Princess Royal

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This article is about British Royal title. For the current holder, see Anne, Princess Royal.
The Princess Anne, the current Princess Royal
The Princess Mary, the inaugural holder of the title Princess Royal

Princess Royal is a style customarily (but not automatically) awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter.[1] The style is held for life, so a princess cannot be given the style during the lifetime of another Princess Royal. In particular, Queen Elizabeth II never held the title as her aunt, Princess Mary, was in possession of the title.

There have been seven Princesses Royal. Princess Anne is the current Princess Royal.[2]

The title Princess Royal came into existence when Queen Henrietta Maria (1609–1669), daughter of Henry IV, King of France, and wife of King Charles I (1600–1649), wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the King of France was styled "Madame Royale".[3]

Princess Mary (later Queen Mary II) (1662–1694), eldest daughter of King James II & VII, and Princess Sophia Dorothea (1687–1757), only daughter of King George I, were eligible for this honour but did not receive it. At the time she became eligible for the title, Princess Mary was already Princess of Orange, while Sophia Dorothea was already Queen in Prussia when she became eligible for the title.

Princess Louisa Maria (1692–1712), the last daughter of King James II (d. 1701), born after he lost his crown in the Glorious Revolution, was given the title of Princess Royal during James's exile at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and was so called by Jacobites, even though she was not James's eldest living daughter at any time during her life.[3]

Even before the title of Princess Royal came into use in England, the eldest daughter of the King or Queen of England had a special status in law. For instance, according to Magna Carta, aids were due from the barons of the realm to finance the first wedding of the king's eldest daughter;[4] and by a statute of the 25th year of King Edward III, sleeping with the king's eldest daughter before her marriage constitutes an act of high treason punishable by death.[5]

List of Princesses Royal[edit]

The following is a complete list of women formally styled Princess Royal:

PortraitPrincess Royal
from (date) to (date)
ParentDate marriedHusband
1Mary, Princess Royal
Marie Henriette Stuart.jpg1642–1660Charles I
1641William II, Prince of Orange
DisputedLouisa Maria Teresa Stuart
François de Troy, Portrait of Princess Louisa Maria Stuart (c. 1705).jpg1692-1712James II
2Anne, Princess Royal
Accama Anna van Hannover.jpg1727–1759George II
1734William IV, Prince of Orange
3Charlotte, Princess Royal
Charlotte Mathilde von England.jpg1789–1828George III
1797King Frederick I of Württemberg
4Victoria, Princess Royal
Victoria, Princess Royal.jpg1841–1901Victoria
1858Frederick III, German Emperor
5Louise, Princess Royal
Louise Princess Royal.jpg1905–1931Edward VII
1889Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife
6Mary, Princess Royal
Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood.jpg1932–1965George V
1922Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood
7Anne, Princess Royal
Princesa Ana do Reino Unido.jpg1987–presentElizabeth II
1973–1992Mark Phillips
1992Sir Timothy Laurence

In fiction[edit]

Other uses[edit]

Princess Royal was one of the GWR 3031 Class locomotives that were built for and run on the Great Western Railway between 1891 and 1915. The LMS Class 8P "Princess Royal" 4-6-2 was a type of express passenger locomotive built between 1933 and 1935 by the London Midland & Scottish Railway

Princess Royal is an abandoned town in the Western Australian Goldfields, named for Victoria, Princess Royal, daughter of Queen Victoria.

In the Thai monarchy, the style of Maha Chakri for Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand is similar to the position of Princess Royal.

Five ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Princess Royal.

"The Princess Royal" is also the name of a folk tune from the British Isles, and of a morris dance performed to that tune.[6]


  1. ^ "Royal Titles: Style and Title of the Princess Royal". The British Monarchy. n.d. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Princess Royal". The British Monarchy. n.d. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Panton, Kenneth J. (2011). Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy. Marlyand, USA: Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 382. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Nullum scutagium vel auxilium ponatur in regno nostro.... nisi.... ad filiam nostram primogenitam semel maritandam[1]
  5. ^ si home violast la compaigne le roy, ou leigne file le roy nient marie, ou la compaigne leigne fitz et heire le roy.... doit estre ajugge treson a nostre Seigneur le Roi[2]
  6. ^ "Princess Royal". English Folk Dance and Song Society. 2 July 2007.