LONDON — King Charles III granted his youngest sibling, Prince Edward, the title of Duke of Edinburgh, Buckingham Palace said on Friday, Edward’s 59th birthday.
Edward, who is 13th in line to the throne and was previously the Earl of Wessex and Forfar, will hold the new title for the rest of his life, the palace said. A duke is the highest ranking member of the English nobility, followed by marquesses, earls, viscounts and barons.
Edward received the new title nearly two years after the death of his father, Prince Philip, who was the previous Duke of Edinburgh. Edward’s wife, Sophie, also received a new title on Friday, becoming the Duchess of Edinburgh.
“The new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are proud to continue Prince Philip’s legacy of promoting opportunities for young people of all backgrounds,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
This is the fifth time that a member of the royal family has been named the Duke of Edinburgh, the palace said. In 1726, the title was granted to Prince Frederick, the eldest son of King George II. Prince William, the brother of King George III, was given the joint title of Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh in 1764. Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria, in 1866 became the third Duke of Edinburgh, followed by Prince Philip in 1947 upon his marriage to Elizabeth, the future queen who was then a princess and the Duchess of Edinburgh.
The new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will attend an event in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh on Friday to mark the first year of the war in Ukraine. Buckingham Palace declined to comment on a BBC report that said Philip had wanted Edward to receive the title, but left the decision up to King Charles.
Edward’s older brother Prince Andrew, the disgraced second son of Queen Elizabeth, was stripped of his public duties last year after a woman, Virginia Giuffre, accused him of raping her as a teenager, leaving a gap for Edward to play a more prominent role in the royal family.
Britain’s Parliament late last year backed a new law that allowed Edward and Princess Anne, the sister of King Charles, to stand in for the monarch at official engagements.