a Prince Becomes a Royal Duke
By Cheryl Bolen
Like many things in merry old England, succession to titles in the Royal
Family is virtually unchanged today from what it was during the Regency.
The monarch's first son is still the Prince of Wales and still holds the
title of Duke of Cornwall. The monarch's second son is still bestowed
the title of Duke of York.
What is vastly different today from the Regency is the number of sons
born to the monarch. George III (mad King George, father of the regent)
and his wife, Queen Charlotte, had 15 children, nine of them sons. Seven
of the sons lived to old age, and all of them eventually were awarded
dukedoms. Two of those sons became king.
The heir apparent comes into his lofty titles at
birth, but the younger sons are "merely" princes until their parent
confers other titles upon them when they are adults.
During the Regency, Frederick, the second son (born
in1763), became Duke of York at age 21. All of his younger brothers had
to wait longer to become dukes.
George III's third son, William, stepped into the
title Duke of Clarence at age 24. When he was 65, in 1830, he succeeded
his eldest brother as king and ruled for six years as William IV.
The fourth son, Prince Edward (born 1767), became Duke of Kent when he
was 28. Prince Ernest (born 1771) became Duke of Cumberland at age 28
also. The youngest of the surviving sons, Adolphus, had the good fortune
of becoming the Duke of Cambridge when he was just 27.
The next-to-youngest son of George III, Prince Augustus(born 1773) fell
out of favor with his father when he entered into an illegal marriage,
and he did not receive a dukedom until he separated from the mother of
his children. He was awarded the title Duke of Sussex when he was 33.
Today's British Royal Family still holds many of the same royal
dukedoms, but not all of them are awarded to princes born to the
monarch. The present Duke of York (Prince Andrew, born 1960) did not
receive the title Duke of York until he was 26. His younger brother,
Prince Edward (born 1964), has never received a royal dukedom. His title
is Earl of Wessex, but he is in line to succeed his father, Prince
Phillip, as Duke of Edinburgh only if he survives both parents.
The royal dukedoms of Kent and Gloucester are held by cousins of Queen
Elizabeth, who are direct descendants of her grandfather, King George V.