What will Charles be called now he's King?

·4-min read
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

Prince Charles has been heir apparent to the throne since he was three years old. Today [8 September] he has become King, following the sad passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

At the age of 73, Prince Charles was the oldest (and most longstanding) heir apparent to the throne, having been first in line since 1952. And, unsurprisingly, he is about to face some major changes as he is crowned king. There will be obvious things, like moving from his home in Clarence House to Buckingham Palace, and then of course there will be a change in title.

This evening, he has announced that his new title will be King Charles III.

You might assume this was an obvious decision, but there was actually no guarantee of that at all. In fact, it's very common for members of the royal family to change their name when they become monarch.

Queen Elizabeth's father was christened Albert Frederick Arthur George, but when he took to the throne in 1936, he opted to go by the name King George VI, honouring his father, King George V.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

Similarly, the Queen's great-grandfather was known officially as King Edward VII, but his real name was Albert Edward. The Queen's great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, also chose a different name for her reign, having been christened Alexandrina Victoria at birth.

The Queen herself broke with this tradition, however, opting to use her own name. Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor in April 1926, it's reported that the monarch bluntly replied, "My own of course!" when asked what she wanted to go by as Queen, ahead of her coronation in 1952.

Photo credit: Keystone - Getty Images
Photo credit: Keystone - Getty Images

All this means Prince Charles had a number of options available to him. There have been two King Charles' in British royal history already, and both of these former Kings had some controversy attached to them - one having been executed for treason and the other having ruled during the dark times of the plague and the Great Fire of London. As such, some thought there was a chance he might not choose King Charles III as his new title.

In that instance, there were a few other options. In typical royal fashion, Queen Elizabeth and her late husband, Prince Philip, gave their firstborn son Charles several names. The heir-to-the-throne's full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, so he in fact had three other, perfectly prestigious-sounding names to choose from there.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

There doesn't appear to have been a King Philip previously in British royal history, so this could have served as a way for Charles to carve an individual name for himself, while also paying tribute to his father. On the flip side, he may have felt uncomfortable assuming his father's name for his regal duties.

King Arthur may sound familiar, but there's ongoing debate around whether the character and his round table ever actually existed in real life history. So if Prince Charles had wanted to pinch one of his middle names, this could have worked. The other option was to go for King George VII, but because his eldest grandson is a future King George, he might not have wanted to take that away from him.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Charles could, of course, have gone for something totally unrelated to his birth names - for one that has been historically popular for royal kings of the past, such as Henry, James or Edward, but that was unlikely considering he had a whole host of options ready and waiting to be chosen from already.

And what does all of this mean for Prince William? Well, Prince William's title will also change. While he won't automatically become the Prince of Wales, he does inherit his father's title of Duke of Cornwall. This means Kate Middleton will now be known as the Duchess of Cornwall. And, of course, Charles' wife Camilla will now be Queen Consort.

King Charles III is due to spend tonight at Balmoral, before travelling back to London tomorrow. It is expected that he will officially be proclaimed as king at 10am by the “accession council” (which includes senior government figures), though he’s technically been king since the moment Her Majesty passed. He will then address the nation.

You Might Also Like