New titles for royal couple
- Credit: PA
After their wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will likely become a Duke and Duchess... but of where? Here’s a look at the options
After their wedding on Saturday, Prince Harry and his bride, Meghan Markle will have titles bestowed on them to mark Ms Markle’s new royal status.
This is customary - Prince Charles and Camilla became the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Edward and Sophie are the Duke and Duchess of Wessex; Prince William and Kate have the Duchy of Cambridge.
The country has many Dukedoms but only a few are royal. One, of course, is the Duchy of Windsor... but that is unlikely to be revived bearing mind it was previously held by King Edward VIII and brings echoes of all the complications that arose from his abdication.
The current royal dukedoms are:
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In addition, the Prince of Wales has the secondary titles of Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. The Queen traditionally holds the Duchies of Lancaster and Normandy.
It’s all a little bit feudal, a bit Plantagenet and steeped in history, not all of it creditable.
In addition, there are extinct dukedoms including Clarence (alleged to have drowned in a butt of Malmsey and thus deemed rather unlucky), Cumberland, Sussex, Connaught, and Ross.
The non-royal dukedoms, usually titles passed on to oldest sons or nearest male relative, include Norfolk, Devonshire, Richmond, Grafton and a host of others which are tied up in heredity and thus unavailable.
Most likely to happen is that one of the currently redundant royal titles will be revived for Harry and Meghan and there has been speculation that this might be Connaught although the current favourite seems to be Sussex.
What about Suffolk? There is no Duke of Suffolk, that’s true, but it is not a royal title, sadly. A shame because it’s a very good title. It was first held by the de la Pole family and, in its second creation by Charles Brandon, a favourite of Henry VIII and finally, in its third creation, by Henry Grey, the father of doomed nine-day-queen Lady Jane Grey. His honours were forfeit when he was executed for treason.
No royal revival, there, I think.
Essex has an earldom but no duke and it is currently held by the 11th Earl, (Frederick) Paul de Vere Capell. The title was also held by Robert Devereux, beloved of Queen Elizabeth I, and Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s right hand man... until he fell from favour as they so often did in Tudor times.
The title of Duke of Sussex was conferred upon the sixth son of George III, Prince Augustus and despite rumours that Prince Edward or Prince William might get Sussex, the title still lies unclaimed.