‘In wait­ing’ When does the ti­tle change hands?

The Daily Telegraph - - News -

Mar­ry­ing an heir to a Duke­dom does not mean you will be­come a Duchess as soon as the gen­er­a­tion above you passes away.

Ac­cord­ing to De­brett’s, be­tween the death of a Duke and his funeral the in­cum­bent Duke and Duchess are of­fi­cially “in wait­ing”.

The new Duke and Duchess are then styled as such after the funeral, at which point the Duke’s widow be­comes the Dowa­ger Duchess. While the Duke and Duchess are mar­ried, the Duchess also holds the ti­tle of “chate­laine” – a French term which refers to her be­ing the mis­tress of the house.

If the cou­ple were to di­vorce, the Duchess’s name would sub­tly change. For ex­am­ple, while mar­ried to the Duke of York Sarah Fer­gu­son was re­ferred to as “the Duchess of York” but after their di­vorce, she be­came Sarah, Duchess of York.

Any new wife of the Duke would then take on the ti­tle “Duchess”.

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