Kate Middleton is the first royal since Diana Spencer to use the title the Princess of Wales. During his first public address as king, Charles introduced Prince William and Kate as the new Prince and Princess of Wales, in addition to being Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.
However, she's not the first to have the option. When Camilla Parker Bowles married Charles in 2005, she technically became Princess of Wales.
However, Camilla chose not to use the title, instead going by the Duchess of Cornwall, NBC reported at the time. Until becoming queen consort following the queen's death in September 2022, her name was styled as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Until now, Kate has honored her late mother-in-law in subtle ways, like fashion statements and wearing her sapphire engagement ring.
Following the official title change, Kate is making an effort to make the Princess of Wales her own. A palace spokesperson said that the Princess of Wales “appreciates the history associated with this role” but will “understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path.”
In doing so, Kate and William are distancing themselves from Charles and Diana's time holding the same titles.
Charles and Diana separated in 1992, with details about their marriage emerging in on-the-record interviews with both royals and one famous tell-all memoir. They formally divorced in 1996, a year before her death.
“The couple are focused on deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time. The Prince and Princess of Wales will approach their roles in the modest and humble way they’ve approached their work previously,” the spokesperson continued.