Princess Royal is a style customarily (but not automatically) awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. 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.
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". The style is granted by Royal Warrant.
Princess Mary (later Queen Mary II of England and Scotland) (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.
Famous quotes containing the words princess and/or royal:
“He is blowing on light
each time for the first time.
His fingers cover the mouths of all the sopranos,
each a princess in an exact position.”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)
“a highly respectable gondolier,
Who promised the Royal babe to rear
And teach him the trade of a timoneer
With his own beloved brattling.”
—Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (18361911)