh Award to remain eponymous and continue in Edward’s name.

Edward was created The Earl of Forfar in 2019 for his 55th birthday by the late Queen.

The Dukedom has previously been created four times for members of the Royal Family: in 1726 for Prince Frederick, the eldest son of King George II; in 1764 for Prince William, brother of King George III; in 1866 for Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria; and in 1947 for Prince Philip.

Edward and Sophie will attend a reception in Edinburgh today (appropriately), for a reception to mark the first year of conflict in Ukraine.

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