Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Duke of Leinster

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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.[1] The Duke is the highest-ranking member of the Peerage of Ireland.[2]

Life and education[edit]

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[edit]

Maurice FitzGerald, then styled the Earl of Offaly, married Fiona Mary Francesca Hollick on 19 February 1972. The couple had three children:


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.[4]

Lord John married Barbara Zindel, daughter of Andreas Zindel, of Lausanne and St. Moritz, Switzerland, and wife Danielle ... at St. Nicholas Church, Chadlington, Oxford, on 11 December 1982; they have two children:

  • Hermione FitzGerald (b. Newmarket, Suffolk, November 1985)
  • Edward FitzGerald (b. Newmarket, Suffolk, November 1988)[5]

Ducal claims[edit]

In 2006, a suit was filed with the United Kingdom's Department of Constitutional Affairs by a California builder, Paul FitzGerald, in which he claimed that he is the rightful Duke of Leinster. FitzGerald claims that he is the grandson of Lord Desmond FitzGerald, the second son of Gerald FitzGerald, 5th Duke of Leinster, and who was recorded as having been killed in action during the First World War while serving with the Irish Guards. When Maurice FitzGerald, 6th Duke of Leinster died, mad and childless, in 1922, the Dukedom [6] – and its considerable wealth and lands – passed to his youngest brother Lord Edward FitzGerald, who subsequently became the 7th Duke of Leinster. Paul FitzGerald and his supporters claim that Lord Desmond faked his death and emigrated 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, considered his claim.[7] The claim was dismissed by Lord Falconer despite a 30-year campaign by Paul FitzGerald's family that has reputedly cost them £1.3 million. The Lord Chancellor said that the title was to remain with the existing holder, Maurice FitzGerald. Paul FitzGerald has the right to appeal the Lord Chancellor's decision to Queen Elizabeth II.[8]In 2010, however, DNA evidence was presented that indicates that Paul FitzGerald is related to the wife of the 5th Duke, the former Lady Hermione Duncombe.[4] As reported in The Scotsman, "With the help of Dunfermline-based genealogist Lloyd Pitcairn, Mrs FitzGerald Caudill [Paul FitzGerald's aunt] traced Maud Crawford, the grand-daughter of Lady Hermione's younger sister Urica [sic] Duncombe. The results of the tests found that it was '41 times more probable' that Ms Crawford and Paul FitzGerald were extremely closely related than were from different families. The evidence that Paul FitzGerald is related to the family of the 5th Duke's wife is the first DNA evidence ever produced in the case, and may support Mrs FitzGerald Caudhill's long-held claim suggesting that her mysterious father was the son of Lady Hermione, the wife of the fifth Duke of Leinster."[5]



  1. ^ A Californian claimant, an 'escape' from the trenches and the fight for a dukedom from The Daily Telegraph retrieved 6 August 2014
  2. ^ Debrett's "His Grace the Duke of Leinster's Biography". People of Today. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "p7233.htm". The Peerage. [unreliable source?]
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Person Page - 7233". Retrieved 15 March 2011. [unreliable source?]
  6. ^ British Dukes (Holding peerages granted by the Monarch) have Dukedoms; sovereign Dukes (continental rulers of territories without any overlord, i.e. the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) have Duchies
  7. ^ A Californian claimant, an 'escape' from the trenches and the fight for a dukedom - website of The Daily Telegraph
  8. ^ American loses battle over Leinster duke claim - website IrishAbroad

External links[edit]

Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Gerald FitzGerald
Duke of Leinster
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
His Grace The Duke of Northumberland
His Grace The Duke of Leinster
United Kingdom Order of Precedence
Succeeded by
His Grace The Duke of Wellington