On Thursday, Prince William headed to Scotland to attend a war memorial service, meet with entrepreneurs, and give out several royal medals. But nobody there was calling him the Duke of Cambridge. Kensington Palace’s official Twitter account noted that when he’s in Scotland, he’s the Earl of Strathearn instead.
The Independent reports that senior, married officials in the royal family have different regional titles. Scotland was its own country until 1707, and has its own system of nobility, which is why the titles for royals are different.
Back in 2011, William and Kate were given the titles Earl and Countess of Strathearn on their wedding day. Local politicians welcomed the new title, especially since the two met while attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, and Charles also has two separate Scottish titles, the Earl of Carrick and Baron of Renfrew. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton.
The Earl of Strathearn is an ancient title in Scotland, and the original title holders were prominent nobility in the country with close ties to the Pope. The last Earl of Strathearn inherited the title way back in 1408, before the title was annexed to the crown amid strife with King James I.
“The title has had a checkered career, lying dormant for a long time,” historian Colin Mayall told the Daily Record. “It was resuscitated by Queen Victoria but never again had the same significance as in the early days when the pro-English Earls were relevant to Scotland’s growth as a country.”
The first Earl of Dumbarton was George Douglas, who was given the title in 1675 in recognition for his military service. BBC News notes that the title became extinct after his son, who inherited the title, died. It hasn’t been used in 260 years.
Those aren’t the only different titles William and Harry have. The Telegraph notes that in Northern Ireland, William and Kate are known as Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus, while Harry and Meghan are Baron and Baroness Kilkeel.
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