Duke of Beaufort

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For the French title, see Duke of Beaufort (France).
Dukedom of Beaufort
Coronet of a British Duke.svg
Beaufort Arms (France modern).svg
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
Creation date 2 December 1682
Monarch Charles II
Peerage Peerage of England
First holder Henry Somerset
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
Seat(s) Badminton House
Former seat(s) Raglan Castle

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 legitimised children by his mistress and third wife, Katherine Swynford. This was the foundation of the House of Beaufort, Dukes of Somerset. A descendant of the Beauforts through his mother was Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII of England. Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, KG (c. 1460 – 15 March 1526) was the bastard son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset by his mistress Joan Hill.

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 fifth 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 Beaufort siblings' 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]

Coats of Arms[edit]


Arms Name Life Blazon Notes
Coat of arms of Sir Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, KG.png Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, K.G. 1460 – 1526 Quarterly, 1st and 4th, France ancien, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure[1] (Beaufort)with argent baton sinister, with escutcheon of pretence of per pale azure and gules, three lions rampant argent, 2 and 1 Herbert. An illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset[2] by his mistress Joan Hill.[3] He was invested as a Knight of the Garter in about 1496. On 1 February 1514 he was created Earl of Worcester and was at some time appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household to King Henry VIII. As Lord Chamberlain, Somerset was largely responsible for the preparations for the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. He was a favourite of Henry VII and Henry VIII


Arms Name Life Blazon Notes
Quartered arms of Sir William Somerset, 3rd Earl of Worcester, KG.png William Somerset, 3rd Earl of Worcester, K.G. 1526/7 - 1589 Quarterly, 1st and 4th, or a fess on which is France moderne, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure[4] (Beaufort), 2nd, per pale azure and gules, three lions rampant argent, 2 and 1 Herbert, argent a fess gules, with a canton gueules. [5] Eldest son of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester and his second wife Elizabeth Browne.[6]


Arms Name Life Blazon Notes
Quartered arms of Sir Edward Somerset, 4th Ear of Worcester, KG.png Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester, K.G. 1550 – 1628 Grand quarters, 1st and 4th, quarterly, 1st and 4th, France moderne, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure[4] (Beaufort), 2nd, per pale azure and gules, three lions rampant argent, 2 and 1 Herbert, argent a fess gules, with a canton gueules. Eldest son of William Somerset, 3rd Earl of Worcester. He was an important advisor to King James I (James VI of Scots), serving as Lord Privy Seal.[7]
Arms Name Life Blazon Notes
Beaufort Arms (France modern).svg Henry Somerset, 1st Duke of Beaufort, K.G., PC 1629–1700 Quarterly, 1st and 4th, France moderne, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure[4] (Beaufort). Eldest son of Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester. He was a Welsh politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1654 and 1667, when he succeeded his father as 3rd Marquess of Worcester. He was styled Lord Herbert from 1644 until 3 April 1667. The Dukedom of Beaufort was bestowed upon him by King Charles II in 1682. He is the ancestor of the current Somersets, and so the Dukes of Beaufort and the Barons Raglan. The current head of the house is David Somerset, 11th Duke of Beaufort.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Pinches_81 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Burke, John, Burke's genealogical and heraldic history of peerage, baronetage and knightage, (G.P.Putnam's Sons:New York, 1914), 207.
  3. ^ Gurney, E. Henry, Reference handbook for readers, students, and teachers of English history , (Ginn & Company:Boston, 1890), 55.
  4. ^ a b c Pinches, J.H & R.V., p. 82
  5. ^ "File:Worcester3.JPG". Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. 2016-09-26. Retrieved 2016-09-26. Quartering based on the arms in the 16th century portrait of Worcester.  External link in |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Somerset, William, third earl of Worcester". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2014-12-02. 
  7. ^ "Somerset, William, third earl of Worcester". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2014-12-02.