Duke of Beaufort

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For the French title, see Duke of Beaufort (France).
Dukedom of Beaufort
Arms of the Duke of Beaufort
Creation date 2 December 1682
Created by King Charles II
Peerage Peerage of England
First holder Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester
Present holder David Somerset, 11th Duke
Heir apparent Henry Somerset, Marquess of Worcester
Remainder to the 1st Duke's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titles Marquess of Worcester

Earl of Worcester

Duke of Beaufort is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created by Charles II in 1682 for Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester, a descendant of Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, legitimized son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, a Lancastrian leader in the Wars of the Roses. The name Beaufort refers to a castle in Champagne, France (now Montmorency-Beaufort). It is the only current dukedom to take its name from a place outside the British Isles.

They are descendants in the male line from the House of Plantagenet through John of Gaunt and Edward III. Beaufort Castle was a possession of John of Gaunt, and the surname Beaufort was given to Gaunt's four legitimized children by his mistress and third wife, Katherine Swynford.

The Duke of Beaufort holds two subsidiary titles: Marquess of Worcester (created 1642) and Earl of Worcester (1514). The title Marquess of Worcester is used as a courtesy title by the duke's eldest son and heir. The title Earl of Glamorgan is used by the eldest son of the heir apparent to the dukedom. The Earl of Glamorgan's eldest son is known as Viscount Grosmont. The Earldom of Glamorgan and Viscountcy of Grosmont derive from an irregular creation by Charles I in favour of Edward Somerset in 1644, who later succeeded his father as 2nd Marquess of Worcester.

Although the Earldom of Glamorgan and Viscountcy of Grosmont were not recognised as substantive titles at the restoration of Charles II, because of irregularities in the patent of creation, they have nevertheless continued to be used as convenient courtesy titles in order to distinguish the bearer from the Marquess of Worcester as heir apparent, the Earldom of Worcester not being distinctive enough for this purpose. All subsidiary titles are in the Peerage of England.

Field Marshal The Lord Raglan, born Lord FitzRoy Somerset, was the youngest son of the 5th duke.

The family seat was once Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire, but is now Badminton House near Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire. The principal burial place of the Dukes and Duchesses of Beaufort is St Michael and All Angels Church, Badminton.

Since the dukedom was created, each successive duke has served as Master of the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt, a foxhound pack kenneled on the Badminton Estate.

Coat of arms[edit]

The heraldic blazon for the coat of arms of the dukedom is: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, azure three fleurs-de-lys or (for France); 2nd and 3rd, gules three lions passant guardant in pale or (for England), all within a bordure compony argent and azure.

This can be translated as: a shield divided into quarters, the top left and bottom right quarters are blue with three golden fleurs-de-lys (for France), and the top right and bottom left quarters are red with three golden lions passant with their faces toward the viewer, one above the other (for England); the foregoing quarters are within a border around the shield with segments alternating white and blue.

In heraldry, a bordure compony is traditionally used to designate illegitimacy. Since the original Beafort's father was of the English royal family, the English royal arms are used. At that time, the king of England also claimed the French crown, hence the inclusion of the French royal arms.

Earls of Worcester (1514)[edit]

For previous creations of the same title, see Earl of Worcester.
Other titles (2nd onwards): Baron Herbert (1461)

Marquesses of Worcester (1642)[edit]

Other titles: Earl of Worcester (1514) and Baron Herbert (1461)

Dukes of Beaufort (1682)[edit]

Bookplate with the arms of the 2nd Duke of Beaufort in 1705
Bookplate with the arms of the 9th Duke of Beaufort in 1900
Other titles: Marquesses of Worcester (1642) and Earl of Worcester (1514)
Other titles (1st–10th Dukes): Baron Herbert (1461)
Other titles (5th–10th Dukes): Baron Botetourt (1305; abeyance ended 1803)

Heir apparent: Henry John FitzRoy Somerset, Marquess of Worcester (b. 1952), eldest son of the 11th Duke

Lord Worcester's heir apparent: Henry Robert FitzRoy Somerset, Earl of Glamorgan (b. 1989), his eldest son

Family Tree[edit]

External links[edit]