What do British royal titles mean?

It is tradition for senior royals have numerous titles and honours

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort in Berlin
Members of the Royal Family, including King Charles, have many different titles. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The Royal Family is a large and complex institution, often dictated by rules stretching back hundreds of years.

And as the country celebrates King Charles' coronation, you may be wondering why royals have so many different titles – and what they all mean.

Here is everything you need to know about royal titles.

Why do royals have multiple titles?

It is tradition for senior royals have numerous titles and honours, although they typically only go by their highest-ranking one. The titles they use depend on how senior they are, and on which part of the UK they are visiting.

For example, Prince William's main title is Prince of Wales – but when in Scotland, he's referred to as Duke of Rothesay, and in Cornwall he's Duke of Cornwall. He has a string of other titles, including Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, and Lord of the Isles.

King Charles III, Camilla, Queen Consort, Prince William and Kate Middleton
Prince William inherited several titles, including Prince of Wales, from his father Charles. (Hannah McKay/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

William inherited most of his titles after King Charles III took the throne, due to his position as eldest son of the monarch. But he also retains three titles he was given on his wedding day in 2011: Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus.

Senior royals also use the HRH style, which stands for His or Her Royal Highness.

Is Camilla Queen or Queen Consort?

When she married Charles in 2005, there was much debate about what Camilla would eventually be called. Royal aides insisted that Camilla would simply choose not to call herself queen and be known as Princess Consort.

But on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February 2022, Elizabeth II endorsed the then-Duchess of Cornwall to be known as Queen when the time came. The Queen said it was her "sincere wish" that Camilla would take the title.

The wife of a King automatically becomes a Queen and only a change in legislation would have prevented Camilla from being so.

Buckingham Palace has referred to Camilla as the Queen Consort since Elizabeth II's death, but she will be officially known as Queen Camilla after she is crowned.

Do Harry, Meghan and Andrew still have royal titles?

Prince Harry and Meghan are still known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, despite stepping down as senior royals in 2020.

They also still hold two other titles: the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton in Scotland, and the Baron and Baroness Kilkeel in Northern Ireland. Meghan and Harry were granted these monikers by Queen Elizabeth II on their wedding day in 2018.

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 17: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the sitting volleyball event during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Meghan and Harry no longer use their HRH styles. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The couple no longer use their HRH styles, although they technically still hold them.

Prince Andrew stopped using the HRH style in the wake of his civil sex case in 2022, but is still known as the Duke of York. Peerages, such as the rank of duke, can only be removed by an act of Parliament.

Despite not being frontline royals, both Harry and Andrew are still princes by birthright, under rules set out by King George V in 1917.

Why is Meghan a duchess, not a princess?

As the wife of a prince, Meghan is technically a princess. However, she is known as Duchess of Sussex, rather than Princess Meghan, due to royal convention.

Princess titles are typically reserved for those born into the Royal Family – such as Princess Charlotte and Princess Anne – rather than those who marry into it.

After Diana married Charles in 1981, she was widely known to the public as Princess Diana. However, this title was not strictly accurate. She was technically 'Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales' during her marriage, then 'Diana, Princess of Wales' after her divorce.