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Why Is Princess Anne, Not Charlotte, the Princess Royal?
Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

We know Princess Anne as the hardest working royal and biggest horse enthusiast in the family (she has the medals and Olympic memories to prove it). But did you know she’s also the Princess Royal?

Yes, there’s a higher echelon of princessdom and it comes with the title of Princess Royal. As royal expert and author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, Duncan Larcombe told Town and Country, “The title of Princess Royal is traditionally bestowed on the eldest daughter of the monarch.”

In case you’re unfamiliar, the 69-year-old princess is Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest (and only) daughter. But while she’s the current Princess Royal, her title may eventually be transferred to another princess—Princess Charlotte (4). Of course, it’s not entirely up to Princess Anne when Charlotte will gain the title. In fact, the transference of this title doesn’t happen automatically and it’s up to Prince William if and when Princess Charlotte will assume the prestigious moniker.

Larcombe explained, “Princess Anne had to wait until 1987 before her mother the queen bestowed the title of Princess Royal on her, even though the title had been vacant since 1965.” Basically, it may be a long while until Princess Charlotte becomes the Princess Royal. Her grandpa, Prince Charles, then her father, subsequently, have to become king first. But even after that, she may need to wait a bit longer.

It’s likely that Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will bestow Charlotte with the Princess Royal title once she marries. Why? Because British tradition says that anyone who gets, um, intimate with the Princess Royal before getting married shall be sentenced to death.

The more you know.

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