Mausoleum Day: December 14th


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Today in the history of the British Monarchy, at least through the reign of Queen Victoria, December 14 was known as Mausoleum Day due to the deaths of Prince Albert the Prince Consort and Princess Alice in 1861 and 1878 respectively.


Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Franz Albrecht August Carl Emmanuel) (August 26, 1819 – December 14, 1861) was the second son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert’s future wife, Victoria, was born earlier in the same year with the assistance of the same midwife, Charlotte von Siebold.

He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, to a family connected to many of Europe’s ruling monarchs. At the age of 20, he married his first cousin, Queen Victoria; (her mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and his father, Duke Ernest III of Saxe-Coburg were siblings) together they had nine children. Initially he felt constrained by his role of consort, which did not afford him power or responsibilities. He gradually developed a reputation for supporting public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery worldwide, and was entrusted with running the Queen’s household, office and estates. He was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was a resounding success.


As the years wore on Queen Victoria came to depend more and more on his support and guidance. He aided the development of Britain’s constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to be less partisan in her dealings with Parliament—although he actively disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston’s tenure as Foreign Secretary. Albert was not granted a peerage title and Queen Victoria wanted to grant him the title King Consort but Parliament said no. However, in 1857, Albert was given the formal title of Prince Consort.

In August 1859, Albert fell seriously ill with stomach cramps. In March 1861, Victoria’s mother and Albert’s aunt, the Duchess of Kent, died and Victoria was grief-stricken; Albert took on most of the Queen’s duties, despite continuing to suffer with chronic stomach troubles. The last public event he presided over was the opening of the Royal Horticultural Gardens on 5 June 1861. In August, Victoria and Albert visited the Curragh Camp, Ireland, where the Prince of Wales (future Edward VII) was doing army service. At the Curragh, the Prince of Wales was introduced, by his fellow officers, to Nellie Clifden, an Irish actress.


By November, Victoria and Albert had returned to Windsor, and the Prince of Wales had returned to Cambridge, where he was a student. Two of Albert’s young cousins, brothers King Pedro V of Portugal and Prince Ferdinand, died of typhoid fever within 5 days of each other in early November. On top of this news, Albert was informed that gossip was spreading in gentlemen’s clubs and the foreign press that the Prince of Wales was still involved with Nellie Clifden and Albert and Victoria were horrified by their son’s indiscretion, and feared blackmail, scandal or pregnancy. Although Albert was ill and at a low ebb, he travelled to Cambridge to see the Prince of Wales on November 25th to discuss his son’s indiscreet affair. Upon his return from Cambridge Albert began suffering from pains in his back and legs.

When the Trent Affair—the forcible removal of Confederate envoys from a British ship by Unionforces during the American Civil War—threatened war between the United States and Britain, Albert was gravely ill but intervened to soften the British diplomatic response, thus preventing War with the United States.


On December 9th, one of Albert’s doctors, William Jenner, diagnosed typhoid fever. Despite a temporary rally where it was believed the Prince was improving Albert died at 10:50 p.m. on December 14th, 1861 in the Blue Room at Windsor Castle, in the presence of the Queen and five of their nine children. The contemporary diagnosis was typhoid fever, but modern writers have pointed out that Albert’s ongoing stomach pain, leaving him ill for at least two years before his death, may indicate that a chronic disease, such as Crohn’s disease, renal failure, or abdominal cancer, was the cause of death.

Albert died at the relatively young age of 42. Victoria was so devastated at the loss of her husband that she entered into a deep state of mourning and wore black for the rest of her life. On her death in 1901, their eldest son succeeded as Edward VII, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged.

Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (Alice Maud Mary; April 25, 1843 – December 14, 1878), Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Alice was the first of Queen Victoria’s nine children to die, and one of three to be outlived by their mother, who died in 1901.


Alice spent her early childhood in the company of her parents and siblings, travelling between the British royal residences. Her education was devised by Albert’s close friend and adviser, Baron Stockmar, and included practical activities like needlework and woodwork and languages like French and German. When her father, Prince Albert, became fatally ill in December 1861, Alice nursed him until his death.


Following his death, Queen Victoria entered a period of intense mourning and Alice spent the next six months acting as her mother’s unofficial secretary. On July 1, 1862, while the court was still at the height of mourning, Alice married the minor German Prince Louis of Hesse, heir to the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The ceremony—conducted privately and with unrelieved gloom at Osborne House—was described by the Queen as “more of a funeral than a wedding”. The Princess’s life in Darmstadt was unhappy as a result of impoverishment, family tragedy and worsening relations with her husband and mother.

Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and By Rhine

Alice was a prolific patron of women’s causes and showed an interest in nursing, especially the work of Florence Nightingale. When Hesse became involved in the Austro-Prussian War, Darmstadt filled with the injured; the heavily pregnant Alice devoted a lot of her time to the management of field hospitals. In 1877, Alice became Grand Duchess upon the accession of her husband as Grand Duke Louis IV (Ludwig) her increased duties putting further strains on her health.

Princess Alice was the mother of Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (wife of Tsar Nicholas II), maternal grandmother of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (the last Viceroy of India), and maternal great-grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (consort of Queen Elizabeth II). Another daughter, Elisabeth, who married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, was, like the tsaritsa and her family, killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Final illness and death


In November 1878, the Grand Ducal household fell ill with diphtheria. Alice’s eldest daughter Victoria was the first to fall ill, complaining of a stiff neck in the evening of 5 November 5th. Diphtheria was diagnosed the following morning, and soon the disease spread to Alice’s children Alix, Marie, Irene, and Ernest. Her husband Louis became infected shortly thereafter. Elisabeth was the only child to not fall ill, having been sent away by Alice to the palace of the Princess Charles, her mother-in-law.

Marie became seriously ill on November 15, and Alice was called to her bedside, but by the time she arrived, Marie had choked to death. A distraught Alice wrote to Queen Victoria that the “pain is beyond words.” Alice kept the news of Marie’s death secret from her children for several weeks, but she finally told Ernest in early December. His reaction was even worse than she had anticipated; at first he refused to believe it. As he sat up crying, Alice broke her rule about physical contact with the ill and gave him a kiss. This was the kiss of death.

At first, however, Alice did not fall ill. She met her sister Victoria (Crown Princess of Germany and Prussia) as the latter was passing through Darmstadt on the way to England, and wrote to her mother with “a hint of resumed cheerfulness” on the same day. However, by Saturday, December 14th the 17th anniversary of her father’s death, she became seriously ill with the diphtheria caught from her son. Her last words were “dear Papa”, and she fell unconscious at 2:30 am. Just after 8:30 am, she died. Alice was buried on 18 December 1878 at the Grand Ducal mausoleum at Rosenhöhe outside Darmstadt, with the Union Flag draped over her coffin. A special monument of Alice and her daughter Marie was erected there by Joseph Boehm.

She was the first child of Queen Victoria to die, with her mother outliving her by more than 20 years. Victoria noted the coincidence of the dates of Albert and Alice’s deaths as “almost incredible and most mysterious.” Writing in her journal on the day of Alice’s death, Queen Victoria referred to the recent sufferings of the family: “This terrible day come round again.” Shocked by grief, she wrote to her daughter Princess Victoria: “My precious child, who stood by me and upheld me seventeen years ago on the same day taken, and by such an awful and fearful disease…She had darling Papa’s nature, and much of his self-sacrificing character and fearless and entire devotion to duty!” The animosity that Victoria had towards Alice seemed no longer present. Princess Victoria expressed her grief to her mother in a 39-page letter, and deeply mourned Alice, the sister to whom she was closest. However, both she and her husband were forbidden from attending the funeral by the Emperor of Germany, who was worried about their safety.

Alice’s death was felt in both Britain and Hesse. The Times wrote: “The humblest of people felt that they had the kinship of nature with a Princess who was the model of family virtue as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother…Her abundant sympathies sought for objects of help in the great unknown waste of human distress.” The Illustrated London News wrote that the “lesson of the late Princess’s life is as noble as it is obvious. Moral worth is far more important than high position.”

The death was also heavily felt by the royal family, especially by Alice’s brother and sister-in-law, the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Princess of Wales, upon meeting the Queen after Alice’s death, exclaimed “I wish I had died instead of her.” The Prince, meanwhile, wrote to the Earl of Granville that Alice “was my favourite sister. So good, so kind, so clever! We had gone through so much together…”


European Royal History and the Weather: Part I


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Another passion of mine besides European Royalty and it’s history has been the study of the weather. Today I begin a new series where I combine two of my passions: European Royal History and Meteorology. Weather has helped shaped historical events and the course of history itself. In this series I will look at how weather impacted significant events in European History.

Accurate and detailed weather forecasts can save lives. The lack of an accurate and detailed forecast, and it’s resulting loss of life, is evident in one of the most well known historical events in which weather was a significant player; Napoleon’s war on Russia in 1812.

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Napoleon of France

In 1812, Emperor Napoleon of France gathered the largest army Europe had ever seen at the point, more than 600,000 strong. His plan was to march boldly into Moscow to attack the forces of Emperor Alexander I of Russia. Napoleon was not at all concerned that winter was approaching. Napoleons’s non concern about the coming winter was not due to having foreknowledge that Russia would be experiencing a mild winter, his overconfidence was primarily due to his obstinance and hubris.

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Alexander I of Russia

In truth, in 1812 Napoleon would not have had a long term forecast about the winter. Today we have many tools to predict the weather as we can scientifically measure the temperature, air pressure and windspeed etc. We also have many computer models, known as Numerical Weather Prediction Models which uses mathematical computations of the atmospheric and oceanic conditions to predict weather patterns based on current weather conditions. However, before these tools and technologies, the weather was predicted by the appearance of clouds or the behaviour of animals. There were also primitive thermometers and barometers that aided in forecasting the weather.

Admiral Robert FitzRoy

The term forecast wasn’t even part of the weather vernacular in 1812. The word ‘forecast’ was invented by Admiral Robert FitzRoy in the mid 1800s. FitzRoy was a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate daily weather predictions, which he called by a new name of his own invention: “forecasts” and he defined it as such: “the term forecast is strictly applicable to such an opinion as is the result of scientific combination and calculation.” Incidentally, Admiral Robert FitRoy had royal connections. Through his father, General Lord Charles FitzRoy, Robert was a fourth great-grandson of King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland through his mistress, Barbara Palmer-Villiers, 1st Duchess of Cleveland. Born on the wrong side of the sheets as they say.

Back to Napoleon. Napoleon could not foresee his campaign lasting into the winter, believing his war would be swift and decisive. Without a long term forecast for the coming winter, coupled with Napoleon’s overconfidence, this left him unprepared for the difficulties that were ahead.

It was not just winter weather that made an impact on Napoleon’s troops. On June 24th Napoleon entered and attacked Vilnius, Lithuanian. That same afternoon severe thunderstorms and accompanying torrential downpours had a devastating impact on the siege. Since there were no discernible roads in this area of Lithuania, the ruts of the wagons on the soft and saturated ground were turned into bottomless mires. Wagon sank up to their hubs; horses dropped from exhaustion; men lost their boots.


After the storms, the sun reemerged bringing along with it oppressive heat and humidity which would bake the deep ruts into canyons of concrete, where horses would break their legs and wagons their wheels. With the numerous dead horses blocking any forward movements, the troops were left with living in swamp-like conditions with dysentery and influenza raging though the ranks with hundreds laying sick in a field hospital. The Crown Prince of Wurttemberg (future King Wilhelm I of Wurttemberg) reported 21 men dead in bivouacs from sunstroke and a further 345 soldiers were sick.

There are four types of weather fronts that cause thunderstorms: cold front, warm front, stationary front and occluded front. Thunderstorms can become extremely severe and can appear seemingly out of nowhere along any of these front lines. Cold fronts tend to move faster than the other types of fronts and are associated with the most violent types of weather such as severe and super cell thunderstorms, although any type of front can produce these same storms. Since the historical records indicate that severe thunderstorms were followed by oppressive heat and humidity on June 28th 1812 in Vilnius, Lithuanian, it is safe to conclude that these storms were part of a warm front that moved through the region.


Napoleon reached Moscow in mid September. By mid October with the French having set fire to large portions of Moscow, the French were holding onto a tenuous victory. An official French Imperial Delegation was sent to negotiate an armistice and a permanent peace with the Russian Emperor. The French were received with all civility, and we’re encouraged that the Russian soldiers wanted peace. On October 19th, after 35 days in the city, the French began to leave Moscow.

The Retreat from Moscow

Napoleon left Moscow at the head of 95,000 men, with 500 cannons and an uncertain number of wagons (estimates range from 4,000 up to 40,000, with around 20,000 perhaps most likely). The wagon train included the Imperial HQ, the pontoon train, thousands of wagons filled with food and just as many filled with the loot of Moscow. Although Napoleon was victorious in his siege of Moscow, it was with his retreat from Moscow that the Russians delivered the French Army its crushing blow…with help from the weather.

Although the Russian campaign was over by mid-October, the encroaching winter weather was heavy on the minds of Napoleon’s closest advisers. The return to France would take several months. Early on November 5th Napoleon reached Smorgoni. That evening he held a conference with his marshals – Murat, Prince Eugene of Savoy, Berthier, Lefebvre, Bessières, Ney and Davout all attended. At this meeting Napoleon announced that he was going to leave the remnants of the army and return to Paris.

At 10pm Napoleon left with a small party and a small escort of Polish cavalry. Napoleon’s decision to leave the army was probably correct, although his enemies did portray it as a cowardly betrayal of his army. Napoleon had left Marshal Murat in charge of the army. He proved to be a poor choice. Around 20,000 men (mainly stragglers) were lost between Smorgoni and Vilna due to the harsh weather conditions. This was the period of severe frosts, with the temperature dropping to -20c (-4F) on December 5th and -26c (-32.2F) December 9th.

The army was equipped with summer clothing only, and they did not have the means to protect themselves from the cold. In addition, the army lacked the ability to forge caulkined shoes for the horses to enable them to walk over roads that had become iced over. As Napoleon’s army marched further from Vilna temperatures fell further to -40 degrees C. (-40F) The soldiers fell to frostbite and starvation. In one 24-hour period, 50,000 horses died from the cold.

In his memoir, Napoleon’s close adviser, Armand de Caulaincourt, recounted scenes of massive loss, and offered a vivid description of mass death through hypothermia.

The cold was so intense that bivouacking was no longer supportable. If the soldiers resisted the craving for sleep it would prolong their agony for a short while, but not saving them, for in this condition the drowsiness engendered by cold was irresistibly strong. Sleep comes inevitably, and to sleep is to die. This kind of death by freezing happened to thousands of individuals. The road was covered with their corpses.”

Of the 600,000 men who marched into Russia, only 150,000 would limp home. It was the beginning of the end for Napoleon’s empire, and heralded the emergence of Russia as a power in Europe.

Following the Russian campaign a saying arose that the Generals, along with Janvier and Février (January and February) defeated Napoleon. This demonstrates that without knowledge of the weather Napoleon’s troops were ill prepared to safely navigate the land and keeping their troops and animals safe.

Birth of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge.


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Today is the 185th anniversary of the birth of the Duchess of Teck, born Princes Mary Adelaide of Cambridge on November 27, 1833.


Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge (Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth; November 27, 1833 – October 27, 1897) was a member of the British Royal family, a granddaughter of George III, and a first cousin of Queen Victoria. Her only daughter was Princess Mary of Teck the spouse of King George V, making Princess Mary Adelaide the grandmother of Edward VIII and George VI and great-grandmother of the current queen, Elizabeth II. She held the title of Duchess of Teck through marriage.

Mary Adelaide was born on November 27, 1833 in Hanover, Germany. Her father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the youngest surviving son of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Her mother was Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel, the daughter of Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Cassel and Princess Caroline of Nassau-Usingen. The young princess was baptized on January 9, 1834 at Cambridge House, Hanover, by Rev John Ryle Wood, Chaplain to the Duke of Cambridge. Her godmother and paternal aunt Princess Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, was the only godparent who was present. The others were King William IV and Queen Adelaide (her paternal uncle and aunt), Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (her paternal aunt), Princess Marie of Hesse-Cassel (her maternal aunt) and Princess Marie Luise Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel (her maternal first cousin). She was named Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth for her aunts and uncle.


By the age of 30, Mary Adelaide was still unmarried. Her large girth (earning her the disparaging and unkind epithet of “Fat Mary”) and lack of income were contributing factors, as was her advanced age. However, her royal rank prevented her from marrying someone not of royal blood. Her cousin, Queen Victoria, took pity on her and attempted to arrange pairings.

Eventually a suitable candidate was found in Württemberg, Prince Francis of Teck.


Francis was born as Franz Paul Karl Ludwig Alexander on August 28, 1837 in Esseg, Slavonia (now Osijek, Croatia). His father was Duke Alexander of Württemberg, the son of Duke Louis of Württemberg. His mother was Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde. The marriage was morganatic, meaning that Francis had no succession rights to the Kingdom of Württemberg. His title at birth was Count Francis von Hohenstein, after his mother was created Countess von Hohenstein in her own right by Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. In 1863, Francis was created Prince of Teck, with the style of Serene Highness, in the Kingdom of Württemberg by Emperor Frank-Josef of Austria.

Although the Prince of Teck was of a lower rank than Mary Adelaide, as the product of a morganatic marriage, but was at least of princely title and of royal blood. With no other options available, Mary Adelaide decided to marry him. The couple were married on June 12, 1866 at St. Anne’s Church, Kew, Surrey.

The Duke and Duchess of Teck chose to reside in London rather than abroad, mainly because Mary Adelaide received £5,000 per annum as a Parliamentary annuity and carried out royal duties. Her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, also provided her with supplementary income. Requests to Queen Victoria for extra funds were generally refused; however, the queen did provide the Tecks with apartments at Kensington Palace and White Lodge in Richmond Park as a country house.

Mary Adelaide requested that her new husband be granted the style Royal Highness, but this was refused by Queen Victoria. The queen did, however, promote Francis to the rank of Highness in 1887 in celebration of her Golden Jubilee.


Despite their modest income, Mary Adelaide had expensive tastes and lived an extravagant life of parties, expensive food and clothes and holidays abroad. In 1883 they were forced to live more cheaply abroad to reduce their debts. They travelled to Florence, Italy, and also stayed with relatives in Germany and Austria. Initially, they travelled under the names of the Count and Countess von Hohenstein. However, Mary Adelaide wished to travel in more style and reverted to her royal style, which commanded significantly more attention and better service.

The Tecks returned from their self-imposed exile in 1885 and continued to live at Kensington Palace and White Lodge in Richmond Park. Mary Adelaide began devoting her life to charity, serving as patron to Barnardo’s and other children’s charities.

In 1891, Mary Adelaide was keen for her daughter, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (known as “May”) to marry one of the sons of the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII.

At the same time, Queen Victoria wanted a British-born bride for the future king, though of course one of royal rank and ancestry, and Mary Adelaide’s daughter fulfilled the rank criteria. After Queen Victoria’s approval, May became engaged to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, second in line to the British throne. He died suddenly six weeks later. Queen Victoria was fond of Princess Mary and persuaded the Duke of Clarence’s brother and next in the line of succession, Prince George, Duke of York, to marry her instead. After a short morning period they married in the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, on July 6, 1893.


Mary Adelaide never lived to see her daughter become Princess of Wales or Queen, as she died on 27 October 1897 at White Lodge, following an emergency operationShe was buried in the royal vault at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

When the Duchess of Teck died, leaving Francis a widower, He continued to live at White Lodge, Richmond, but did not carry out any Royal duties. The Duke of Teck died on 21 January 1900 at White Lodge. He was buried next to his wife in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

The Prince of Wales at 70: Happy Birthday!


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In honor of the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales I will give some limited biographical information along with sharing some of my own thoughts.


His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was born Prince Charles Philip Arthur George; born on this day November 14, 1948. At the time of his birth he was the eldest son and eldest child to HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh (Princess Elizabeth) and her husband HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark). Prince Charles was born second in line to the throne and was the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. He was baptised in the palace’s Music Room by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, on 15 December 1948.

Britain Prince Charles

The death of his grandfather and the accession of his mother as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 made Charles her heir apparent. As the monarch’s eldest son, he automatically took the titles Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Charles attended his mother’s coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. He is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.

Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, though his investiture was not held until 1 July 1969, when he was crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle. He took his seat in the House of Lords in 1970, and he made his maiden speech at a debate in June 1974, becoming the first royal to speak in the Lords since his great-great-grandfather, later Edward VII, also speaking as Prince of Wales, in 1884. Charles began to take on more public duties, founding The Prince’s Trust in 1976, and travelling to the United States in 1981.


In 1981, he married Lady Diana Spencer and they had two sons: Prince William (b. 1982)—later to become Duke of Cambridge—and Prince Henry (b. 1984)—later to become Duke of Sussex. In 1996, the couple divorced following well-publicised extramarital affairs by both parties. Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris the following year. In 2005, Charles married long-time friend Camilla Parker Bowles. Instead of assuming her rightful title of HRH Princess of Wales, Camilla has assumed the title Duchess of Cornwall.


My thoughts.

Yesterday I watched the BBC special on the Prince of Wales 70th Birthday. It is an excellent program that highlights his life without being biographical. One of the issues he put to rest was if he’ll continue with his charities and other issues he is passionate about. He said he would not and that he understands the differences between the role he is in now and the role he will someday take on. This puts to rest the question, the rumor, that the Prince would reign differently than his mother when he becomes king. The fear has been that if the Prince of Wales continues with his charities and causes he may overstep his constitutional bounds as king and meddle in affairs of State. I for one am glad to hear he will not for it will maintain the tradition of the Crown being above Party Politics.


I have a great admiration for the Prince of Wales. He is an intelligent, articulate man with warmth and charm and a sense of humor and very personable. He has a passionate care and concern for the environment and the wellbeing of people in general. Though he has been in training for his ultimate role of king for years he has carved out his own meaningful life and identity and developed qualities that will serve him well as king. Though I hope it will be many more years before the Prince of Wales assumes the august role for which he was born, in his own time I believe the personal qualities he possesses will enable the Prince to become an excellent king and a noble servant to his nation. God bless the Prince of Wales.


History of the Titles of the Prince of Wales. Conclusion.


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The Earl of Chester

The County of Cheshire was the seat from which powerful Earls (or “Counts” from the Norman-French) of Chester rose from the late eleventh century. The Earls held land all over England, comprising ‘the honour of Chester’ and by the late twelfth century the earls had established a position of power as quasi-princely rulers of Cheshire that led to the later establishment of the County Palatine of Chester and Flint. The Earls of Chester held so much power that the Magna Carta set down by King John did not apply to Cheshire and the sixth earl was compelled to issue his own versions.

HRH The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester

The earldom passed to the Crown by escheat in 1237 on the death of John the Scot, Earl of Huntingdon, seventh and last of the Earls. William III de Forz, 4th Earl of Albemarle, claimed the earldom as husband of Christina, the senior co-heir, but the king persuaded them to quitclaim their rights in 1241 in exchange for modest lands elsewhere. The other co-heiresses did likewise. It was annexed to the Crown in 1246. King Henry III then passed the Lordship of Chester, but not the title of Earl, to his son, the Lord Edward, in 1254; and as King Edward I, this son in turn conferred the title and lands of the Earldom on his son, Edward, the first English Prince of Wales (future Edward II of England).

Earldom of Chester

The establishment of royal control of the Earldom of Chester made possible King Edward I’s conquest of north Wales, and Chester played a vital part as a supply base during the Welsh Wars (1275–84), so the separate organisation of a county palatine was preserved. This continued until the time of King Henry VIII. Since 1301, the Earldom of Chester has always been conferred jointly with the title Prince of Wales.

Chester was Briefly promoted to a principality in 1398 by King Richard II, who titled himself “Prince of Chester.” It was reduced to an earldom again in 1399 by King Henry IV. Whereas the Sovereign’s eldest son is born Duke of Cornwall, he must be made or created Earl of Chester it is not an hereditary title similarly to the title Prince of Wales; which also is not hereditary.

Prince of Wales

For most of the post-Roman period, Wales was divided into several smaller states. Before the Norman conquest of England, the most powerful Welsh ruler at any given time was generally known as King of the Britons. In the 12th and 13th centuries, this title evolved into Prince of Wales (see Brut y Tywysogion). In Latin, the new title was Princeps Walliae, and in Welsh it was Tywysog Cymru. The literal translation of Tywysog is “leader”. (The verb tywys means “to lead”.)


Only a handful of native princes had their claim to the overlordship of Wales recognised by the English Crown. The first known to have used such a title was Owain Gwynedd, adopting the title Prince of the Welsh around 1165 after earlier using rex Waliae (“King of Wales”). His grandson Llywelyn the Great is not known to have used the title “Prince of Wales” as such, although his use, from around 1230, of the style “Prince of Aberffraw, Lord of Snowdon” was tantamount to a proclamation of authority over most of Wales, and he did use the title “Prince of North Wales” as did his predecessor Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd.

In 1240, the title was theoretically inherited by his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn, though he is not known to have used it. Instead he styled himself as “Prince of Wales” around 1244, the first Welsh prince to do so. In 1246, his nephew Llywelyn ap Gruffudd succeeded to the throne of Gwynedd, and used the style as early as 1258. In 1267, with the signing of the Treaty of Montgomery, he was recognised by both King Henry III of England and the representative of the Papacy as Prince of Wales. In 1282, Llywelyn was killed during Edward I of England’s invasion of Wales and although his brother Dafydd ap Gruffudd succeeded to the Welsh princeship, issuing documents as prince, his principality was not recognised by the English Crown.

Three Welshmen, however, claimed the title of Prince of Wales after 1283.

The first was Madog ap Llywelyn, a member of the House of Gwynedd, who led a nationwide revolt in 1294-5, defeating English forces in battle near Denbigh and seizing Caernarfon Castle. His revolt was suppressed, however, after the Battle of Maes Moydog in March 1295, and the prince was imprisoned in London.

In the 1370s, Owain Lawgoch (“Red Hand”), an English-born descendant of one of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd’s brothers, claimed the title of Prince of Wales, but was assassinated in France in 1378 before he could return to Wales to claim his inheritance.

It is Owain Glyndŵr, however, whom many Welsh people regard as having been the last native Prince. On 16 September 1400, he was proclaimed Prince of Wales by his supporters, and held parliaments at Harlech Castle and elsewhere during his revolt, which encompassed all of Wales. It was not until 1409 that his revolt in quest of Welsh independence was suppressed by Henry IV.

As title of heir apparent

The tradition of conferring the title “Prince of Wales” on the heir apparent of the monarch is usually considered to have begun in 1301, when King Edward I of England invested his son Edward of Caernarfon with the title at a Parliament held in Lincoln. According to legend, the king had promised the Welsh that he would name “a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English” and then produced his infant son, who had been born at Caernarfon, to their surprise. However, the story may well be apocryphal, as it can only be traced to the 16th century, and, in the time of Edward I, the English aristocracy spoke Norman French, not English (some versions of the legend include lack of knowledge in both languages as a requirement, and one reported version has the very specific phrase “born on Welsh soil and speaking no other language”).

William Camden wrote in his 1607 work Britannia that originally the title “Prince of Wales” was not conferred automatically upon the eldest living son of the King of England because Edward II (who had been the first English Prince of Wales) neglected to invest his eldest son, the future Edward III, with that title. It was Edward III who revived the practice of naming the eldest son Prince of Wales, which was then maintained by his successors:

Nevertheless, according to conventional wisdom, since 1301 the Prince of Wales has usually been the eldest living son (if and only if he is also the heir apparent) of the King or Queen Regnant of England (subsequently of Great Britain, 1707, and of the United Kingdom, 1801). That he is also the heir apparent is important. Following the death of Prince Arthur, the Prince of Wales, Henry VII invested his second son, the future Henry VIII, with the title—although only after it was clear that Arthur’s wife, Catherine of Aragon, was not pregnant; when Frederick, Prince of Wales died while his father reigned, George II created Frederick’s son George (the king’s grandson and new heir apparent) Prince of Wales. The title is not automatic and is not heritable; it merges into the Crown when a prince accedes to the throne, or lapses on his death leaving the sovereign free to re-grant it to the new heir apparent (such as the late prince’s son or brother). Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales on 26 July 1958, some six years after he became heir apparent, and had to wait another 11 years for his investiture, on 1 July 1969.

The title Prince of Wales is always conferred along with the Earldom of Chester. The convention began in 1399; all previous Princes of Wales also received the earldom, but separately from the title of Prince. Prior to 1272 a hereditary and not necessarily royal Earldom of Chester had already been created several times, eventually merging in the Crown each time. The earldom was recreated, merging in the Crown in 1307 and again in 1327. Its creations since have been associated with the creations of the Prince of Wales.

History of the Titles of the Prince of Wales: Part X


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Dukes of Rothesay

David Stewart, son of Robert III of Scotland, King of Scots, was first to be granted the Dukedom of Rothesay from its creation in 1398. After his death, his brother James, later King James I of Scotland received the dukedom. Thereafter, the heir-apparent to the Scottish Crown held the dukedom; an Act of the Scottish Parliament passed in 1469 confirmed this pattern of succession.

HRH The Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay

The Earldom of Carrick as we previously noted was created as early as the twelfth century. In 1306, Robert de Bruce, Earl of Carrick, became King Robert I of Scotland, with the earldom merging in the Crown. In the following years, successive Kings of Scots created several heirs-apparent Earl of Carrick. The Act of 1469 also finally settled the earldom on the eldest son of the Scottish monarch. The other titles we have discussed thus far, Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, were also officially attached to the heir of the Scottish Crown with the Act of 1469.

Between the 1603 Union and Edward VII’s time as heir apparent, the style “Duke of Rothesay” appears to have dropped out of usage in favour of “Prince of Wales”. It was Queen Victoria who mandated the title for use to refer to the eldest son and heir apparent when in Scotland, and this usage has continued since. This may have been as a result, direct or indirect, of the 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland.


Duke of Rothesay and its adjoined titles became linked with the heir to the English throne and his titles Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, between 1603-1707. During this time the Kingdoms of England and Scotland were not politically united and the titles the heir held were for each kingdom separately.

The titles were unified to the heir of the throne when England and Scotland were united in 1707 as the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the title mandated for use by the heir apparent when in Scotland, in preference to the titles Duke of Cornwall (which also belongs to the eldest living son of the monarch, when and only when he is also heir apparent, by right) and Prince of Wales (traditionally granted to the heir apparent), which are used in the rest of the United Kingdom and overseas. The Duke of Rothesay also holds other Scottish titles, including those of Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. The title is named after Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute, but is not associated with any legal entity or landed property, unlike the Duchy of Cornwall

The Duchy of Cornwall

The Duke of Cornwall holds both the dukedom (title) and duchy (estate holdings), the latter being the source of his personal income; those living on the ducal estates are subjects of the British sovereign and owe neither fealty nor services to the duke per se.[citation needed] In Scotland the male heir apparent to the British crown is always the Duke of Rothesay as well, but this is a dukedom (title) without a duchy. Similarly, the British monarch rules and owns the Duchy of Lancaster as Duke of Lancaster, but it is held separately from the Crown, with the income of the duchy estates providing the Sovereign’s Privy Purse.



The historical record suggests that, following the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, Cornwall formed part of the separate Kingdom of Dumnonia, which included Devon, although there is evidence that it may have had its own rulers at times. The southwest of Britain was gradually incorporated into the emerging Kingdom of England, and after the Norman Conquest in 1066 the new rulers of England appointed their own men as Earl of Cornwall, the first of whom was in fact a Breton of ‘Cornwall’ in Brittany. Edward, the Black Prince, the eldest son of Edward III, was made the first Duke of Cornwall in 1337, after Edward III had lost the title of Duke of Normandy After Edward the Black Prince predeceased the King, the duchy was recreated for his son, the future Richard II. In 1421 a Charter designated that the duchy passes to the sovereign’s eldest son.


The dukedom of Cornwall can only be held by the oldest living son of the monarch who is also heir apparent. In the event of a Duke of Cornwall’s death, the title merges with the Crown even if he left surviving descendants. George III of the United Kingdom was an example of this rule. The monarch’s grandson, even if he is the heir apparent, does not succeed to the dukedom. When his father, Frederick-Louis, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall died in 1751 his son, George, did not inherit either the title Prince of Wales or Duke of Cornwall. Similarly, no female may ever be Duke of Cornwall, even if she is heir presumptive or heir apparent (that being a distinct and even likely possibility in the future after the passage of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013) to the throne. However, if a Duke of Cornwall should die without descendants and has no sister older than his next brother, his next brother obtains the duchy, this brother being both oldest living son and heir apparent.

It is possible for an individual to be Prince of Wales and heir apparent without being Duke of Cornwall. The title “Prince of Wales” is the traditional title of the heir apparent to the throne, granted at the discretion of the Sovereign, and is not restricted to the eldest son. George IIII was again and example of this rule. Though both titles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall merged with the Crown on the death of his father, King George II created the future George III, Prince of Wales, but not Duke of Cornwall, because he was the King’s grandson rather than the King’s son. When the Sovereign has no legitimate son, the estates of the Duchy of Cornwall revert to the Crown until a legitimate son is born to the Sovereign or until the accession of a new Sovereign who has a son (e.g. between 1547 and 1603.

James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II, was born Duke of Cornwall in 1688. Although his father lost the throne, James Francis Edward was not deprived of his own honours. On a Jacobite perspective, on his father’s death in 1701 the duchy of Cornwall was merged in the Crown. On a Hanoverian perspective, it was as a result of his claiming his father’s lost thrones that James was attainted for treason on 2 March 1702, and his titles were thus forfeited under English law.

Rights of the duke

The Duchy includes over 570 square kilometres of land, more than half of which lies in Devon. The Duke has some rights over the territory of Cornwall, the county, and for this and other reasons there is debate as to the constitutional status of Cornwall. The High Sheriff of Cornwall is appointed by the Duke, not the monarch, in contrast to the other counties of England and Wales. The Duke has the right to the estates of all those who die without named heirs (bona vacantia) in the whole of Cornwall. In 2013, the Duchy had a revenue surplus of £19 million, a sum that was exempt from income tax, though the Prince of Wales chose to pay the tax voluntarily.

Until 2011, if there was no Duke of Cornwall at any time, then the income of the Duchy went to the Crown. Since the passing into law of the Sovereign Grant Act 2011, revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall pass to the heir to the throne, regardless of whether that heir is the Duke of Cornwall. In the event that the heir is a minor, 10% of the revenues pass to the heir, with the balance passing to the Crown (and the Sovereign Grant is reduced by the same amount).


Abdication of the German Emperor & the end of The Great War.


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With the abdication of German Emperor, his flight to the Netherlands and the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918 brought the Great War to its close.

His Imperial Majesty Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia

By October, German Emperor, Wilhelm II was at the Imperial Army headquarters in Spa, Belgium, when the uprisings in Berlin and other centres took him by surprise in late 1918. Instead of obeying their orders to begin preparations to fight the British once more, German German sailors, exhausted by four years of war, led a revolt in the naval ports of Wilhelmshaven on October 29, 1918, followed by the Kiel mutiny in the first days of November.

These mutinies were the first salvos in the German Revolution of 1918-1919. When a mutiny occurred among the ranks of Emperors beloved Kaiserliche Marine, this profoundly disturbed him. Wilhelm struggled between acceptance denial and could not make up his mind whether or not to abdicate. Up to that point, he accepted that he would likely have to give up the imperial crown, but still hoped to retain the Prussian kingship. However, this was impossible under the imperial constitution. While Wilhelm thought he ruled as emperor in a personal union with Prussia, the constitution actually tied the imperial crown to the Prussian crown, meaning that Wilhelm could not renounce one crown without renouncing the other.

Wilhelm II

Wilhelm’s hopes of retaining at least one of his crowns was revealed as unrealistic when, in the hope of preserving the monarchy in the face of growing revolutionary unrest, Chancellor Prince Max of Baden announced Wilhelm’s abdication of both titles on 9 November 1918. Wilhelm was furious! He had not agreed to abdicate and heard the news like anyone else when it was announced over the radio and in special additions of the news paper. For Prince Max it was a desperate last ditch to save the Monarchy and Germany itself. Prince Max believed that by announcing the abdication it would quell the mutinies and the growing rebellions.

Prince Max could also feel power was lost and he himself was forced to resign later the same day, November 9, 1918. It had become obvious that only Friedrich Ebert, leader of the SPD, could effectively exert control. Later that day, one of Ebert’s secretaries of state (ministers), Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann, proclaimed Germany a republic.

Wilhelm consented to the abdication only after Ludendorff’s replacement, General Wilhelm Groener, had informed him that the officers and men of the army would march back in good order under Paul von Hindenburg’s command, but would certainly not fight for Wilhelm’s throne on the home front. The monarchy’s last and strongest support had been broken, and finally even Hindenburg, himself a lifelong royalist, was obliged, with some embarrassment, to advise the Emperor to give up the crown.

On 10 November, Wilhelm crossed the border by train and went into exile in the Netherlands, which had remained neutral throughout the war. Upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles in early 1919, Article 227 expressly provided for the prosecution of Wilhelm “for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties”, but the Dutch government refused to extradite him, despite appeals from the Allies. King George V wrote that he looked on his cousin as “the greatest criminal in history”, but opposed Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s proposal to “hang the Kaiser”. President Woodrow Wilson of the United States opposed extradition, arguing that prosecuting Wilhelm would destabilize international order and lose the peace.

Wilhelm first settled in Amerongen, where on 28 November he issued a belated statement of abdication from both the Prussian and imperial thrones, thus formally ending the Hohenzollerns’ 400-year rule over Prussia. Accepting the reality that he had lost both of his crowns for good, he gave up his rights to “the throne of Prussia and to the German Imperial throne connected therewith.” He also released his soldiers and officials in both Prussia and the empire from their oath of loyalty to him.

Huis Doorn, the Netherlands.

Wilhelm purchased a country house in the municipality of Doorn, known as Huis Doorn, and moved in on 15 May 1920. This was to be his home for the remainder of his life. The Weimar Republicallowed Wilhelm to remove twenty-three railway wagons of furniture, twenty-seven containing packages of all sorts, one bearing a car and another a boat, from the New Palace at Potsdam.

History of the Titles of the Prince of Wales: Part IX


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Since the history of one the titles of the Prince of Wales is rather short today I’ll include two for the price of one!

Baron of Renfrew is a title held by the heir apparent to the British throne. It was held by the Scottish heir apparent beginning in 1404 when it was bestowed on the future King James I of Scotland. It is closely associated with the title Duke of Rothesay. An act of the Scottish Parliament passed in 1469 confirmed the pattern of succession of attaching the Barony of Renfrew with the heir to the Scottish crown. Renfrew is a town near Glasgow, is sometimes called the “cradle of the royal Stewarts.”

HRH The Baron of Renfrew and Earl of Carrick.

In Scotland, the title of Baron is a feudal titles, not peerages: a Scottish Lord of Parliament equates to an English or British baron. There is a debate however if the Barony of Renfrew is actually a peerage title. Some historians claim that the Act of 1469 elevated the Barony of Renfrew to the dignity of a peerage when it officially attached the Barony to the other peerage titles connected to the heir to the Scottish Crown. Other historians suggest that the barony became a peerage upon the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Finally, some scholars argue that the uncertainty surrounding the text of the 1469 Act leaves the barony as only a feudal dignity, not a peerage dignity. The title of Lord Renfrew was used by the traveling Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII and Prince Edward, Duke of Rothesay, later King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor, when he traveled in a private capacity or when he wished to pay visits incognito.

Earl of Carrick or Mormaer of Carrick is the title applied to the ruler of Carrick (now southern Ayrshire), subsequently part of the Peerage of Scotland. The position came to be strongly associated with the Scottish crown when Robert the Bruce, who had inherited it from his maternal kin, became King of the Scotland in the early 14th century. Since the 15th century the title of Earl of Carrick has automatically been held by the heir apparent to the throne, meaning Prince Charles is the current Earl.

The earldom emerged in 1186, out of the old Lordship of Galloway, which had previously encompassed all of what is now known as Galloway as well as the southern part of Ayrshire. Though the Lords of Galloway recognised the King of Scotland as their overlord, their lordship was effectively a separate kingdom, and had its own laws.

The first Lord of Carrick recorded is Fergus, who died in 1161 leaving two sons: Uchtred and Gille Brigte (Gilbert). As was the custom then, the two brothers shared the lordship and the lands between them. In 1174, they joined with King William I the Lion of Scotland in his invasion of Northumberland. During the invasion King William was taken prisoner by the English, the Galwegians broke into rebellion. Uchtred remained loyal to the Scottish king, while Gille Brigte took control of the entirety of Galloway. Uchtred was savagely murdered by Gille Brigte and his son Máel Coluim. In 1175, King William was restored to liberty, and he marched an army into Galloway to bring justice upon Gille Brigte. However, he seems to have contented himself with exacting a fine, leaving Gille Brigte to go unharmed.

In 1176, Gille Brigte obtained an agreement with King Henry II of England, in which he became his vassal; in exchange, he paid the English king the then enormous sum of £919 and gave his son Duncan (Donnchadh) as a hostage. Gille Brigte then spent the next decade carrying out devastating raids on King William’s territory, with the protection of the English.

Gille Brigte’s death in 1185 created general turmoil amongst the Galwegians. Roland, son of the murdered Uchtred, defeated the supporters of Gille Brigte in 1185, and planted forts across Galloway to secure his authority. This angered King Henry II and he marched a large force to Carlisle in preparation for invasion. However, war was averted at a meeting between Roland, William I of Scotland and Henry II of England, where it was agreed that Roland would rule the main part of Galloway, while Gille Brigte’s son Duncan would rule the northern section, known as Carrick. Duncan agreed to these terms, and renounced all claims to the Lordship of Galloway, becoming the first Earl of Carrick.

Duncan married Avelina, daughter of Alan, High Steward of Scotland. His son or grandson Niall’s eldest daughter Marjorie succeeded him, becoming Countess of Carrick in her own right. She married firstly Adam de Kilconquhar. In 1269, Adam journeyed to the Holy Land under the banners of King Louis IX of France, as part of the Eighth Crusade. He never returned, dying of disease at Acre in 1270. The next year, the widowed Countess happened to meet Robert de Brus hunting in her lands. According to legend, Marjorie imprisoned Robert until he agreed to marry her. They were married at Turnberry Castle, without their families’ knowledge or the requisite consent of the King. When news got out, Alexander III seized her castles and estates, but she later atoned for her foolishness with a fine, and Robert was recognised as her husband and Earl of Carrick jure uxoris.; They had five sons and five daughters: Robert, Edward, Thomas, Alexander, Nigel, Isabel, Mary, Christina, Matilda and Margaret.

Royal earls

Marjorie and Robert were succeeded by their eldest son. When the old House of Dunkeld became extinct, this Robert, known as “the Bruce”, became a principal candidate for the throne as the great-great-great-great grandson of David I. He was crowned at Scone in 1306, causing his titles (Earl of Carrick, Lord of Annandale and Baron Bruce in the Peerage of England) to merge into the Crown. It would take more creations of the title before it became associated with the heir to the Scottish throne.

Around 1313, King Robert created his younger brother Edward, the Earl of Carrick. Edward had no issue, save a natural son, Alexander, he had by Lady Isabella Strathbogie, daughter of John, Earl of Atholl. The title therefore became extinct on his death at the Battle of Faughart in 1318.

After briefly being held by Robert’s son David prior to his accession to the throne, the title was granted in 1332 to Alexander, Edward’s bastard. However, Alexander was killed the next year at the Battle of Halidon Hill and the title once again became extinct.

In 1368, King David created his great-nephew John Stewart the Earl of Carrick. David died unexpectedly in 1371. He had no children, meaning he was succeeded by his nephew Robert Stewart, John’s father. After Robert’s death in 1390, John succeeded him, taking the regnal name Robert III; thus the Earldom of Carrick again merged with the Crown.

The title was next held by Robert III’s son David, who was also created Duke of Rothesay and Earl of Atholl. David died childless in 1402, and the Earldom was regranted to his brother James; however he was generally known by the higher title Prince or Steward of Scotland. James acceded to the throne in 1406, and his titles merged with the Crown.

In 1469, the Scottish Parliament passed an Act declaring that the eldest son of the King and heir to the throne would automatically hold the Earldom of Carrick along with the Dukedom of Rothesay. After the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England, the Dukedom and Earldom have been held by the eldest son and heir apparent of the kings and queens of Great Britain. Thus Prince Charles is the current Duke of Rothesay and Earl of Carrick.

Stewart earls (1628)

Despite the Earldom of Carrick being connected to the Duke of Rothesay and therefore the heir to the throne a separate Earldom of Carrick was created for an illegitimate scion of the House of Stuart/Stuart.

In 1628, King Charles I created John Stewart the Earl of Carrick. He had already been made Lord Kincleven in 1607, also in the Peerage of Scotland. Stewart was a younger son of Robert, Earl of Orkney, bastard son of King James V; thus he was Charles’s half-great-uncle. This title was deemed not to conflict with the Earldom of Carrick held by the heir to the throne, as it referred not to the province in Ayrshire, but to the lands of Carrick on Eday in Orkney. John married Lady Elizabeth Southwell, daughter of Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham and widow of Sir Robert Southwell. By her he had one daughter, Margaret. He is also known to have had two natural children: a son, named Henry, and a daughter, whose name is unknown. As he had no legitimate son, his titles became extinct on his death around 1645.

The History of the titles of the Prince of Wales: Part VIII


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The History of the Lordship of the Isle is long and complex, so for the sake of brevity and staying on topic I will limit the scope of this entry to a basic understanding how the title Lord the Isles came to be part of the titles to the heir to the British throne.

HRH The Lord of the Isles

The Lord of the Isles (Scottish Gaelic: Triath nan Eilean or Rìgh Innse Gall) is a title of Scottish nobility with historical roots that go back beyond the Kingdom of Scotland. The Isles refers to west coast and islands off of present-day Scotland were those of a people or peoples of uncertain cultural affiliation lived until the 5th century.

The Isles

The Isles emerged from a series of hybrid Viking/Gaelic rulers in the Middle Ages, who wielded sea-power with fleets of galleys (birlinns). Although they were, at times, nominal vassals of the Kings of Norway, Ireland, or Scotland, the island chiefs remained functionally independent for many centuries. Their territory included the Hebrides (Skye and Ross from 1438), Knoydart, Ardnamurchan, and the Kintyre peninsula. At their height they were the greatest landowners and most powerful lords in Britain after the Kings of England and Scotland. Though seen as a title of Scottish Nobility at one point the Lords of The Isles held the title of King along with sovereignty.

In 973, Maccus mac Arailt, King of the Isles, Kenneth III, King of the Scots, and Máel Coluim I of Strathclyde formed a defensive alliance, but subsequently the Scandinavians defeated Gilla Adomnáin of the Isles and expelled him to Ireland.

In the late 11th Century the Norse nobleman Godred Crovan became ruler of Man and the Isles, but he was deposed in 1095 by the new King of Norway, Magnus Bareleg. In 1098, Magnus entered into a treaty with King Edgar of Scotland, intended as a demarcation of their respective areas of authority. Magnus was confirmed in control of the Isles and Edgar of the mainland. Lavery cites a tale from the Orkneyinga saga, according to which King Malcolm III of Scotland offered Earl Magnus of Orkney all the islands off the west coast navigable with the rudder set. Magnus then allegedly had a skiff hauled across the neck of land at Tarbert, Loch Fyne with himself at the helm, thus including the Kintyre peninsula in the Isles’ sphere of influence. (The date given falls after the end of Malcolm’s reign in 1093.)

Clan Donald, also known as Clan MacDonald (Scottish Gaelic: Clann Dòmhnaill is a Highland Scottish clan and one of the largest Scottish clans. By the Thirteenth Century the Norse-Gaelic Clan Donald came to rule the independent Isles. The Norse-Gaelic Clan Donald traces its descent from Dòmhnall Mac Raghnuill (d. circa 1250), whose father Reginald or Ranald was styled “King of the Isles” and “Lord of Argyll and Kintyre”. Ranald’s father, Somerled was styled “King of the Hebrides”, and was killed campaigning against Malcolm IV of Scotland at the Battle of Renfrew in 1164. The chiefs of the Clan Donald held the title of Lord of the Isles until 1493 and two of those chiefs also held the title of Earl of Ross until 1476.

Successive Lords of the Isles fiercely asserted their independence from Scotland, acting as kings of their territories well into the 15th century. Then in 1462, John MacDonald II, Lord of the Isles, signed a treaty with Edward IV of England to conquer Scotland with him and the Earl of Douglas. The treaty between Edward IV and MacDonald II has been used to show how the MacDonald Lords were viewed as independent rulers of their kingdom, freely entering into national and military treaties with foreign governments.

King James IV of Scotland 1488-1513

Unfortunately for the MacDonald sovereigns, the civil war in England, known as the Wars of the Roses, prevented the completion of the alliance between Edward IV and MacDonald II. Upon the discovery of his alliance with Edward IV in 1493, MacDonald II had his ancestral lands, estates, and titles taken from him by James IV of Scotland. In addition to James IV seeking revenge on MacDonald II, he possessed a larger military force and was able to impose his will on the West Coast of Scotland, though uprisings and rebellions were common.

Though the Lordship was taken away from the MacDonald family in the 15th century, waves of successive MacDonald leaders have contested this and fought for its revival ever since. However, once the land and title where seized by the Scottish Crown the eldest male child of the reigning Scottish (and later, English then British) monarch has been styled “Lord of the Isles.” The office itself has been extinct since the 15th century and the style since then has no other meaning but to recall the Scottish seizure of the ancient Norse-Gaelic lordship and crown. Thus Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, is the current Lord of the Isles.

The History of the titles of the Prince of Wales: Part VII


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Now that I’ve examined the origins and usage of the titles of Prince, Duke, Earl and Baron, I’ll now begin to address the the history behind the specific Dukedoms Earldoms etc that the Prince of Wales has. I’ll start with the lowest titles and work our way up. Today I start with Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.

HRH Prince of Scotland and Great Steward of Scotland

Prince of Scotland

The title of Prince of Scotland originated in a time when Scotland was a kingdom separate from England. Prior to the House of Hanover which set in stone, or legislation, the usage of titles such as Prince wasn’t universally carried by male members of the Royal Family. Prince of Scotland was a title designated solely to the heir of the Scottish throne. Prior to the English and Scottish crowns being united under James VI of Scotland (James I of England and Ireland) the title Prince of Scotland was designed to be used in much the same way the title Prince of Wales was used to designate the heir-apparent to the English throne, although the Scottish heir-apparent was addressed only as Duke of Rothesay until that time.

Principality of Scotland

We tend to think of Scotland as a Kingdom rather than a Principality, so the natural question is, what is, or where is, the Principlality of Scotland? The designation “Principality of Scotland” implied (and implies) not Scotland as a whole but lands in western Scotland, in areas such as Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Kirkcudbrightshire appropriated as patrimony of the Sovereign’s eldest son for his maintenance. This is similar to the Duchy of Cornwall which was established to be a source of income for the English heir. The title of Prince of Scotland originated from a charter granting the Principality of Scotland to the future James I of Scotland, the then heir apparent, granted on December 10, 1404, by Robert III. During the reign of James III, permanency was enacted to the title.

Historically there was a feudal aspect to the title. The Prince collected feudal duties and privileges for the principality while The Crown serves this role in the rest of Scotland. However, The Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, abolished most remaining feudal duties and privileges attached to the Principality, leaving the Prince’s status as mainly titular. Before the 2000 Act the Principality was entirely feued out to tenants and brought in a small income. All title deeds in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire required to be sealed with the Prince’s seal. Revenue gained from feudal dealings were counted as income for the Duchy of Cornwall, a more substantial estate held by the monarch’s child who is heir apparent.


Great Steward

The Great Stewardship of Scotland was granted to Walter Fitz Alan by David I, and came to the Sovereign with the accession of the last High Steward, Robert Stewart, 7th High Steward of Scotland, who inherited the throne, as King Robert II of Scotland (1371-1390). Robert II was a grandson of Robert I via his daughter Marjorie and Walter Stewart, 6th Great Steward of Scotland.

Since that date it has been enjoyed by the Sovereign’s eldest son. Thereafter the title of High Steward of Scotland has been held as a subsidiary title by the heir-apparent to the Scottish throne, then the heirs to both the Kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland and later the United Kingdom.