British prince

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Charles, Prince of Wales, first son and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II

Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a royal title normally granted to sons and grandsons of reigning and past British monarchs. The title is granted by the reigning monarch, who is the fount of all honours, through the issuing of letters patent as an expression of the royal will.

Individuals holding the title of prince will usually also be granted the style of His/Her Royal Highness (HRH).

When a British prince marries, his wife also becomes a British princess; however, she is addressed by the feminine version of the husband's most senior title on his behalf. Traditionally, all wives of male members of the British royal family, the aristocracy, and members of the public take the style and title of their husbands. An example of this case is Princess Michael of Kent, the wife of the Queen's cousin, Prince Michael of Kent.[1]

There is also the case when a princess of blood royal marries a British prince. She also becomes a princess by marriage and will be addressed in the same way; an example of this situation was the late Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife: when she married the cousin of her mother, Prince Arthur of Connaught, she became Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife.

If a British prince has a peerage, then the princess is addressed by the feminine version of her husband's peer title; an example of this case is the wife of Prince William, who is officially styled His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge while his wife Catherine becomes Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, omitting both the 'prince' and 'princess' titles and their first names.[2]

History[edit]

Prior to 1714, the title of prince and the style of HRH was not customary in usage. Sons and daughters of the sovereign were not automatically or traditionally called a prince or princess. An exception was the Prince of Wales, a title conferred on the eldest son of the sovereign since the reign of King Edward I of England.[3] In the Kingdom of Scotland, even though an honorific principality was created by King James VI, the heir-apparent was only referred to as Duke of Rothesay. Some others include John, brother of King Richard I and later King John, who is sometimes called Prince John.

After the accession of King George I of Great Britain (the first monarch from the House of Hanover), it became customary for the sons of the sovereign and grandsons of the sovereign in the male line to be titled 'Prince' and styled His Royal Highness (abbreviated HRH). Great-grandsons of the sovereign were princes styled His Highness (abbreviated HH).

Just three weeks after the birth of her fourth grandchild but first male-line grandson, Victoria issued letters patent in 1864[4] which formally confirmed the practice of calling children and male-line grandchildren His Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names. The letters patent did not address the styling of great-grandchildren or further descendants as His/Her Highness or Prince or Princess.

Subsequent to 1864 some amendments regarding princes were made, with the issuance of specific letters patent changing the title and style of the following groups:

  • In 1898, the children of Prince George, Duke of York, the eldest living son of the Prince of Wales, were customarily titled princes, with the style of Highness, as great-grandchildren of Victoria in the male line. With letters patent dated 28 May 1898, the Crown granted the children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales the style of Royal Highness.[5]
  • In 1914, the children of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick, a great-great-grandchild of George III, were granted the title of prince and the style Highness by King George V, in letters patent dated 17 June 1914.[6]
  • In 1917, George V issued a royal proclamation, altering the name of the Royal House from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor and the discontinuance of the usage of the German titles of Duke of Saxony, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the like.[7]
  • Later that year, letters patent altered the rights to the title prince and the style Royal Highness. These letters patent, dated 30 November 1917, stated that "the children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign (as per the above Letters Patent of 1864) and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (a modification of the Letters Patent of 1898) shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour". It was also decreed in these letters that "grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line ... shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms" (i.e., Lord or Lady before their Christian name).[8][9] In addition the letters stated save as aforesaid the style title or attribute of Royal Highness, Highness or Serene Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess shall not henceforth be assumed or borne by any descendant of any Sovereign of these Realms.

Both the proclamation and the letters patent of 1917 remain in force today, excepting a few amendments and creations noted.

  • However, the former reigning Duke of Brunswick, head of the House of Hanover, refused to recognise the letters depriving his children of the British and Irish princely titles, and in 1931, he issued a decree, in the capacity of the head of the House of Hanover and senior male-line descendant of George III, stating that the members of the former Hanoverian royal family would continue to bear the title of Prince (or Princess) of Great Britain and Ireland with the style of Royal Highness. This title and style remains in use to this day by his descendants, including the current head of the House of Hanover, Prince Ernst August. The decree by the head of the House of Hanover is not legally recognised in the United Kingdom or Ireland, and the titles are used as titles of pretence. Since, however, the Hanovers are born in the male-line of George II, they were bound by the Royal Marriages Act 1772 until repealed in 2015. Thus, before his marriage to Princess Caroline of Monaco, Ernst August requested, and Queen Elizabeth II issued on 11 January 1999, an Order in Council: "My Lords, I do hereby declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August Albert of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite of Monaco..." Without the royal assent, the marriage would have been void in the United Kingdom.
  • After the abdication crisis of 1936, King George VI issued letters patent (dated 27 May 1937) regranting his elder brother his style as son of a sovereign, whilst expressly denying the style of Royal Highness to his wife and descendants.[10] The marriage, however, had no issue.
  • On 22 October 1948, George VI issued letters patent allowing the children of his daughter Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and son-in-law Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to assume princely titles and the style Royal Highness;[11] they would not have been entitled to them ordinarily, as grandchildren in the female line, until their mother ascended the throne as Elizabeth II. Thus the current Prince of Wales was styled HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh until his mother's accession. Otherwise the children would have been styled Earl of Merioneth and Lady Anne Mountbatten, respectively.
  • Elizabeth II issued letters patent, dated 22 February 1957, creating Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[12] Prince Philip had been born a Prince of Greece and Denmark, titles he renounced upon going through the naturalisation process, unaware that he was already a British subject by virtue of the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705.
  • On the wedding day of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, it was announced by Buckingham Palace that Elizabeth II, in agreement with their wishes, had declared that their children would be styled as children of an earl, and not as Princes of the United Kingdom with the style Royal Highness.
  • On 31 December 2012, Elizabeth II declared that all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, at that time Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, would have the title Prince or Princess and the style Royal Highness.[13] Accordingly, the Duke's eldest son, born on 22 July 2013, is styled His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. His daughter, born on 2 May 2015, is styled Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. His second son, born on 23 April 2018, is styled His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.

Styles of British princes[edit]

  • Sovereign's heir apparent if Prince of Wales – HRH The Prince of Wales.
  • Sovereign's sons (not Prince of Wales) with peerage – HRH The Prince X, Duke of Y (with Y being the territorial designation of their highest peerage), e.g., HRH The Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
  • Sovereign's sons without peerage – HRH The Prince X, e.g., HRH The Prince John.
  • Sovereign's male line grandsons with peerage – HRH Prince "X", Duke of "Y" (with Y being the territorial designation of their highest title), e.g., HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
  • Sovereign's male line grandsons without peerage – HRH Prince "X" of "Y" (with Y being the territorial designation of their father's highest title), e.g., HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
  • Sovereign's great-grandsons whose father is the oldest son of the heir apparent – HRH Prince "X" of "Y" (with Y being the territorial designation of their father's highest title), e.g., HRH Prince George of Cambridge.

List of British princes since 1714[edit]

The descendants of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick, head of the House of Hanover and the senior male-line descendant of King George III, who bear the title Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom with the style of Royal Highness as a secondary title of pretense.

Of the 58 British princes listed here, two are spouses of a reigning Queen, and eight lost their title after World War I.

title restricted by George V – In letters patent dated 20 November 1917, King George V restricted the title of Prince to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign's sons, and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

title suspended by George V – By an Order in Council dated 28 March 1919, as authorized by the Titles Deprivation Act 1917, King George V suspended the British peerage titles, princely dignities and honours of those who sided with Germany in World War I.

List of British Princes
Full Name Lifespan Royal lineage Right Notes
George Augustus
later, King George II
1683–1760 Only son of King George I Created Prince by the sovereign
  • Duke of Cambridge – 1707
  • Created Prince – 1714
  • Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay – 1714
  • Prince of Wales – 1714
  • King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 11 June 1727
  • Concurrently Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire.
Frederick Louis 1707–1751 1st son of King George II Created Prince by the sovereign
  • Created Prince – 1714
  • Duke of Edinburgh – 1726
  • Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay – 1727
  • Prince of Wales from 8 January 1729.
George William 1717–1718 2nd son of King George II Prince from birth
  • Prince of Great Britain from birth (died age three months).
William Augustus 1721–1765 3rd son of King George II Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cumberland from 27 July 1726.
George William Frederick
later, King George III
1738–1820
  • 1st son of Frederick Louis
  • Grandson of King George II
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Edinburgh – 1751
  • Prince of Wales – 1751
  • King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two realms on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire until his promotion to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814.
Edward Augustus 1739–1767
  • 2nd son of Frederick Louis
  • Grandson of King George II
Prince from birth
  • Duke of York and Albany from 1 April 1760.
William Henry 1743–1805
  • 3rd son of Frederick Louis
  • Grandson of King George II
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh from 19 November 1764.
Henry Frederick 1745–1790
  • 4th son of Frederick Louis
  • Grandson of King George II
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn from 22 October 1766.
Frederick William 1750–1765
  • 5th son of Frederick Louis
  • Grandson of King George II
Prince from birth
  • Prince of Great Britain from birth (died age fifteen years).
George Augustus Frederick
later, King George IV
1762–1830 1st son of King George III Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay from birth
  • Prince of Wales – 1762
  • Prince Regent – 1811
  • King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and king of Hanover from 29 January 1820.
Frederick Augustus 1763–1827 2nd son of King George III Prince from birth
  • Duke of York and Albany from 27 November 1784.
William Henry
later, King William IV
1765–1837 3rd son of King George III Prince from birth
  • Duke of Clarence and St Andrews – 1789
  • King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830.
Edward Augustus 1767–1820 4th son of King George III
Also, Father of Queen Victoria
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Kent and Strathearn from 24 April 1799.
Ernest Augustus
Later, Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover
1771–1851 5th son of King George III Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale from 23 April 1799
  • Additionally, King of Hanover from 20 June 1837.
Augustus Frederick 1773–1843 6th son of King George III Prince from birth
  • Duke of Sussex from 17 November 1801.
Adolphus Frederick 1774–1850 7th son of King George III Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cambridge from 17 November 1801.
Octavius 1779–1783 8th son of George III Prince from birth
  • Prince of Great Britain from birth (died age four years).
Alfred 1780–1782 9th son of King George III Prince from birth
  • Prince of Great Britain from birth (died age twenty-three months).
William Frederick 1776–1834
  • Only son of William Henry
  • Great-grandson of King George II
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh from 22 July 1816.
George Frederick Alexander Charles Ernest Augustus
Later, George V, King of Hanover
1819–1878
  • Only son of Ernest Augustus
  • Grandson of King George III
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale from 18 November 1851
  • Additionally, King of Hanover from 18 November 1851 until deposed on 20 September 1866.
George William Frederick Charles 1819–1904
  • Only son of Adolphus Frederick
  • Grandson of King George III
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cambridge from 8 July 1850
  • Additionally, Prince of Hanover from birth.
Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel 1819–1861 Husband of Queen Victoria Created Prince by the sovereign
  • Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (later, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) from birth
  • Prince Consort of the United Kingdom from 25 June 1857.
Albert Edward
Later, King Edward VII
1841–1910 1st son of Queen Victoria Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay from birth
  • Prince of Wales – 1841
  • King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901.
Alfred Ernest Albert 1844–1900 2nd son of Queen Victoria Prince from birth
  • Duke of Edinburgh from 24 May 1866
  • Additionally, reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 23 August 1893.
Arthur William Patrick Albert 1850–1942 3rd son of Queen Victoria Prince from birth
  • Duke of Connaught and Strathearn from 24 May 1874.
Leopold George Duncan Albert 1853–1884 4th son of Queen Victoria Prince from birth
  • Duke of Albany from 24 May 1881.
Ernest Augustus William Adolphus George Frederick 1845–1923
  • Only son of George Frederick Alexander Charles Ernest Augustus
  • Great-grandson of King George III
Prince from birth
  • Prince until 20 November 1917title restricted by George V
  • Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale from 28 March 1878 until 28 March 1919title suspended by George V
  • Additionally, Prince of Hanover from birth
  • Head of the House of Hanover from 28 March 1878
  • Heir to the title Duke of Brunswick from 18 October 1884 until 24 October 1913, when he renounced his succession rights.
Albert Victor Christian Edward 1864–1892 1st son of King Edward VII Prince from birth
  • Duke of Clarence and Avondale from 24 May 1890.
George Frederick Ernest Albert
Later, King George V
1865–1936 2nd son of King Edward VII Prince from birth
  • Duke of York – 1892
  • Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay – 1901
  • Prince of Wales – 1901
  • King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910.
Alexander John Charles Albert[14] 1871–1871 3rd son of King Edward VII Prince from birth
  • Prince from birth (died age one day).
Alfred Alexander William Ernest Albert 1874–1899
  • Only son of Alfred Ernest Albert
  • Grandson of Queen Victoria
Prince from birth
  • Additionally, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert 1883–1938
  • Only son of Arthur William Patrick Albert
  • Grandson of Queen Victoria
Prince from birth
  •  
Carl Eduard Georg Albert Leopold 1884–1954
  • Only son of Leopold George Duncan Albert
  • Grandson of Queen Victoria
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Albany from birth until 28 March 1919title suspended by George V
  • Additionally, reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 30 July 1900 until 14 November 1918, following the abolition of the German monarchy.
Georg Wilhelm Christian Albert Edward Alexander Friedrich Waldemar Ernst Adolf 1880–1912
  • 1st son of Ernest Augustus William Adolphus George Frederick
  • Great-Great-grandson of King George III
Prince from birth
  • Additionally, Prince of Hanover from birth.
Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Peter Waldemar 1885–1901
  • 2nd son of Ernest Augustus William Adolphus George Frederick
  • Great-great-grandson of King George III
Prince from birth
  • Additionally, Prince of Hanover from birth.
Ernst August Christian Georg 1887–1953
  • 3rd son of Ernest Augustus William Adolphus George Frederick
  • Great-great-grandson of King George III
Prince from birth
  • Prince until 20 November 1917.title restricted by George V
  • Additionally, Prince of Hanover from birth
  • Duke of Brunswick from 1 November 1913 until the 8 November 1918 abolition of the German monarchy
  • Head of the House of Hanover from 30 January 1923.
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David
later, King Edward VIII
1894–1972 1st son of King George V Prince from birth
  • Prince until 20 January 1936 and again after 11 December 1936
  • Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay – 1910
  • Prince of Wales – 1910
  • King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 20 January 1936 until his abdication 11 December 1936
  • Duke of Windsor from 8 March 1937
  • Additionally, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from birth until 1917.
Albert Frederick Arthur George
later, King George VI
1895–1952 2nd son of King George V Prince from birth
  • Duke of York – 4 June 1920
  • King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death
  • Emperor of India from 11 December 1936 until title renounced 14 August 1947.
Henry William Frederick Albert 1900–1974 3rd son of King George V Prince from birth
  • Duke of Gloucester from 31 March 1928.
George Edward Alexander Edmund 1902–1942 4th son of King George V Prince from birth
  • Duke of Kent from 12 October 1934.
John Charles Francis 1905–1919 5th son of King George V Prince from birth
  • Prince from birth (died age thirteen years).
Alastair Arthur 1914–1943
  • Only son of Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert
  • Great-grandson of Queen Victoria
Prince from birth
  • Prince until 20 November 1917title restricted by George V
  • Duke of Connaught and Strathearn from 16 January 1942.
Johann Leopold William Albert Ferdinand Victor 1906–1972
  • 1st son of Carl Eduard Georg Albert Leopold
  • Great-grandson of Queen Victoria
Prince from birth
  • Prince until 20 November 1917.title restricted by George V
  • Additionally, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from birth.
Dietmar Hubertus Friedrich Wilhelm Philipp 1909–1943
  • 2nd son of Carl Eduard Georg Albert Leopold
  • Great-grandson of Queen Victoria
Prince from birth
  • Prince until 20 November 1917.title restricted by George V
  • Additionally, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from birth.
Ernst August Georg Wilhelm Christian Ludwig Franz Joseph Nikolaus Oskar 1914–1987
  • 1st son of Ernst August Christian Georg
  • Great-great-great-grandson of King George III
Created Prince by the sovereign
  • Prince from 17 June 1914 until 20 November 1917.title restricted by George V
  • Additionally, Prince of Brunswick from birth
  • Head of the House of Hanover from 30 January 1953.
George Wilhelm Ernst August Friedrich Axel 1915–2006
  • 2nd son of Ernst August Christian Georg
  • Great-great-great-grandson of King George III
Prince from birth
  • Prince until 20 November 1917title restricted by George V
  • Additionally, Prince of Brunswick from birth.
Philip 1921–2021 Husband of Queen Elizabeth II Created Prince by the sovereign
  • Prince of Greece and Denmark from birth until renounced title 18 March 1947
  • Duke of Edinburgh – 1947
  • Prince from 22 February 1957.
William Henry Andrew Frederick 1941–1972
  • 1st son of Henry William Frederick Albert
  • Grandson of King George V
Prince from birth
  •  
Richard Alexander Walter George 1944–present
  • 2nd son of Henry William Frederick Albert
  • Grandson of King George V
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Gloucester since 10 June 1974.
Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick 1935–present
  • 1st son of George Edward Alexander Edmund
  • Grandson of King George V
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Kent since 25 August 1942.
Michael George Charles Franklin 1942–present
  • 2nd son of George Edward Alexander Edmund
  • Grandson of King George V
Prince from birth
  •  
Charles Philip Arthur George 1948–present 1st son of Queen Elizabeth II Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay – 1952
  • Prince of Wales since 26 July 1958
  • Duke of Edinburgh since 9 April 2021.
Andrew Albert Christian Edward 1960–present 2nd son of Queen Elizabeth II Prince from birth
  • Duke of York since 23 July 1986.
Edward Antony Richard Louis 1964–present 3rd son of Queen Elizabeth II Prince from birth
  • Earl of Wessex since 19 June 1999
  • Earl of Forfar since 10 March 2019.
William Arthur Philip Louis 1982–present
  • 1st son of Charles Philip Arthur George
  • Grandson of Queen Elizabeth II
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Cambridge since 29 April 2011.
Henry Charles Albert David 1984–present
  • 2nd son of Charles Philip Arthur George
  • Grandson of Queen Elizabeth II
Prince from birth
  • Duke of Sussex since 19 May 2018.
James Alexander Philip Theo 2007–present
  • Son of Edward Antony Richard Louis
  • Grandson of Queen Elizabeth II
Prince from birth
  • Styled as an earl's son per his parents' wishes and the will of the sovereign (see his titles and styles).
George Alexander Louis 2013–present
  • 1st son of William Arthur Philip Louis
  • Great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II
Prince from birth
  •  
Louis Arthur Charles 2018–present
  • 2nd son of William Arthur Philip Louis
  • Great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II
Prince from birth
  •  

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hubbard, Lauren (30 July 2019). "Who Is Princess Michael of Kent". townandcountrymag.com. Town&Country. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  2. ^ Cruse, Beth (31 May 2021). "Why Kate Middleton isn't known as Princess - but Diana was". Bristolpost.co.uk. Bristol Post. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  3. ^ With the exception of Edward II's eldest son, Edward III.
  4. ^ Velde, 1864 Royal Styles and Titles – 1864 Letters Patent
  5. ^ Velde, 1898 Letters Patent
  6. ^ Velde, 1914 Letters Patent
  7. ^ Velde, 1917 Royal Proclamation
  8. ^ "No. 30428". The London Gazette. 14 December 1917. p. 13086.
  9. ^ Velde, Second 1917 Letters Patent
  10. ^ Velde, 1937 Letters Patent
  11. ^ Velde, 1948 Letters Patent
  12. ^ "No. 41009". The London Gazette. 22 February 1957. p. 1209.
  13. ^ "No. 60384". The London Gazette. 8 January 2013. p. 213.
  14. ^ Grave of the Infant Prince, Sandringham c.1871-2, Royal Collection

References[edit]