Celebrity Names Blog

Can Kate Middleton Keep Her Name After Marriage?

Can Kate Middleton Keep Her Name After Marriage?
officialroyalwedding2011.org/ The Middleton Family

Royal-to-be Kate Middleton is getting a lot of attention this week as she prepares for her ginormous Royal wedding to Prince William of Wales. Planning a wedding is stressful for anyone, so we can imagine what it must be like planning the most important (and most public) wedding of the decade: There's the dress, of course, and the cake, and the food, music and honeymoon to plan. And though it's customary in Western cultures for the bride to take on the last name of her new husband, more and more women are forgoing this tradition and keeping their surnames after marriage. Even Elizabeth Taylor, who had eight opportunities to change her name after marriage, stuck with her given name. So what name will Kate Middleton go by after April 29, 2011?

According to British Royal Family tradition-- and you thought your in-laws were tough to please-- the wife of a royal is given a title based on her husband's status and incorporating his name. Being married to Prince William of Wales, Kate may become known as Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales. However, if Queen Elizabeth II decides to make her grandson a Royal Duke after marriage (which usually happens for sons of the sovereign but less often for grandsons), then Kate Middleton becomes a Duchess. She would then be known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of [Whatever William is appointed a Royal Dukedom for].

Prince William's late mother Princess Diana was given quite a name change after her marriage. She was born Diana Spencer, but her official title while still married to Prince Charles was Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales & Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland. Phew!

Though Kate Middleton announced in late 2010 that she would prefer to be known as Catherine, this nickname-nix hasn't stuck with the media and we've still seen her referred to as Kate. However the official Royal wedding website (possibly the first British Royal wedding to have such a thing??) refers to her as Miss Catherine Middleton. And just in case you're wondering, you can watch the wedding streamed live on www.OfficialRoyalWedding2011.org at 5am EST on April 29.

What do you think about Kate Middleton's possible new names? Should she be allowed to keep her last name like a mere mortal, or is it an important royal tradition to take on a title? And, did you or would you change your name after marriage?

--M.F.

Comments

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April 20, 2011 6:11 PM
By Lane

It's weird, I had never really noticed that the Royals don't really have last names.

April 20, 2011 9:17 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

In Catherine's case, even if she did choose to keep her last name, I think it'd be lost in the shuffle. Whatever her official name, I'm guessing that the media will call her Princess Kate (or Duchess Kate) regardless of her wishes. Also, I believe the last name of the current British royal family is Windsor.

April 21, 2011 5:35 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It is Windsor, but at university he was listed as "William Wales."

Kate is pretty much signing away her mere mortaldom with this marriage, and I think her last name will and probably should go with it.

April 21, 2011 9:59 AM
By Martina

I'm reading that the Royal Last Name is actually Mountbatten-Windsor (from wiki answers):

The name Mountbatten-Windsor derives from the Royal surname Windsor, decided in 1917 by George V. Before this, the Royal surname was technically Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but due to anti-German sentiment after WWI, the decision was made to change the royal surname to Windsor.

In 1960, the Queen and Prince Philip decided to create a surname for their direct descendants, incorporating the surnames 'Windsor' and Prince Philip's previous surname, 'Mountbatten'.

April 21, 2011 1:24 PM
By Custard (not verified)

I would imagine regardless of "official" title, she will just be known as "Princess Catherine", rather than "Catherine, Duchess of ???". I mean she's the wife of the future King of Great Britain. She's no Duchess of York or Countess of Wessex!

I read that the Queen can bestow the title of Princess (as being a commoner she's not entitled to it), but she doesn't automatically get that title officially. Maybe the Queen will give her the title?

But maybe she'll just be plain old Catherine Mountbatten-Windsor on her Passport? I've always been curious about that.... what the royal family have on their passport!

April 21, 2011 4:06 PM
By Martina

RE: Custard- haha, do they need passports? They don't go through customs, I assume they fly on private jets. Though it would be funny to see The Queen go through a TSA pat down...

April 21, 2011 7:29 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I kept my last name, as it was a apart of me, and a part of my father and grandfather. Our children have my last name as their second middle name. It works fine for us.

I'd personally call myself WHATEVER if it meant being married to Prince William though ;)

April 23, 2011 3:31 PM
By Abcde (not verified)

I think she'll be called Princess Kate by the press, even if her title becomes Countess, Duchess, or anything else, just as Lady Di is called Princess Diana as compared to Princess Charles, which was TECHNICALLY her title

April 23, 2011 10:13 PM
By Sarah (not verified)

I took my husbands last name. I think it shows unity as a family. I do think using a maiden name as a middle name is a good idea though.

April 26, 2011 10:37 AM
By M. M. (not verified)

I took my husbands last name, despite the fact that I don't really like it. I'm very anti-alliteration in names, and yet, now my initials are M. M.

That being said, My husband is not only the only boy in his family - he is the only child - seriously. He has 3 sets of uncles and aunts, and he is the only child out of all of them. For his family having me take the name and giving it to the children meant a lot. If he had some siblings or cousins, I wouldn't have taken the name at all. I would have kept my maiden name and like Anon, given my family name to them as middles.

April 26, 2011 12:00 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

She should use Cate for her nickname, since Catherine does start with a C!

April 26, 2011 1:40 PM
By Jeannie (not verified)

I hope she goes as Lady Katey, as I liked it when Princess Diana was Lady Di...

April 26, 2011 2:18 PM
By Kate (not verified)

Lady Diana was a Lady before marriage and could become Princess Diana without a special bestowing by the Queen because she was NOT a commoner. Although not royalty, I guess she was what would be called a "noble". (Anyone know what her category would be termed?)

April 26, 2011 9:26 PM
By Michelle (not verified)

I will be interested to see what Kate's official title will be, and if the Queen will give in to public pressure and declare her Princess/Duchess Catherine or go with Princess William. I do believe that her former surname of Middleton will be made irrelevant (especially because she is a commoner), and she will be fully absorbed into the Royal Family. Regardless, I think it's a given that the press (especially the tabloids) is going to refer to her as Princess Kate, more reputable newspapers may refer to her as Princess Catherine.

That being said, I intend on keeping my own surname if/when I marry. I do not feel like changing my own identity simply because of a historical precedence, so that I am unrecognizable by name to old acquaintances and business colleagues.

April 26, 2011 11:34 PM
By Alma V (not verified)

Yeah, that's what I found out about a few years ago. I was on a royalty kick and found that out. So interesting but not surprising.

April 27, 2011 2:30 AM
By P. G. O. A. T. (not verified)

She'll always be called Kate here in Australia. We're lazy and love nicknames. I predict 'Princess Kate' in the media, at least.

I chose my own surname at eighteen out of nowhere - disdain for biological family - and kept it for my first marriage. I plan to keep it forever.

April 28, 2011 1:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Kate is catchy, but if Miss Catherine prefers the latter, then I will honor that. And regarding the rest of her name, I suppose in her position tradition is good. But I would like the effect that an example of last name keeping would have. I don't call myself a feminist, but I think it is bizarre that so many women take on their husband's last name. I would never. I like my last name, and showing my heritage. And it is too long to hyphenate. I will have to accept complications that arise by keeping it.

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