The key difference between duchess and princess is that the duchess refers to a wife or widow of a duke or a woman holding a rank equivalent to Duke in her own right whereas the princess typically refers to a daughter or granddaughter of a king or queen.
Duchess and princess are two of the highest female titles in the peerage. Although a princess outranks a duchess, both these titles can be held by the same person.
Who is a Duchess?
Title duchess is the female equivalent of a duke. Duchess can refer to a wife or widow of a duke. If not, it can refer to a woman holding a rank equivalent to the duke in her own right. A daughter of a duke is not a duchess unless she is the sole heir to the duke.
Duchess and Duke are the highest ranking titles in the peerage. They are above the ranks of marchioness/ marquess, viscountess/viscount, countess/earl, and Baroness/baron. Some royal houses confer dukedoms to royal princes and princesses. This is why some princesses and princes hold both titles, i.e., duke/duchess and prince/princess. For example, Prince Charles also holds the title of Duke of Cornwell. So, his wife holds the title Duchess of Cornwell in addition to the title Princess of Wales.
Who is a Princess?
Princess is a royal title and is the feminine equivalent to the prince. This title is typically used for daughters or granddaughters of a king or queen. For example, Princess Charlotte (Queen Elizabeth’s great-granddaughter), Princess Anne (Queen Elizabeth’s daughter), Princess Margaret (King George V’s daughter and Queen Elizabeth’s sister) are all royal princesses by birth.
However, a woman having no royal title can also gain the title of a princess when she marries a royal prince. For example, Diana Spenser gained the title Princess of Wales upon marriage to Prince Charles. But, a princess by marriage will lose her title if the couple goes through a divorce.
What is the Difference Between Duchess and Princess?
Duchess is either the wife/widow of a duke or a woman who equally holds the rank of duke in her own right. In contrast, Princess is a female member of a royal family, especially a daughter or a granddaughter of a king or queen. This is the key difference between duchess and princess. Furthermore, Princess is typically a higher rank than Duchess. Moreover, while the daughter of a king or prince is automatically known as a princess, the daughter of a duke does not get the title duchess unless she is the heir to the dukedom. Another notable difference between duchess and princess is that the duchess should be addressed as Your Grace while the princess should be addressed as Your Royal Highness or Your Highness.
Summary – Duchess vs Princess
Duchess and princess are two of the highest female noble titles below queen. The key difference between duchess and princess is that Duchess refers to a wife or widow of a duke or a woman holding a rank equivalent to Duke in her own right whereas princess typically refers to a daughter or granddaughter of a king or queen.