Tag Archives: House of Windsor

Things You Didn’t Know About the Duke of Windsor

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I know you must be thinking, Windsor, I know that name. It has been the house name of the current Royal Family since 1917. I’ve also written a blog post entitled “Who is a Duke in the British Royal Family?” where I named all the current Royal Dukes. You’re wondering if the Duke of Windsor was mentioned, right?

My Discovery of the Duke of Windsor

My neighbor, Mary, brought up the subject and asked if I had ever heard of the Duke of Windsor. Honestly, I had no idea who he was at all. She’d read a book about this duke and told me there was quite the scandal about him. As we discussed the Duke of Windsor, I was intrigued. So, I dug a little deeper to find out what I could about this mystery duke.

Who is the Duke of Windsor?

There was only one Royal Family member with the title Duke of Windsor and his name was Prince Edward, the son of George V and Mary of Teck. In addition, the Duke of Windsor was once a king. Yes, the prince became King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom from January 20, 1936, until December 11 of the same year. Such a short reign as sovereign, isn’t it? Indeed.

The Scandal of Edward VIII

Prince Edward had a series of torrid affairs with several married women and even a prostitute prior to settling down. His father, George V was reluctant to see Edward become king. Of the prince, he said, “After I am dead, “the boy will ruin himself in 12 months.” The prophetic voice of King George V would show itself to be true shortly after his death.

Only months into his reign, Edward VIII caused quite the scandal that raised legal, political, religious, and moral objections. He proposed marriage to Wallis Simpson; a divorced American, who was only separated from her current spouse at the time. As King and head of the Church of England, Simpson’s marital status did not allow Edward to marry a divorced woman whose spouse(s) was still alive. Wallis’ first divorce was not recognized by the Church of England and if challenged in court, may not have been acknowledged under English law. At the time, adultery was to be the only grounds for divorce by law. Therefore, her current marriage and pending third to Edward would both be deemed bigamous and rendered invalid.

Governmental Objections to King Edward’s Marriage

The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and South Africa of the British Empire made their disapproval to this marriage quite clear. As a divorcee and separated from her current husband, Simpson was perceived as entirely unsuitable both politically and socially to be the consort of a British king. In addition, British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin would have resigned his post if Edward were to go through with the wedding to Wallis. This would have forced a general election and ruined Edward’s status as a politically neutral monarch. Nevertheless, Edward’s love for Wallis prevailed and he would not give her up.

The Result of King Edward’s Choice

The continued rampant unwillingness to accept Simpson as the king’s consort compelled Edward VIII to make a choice. His refusal to give up Wallis Simpson finally led to his abdication of the throne in December 1936. He was succeeded by his brother Prince Albert, Duke of York as George VI. Edward VIII is the only British monarch to have voluntarily renounced his throne since the Anglo-Saxon period (roughly between 450 and 1066).

Becoming The Duke of Windsor

On December 12, 1936, after his abdication, Edward was given the title of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis Simpson the following year. Wallis gained the title of Duchess of Windsor upon their nuptials and they remained married until Edward’s death, 35 years later.

As the Duke and Duchess of Windsor produced no heirs, this dukedom ceased upon Edward’s death.

The Next Duke of Windsor

Though this dukedom has literally died out decades ago, there is speculation of a possible revival for Prince Harry. Once the prince is married, it is customary for The Queen to bestow the title of duke upon her grandson as she has done so with the Duke of Cambridge. Given the scandal surrounding this dukedom, do you think it likely Prince Harry will become Duke of Windsor? Most suppose the Duke of Ross or Duke of Sussex a more likely choice as there are no tainted associations with these titles. What are your thoughts about the Duke of Windsor and the events surrounding his life? Log in and post your comments.


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Who is a Duke in the British Royal Family?

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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?


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Titles of the British Royal Family

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“Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom” by Sodacan

Have you ever wondered about the various titles of the British Royalty? How is one to address these various family members? Did you know that titles can change depending on which part of the United Kingdom they happen to visiting at the time? Let’s explore some of these questions which I hope will peak your curiosity further.

Official Titles of Key British Royals

Her Majesty, The Queen

  • Held by: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Manner of Address: Your Majesty and thereafter as Ma’am
  • Official Title: Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

Dukes

The title of Duke is the highest-ranking, other than the Sovereign, and there are several members who hold this title in the British Royal family. The title of Duke to males and Duchess to females, are given upon marriage.

Duke of Lancaster

  • Held by: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Manner of Address: Your Majesty and thereafter as Ma’am
  • Official Title: The Queen, Duke of Lancaster (used only in Lancaster)

Duke of Edinburgh

  • Held by: Prince Philip
  • Manner of Address: Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as Sir
  • Official Title: His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.

Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay

  • Held by: Prince Charles
  • Manner of Address: His Royal Highness and thereafter Sir
  • Official Title: His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Grand Master and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Australia, Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Member of Her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council, Aide-de-Camp, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall (England), Duke of Rothesay (Scotland), Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.

Duke of Cambridge

  • Held by: Prince William
  • Manner of Address: His Royal Highness and thereafter Sir
  • Official Title: His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn (Scotland), Baron Carrickfergus (N. Ireland), Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen

Duke of York

  • Held by: Prince Andrew
  • Manner of Address: His Royal Highness and thereafter Sir
  • Official Title: His Royal Highness The Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, Duke of York, Earl of Inverness, Baron Killyleagh, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Canadian Forces Decoration, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

Duke of Gloucester

  • Held by: Prince Richard
  • Manner of Address: His Royal Highness and thereafter Sir
  • Official Title: His Royal Highness The Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, Duke of York, Earl of Inverness, Baron Killyleagh, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Canadian Forces Decoration, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

Duke of Kent

  • Held by: Prince Edward
  • Manner of Address: His Royal Highness and thereafter Sir
  • Official Title: His Royal Highness Prince Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick, Duke of Kent, Earl of Saint Andrews and Baron Downpatrick, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

Duchesses

Upon marriage to the respective royal male family member, last names no longer apply and titles of their husbands are given in the female style.

Duchess of Cornwall & Duchess of Rothesay

  • Held by: Camilla
  • Manner of Address: Your Royal Highness’ followed by Ma’am
  • Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order

Camilla is legally The Princess of Wales but chose not to use it due is former association with the late Princess Diana.

Duchess of Cambridge

  • Held by: Catherine
  • Manner of Address: Your Royal Highness’ followed by Ma’am
  • Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus

Duchess of York

  • Held by: Sarah Ferguson (style was forfeit upon divorce)
  • Manner of Address: Your Royal Highness’ followed by Ma’am (applies only to the current)
  • Official Title: Sarah, Duchess of York but formally, Her Royal Highness The Princess Andrew, Duchess of York, Countess of Inverness, Baroness Killyleagh

Duchess of Gloucester

  • Held by: Birgitte
  • Manner of Address: Your Royal Highness’ followed by Ma’am
  • Official Title:  Her Royal Highness Princess Richard, The Duchess of Gloucester, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Duchess of Kent

  • Held by: Katharine
  • Manner of Address: Your Royal Highness’ followed by Ma’am
  • Official Title: Her Royal Highness Princess Edward, Duchess of Kent, Countess of Saint Andrews and Baroness Downpatrick, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order

The Remaining Princes and Princesses

Princess Anne

  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Princess Royal, Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Dame Grand Cross and Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

Prince Harry

  • His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York

Princess Alexandra, The Honorable Lady Ogilvy

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel, The Honorable Lady Ogilvy, Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order

Michael and Marie – Prince and Princess Michael of Kent

  • Michael – His Royal Highness Prince Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem
  • Marie – Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent

What Do You Think of all These Titles?

As I researched all of this, I found it interesting if somewhat excessive with these rather long titles. Do you agree? What do you think of this 21st Century monarchy?

I’ll have to save the origins of these titles for another post or reserve it for the book.


 

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Members of the British Royal Family

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Photo by Carfax2 via Wikimedia Commons

A Twitter follower of mine had suggested the subject of the British Royal Family as part of my upcoming Ebook. I thought a blog post on the current members of the royal family and how they are related would be a good way to start. I will confess I certainly learned a few things about the House of Windsor.

Current Royal Family, Minus Two

  • Elizabeth – Her Majesty The Queen
  • Philip – The Duke of Edinburgh, also Prince Philip
  • Charles – The Prince of Wales
  • Diana – The Princess of Wales (former, deceased)
  • Camilla – The Duchess of Cornwall
  • William – The Duke of Cambridge
  • Catherine – The Duchess of Cambridge
  • Harry – the Prince of Wales
  • Andrew – The Duke of York
  • Sarah – The Duchess of York (former, divorced)
  • Edward – The Earl of Wessex
  • Sophie – The Countess of Wessex
  • Anne – The Princess Royal
  • Richard – The Duke of Gloucester
  • Birgitte – The Duchess of Gloucester
  • Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick – The Duke of Kent
  • Katharine – The Duchess of Kent
  • Princess Alexandra – The Honorable Lady Ogilvy
  • Michael – Prince Michael of Kent
  • Marie – Princess Michael of Kent

Descendants of the Immediate Royal Family

Children of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

  • Charles – The Prince of Wales
  • Anne – The Princess Royal
  • Andrew – The Duke of York
  • Edward – The Earl of Wessex

Children of the Prince of Wales and Former Princess of Wales

  • William – The Duke of Cambridge
  • Harry – The Prince of Wales

 Children of the Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips

  • Peter Phillips
  • Zara Phillips

Children of the Duke of York and Former Duchess of York

  • Princess Beatrice of York
  • Princess Eugenie of York

Children of the Earl of Wessex and Countess of Wessex

  • Lady Louise Windsor
  • Viscount Severn

Children of the Duke of Cambridge and Duchess of Cambridge

  • George – Prince of Cambridge
  • Charlotte – Princess of Cambridge

The Lesser-Known Royals

Perhaps there are a few of the names mentioned above with whom you are unfamiliar. Before this post, the same was true for me. Here’s how they are related to The Queen.

  • Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester – the queen’s first cousin and grandson of George V and Queen Mary
  • Birgitte, The Duchess of Gloucester – wife of Prince Richard and the queen’s first cousin by marriage
  • Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent – the queen’s first cousin and grandson of George V and Queen Mary
  • Katharine, The Duchess of Kent – wife of Prince Edward and the queen’s first cousin by marriage
  • Princess Alexandra, The Honorable Lady Ogilvy – the queen’s first cousin and granddaughter of George V and Queen Mary
  • Michael, Prince Michael of Kent – the queen’s first cousin and grandson of George V and Queen Mary
  • Marie, Princess Michael of Kent – wife of Prince Michael and the queen’s first cousin by marriage

Does the Royal Family Have a Surname?

House of Windsor

By royal proclamation, on July 17, 1917, King George V, son of Edward VII, changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, House of Wettin to the English House of Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment of the British Empire during World War I. The name Windsor was adopted from the famous Windsor Castle.

Official Royal Family Surname

The Royal Family name of Windsor was confirmed by The Queen after her accession in 1952. However, The Queen and her husband decided they would like to incorporate Prince Phillip’s surname into the family line of their own direct descendants. It was declared in the Privy Council of 1960 that The Queen’s descendants would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor. Typically, this does not apply to those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry.

However, there was an exception in the case of one titled royal. The surname Mountbatten-Windsor first appeared officially on the marriage license, registered at Westminster Abbey, of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips on November 14, 1973. Princess Anne is now married to Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

Learn Something About the Royal Family?

Prior to reading this post, did you learn something about the British Royal Family and its members? Did you know they had a surname and what it was? Did you know about the previous surname prior to the reign of George V? Log in and discuss your knowledge, thoughts, and comments.

I will be following up this post, next week, with one that details the titles of each member of the royal family and where they come from. Stay tuned!


 

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