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How Prince William Became A Duke

Britain's Prince William kisses his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Royal Wedding in London Friday. (AP)
Britain's Prince William kisses his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Royal Wedding in London Friday. (AP)

When Britain's Prince William married Kate Middleton on Friday, the world turned to London to welcome the newest royal couple. What many — at least in the U.S. — didn't know was that they weren't cheering for Prince William and Princess Kate.

Like others getting married, William and Kate changed their titles. After the marriage, the Queen conferred new titles onto the couple — William received the Dukedom of Cambridge.

That means William's official title is now His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, while Kate is now to be known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.

Helen Castor, a historian and fellow of Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University, said the change is complicated.

"The titles were conferred to them, partly out of tradition, and partly to avoid confusion," Castor told On Point's Tom Ashbrook. "Technically, without the 'Duchess' title, Catherine Middleton would have become Princess William of Wales — not Princess Catherine, though everybody would have called her that."

Prince Charles, William's father, is already the Prince of Wales, so for everyone's ease (and comfort) Middleton won't be called Princess Catherine of Wales.

"The technicality of titles is extremely complex, but it was conferred both for tradition and for technical propriety," Castor said.

It's worth noting, Castor said, that Princess Diana wasn't officially "Princess Diana," though that was her popular name. She was the Princess of Wales.

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This program aired on April 29, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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