On Friday, for Prince Edward’s 59th birthday, his brother King Charles gave him the Duke of Edinburgh title which had been promised to him back when he married Sophie. QEII and Prince Philip both made their feelings known, that when Philip passed away, Edward should receive the Edinburgh ducal title. Charles had other ideas, and for a while there, I honestly believed that Charles was never going to give the title to Edward. Sophie campaigned for it hard – she would have everyone believe that she alone was QEII’s favorite and that Edward was Philip’s favorite. So now the Wessexes have become the Edinburghs, although they still get to keep the Wessex title. And this title is only for the rest of Edward and Sophie’s lifetimes – their son James will not inherit the title. Shortly after the title upgrade was announced, Ed and Sophie made an appearance in Edinburgh:

Prince Edward and Sophie are in the city of their new titles. A few hours after Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles had given his younger brother a 59th birthday present by conferring the title of Duke of Edinburgh on him, Prince Edward and Sophie appeared at an official event in the city.

Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, is now the Duchess of Edinburgh — a title last held by her mother-in-law, the late Queen Elizabeth. The couple’s 15-year-old son, James, now holds Edward’s previous title of Earl of Wessex.

They met with members of the Ukrainian community at Edinburgh’s City Chambers to mark one year since the city’s formal response to the invasion of Ukraine. During the reception, Prince Edward and Sophie met members of the Ukrainian and Eastern European diaspora in Edinburgh, including families who have made the city their home since the beginning of the conflict last year.

In a speech, Prince Edward said, “Thank you very much indeed for welcoming us to Edinburgh today on, indeed, a very special and slightly overwhelming day.” He then referred to Sophie as “my wife and Duchess,” prompting laughs from the crowd. “But I also want to express my thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to make our Ukraine friends feel so very welcome,” he added.

[From People]

It was smart to immediately show up in Edinburgh right after the announcement, and it was smart to tie the appearance to Ukraine and refugees. I imagine that’s why Sophie wore this blue dress too – while it’s terrible, it’s “Ukrainian blue,” so she’s basically flag-dressing (Scotland’s flag is also blue & white). But all of that didn’t stop the criticism, which should show you that post-QEII, people are a lot more comfortable criticizing the monarchy openly and on the record. Of course, it helps that many Scottish people are sick to death of the Windsors using Scotland like “tartan Disneyland.” From the Scotsman:

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said the appointment was emblematic of the monarchy’s “obsession with feudal patronage”.

“The fact that these titles and positions are determined by accident of birth and forever the preserve of just one family is completely at odds with modern democratic values,” he said. “In Scandinavian countries, monarchies have gone out of their way to slim down by stripping lesser royals of their hereditary titles. Not here. In the UK, there seems no end to their obsession with feudal patronage.”

Tristan Gray, the convener of Our Republic – a campaign group calling for an end to the monarchy in Scotland – told The National that the appointment of Prince Edward as Duke of Edinburgh was “an insult” to the residents of the capital city. He said: “I think it’s an insult to the people who call Edinburgh home that their city can be passed around as a trinket to be given to people as a birthday present, just so Edward can put it up on his wall in his Surrey mansion, as if he has any connection to the city whatsoever.

“The people of Edinburgh have legitimate democratic representation. They vote for it in their council elections, we had a by-election this week. They’ve got parliamentary representation, both in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster. Those people are elected by and accountable to the people of Edinburgh. They are the legitimate representatives of the people who call the city home. And to have them undermined by the granting of this title – and the gifting of it as a birthday present – to distant aristocrats is an insult both to the people of Edinburgh themselves and to the very concept of the legitimate representation of those people.”

[From The National]

Then at the end of the story, The Scotsman mentions that Edward dropped out of the Marines and yet still gets to wear a big fancy uniform. That’s what this title upgrade is seen as – playing dress up in a uniform he didn’t earn and a title for a city for which he has no connection. These dudes are right, it is feudal and out-of-touch.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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