Duke of Clarence

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Duke of Clarence is a title which has been traditionally awarded to junior members of the British Royal family. All three creations were in the Peerage of England.

Dukedom of Clarence
Coronet of a Child of the Sovereign.svg
Arms of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence.svg
Arms of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence (third creation): Quarterly, 1st and 4th, France modern, 2nd and 3rd England, with a label of three points Argent each point charged with a canton Gules
Creation date 1362 (first creation)
1412 (second creation)
1461 (third creation)
Monarch Edward III (first creation)
Henry IV (second creation)
Edward IV (third creation)
Peerage Peerage of England
First holder Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence
Last holder Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale
Subsidiary titles First creation:
Earl of Ulster
Second creation:
Earl of Aumale
Third creation:
Earl of Warwick
Earl of Salisbury
Extinction date

1368 (first creation)
1421 (second creation)

(third creation)

The title was first granted to Lionel of Antwerp, the second son of King Edward III, in 1362. Since he died without sons, the title became extinct. The title was again created in favour of Thomas of Lancaster, the second son of King Henry IV, in 1412. Upon his death, too, the title became extinct. The last creation in the Peerage of England was for George Plantagenet, brother of King Edward IV, in 1461. The Duke forfeited his title in 1478, after he had been convicted of treason against his brother. He allegedly met his end (according to William Shakespeare) by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey.

A fourth creation in England was suggested and planned to take effect; the title of Duke of Clarence was going to be given to Lord Guilford Dudley, husband of Lady Jane Grey, upon her coronation, as she declined to make her husband king consort. However, she was deposed before this could take effect.

Two double dukedoms, of Clarence and St Andrews and of Clarence and Avondale, were later created for British royal princes. The title also took the form of an earldom for Queen Victoria's son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, and his son Prince Charles Edward, the Clarence earldom being a subsidiary title.

The title is said to originate[1] from the town of Clare, Suffolk, which was owned by the first Duke of Clarence, Lionel of Antwerp. His wife, Elizabeth, 4th Countess of Ulster, was a direct descendant of the previous owners, the de Clares, and the Manor of Clare was among the lands which she brought to her husband.[2] After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the holders of the title were also given titles including Scottish place names: St Andrews and Avondale.

Dukes of Clarence, first Creation (1362)[edit]

also Earl of Ulster (1264) jure uxoris

Dukes of Clarence, second Creation (1412)[edit]

also Earl of Aumale (1412)

Dukes of Clarence, third Creation (1461)[edit]

also Earl of Warwick and Earl of Salisbury (1472)

Related Titles[edit]

William IV was styled "HRH The Duke of Clarence" between his creation in 1789 and his accession in 1830

Duke of Clarence and St Andrews (1789)[edit]

  • William IV (1765–1837), who became king in 1830, at which point the title merged with the Crown.

Earls of Clarence (1881)[edit]

Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1890)[edit]

Family Tree[edit]


  1. ^ Polydore Vergil, in his Anglica Historia of 1534 (Book XIX.36) dates the Dukedom to 1361 and claims to have rediscovered the lost origins of the name. See also David Hatton, Clare, Suffolk, an account of historical features of the town, its Priory and its Parish Church, 2006, Book 1, p21 ISBN 0-9524242-3-1 It is also available online on the Clare website. However, other writers, e.g., T.A. Trant, Narrative of a Journey Through Greece (London: 1830) p4, trace the title Dux Clarentiae to Clarentia (Glarentza) in the Peloponnese, seat of Matilda of Hainaut (aka Maud, Mahaut), Princess of Achaea from 1313-1318, from whom her cousin Philippa of Hainault might have passed to her son Lionel at least an honorific claim to Achaea.
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Clarence, Dukes of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 427–428.