A girl can never have too many titles.
When she wed Prince William on April 29, Kate Middleton became, in ascending order of royal pomposity, the Baroness Carrickfergus, the Countess of Strathearn and the Duchess of Cambridge.
And thanks to Tampa anesthesiologist Allan Escher, the former commoner holds another grand title: Kentucky Colonel.
"I don't know what issues she's passionate about, but whatever they are I thought she'd probably be a very strong advocate,'' says Escher, a Kentucky colonel, as well. He nominated Middleton in January because he was impressed by her appearance at a fundraiser for Britain's Teenage Cancer Trust.
The first Kentucky colonels were military men but the title became ceremonial after the Civil War and is now bestowed by Kentucky's governor on individuals of noteworthy accomplishments or significant contributions to mankind. Only colonels can make nominations.
Among the more than 89,000 living colonels are boxer Muhammad Ali, John Glenn, astronaut and former U.S. senator, and actor Betty White. Departed colonels include Pope John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan and, of course, Col. Harland Sanders of fried chicken fame.
So far this year, Gov. Steve Beshear has commissioned 758 colonels, including Middleton. His office sent the original "letter patent'' with gold seal to Escher, who sent it on to Middleton in care of her parents' party supply business in England.
"It's probably buried under a mountain of mail and unsolicited gifts,'' he says.
Escher, a member of the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, doesn't know why he was nominated for colonel. It could be, he supposes, because he has pushed for a strong prescription drug monitoring program like the well-regarded one in Kentucky.
That state, though, is most famous for horses.
And the new Kentucky colonel should soon be an expert in matters equestrian — her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, raises thoroughbreds and rarely looked happier, observers said, than when she attended the 2007 Kentucky Derby.