Princess Beatrice, 31, is the eldest of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson’s two daughters. In keeping with royal tradition Queen Elizabeth II, 94, gave her son Prince Andrew a dukedom on his wedding day in 1986 and he has been the Duke of York ever since. While dukedoms are hereditary titles and pass on to the holder’s offspring on their death, Princess Beatrice could lose out for one simple reason.
The UK currently has a system of male primogeniture which applies to titles.
This means male heirs are given priority over female heirs, regardless of their age or relation to the titleholder.
The Letters Patent for the 1986 creation of the Dukedom of York say the title will be inherited by “heirs male of the body” and as Prince Andrew has only daughters and no sons this means his title could pass onto a different Royal Family member altogether.
One Quora user who runs a British Line of succession website has suggested the Duke of York title could even pass to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William’s youngest son Prince Louis.
They wrote: “The Dukedom of York will be inherited by the oldest legitimate son of the current duke.
“Of course, the current duke has no sons, so unless that situation changes, the title will go extinct and will be available for the monarch at the time to recreate and confer on whoever they want.
They added: “Of course, the title is usually given to the second son of the monarch, so we would need to know who the monarch will be at the time.
“Given that Prince Andrew is twelve years younger than Prince Charles, it seems likely that when Prince Andrew dies and the dukedom becomes available, Prince Charles will have already died and Prince William will be the king.”
They added: “Prince William’s second son is Prince Louis, so he will be a prime candidate to get the dukedom”
While Beatrice looks likely to miss out on her father’s title, there may still be hope for the Princess.
A bill calling to change the law so that women can inherit the hereditary peerages passed its first stage in Parliament last year.
Conservative MP Philip Davies introduced a Ten Minute Rule motion in the Commons in March 2019 which called on the law to change so that hereditary titles are not exclusively passed down to men.
The bill, entitled the Hereditary Titles (Female Succession) bill, would make it possible for women to succeed hereditary titles.
As things currently stand, Prince William and Kate’s only daughter Princess Charlotte also looks like to miss out on hereditary titles, however, in her case her proximity to the throne could mean she is granted a special title as a wedding gift.
While the Queen gave dukedoms to her sons and grandsons – Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge – she also installed a special title on her daughter Princess Anne, 69.
Princess Anne was given the title of Princess Royal in 1987.
While Princess Anne lost out in the line of succession to her two younger brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward the law has since been changed to prevent this from happening.
Before the birth of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William’s first child in 2011, the rules were altered so that royal sons and daughters had equal standing in the line of succession.
This meant Princess Charlotte, 4, was not overtaken by her younger brother Prince Louis, 2, when he was born in 2018.
Princess Charlotte will celebrate her fifth birthday on May 2.