Duke of Edinburgh

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Dukedom of Edinburgh
Creation date10 March 2023 (announced)[1]
3 April 2023 (Letters Patent)[2]
Created byCharles III
PeeragePeerage of the United Kingdom
First holderPrince Frederick
(first creation; 1726)
Present holderPrince Edward
Subsidiary titlesEarl of Wessex
Earl of Forfar
Viscount Severn

Duke of Edinburgh, named after the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh, is a substantive title that has been created four times since 1726 for members of the British royal family. It does not include any territorial landholdings and does not produce any revenue for the title-holder.

The current holder, Prince Edward, was created duke in 2023 on his 59th birthday by his eldest brother, King Charles III. The dukedom had previously been granted to their father, then Philip Mountbatten, on the day of his marriage to then-Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II. Upon Philip's death, the title was inherited by Charles and held by him until Elizabeth died and Charles became king, at which time the title reverted to the Crown.

1726 creation

Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707–1751) was the first Duke of Edinburgh, from 1726 until his death.

The title was first created in the Peerage of Great Britain on 26 July 1726 by King George I, who bestowed it on his grandson Prince Frederick, who subsequently became Prince of Wales in 1728. The subsidiary titles of the dukedom were Marquess of the Isle of Ely,[3] Earl of Eltham, in the County of Kent,[4] Viscount of Launceston, in the County of Cornwall, and Baron of Snowdon, in the County of Caernarvon, all of which were also in the Peerage of Great Britain. The marquessate was gazetted as Marquess of the Isle of Wight,[4] apparently erroneously. In later editions of the London Gazette the Duke is referred to as the Marquess of the Isle of Ely.[5][6] Upon Frederick's death, the titles were inherited by his son Prince George. When Prince George became King George III in 1760, the titles merged in the Crown and ceased to exist.[3]

1866 creation

Queen Victoria re-created the title, this time in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, on 24 May 1866 for her second son Prince Alfred, instead of Duke of York, the traditional title of the second son of the monarch. The subsidiary titles of the dukedom were Earl of Kent and Earl of Ulster, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[7] When Alfred became the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893, he retained his British titles. His only son that survived birth, Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, committed suicide in 1899, so the Dukedom of Edinburgh and subsidiary titles became extinct upon the elder Alfred's death in 1900.[3]

1947 creation

The title was created for a third time on 19 November 1947 by King George VI,[8] who bestowed it on his future son-in-law Philip Mountbatten, when he married Princess Elizabeth. Subsequently, Elizabeth was styled "HRH The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh" until her accession in 1952.[9] The subsidiary titles of the dukedom were Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, of Greenwich in the County of London; all these titles were in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[10] Earlier that year, Philip had renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles (he was born a prince of Greece and Denmark, being a male-line grandson of King George I of Greece and male-line great-grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark) along with his rights to the Greek throne. In 1957, Philip became a prince of the United Kingdom.[11]

Upon Philip's death on 9 April 2021, his eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales, succeeded to all of his hereditary titles.[12] Upon Charles's accession to the throne on 8 September 2022, the peerages merged in the Crown and ceased to exist.[13]

2023 creation

It was announced in 1999, at the time of his wedding, that Prince Edward would eventually be granted the Dukedom of Edinburgh.[14] The idea came from Prince Philip, who unexpectedly conveyed his wish to Edward and his fiancée, Sophie Rhys-Jones, only days before their wedding. Edward, then seventh in the line of succession to the British throne, had expected the dukedom to be granted to Prince Andrew, his older brother.[15]

Prince Philip died in April 2021. His dukedom was inherited by his eldest son, Prince Charles, who was to give it to Edward upon becoming king according to Philip's wish. Edward, who had by then dropped to the 14th place in the line of succession because of births of those higher in line, said in June that him getting such a prestigious title was "a pipe dream of my father's".[15] In July, The Times reported that Charles had decided not to give the title to his brother.[16] Clarence House did not deny the reports, which were met with disapproval by commentators in light of Edward and Sophie's increased role in the monarchy after Andrew withdrew from public life and Charles's son Prince Harry and daughter-in-law Meghan quit royal duties.[15]

It was suggested in November 2022, shortly after Charles III ascended the throne, that Buckingham Palace was considering saving the dukedom for the new king's granddaughter Princess Charlotte of Wales in recognition of her high place in the line of succession and her being the first female member of the royal family whose place in the line of succession cannot be superseded by a younger brother.[15]

The dukedom was bestowed on Prince Edward on the occasion of his 59th birthday on 10 March 2023.[17][18][1] This fourth creation of the title is, however, a life peerage, meaning that Edward's son, James, will not inherit the dukedom (unlike with Edward's other peerages). This allows Charles to honour his father's wish and reward his brother and sister-in-law while making it possible for Charles's heir-apparent, Prince William, to confer it on one of his children. According to Camilla Tominey of The Daily Telegraph, there had been concerns regarding the effect that "giv(ing) the Edinburgh dukedom to someone descending fast down the royal ranking" would have on the Scottish independence debate. She proposes that "the prospect of Scottish independence now looking less likely" in the light of Nicola Sturgeon's resignation made the conferral less of a risk.[15]

Dukes of Edinburgh

First creation, 1726

Also: Marquess of the Isle of Ely, Earl of Eltham, Viscount Launceston and Baron Snowdon.

Duke Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Prince Frederick
House of Hanover
also: Prince of Wales (1728), Duke of Cornwall (1727, created 1337), Duke of Rothesay (1727, created 1469)
Prince Frederick 1 February 1707
Leineschloss, Hanover
son of King George II and Queen Caroline
Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
17 April 1736
9 children
31 March 1751
Leicester House, Leicester Square, London
aged 44
Prince George
House of Hanover
also: Prince of Wales (1751)
Prince George 4 June 1738
Norfolk House, London
son of Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta
Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
8 September 1761
15 children
29 January 1820
Windsor Castle, Windsor
aged 81
Prince George succeeded as George III in 1760 upon his grandfather's death, and his titles merged in the Crown.

Second creation, 1866

Also: Earl of Kent and Earl of Ulster.

Duke Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Prince Alfred
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
also Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1893)
Prince Alfred 6 August 1844
Windsor Castle, Windsor
son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
23 January 1874
6 children
30 July 1900
Schloss Rosenau, Coburg
aged 55
Prince Alfred and Grand Duchess Maria had two sons, one stillborn, one who predeceased him; and all his titles became extinct on his death.

Third creation, 1947

Also: Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

Duke Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Prince Philip
Mountbatten family/House of Glücksburg (by birth)
Prince Philip 10 June 1921
Mon Repos, Corfu
son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg
Princess Elizabeth
20 November 1947
4 children
9 April 2021
Windsor Castle, Windsor
aged 99
Prince Charles
House of Windsor
also: Prince of Wales (1958), Duke of Cornwall (1952, created 1337), Duke of Rothesay (1952, created 1469)
Prince Charles 14 November 1948
Buckingham Palace, London
son of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II
Lady Diana Spencer
29 July 1981
2 children
Divorced 28 August 1996
Camilla Parker Bowles
9 April 2005
No issue
Prince Charles succeeded as Charles III in 2022 upon his mother's death, and his titles merged in the Crown.

Fourth creation, 2023

Duke Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Prince Edward
House of Windsor
also: Earl of Wessex (1999), Earl of Forfar (2019), Viscount Severn (1999)
Prince Edward 10 March 1964
Buckingham Palace, London
son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Sophie Rhys-Jones
19 June 1999
2 children
The dukedom will be held for Prince Edward's lifetime as a non-hereditary peerage title.

Family trees


Here are the achievements of the various Dukes of Edinburgh:

In media

A fictional Duke of Edinburgh appears in the 1983 sitcom The Black Adder. Rowan Atkinson plays the title character, Prince Edmund, who is granted the title Duke of Edinburgh by his father, a fictitious King Richard IV.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b Coughlan, Sean (10 March 2023). "King Charles grants Prince Edward Duke of Edinburgh title". BBC News. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  2. ^ "No. 64022". The London Gazette. 6 April 2023. p. 7074.
  3. ^ a b c Cokayne, G. E. (1926). Gibbs, Vicary; Doubleday, H. A. (eds.). The Complete Peerage. Vol. 5: Eardley of Spalding to Goojerat (2nd ed.). London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 6–8.
  4. ^ a b "No. 6494". The London Gazette. 12 July 1726. p. 1.
  5. ^ "No. 6741". The London Gazette. 4 January 1728. p. 2.
  6. ^ "No. 9050". The London Gazette. 16 April 1751. p. 1.
  7. ^ "No. 23119". The London Gazette. 25 May 1866. p. 3127.
  8. ^ "No. 38128". The London Gazette. 21 November 1947. p. 5495.
  9. ^ "Kate to become Duchess of Cambridge". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  10. ^ "No. 38128". The London Gazette. 21 November 1947. p. 5496.
  11. ^ "No. 41009". The London Gazette. 22 February 1957. p. 1209.
  12. ^ "HRH The Duke of Edinburgh". College of Arms. 9 April 2021. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Who is the Duke of Edinburgh now?". Evening Standard. 15 September 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  14. ^ "The Earl of Wessex". Royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d e Tominey, Camilla (10 March 2023). "Prince Edward may have the Duke of Edinburgh title – but getting it wasn't easy". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  16. ^ Nikkhah, Roya (11 July 2021). "Edward wants to be Duke of Edinburgh but his brother is not on his side". The Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2021. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  17. ^ "No. 63995". The London Gazette. 15 March 2023. p. 4994.
  18. ^ "The King confers The Dukedom of Edinburgh upon The Prince Edward". The Royal Family. 10 March 2023. Archived from the original on 10 March 2023. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  19. ^ "Blackadder Characters". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 6 March 2023.