Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Duke of Leinster
Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Duke of Leinster (born 7 April 1948), styled Earl of Offaly before 1976 and Marquess of Kildare between 1976 and 2004, is an Irish nobleman and landscape designer. The Duke is the highest ranking member of the Peerage of Ireland.
Life and education
He is the son of late Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Duke of Leinster, and his second wife, Anne Smith. He was educated at Millfield School in Street, Somerset, in south-west England. With the death of his father in 2004 he succeeded to the Dukedom and became the 9th Duke of Leinster.
Marriage and children
Maurice FitzGerald, then styled the Earl of Offaly, married Fiona Mary Francesca Hollick on 19 February 1972. The couple had three children:
- Thomas FitzGerald, Earl of Offaly (1974–1997), who was killed in an automobile accident.
- Lady Francesca Emily Purcell FitzGerald (born 6 July 1976), has two children by Stephen Thompstone. They are now separated.
- Lady Pollyanna Louisa Clementine FitzGerald (born John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, Oxfordshire, 9 May 1982), unmarried
The Duke's brother, Captain Lord John FitzGerald (born 3 March 1952) is therefore now his heir presumptive. He was educated at Millfield and studied at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. FitzGerald was a captain in the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards and is now a horse trainer by profession.
- Hermione FitzGerald (b. 1985)
- Edward FitzGerald (b. 1988)
In 2006, a suit was filed with the Department of Constitutional Affairs by a California builder, Paul FitzGerald, in which he claimed that he is the rightful Duke of Leinster. The basis for Paul FitzGerald's suit is the claim that he is the grandson of Lord Desmond FitzGerald, who was the second son of Gerald FitzGerald, 5th Duke of Leinster, and who was considered to have been killed in action during the First World War while serving with the Irish Guards. As such, when Maurice FitzGerald, 6th Duke of Leinster died, mad and childless, in 1922, the Duchy – and its considerable wealth and lands – passed to his youngest brother Lord Edward FitzGerald, who subsequently became the 7th Duke of Leinster. Rather, Paul FitzGerald and his supporters claim that Lord Desmond faked his death and immigrated to California (by way of Winnipeg, Canada) where he lived until his death in 1967. Charles Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor between 2003–2007, and Harriet Harman, Minister of State in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, were considering his claim.
The claim was subsequently dismissed by Lord Falconer of Thoroton despite a 30-year campaign by Paul FitzGerald's family, which has reputedly cost them £1.3million. The Lord Chancellor said that the title (once regarded as the Irish equivalent of royalty) will remain with the existing holder Maurice FitzGerald. Paul FitzGerald has the right of appealing the Lord Chancellor's decision to the Queen.
|Ancestors of Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Duke of Leinster|
- Debrett's "His Grace the Duke of Leinster's Biography". People of Today. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- Lundy, Darryl. "p7233.htm". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
- Lundy, Darryl. "Person Page - 7233". thePeerage.com. Retrieved 15 March 2011.[unreliable source]
- A Californian claimant, an 'escape' from the trenches and the fight for a dukedom - website of The Daily Telegraph
- American loses battle over Leinster duke claim - website IrishAbroad
- Peterkin, Tom; Elsworth, Catherine (28 February 2006). "A Californian claimant, an 'escape' from the trenches and the fight for a dukedom". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 June 2008.
- Ducal House of Leinster
- Leinster Leader, Moving Maynooth visit by FitzGerald
- Hermione FitzGerald professional golf
|Peerage of Ireland|
|Duke of Leinster
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
His Grace The Duke of Northumberland
|His Grace The Duke of Leinster
United Kingdom Order of Precedence
His Grace The Duke of Wellington