Dear ABC News: There is no “Duchess Kate”

I have had a very hard semester, which is why I’ve been so quiet the last month.  That should change in another week once classes end.

In the meantime, here’s one of my history-nerd rants: “Duchess Kate” does not exist.

As described in this article, “Duchess Kate” is in the middle of the US visit with her husband, Prince William.

You never, ever put the title of duke or duchess before a first name.  Ever.  Am I being picky?  Depends on if you’re OK with me referring to President Bill or President George.  She is the Duchess of Cambridge or the Duchess.  That’s how you use the title.  We don’t get to just rename people.

I find this even worse than American news constantly referring to Diana Spencer as “Princess Diana.”  She was Diana, Princess of Wales.  However, if she had been born into the royal family, she would have legitimately been Princess Diana, so at least the title is potentially valid, unlike “Duchess Kate.”

Can’t we bother to get people’s names right, even if they do happen to be foreigners with titles we personally don’t recognize?  Yes, the whole system is very complicated, but she is also constantly referred to in media as the Duchess of Cambridge.  A proper name for her is readily accessible.  And, as journalists, it’s your bloody job to get the details right.

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