View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill at sunset

Why is Prince Philip called the Duke of Edinburgh?

This page contains adverts and may also include affiliate marketing links. To find out more about the advertising that funds this website, please read the Privacy Policy.

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip is Queen Elizabeth II’s husband. We all know him as the Duke of Edinburgh. But why does he have this title?

Why isn’t Prince Philip a King?

In the UK, when we have a male monarch, he is the King and his wife becomes a Queen. However, when we have a female monarch, she is Queen, but her husband does not become King. This is because, traditionally, when a woman marries she takes on her husband’s name and equivalent rank. But, if she outranks her husband, she retains her title and he does not receive it.

How did he become Duke of Edinburgh?

Before Prince Philip married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, he was a member of the Greek and Danish royal families. In order to marry her, he had to renounce his former titles and become a British subject. Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, then gave him the title Duke of Edinburgh, the day before the wedding.

Elizabeth was crowned Queen in 1953, and four years later, she made Philip a British Prince. His official title from then on has been “His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh”.

So, why the Duke of EDINBURGH?

Duke of Edinburgh was an extinct historic title, which King George I first created in 1726 for his grandson Prince Frederick. Frederick’s son inherited this title, but it merged with the crown in 1760 when he became King George III. In 1866, Queen Victoria re-created the title for her son Prince Alfred, who did not have a surviving heir to pass it on to. So, the title became extinct again.

In 1947, King George VI had several historic dukedoms to choose from for Prince Philip. Edinburgh would have been a strong contender, having been held previously by very high ranking royals. It’s likely he would have consulted with Philip himself, along with the royal family and the Prime Minister, when making the decision.

Will Prince Philip pass his Duke of Edinburgh title down?

Yes, as things stand, when Prince Philip dies he will pass the title of Duke of Edinburgh to his son and heir, Prince Charles. However, Charles is also heir to the throne. So, if and when Charles becomes King, the title will merge with the crown and become extinct for a third time.