Royal dukedoms in the United Kingdom

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In the British peerage, a royal duke is a member of the British royal family, entitled to the titular dignity of prince and the style of His Royal Highness, who holds a dukedom. Dukedoms are the highest titles in the British roll of peerage, and the holders of these particular dukedoms are princes of the blood royal. The holders of the dukedoms are royal, not the titles themselves. They are titles created and bestowed on legitimate sons and male-line grandsons of the British monarch, usually upon reaching their majority or marriage.[1] The titles can be inherited but cease to be called "royal" once they pass beyond the grandsons of a monarch. As with any peerage, once the title becomes extinct, it may subsequently be recreated by the reigning monarch at any time.

Royal status of dukedoms[edit]

In the United Kingdom, there is nothing intrinsic to any dukedom that makes it "royal". Rather, these peerages are called royal dukedoms because they are created for, and held by, members of the royal family who are entitled to the titular dignity of prince and the style Royal Highness. Although the term "royal duke", therefore, has no official meaning per se, the category "Duke of the Blood Royal" was acknowledged as a rank conferring special precedence at court in the unrevoked 20th clause of the Lord Chamberlain's order of 1520.[2][3] This decree accorded precedence to any peer related by blood to the sovereign above all others of the same degree within the peerage. The order did not apply within Parliament, nor did it grant precedence above the archbishop of Canterbury or other Great Officers of State such as is now enjoyed by royal dukes. But it placed junior "Dukes of the Blood Royal" above the most senior non-royal duke, junior "Earls of the Blood Royal" above the most senior non-royal earl (cf. Earldom of Wessex), etc. It did not matter how distantly related to the monarch the peers might be (presumably they ranked among each other in order of succession to the Crown). Although the 1520 order is theoretically still in effect, in fact the "Blood Royal" clause seems to have fallen into desuetude by 1917 when King George V limited the style of Royal Highness to children and male-line grandchildren of the sovereign. Thus peers of the blood royal who are neither sons nor grandsons of a sovereign are no longer accorded precedence above other peers.

Assuming that Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster and George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews succeed their fathers to become the third Duke of Gloucester and the third Duke of Kent, respectively, their peerages (as created in 1928 and 1934) will cease to be royal dukedoms; instead their holders will become "ordinary" dukes.[4] The third dukes of Gloucester and Kent will each be styled His Grace because, as great-grandsons of King George V, they are not princes and are not styled HRH. Similarly, upon the death of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850–1942) (the third son of Queen Victoria), his only male-line grandson, Alastair, Earl of Macduff (1914–43), briefly succeeded to his peerages and was styled His Grace. Before the 1917 changes, his style had been His Highness Prince Alastair of Connaught.

Current royal dukedoms[edit]

The current royal dukedoms, held as principal titles, in order of precedence, are:

Dukedom Holder Year created Subsidiary titles
Duke of Sussex Prince Harry 2018 Earl of Dumbarton
Baron Kilkeel
Duke of York Prince Andrew 1986 Earl of Inverness
Baron Killyleagh
Duke of Edinburgh Prince Edward 2023 Earl of Wessex
Earl of Forfar
Viscount Severn
Duke of Gloucester Prince Richard 1928 Earl of Ulster
Baron Culloden
Duke of Kent Prince Edward 1934 Earl of St Andrews
Baron Downpatrick

The following dukedoms are currently held by William, Prince of Wales:

  • Duke of Cornwall is a title automatically held by the Sovereign's eldest son in England.[1][5] In addition to the dukedom of Cornwall, a peerage, the holder also enjoys a life interest in the Duchy of Cornwall.
  • Duke of Rothesay is a title automatically held by the Sovereign's heir apparent in Scotland,[1] who is properly called "HRH The Prince William, Duke of Rothesay" (rather than "HRH The Prince of Wales") in Scotland.
  • Duke of Cambridge is a title which was conferred on the Prince on his wedding day, 29 April 2011.

With the exceptions of the dukedoms of Cornwall and Rothesay (which can only be held by the eldest living son of the sovereign who is also the heir apparent), these dukedoms are hereditary according to the letters patent that created them.[1] Those patents contain the standard remainder to "heirs male of his body", with the exception of the Dukedom of Edinburgh, which is a life peerage and will become extinct on the death of the current Duke.[6]

By law the British monarch also holds, and is entitled to the revenues of, the Duchy of Lancaster. Within the borders of the County Palatine of Lancashire, therefore, the monarch is hailed as "The King/Queen, The Duke of Lancaster" (even when the monarch is a queen regnant, by tradition she does not use the title Duchess).[1] However, legally the monarch is not the Duke of Lancaster: peerages are in origin held feudally of the sovereign who, as the fount of honour, cannot hold a peerage of him- or herself. The situation is similar in the Channel Islands, where the monarch is addressed as Duke of Normandy, but only in accordance with tradition. He or she does not hold the legal title of Duke of Normandy.

Former royal dukedoms[edit]

The following is a list of dukedoms previously created for members of the royal family, but which have subsequently merged in the crown, become extinct or have otherwise ceased to be royal dukedoms.

Extinct dukedoms[edit]

Title Status Notes
Duke of Albemarle Deprived in 1399 Non-royal dukedom created in 1660 (extinct 1688);
non-royal Earldom of Albemarle (created 1697) is extant
Duke of Clarence[1] Forfeit in 1478 Earldom of Clarence (created 1881) is a subsidiary title of the suspended Dukedom of Albany
Duke of Clarence and Avondale Extinct in 1892
Duke of Clarence and St Andrews Merged in the crown in 1830 Earldom of St Andrews (created 1934) is a subsidiary title of the extant Dukedom of Kent
Duke of Connaught and Strathearn[1] Extinct in 1943 Earldom of Strathearn (created 2011) is a subsidiary title of the extant Dukedom of Cambridge
Duke of Cumberland[1] Extinct in 1765
Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn Extinct in 1790
Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh Extinct in 1834 Separate Dukedoms of Gloucester and Edinburgh are extant.
Duke of Hereford Merged in the crown in 1399 Non-royal Viscountcy of Hereford (created 1550) is extant
Duke of Kendal[1] Extinct in 1667 Non-royal dukedom created in 1719 (extinct 1743).
Duke of Kent and Strathearn Extinct in 1820 Earldom of Strathearn (created 2011) is a subsidiary title of the extant Dukedom of Cambridge.
Duke of Kintyre and Lorne Extinct in 1602 Non-royal Marquessate of Kintyre and Lorne (created 1701) is a subsidiary title of the extant Dukedom of Argyll
Duke of Ross Extinct in 1515
Duke of Windsor Extinct in 1972 The title that was given to King Edward VIII after his abdication.
Non-royal Barony (created 1529) and Viscountcy of Windsor (created 1905) are subsidiary titles of the extant Earldom of Plymouth.
Non-royal Earldom of Windsor (created 1796) is a subsidiary title of the extant Marquessate of Bute.
Duke of York and Albany Extinct in 1827

Extinct as royal dukedoms[edit]

Title Royal creation Current status
Duke of Bedford Extinct in 1495 Non-royal dukedom created in 1694 is extant
Duke of Norfolk Extinct in 1483 Non-royal dukedom created in 1483 is extant
Duke of Somerset Extinct in 1500 Non-royal dukedom created in 1547 is extant

Suspended dukedoms[edit]

Under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 the holders of the following dukedoms, who were simultaneously British princes and members of royal and princely families of Germany, were deprived of their British titles, having sided with Germany during the First World War. The Act provides that a successor of a person thus deprived of a peerage can petition the Crown for revival of the title. No such descendant has done so.

Title Created Deprived holder Current claimant
Duke of Albany[1] 1881 Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Prince Hubertus of Saxe Coburg and Gotha
Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale 1799 Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover Prince Ernst August of Hanover

Royal dukedoms created since 1726[edit]

Coat of arms Title Prince Date created Notes

Reign of King George I[edit]

Duke of Edinburgh Prince Frederick 15 July 1726 Created Prince of Wales in 1729
Merged with the Crown in 1760
Duke of Cumberland Prince William 15 July 1726 Extinct in 1765[a]

Reign of King George II[edit]

Duke of York and Albany Prince Edward 1 April 1760[7] Extinct in 1767[a]

Reign of King George III[edit]

Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh Prince William Henry 17 November 1764[8] Extinct in 1834[b]
Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn Prince Henry 22 October 1766 Extinct in 1790[a]
Duke of York and Albany Prince Frederick 27 November 1784[9] Extinct in 1827[a]
Duke of Clarence and St Andrews Prince William 19 May 1789[10] Merged with the Crown in 1830
Duke of Kent and Strathearn Prince Edward 23 April 1799[11] Extinct in 1820[a]
Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale Prince Ernest Augustus Deprived in 1919
Duke of Sussex Prince Augustus Frederick 24 November 1801[12] Extinct in 1843[a]
Duke of Cambridge Prince Adolphus Extinct in 1904[c]

Reign of Queen Victoria[edit]

Duke of Edinburgh Prince Alfred 24 May 1866[13] Extinct in 1900[a]
Duke of Connaught and Strathearn Prince Arthur 24 May 1874[14] Extinct in 1943[d]
Duke of Albany Prince Leopold 24 May 1881[15] Deprived in 1919
Duke of Clarence and Avondale Prince Albert Victor 24 May 1890[16] Extinct in 1892[a]
Duke of York Prince George 24 May 1892[17] Created Prince of Wales in 1901
Merged with the Crown in 1910

Reign of King George V[edit]

Duke of York Prince Albert 3 June 1920[18] Merged with the Crown in 1936
Duke of Gloucester Prince Henry 30 March 1928[19] Extant[e]
Duke of Kent Prince George 9 October 1934[20] Extant[e]

Reign of King George VI[edit]

Duke of Windsor Prince Edward 8 March 1937[21] Extinct in 1972[a]
Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip 20 November 1947[22] Merged with the Crown in 2022

Reign of Queen Elizabeth II[edit]

Duke of York Prince Andrew 23 July 1986[23] Extant[f]
Duke of Cambridge Prince William 29 April 2011[24] Created Prince of Wales in 2022
Duke of Sussex Prince Henry (Harry) 19 May 2018[25][26] Extant

Reign of King Charles III[edit]

Duke of Edinburgh Prince Edward 10 March 2023[27] Extant[g]

Forms of address[edit]

  • Address: His/Her Royal Highness The Duke/Duchess of (X)
  • Speak to as: Your Royal Highness
  • After: Sir/Madam


While non-royal dukes are entitled to a coronet of eight strawberry leaves, to bear at a coronation and on his coat of arms, royal dukes are entitled to princely coronets (four cross pattées alternating with four strawberry leaves). The coronets of the royal family are dictated by letters patent. The Dukes of Sussex, of York and of Edinburgh bear by letters patent the coronet of a child of the sovereign (four crosses patées alternating with four fleurs-de-lis), while the Duke of Cornwall, Rothesay and Cambridge has use of the Prince of Wales' coronet, and the current dukes of Gloucester and of Kent, as grandsons of a sovereign bear the corresponding coronet of a royal duke.

At coronations, apart from the differentiation of princely coronets from ducal coronets, a royal duke is also entitled to six rows of ermine spots on his mantle, as opposed to the four rows borne by an "ordinary" duke.

Family tree[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Died without legitimate male heirs.
  2. ^ The 2nd Duke died without legitimate male heirs.
  3. ^ The 2nd Duke died without legitimate male heirs as his marriage was not in accordance with the Royal Marriages Act 1772. Had the marriage been recognised by law, the title would have become extinct in 1960.
  4. ^ The 2nd Duke died without legitimate male heirs.
  5. ^ a b Will cease to be a Royal dukedom on the death of the current Duke, but will continue as an "ordinary" dukedom
  6. ^ There are currently no legitimate male heirs, so the peerage will become extinct on the death of the current Duke
  7. ^ Dukedom was conferred as a life peerage and will become extinct on the death of the current Duke


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh, ed. (1973). "Appendix C: Titles Traditionally Associated with the Royal Family". Burke's Guide to the Royal Family. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd/Shaw Publishing Co. pp. 183, 336–337. ISBN 0-220-66222-3.
  2. ^ Velde, Francois. "Order of Precedence in England and Wales". Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  3. ^ Squibb, G.D. (1981). "The Lord Chamberlain's Order of 1520, as amended in 1595". Order of Precedence in England and Wales. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. pp. 99–101.
  4. ^ Eilers, Marlene. Queen Victoria's Descendants. Rosvall Royal Books, Falkoping, Sweden, 1997. p. 45. ISBN 91-630-5964-9
  5. ^ "The Prince of Wales: styles and titles".
  6. ^ Coughlan, Sean (10 March 2023). "King Charles grants Prince Edward Duke of Edinburgh title". BBC News. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  7. ^ "No. 9987". The London Gazette. 29 March 1760. p. 1.
  8. ^ "No. 10470". The London Gazette. 13 November 1764. p. 1.
  9. ^ "No. 12598". The London Gazette. 23 November 1784. p. 2.
  10. ^ "No. 13097". The London Gazette. 16 May 1789. p. 377.
  11. ^ "No. 15126". The London Gazette. 20 April 1799. p. 372.
  12. ^ "No. 15429". The London Gazette. 21 November 1801. p. 1.
  13. ^ "No. 23119". The London Gazette. 25 May 1866. p. 3127.
  14. ^ "No. 24098". The London Gazette. 26 May 1874. p. 1.
  15. ^ "No. 24977". The London Gazette. 24 May 1881. p. 1.
  16. ^ "No. 26055". The London Gazette. 24 May 1890. p. 1.
  17. ^ "No. 26291". The London Gazette. 25 May 1892. p. 1.
  18. ^ "No. 31931". The London Gazette. 4 June 1920. p. 6313.
  19. ^ "No. 33371". The London Gazette. 30 March 1928. p. 2321.
  20. ^ "No. 34904". The London Gazette. 9 October 1934. p. 6365.
  21. ^ "No. 34350". The London Gazette. 15 November 1936. p. 8115.
  22. ^ "No. 38128". The London Gazette. 20 November 1947. pp. 5495–5496.
  23. ^ "No. 50606". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 July 1986. p. 1.
  24. ^ "No. 59798". The London Gazette. 1 June 2011. p. 10297.
  25. ^ Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle: Announcement of Titles, 19 May 2018
  26. ^ "Crown Office | the Gazette".
  27. ^ "Crown Office | the Gazette".