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“The Queen has appointed Prince William as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the @churchscotland this year,” the palace said in a statement.
Prince William will hold the new position for one year. It will not have any effect on his current royal title as the Duke of Cambridge.
According to Kensington Palace, the Lord High Commissioner is responsible for attending the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland “as an observer,” in addition to the other responsibilities.
“The Lord High Commissioner makes opening and closing addresses to the General Assembly and reports to Her Majesty on its proceedings. For the duration of the General Assembly, the Sovereign grants the Lord High Commissioner permission to reside at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and, during this time, His or Her Grace receives a Guard of Honour, a 21-Gun Salute and the keys to the City of Edinburgh,” the statement explains. “It is also customary for the Lord High Commissioner to invite distinguished guests to stay at the Palace, and to offer hospitality to Commissioners to the Assembly and those who have contributed to public life in Scotland.”
The statement furthers: “During the week of the Assembly, the Lord High Commissioner attends the Assembly to observe the debates. He or she also carries out a program of engagements to reflect the work of charities and the Church.”
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a reception to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit at Buckingham Palace on January 20.
(Yui Mok – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William is not the first member of the British royal family to be appointed to this role. The Princess Royal, the Duke of Rothesay, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex have all previously held the title, according to the statement.
Other than members of the royal family, Scottish figures are also appointed to the title based on “merit and their contribution to society,” the statement said.
The Duke of Cambridge’s appointment comes at a period of transition for the royal family. Earlier this month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their decision to “step back” as senior members of the royal family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they plan to earn their own income and split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
This week, Harry left the U.K. and traveled to Vancouver, Canada, to reunite with Meghan and their son, Archie, eight months.