The title of Duke is given to males of the British Royal Family upon the death of a predecessor or in marriage. These dukedoms are established by Letters of Patent which is issued by a monarch, president or other head of state. Since 1413, a British sovereign also holds the title of Duke, regardless of gender. In the case of a Queen regnant (reigns in her own right), the title of Duchess is not used but Duke instead. Yes, Her Majesty, Elizabeth II is also a Duke.
Royal Style and Manner of Address
Those members of the Royal Family in possession of a dukedom are given the style of “His Royal Highness” and are addressed in these ways:
- Announced As: His Royal Highness The Duke of (insert title here)
- First Spoken to As: Your Royal Highness
- Spoken to Thereafter: Sir
Current Royal Dukedoms
The title of Duke is the highest-ranking title of the United Kingdom, other than Sovereign. There are several members who hold this title in the British Royal Family.
Duke of Lancaster
Held by Queen Elizabeth II, daughter of George VI
Inception of the Duke of Lancaster
This dukedom was first created in 1351 for Henry of Grosmont, the 4th Earl of Lancaster. Its third and final creation, in 1399, was for Henry of Monmouth, Prince of Wales. In 1413, when he acceded to the throne as Henry V, this title merged into the crown.
This royal duchy was created to provide income for the British monarchy, specifically the reigning sovereign. The Duchy of Lancaster is the personal property of a British Sovereign and has currently 45,550 acres of land holdings. Only used while in Lancaster, England, Her Majesty is addressed as “The Queen, Duke of Lancaster”
Duke of Edinburgh
Held by Prince Philip, husband of Elizabeth II
Inception of the Duke of Edinburgh
This title has been created 4 times since 1726. The final creation was in 1947 by King George VI for his son-in-law, Philip Mountbatten upon marriage to his daughter Princess Elizabeth. Prince Philip, who was in line for his own throne, had to renounce his Greek and Danish royal titles and any rights to the Greek throne before accepting this British dukedom.
Duke of Cornwall (England) and Duke of Rothesay (Scotland)
Held by Prince Charles – The Prince of Wales, eldest son of Elizabeth II
Inception of the Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay
The Duke of Cornwall is a secondary title held by the eldest son of a British monarch. This title was created many times since its inception in 1337 by King Edward III, for his son Edward, the Black Prince. This particular duchy was fashioned to supply income for the Prince of Wales via landholdings currently totaling 135,000 acres.
The Duke of Rothesay title was created in 1398 by Robert III, King of Scots for his son David Stewart. It became the title of the heir apparent (first in the line of succession) of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801 via the union between England and Scotland. The Acts of Union in 1801, united Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) with Northern Ireland, which now covers the United Kingdom. However, this title is only used in Scotland by the Prince of Wales.
These dukedoms were conferred upon Prince Charles after the accession of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II to the throne in 1952.
Duke of Cambridge
Held by Prince William, grandson of Elizabeth II
Inception of the Duke of Cambridge
This title was first created in 1660 for Charles Stuart, son of James, Duke of York (later King Kames II). It became extinct after the death of Prince George of Hanover in 1904. It was revived for the fifth time in 2011 for Prince William and given upon his marriage to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Duke of York
Held by Prince Andrew, son of Elizabeth II
Inception of the Duke of York
This title was first created in 1385 for Edmund of Langley, the 4th surviving son of King Edward III. This style died out after the death of Prince Albert, son of King George V in 1936. It was revived for the eighth time in 1986, for Prince Andrew upon his marriage to Sarah Ferguson.
Duke of Gloucester
Held by Prince Richard, grandson of George V and cousin of Elizabeth II
Inception of the Duke of Gloucester
This dukedom was first created in 1385 for Thomas of Woodstock by King Edward III. It was revived for the fifth time in 1928 for Prince Henry of Windsor, son of George V. Upon the prince’s death in 1974, the title passed to his son, Prince Richard. This is one of the few dukedoms that survived and was inherited by the current Duke of Gloucester.
Duke of Kent
Held by Prince Edward, grandson of George V and cousin of Elizabeth II
Inception of the Duke of Kent
This title was first created in 1710 for Henry Grey, the son of Anthony Grey, 11th Earl of Kent. A double dukedom of Kent and Strathearn was given to Prince Edward Augustus, King George III’s son. This particular title died out since Prince Edward had no male successor. However, the single dukedom was created a 2nd time for Prince George, the fourth son of King George V in 1934. It was then inherited by Prince Edward in 1942 after the death of his father, Prince George.
What Dukedom Will Prince Harry Receive?
Since Prince Harry is not in line to inherit a dukedom, I’m curious as to which title he will receive. The title will probably be a past dukedom such as the Duke of Albany, Duke of Clarence, Duke of Hereford or Duke of Sussex. It will mostly likely be upon his marriage and he still has time for that, right? What dukedom do you think The Queen will give Prince Harry?