King Charles’ grandfather King George VI made a massive royal rule change to give him his title

King Charles may be the sovereign of the country but when he was born he wasn’t technically supposed to be titled ‘Prince.’ Here’s why that was and what made the change!

King Charles Royal Rule change historian Marlene Koenig
© Max Mumby/Getty_Images
King Charles Royal Rule change historian Marlene Koenig

Imagine being born into the Royal Family and destined to be a King one day, but not having any rights on a title when you’re born. Weird, right? Something similar happened to King Charles - who was recently discharged from the hospital after his enlarged prostate surgery.

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The Royal Family has a lot of rules and laws that they must abide by at all times. Some make sense, others are there just to differentiate them from the commoners. Amidst this, there was one rule that denied Charles the title of a ‘Prince’ when he was born.

King Charles may not have been titled ‘Prince’ if the Royal rule wasn’t changed

When King Charles was born on 14 November 1948 he became second in line to the British throne. His grandfather - King George VI - was still the King and his mother Queen Elizabeth II was known as Princess Elizabeth.

Because he was born and destined to be the King someday, thanks to the Royal’s line of succession, he was granted a royal title and was called a ‘Prince.’ However, it wasn’t supposed to happen and may have not happened if King George VI hadn’t changed the Royal rule.

According to the letters patent implemented in 1917, the Royal titles are passed through the male line of royals. Since King Charles is a Royal due to his mother and when he was born she was still a Princess and a Queen in waiting, there was no guarantee that Charles would have gotten a royal title.

Just like Queen Elizabeth II changed Princess Charlotte’s life course, King George VI intervened and changed the Royal rule for Charles and Anne. This comes as both the siblings were born before Elizabeth II became a Queen.

Royal historian Marlene Koenig told Express:

In 1948 George VI issued a letters patent that gave royal status to Elizabeth’s children.
If he had not done this, Charles would’ve been styled as the Earl of Merioneth and Anne as Lady Anne Mountbatten until Elizabeth succeeded to the throne.

Who else is affected by this Royal rule?

The Royal rule was only changed for Charles and Anne and it applies to other Royals from females of the Royal Family. Marlene explained that the Royal rule still applies to Lady Sarah Chatto and Princess Anne's children as they have descended from the royals through their mother's line.

Princess Anne’s refusal to give her children a title has been widely known and debated. Her children - Zara Tindall and Peter Philips - may have been called Prince and Princess, but she decided against it. Zara Tindall - who enjoys a life of her own away from the Royals - has previously spoken about it and expressed she’s ‘lucky’ to not have had any titles bestowed on her.

This comes as without the ‘burden’ of a title she is able to live the life in whatever way she wants, reports Express. On her podcast Total Sport, she said:

From my point of view, I was obviously very lucky that my mother didn't give us any titles so I really commend her on that.
We were very lucky that we got to do it a bit our own way. My family has a great work ethic as well which I'm hoping they instilled in me and is still going to this day.

Despite not having a title, Zara Tindall and her family, particularly her daughter Mia Tindall have been in the limelight.

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Sources Used

Express: The unusual title King Charles could have had if George VI didn’t change royal rule

Express: Zara Tindall reveals what she really thinks about Princess Anne not giving her royal title

Royal Family: This forgotten feud once troubled King Charles, Princess Anne, and Princess Margaret Royal Family: This forgotten feud once troubled King Charles, Princess Anne, and Princess Margaret