Prince Edward has referred to his wife Sophie as “duchess” for the first time after receiving the title of Duke of Edinburgh on his 59th birthday.
King Charles conferred his late father’s title to brother Edward in accordance with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wishes on Friday (10 March).
Shortly after the title change was announced, Edward greeted crowds at the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and addressed a gathering at the City Chambers, marking one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to the audience, Edward remarked it had been a “very special and slightly overwhelming” day for him and his wife, the new Duchess of Edinburgh.
“Thank you very much indeed for welcoming us to Edinburgh today on, indeed, a very special and slightly overwhelming day for – now – my wife, the duchess,” the duke said, prompting loud cheers from the audience.
Sophie’s former title was Countess of Wessex, equal in rank to Edward – the former Earl of Wessex. Their son, 15-year-old James, Viscount Severn is the new Earl of Wessex.
The duchess opted to wear a turquoise blue dress, with a cream coat for the occcasion.
Announcing the new title for Edward, Buckingham Palace in a statement on Friday said: “His Majesty The King has been pleased to confer the Dukedom of Edinburgh upon the Prince Edward, on the occasion of HRH’s 59th birthday today.
“The title will be held for HRH’s lifetime. The dukedom was last created for Prince Philip in 1947, upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, who held the title of Duchess of Edinburgh before acceding to the throne in 1952.
“The new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are proud to continue Prince Philip’s legacy of promoting opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to reach their full potential.”