16 May 2018

Meghan the Scottish Duchess?

Photo: Alex Lubomirski/Kensington Palace
Once the Tudor dynasty died out in England, the English crown passed to their cousins, the Stuart kings of Scotland, leading to the eventual union of the crowns and of the countries. When the Protestant branch of the Stuart family passed the throne to their German cousins, the close ties to Scotland fell to the wayside for a century. Then, Queen Victoria and her German husband discovered a deep and abiding love for Scotland and built their own castle there. Later, their great-grandson married the daughter of a Scottish earl and the two became King George V and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and the connection between the British Royal Family and Scotland was solidified.

The Queen is very fond of her maternal homeland. Her younger sister, Princess Margaret, was even born there in the famous Glamis Castle of Shakespearean fame. Plus, her husband was given the very Scottish title Duke of Edinburgh when he married her. With these affectionate bonds, it could be likely that she will find a Scottish royal dukedom for Prince Harry. (He will certainly have a Scottish title among the three he is expected to receive. For instance, his brother Prince William is Earl of Strathearn as well as Duke of Cambridge.)

We've already discussed the English royal dukedoms (see that post), so now let's look at the Scottish ones. [UPDATE: 5/19/18 Harry was created Duke of Sussex, with the Scottish title Earl of Dunbarton and Northern Irish title Baron Killeen.]

Many of the Scottish options have deep historic roots either as their own early kingdoms or as an area ruled by a mormaer (a territorial leader) or by a thane (a military ruler). One of the earliest of these to be granted to a king's son was the old Mormaer of Atholl, which was granted as an earldom to the 11th century King Duncan I's son Mael Muire. With that creation, the title existed for several generations before it was forfeited in a rebellion against King Robert Bruce. It was re-created as an earldom eight times including for princes in the House of Bruce and the House of Stewart, but it now exists as a non-royal dukedom.

Mary Queen of Scots
by Francois Clouet via Wikimedica Commons
King Macbeth (yes, that Macbeth) passed the throne to his stepson Lulach, who seems to have had a son who was the Mormaer of Moray. That title was created again as Earl of Moray for another king's son, this time James V's illegitimate son (and Mary Queen of Scots' half-brother) James Stewart. Amazingly, it has been successfully passed from generation to generation for 500+ years now and is still held in the Stuart family. (By the way, the variation in the naming of the Royal House of Stewart/Stuart dates to Mary Queen of Scots. Generally speaking, prior to her, and some branches descending from earlier times use the "Scottish" Stewart spelling while those after her sojourn as the Queen Consort of France use the "French" Stuart spelling.)

In the 12th century, the future King David I, son of Malcolm III, was recognized as the Prince of the Cumbrians. Long before that, Cumbria had been its own kingdom. Although modern Cumbria is in England, during early periods, control shifted back and forth between the Scots and the English. The title Duke of Cumbria has never been used, and it might therefore make an interesting "new" choice with ancient roots for Henry just as when the ancient Kingdom of Wessex became an earldom for The Queen's youngest son Prince Edward.

Another borderland ancient Kingdom that could be granted Harry would be Duke of Northumbria. It was last used as an earldom by William the Lion who became King William I of Scotland in 1165 and then Alexander III half a century later.

Once the Bruce clan took over the throne, their maternal title Earl of Carrick became a royal title. They quickly made sure that it would stay that way by granting it to the royal heir. Their reign as a royal house didn't last long, but their royal earldom did. Since then, it has been born by the Scottish then British heirs. This means it is currently held by Harry's father, Prince Charles, as one of his many titles.

Louise of Wales, Duchess of Fife
via Wikimedia Commons
The first Stewart king, Robert II, had lots of royal children and he granted his sons some titles that have not yet been mentioned here. His son Robert was Earl of Atholl (above), Earl of Mentieth, Earl of Fife and Duke of Albany. He held Mentieth by right of his wife. It was re-created for the Graham family but has been dormant since 1694. Although only marginally royal, it could be a possibility. Fife had belonged to the ancient Macduff clan until the 14th century when the last heiress named Robert as her heir. It was re-created for the Duff family, and became a Dukedom when Queen Victoria elevated the title after her granddaughter Princess Louise of Wales married the Earl of Fife. The title then passed through Louise's daughter (who had married another of Victoria's grandchildren, Prince Arthur of Connaught) and still exists today, but is not royal. (Read about their other daughter Princess Maud of Fife.)

The title Duke of Albany was first created for this Prince Robert Stewart and then for the second sons of James II, James V, James VI and Charles I. In fact, it might be considered the Scottish equivalent of the Duke of York title with one notable exception:  it was also granted to the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots, Henry Lord Darnley, who, upon his murder, passed it to his only son, the aforementioned James VI. Jacobite pretender Charles Edward Stuart gave the title to his illegitimate daughter Charlotte, although he had no real legal right to do so. Queen Victoria gave the title to her youngest son, Prince Leopold, who died as a young adult from hemophilia and passed it to his son, who later also inherited the German title Duke of Saxe-Coburg, and this is where things get interesting in thinking about Duke of Albany as a title for Prince Harry.

The Duke of Saxe-Coburg had his British titles suspended when he fought with the Germans during World War I. His son used the title but did not petition Parliament to have it reinstated. Unlike the similarly suspended Duke of Cumberland title, Albany may not have a current claimant who could still petition Parliament. As Marlene Eilers Koenig points out on Royal Musings, the Coburg heirs did not seek approval for their marriages under the Royal Marriages Act, rendering their marriages extralegal in terms of British royal inheritances. This could mean that Albany technically could be considered available for Prince Harry. And, I have to say, I really like the title for him especially since he will be the second son of a king when Charles ascends the throne and the traditional English title Duke of York is not available for him.

Robert II's son Alexander was given the title Earl of Buchan. Based on another ancient mormaerdom, Buchan had never before been used as an earldom. It later merged with the crown and was recreated by James III for his uncle. That line still exists today, although it has passed through the female line a couple of times, and the title has been in the Erskine family for more than 300 years.

Duchess of Cornwall AKA Duchess of Rothesay
By Korona Lacasse via Wikimedia Commons
The title Duke of Rothesay was created in 1398 for the oldest son of Robert III. Since then, it has been given to the heir apparent and is therefore currently in use by Prince Charles, who is styled as The Duke of Rothesay (rather than The Prince of Wales) whenever he is in Scotland. His wife The Duchess of Cornwall is likewise called Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland.

The later Stewarts were not terribly successful at having boys (although they did do better than the Tudors), so there were not a lot of princes who needed titles. They also fell into a pattern of childhood accession that continued up until Mary Queen of Scots abdicated the throne in favor of her infant son James VI (later James I of England). Therefore, they didn't need new dukedoms for their princes. They were able to rely mostly on the previously created royal titles.

Once very notable exception was the re-creation of the ancient mormaerdom of Mar, that had been held as an earldom in the Douglas family, but it was reverted to the crown following some unsavory marital machinations by a Stewart cousin who forcibly claimed it from the Douglas heiress, Isabella. Thereafter, James II gave it to his son John, and after his death to his son Alexander, who lost after taking sides with the English. James III gave it to his son John but it became extinct again when he died. Mary Queen of Scots' illegitimate half-brother the Earl of Moray was granted Mar, too. When Moray rebelled, MQS took the title away and not only gave it to Isabella Douglas' descendant, Lord Erskine, but also declared that it had actually belonged to Isabella's heirs up to that point and the numbering of the earls of Mar were changed to reflect this.  But, the subsequent Erskines were Jacobites and the title was forfeited again before being restored to the Erskine heirs about a century later. However, the right to the title was highly disputed in the 19th century, when Parliament actually ruled that there are two Earldoms of Mar, one that can be passed through the female line and one that cannot. Since then, there have always been two holders of the title. Margaret Lane is the 31st Countess of Mar in the female-friendly line (her daughter and granddaughter are her heirs) and her very distant cousin James Erskine is the 13th Earl of Mar in the boys-only line. Needless to say, Harry will not be granted a third Earldom of Mar.

However, those first royal Earls of Mar were actually title Earl of Mar and Garioch. And, no one else has held the Garioch title since then. This means that it is within the realm of possibility for Harry.

Despite the availability of other titles, James III created his second son James Duke of Ross. He died as a young man, leaving no heirs, so his brother James IV (yes, they were both called James) also had a son titled Duke of Ross. Born after James IV's death this little Duke of Ross, Prince Alexander, died before his second birthday and the title has never been used again as a Dukedom for anyone else. It was, however, used as Earl of Ross for Lord Darnley, for Darnley's son James VI and I, and for Darnley's grandson, the beheaded King Charles I. This makes Ross a possible option for Harry, albeit one with an unfortunate set of predecessors.

Once the Stuarts became kings of England, too, they wanted to keep their Scottish ties prominent and granted Scots titles in addition to English ones to their sons (they sometimes gave Irish ones, too). They event created a couple of new ones. For instance, James VI and I gave his youngest son Robert the Scottish title Duke of Kintyre and Lorne. Robert died at just four months and theses titles were not used again in the royal line. Instead, they were recreated as marquessates and are among the dozen titles borne by the Duke of Argyll. The Argyll heir has traditionally been styled as the Marquess of Lorne since 1701 when the title was granted in gratitude for the family's support of William III.

The current Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh
Photo: Matt Holyoak/CameraPress
Perhaps the most famous Scottish royal dukedom today is that of Duke of Edinburgh, which as described above, was granted to the former Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, just before he married the current Queen. it was first created by King George I for his eldest grandson Prince Frederick, who would later be Prince of Wales. Frederick died before his father, leaving the title and later the throne passed to his son George III. He granted it along with the English Duke of Gloucester to his younger brother William, whose son inherited it but had no children to pass it on to. The Edinburgh title remained unused for a century, when Queen Victoria granted it (instead of York and/or Albany) to her second son Prince Alfred. Alfred had four daughters who all had children, but the title could only pass to his one son, who died without heirs before him.

George III created another younger brother, Prince Henry Duke of Strathearn as a Scottish title to accompany his English Duke of Cumberland. This once again drew upon an ancient mormaerdom, but Henry had no children to pass the title to. So, George III gave it along with Duke of Kent to his fourth son Prince Edward, whose only child was a girl and therefore was ineligible to inherit it, although she did manage to inherit the throne as Queen Victoria. Eventually, Strathearn was re-created in 2011 as an earldom for Harry's older brother, Prince William.

George III's third son, William, got the English title Duke of Clarence and the Scottish St. Andrews. His titles merged with the crown when he became King William IV. The St. Andrews title was resurrected as an earldom for the fourth son of George V, and today belongs to his oldest son, The Queen's cousin Prince Edward and is used as a courtesy title by his son, another George. Otherwise it would have made a nicely sentimental title for Harry's brother William, who met his wife Catherine while they were both students at the university of St. Andrews.

George III's fifth son (he had nine sons and six daughters) received the English Duke of Cumberland and the Scottish Teviotdale. This son became King of Hanover because his niece Victoria, as a female, was not eligible for that throne. His heirs had the title suspended when they fought against Britain in World War I. However, there are still living heirs today who could petition to have it restored, so Teviotdale is an unlikely choice for Harry.

Son #6, the Duke of Sussex was given the Scottish title Earl of Inverness. With no royal heirs, the title fell extinct on his death, but was re-created for the next three Dukes of York. The first two of these Yorks merged it back to the crown when they became Kings George V and George VI. The third one is today's Prince Andrew, who is known as the Earl of Inverness when he is in Scotland.  Son #7 got an English dukedom (Cambridge), an Irish earldom (Tipperary) and a Scottish barony (Culloden). Sons #8 and #9 died as young boys before being granted titles.

The last Duke of Clarence, oldest won of Edward VII was actually Duke of Clarence and Avondale, a Scottish town. So, if Harry is not named Duke of Clarence (which I think is very likely) he could be the first-ever Duke of Avondale, which sounds rather lovely to my ears.

So the possible Scottish titles are: Cumbria, Northumbria, Mentieth, Albany, Garioch, Ross or Avondale

Read my post about the English title options.

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