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Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton | Anthony Devlin-WPA Pool/Getty Images

There has been a debate for years about whether or not Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, is actually a princess and if the title should be used in front of her name. The question has come up many times because when William’s mother, Lady Diana Spencer, married Prince Charles in 1981 she became known to the world as Princess Diana. However, Middleton and William tied the knot in 2011 but she isn’t referred to that way nearly as often which has led to confusion about what to call her and is known in the media as The Great Kate Debate.

Now, we’re breaking down what her title actually is and if she is really a princess and should be referred to as such.

How Middleton is commonly referred to

Over the years some news outlets have called the woman born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton Princess Kate but most have referred to her as the Duchess of Cambridge or by the name she had before she married England’s future king.

She is, in fact, a duchess. On her wedding day, she and William received the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from Queen Elizabeth II. William’s bride also adopted the female form of his regal titles. Middleton’s full name is now Her Royal Highness The Duchess Of Cambridge, Countess Of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus, but is she actually a princess?

The royal rule for a princess

Kate Middleton and Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William | Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images

The fact of the matter is Middleton should not be referred to as Princess Kate because she is not of royal blood.

For women born into the royal family like Queen Elizabeth’s late sister Margaret, she was entitled to call herself Princess Margaret because of her royal bloodline. The same is true for Her Majesty’s daughter, Princess Anne, and the queen’s granddaughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. The royal rule is that grandchildren born to the sons of the monarch receive the title of prince or princess, but not those born to the daughters of a monarch. This is why William and Middleton’s children have the titles they do but Princess Charlotte’s children will not unless the rule is changed one day.

Why was Diana known as a princess?

So if Middleton is not a princess because she lacks royal blood then how come Diana, who was not born into a royal family either, was always referred to as a princess.

Well unbeknownst to just about everybody, Princess Diana was never her official title, it was just her public-given name. When she got married she was the Princess of Wales and after her divorce from Prince Charles, she was Diana, Princess of Wales but never Princess Diana.

As for Middleton, Good Housekeeping noted that she will not be Her Royal Highness Catherine, Princess of Wales until Prince Charles takes the throne and William acquires the title Prince of Wales. Then, when William becomes king Middleton will be Her Majesty Queen Consort Catherine VI.

Read more: Was Kate Middleton’s Mother the Reason Prince William Broke Up With Her Daughter?

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