Kate Middleton’s New Royal Title: What Does It Mean?

Princess Kate has been given a new honor by her father-in-law, King Charles III, as she continues her treatment for cancer.

Kate is now the first Royal Companion of The Order of the Companions of Honour.

Buckingham Palace marked St. George’s Day on Tuesday—the national day of England’s patron saint—by announcing several new honorary appointments to royal orders of chivalry.

There are a number of orders in Britain and the commonwealth that members of the royal family and public can be appointed to in recognition for service to their countries. The majority of these are controlled by the government, meaning they choose who is appointed to them, with the king signing off on their recommendation.

A small number of the chivalric orders are solely in the gift of the monarch, meaning that King Charles can choose who he wants to honor for their service to the nation and the crown.

His “beloved daughter-in-law” Kate is now among this exclusive group, adding a brand new title to her already lengthy list.

Princess Kate New Title
The Princess of Wales photographed in Jamaica on March 23, 2022. King Charles has given his daughter-in-law a new title.

Samir Hussein – Pool/WireImage

A Gift From the King

The relationship between Kate and her father-in-law, King Charles, has taken on increased public focus since his accession to the throne.

In his first speech as king, in the days after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Charles paid tribute to the new Princess of Wales, saying: “With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given.”

At a dinner in Kenya the following year, the king referred to her as his “beloved daughter-in-law” when recounting the fact that Prince William had proposed during a vacation in the country.

On March 22 this year, when Kate announced she had cancer, Charles’ team issued a statement saying he was “so proud” of her and “remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks.”

Now, the king has shown his affection for Kate in another way by giving her a new title.

Buckingham Palace announced on April 23 that: “His Majesty The King has been graciously pleased to appoint Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, GCVO, to be Royal Companion of The Order of the Companions of Honour.”

It added that “this is a new appointment,” signifying that Charles had created it just for her.

King Charles and Princess Kate
King Charles III and Princess Kate photographed in London on September 28, 2021. Charles paid tribute to his “beloved daughter-in-law” after her cancer announcement.

Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Order of The Companions of Honour

The Order of the Companions of Honour was founded in 1917 by King George V., King Charles’s great-grandfather. The order was created to recognize people who have made outstanding achievements in the arts, sciences, medicine, and public service.

Membership of the order is restricted to the monarch and sixty-five members, including Princess Kate as the Royal Companion.

Each order of chivalry has a home chapel or church associated with it. This is where significant milestones and services connected with the order take place.

The Order of the Companions of Honour’s base is at the Chapel Royal of Hampton Court Palace, the uninhabited royal residence on the banks of the River Thames that was taken over by King Henry VIII in the 1530s.

The companions are entitled to wear a special badge featuring their coat of arms around their necks for special ceremonies, they also add the initials “C.H.” to their names.

Who’s Who

In addition to Kate and the king, there are currently 62 Companions of Honour, with three vacancies.

Among them are high-profile public figures such as broadcaster and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough, former Prime Minister Sir John Major, Academy Award-winning actress Dame Judi Dench, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Membership of the order is not restricted to British citizens but is open to Commonwealth nationals.

New Zealand-born opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is in the order, as is Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

What Does it Mean?

Essentially, membership in the order is a symbolic gift from the monarch in recognition of service to the arts, sciences, medicine, and public service. It does not come with any power or political responsibility.

In her capacity as Royal Companion, Kate will be expected to attend events connected with the order such as anniversary ceremonies, and could also represent the king at the funerals of notable members.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email We’d love to hear from you.