Duke of Edinburgh

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Dukedom of Edinburgh
Coat of Arms of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.svg
Arms of Prince Philip, who held the title from 1947 to 2021
Created byKing George VI
PeeragePeerage of the United Kingdom
First holderPrince Frederick
(first creation; 1726)
Last holderPrince Charles, now Charles III
Remainder tothe 1st Duke's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titles
Statusmerged in the Crown
Extinction date8 September 2022

Duke of Edinburgh, named after the city of Edinburgh in Scotland, was a substantive title that has been created three times since 1726 for members of the British royal family. It does not include any territorial landholdings and does not produce any revenue for the title holder.

On its last creation, in 1947, the title was bestowed by George VI on Prince Philip upon his marriage to George's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II. The title was inherited on Philip's death, in 2021, by his and Elizabeth's son, Charles, the then Prince of Wales. The title merged in the Crown on Charles's accession to the throne upon the death of his mother in 2022.

1726 creation[edit]

Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707–1751) was the first Duke of Edinburgh, from 1726 to his death

The title was first created in the Peerage of Great Britain on 26 July 1726 by King George I, who bestowed it on his grandson Prince Frederick, who also became Prince of Wales the following year. The subsidiary titles of the dukedom were Marquess of the Isle of Ely,[1] Earl of Eltham, in the County of Kent,[2] Viscount of Launceston, in the County of Cornwall, and Baron of Snowdon, in the County of Caernarvon, all of which were also in the Peerage of Great Britain. The marquessate was apparently erroneously gazetted as Marquess of the Isle of Wight[2] although Marquess of the Isle of Ely was the intended title. In later editions of the London Gazette the Duke is referred to as the Marquess of the Isle of Ely.[3][4] Upon Frederick's death, the titles were inherited by his son Prince George. When Prince George became King George III in 1760, the titles merged in the Crown and ceased to exist.[1]

1866 creation[edit]

Queen Victoria re-created the title, this time in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, on 24 May 1866 for her second son Prince Alfred, instead of Duke of York, the traditional title of the second son of the monarch. The subsidiary titles of the dukedom were Earl of Kent and Earl of Ulster, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[5] When Alfred became the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893, he retained his British titles. His only son Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, committed suicide in 1899, so the Dukedom of Edinburgh and subsidiary titles became extinct upon the elder Alfred's death in 1900.[1]

1947 creation[edit]

The title was created for a third time on 19 November 1947 by King George VI,[6] who bestowed it on his son-in-law Philip Mountbatten, when he married Princess Elizabeth. Subsequently, Elizabeth was styled "HRH The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh" until her accession in 1952. The subsidiary titles of the dukedom were Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, of Greenwich in the County of London; all these titles were in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[7] Earlier that year, Philip had renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles (he was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark, being a male-line grandson of King George I of the Hellenes and male-line great-grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark) along with his rights to the Greek throne. In 1957, Philip became a Prince of the United Kingdom.[8]

Upon Philip's death on 9 April 2021, his eldest son Charles, Prince of Wales, succeeded to all of his hereditary titles.[9] Upon Charles's accession to the throne on 8 September 2022, the peerages merged in the Crown and ceased to exist.

Prospective creations[edit]

It was announced in 1999, at the time of the wedding of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, that he would eventually follow his father as Duke of Edinburgh.[10]

It was expected that a new, fourth, creation would be bestowed on Prince Edward after the third creation reverted to the Crown when Charles III acceded to the throne. In this scenario, James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn, would be the heir apparent, as the son of Prince Edward. In July 2021, The Times reported that Charles had decided not to give the title to his brother upon accession.[11] Clarence House stated that "[a]ll stories of this nature are speculation, no final decisions have been taken" and declined to comment further.[12] As of 2022, no announcements have been made for any future creations.

Dukes of Edinburgh[edit]

First creation, 1726[edit]

Also Marquess of the Isle of Ely, Earl of Eltham, Viscount Launceston and Baron Snowdon.

Duke Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Prince Frederick
House of Hanover
also: Prince of Wales (1729), Duke of Cornwall (1727, created 1337), Duke of Rothesay (1727, created 1469)
Prince Frederick 1 February 1707
Leineschloss, Hanover
son of King George II and Queen Caroline
Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
17 April 1736
9 children
31 March 1751
Leicester House, Leicester Square, London
aged 44
Prince George
House of Hanover
also: Prince of Wales (1751)
Prince George 4 June 1738
Norfolk House, London
son of Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta
Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
8 September 1761
15 children
29 January 1820
Windsor Castle, Windsor
aged 81
Prince George succeeded as George III in 1760 upon his grandfather's death, and his titles merged in the Crown.

Second creation, 1866[edit]

Also: Earl of Kent and Earl of Ulster.

Duke Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Prince Alfred
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Prince Edward 6 August 1844
Windsor Castle, Windsor
son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
23 January 1874
6 children
30 July 1900
Schloss Rosenau, Coburg
aged 55
Prince Alfred and Grand Duchess Maria had one son, who predeceased him; and all his titles became extinct on his death.

Third creation, 1947[edit]

Also: Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

Duke Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death
Prince Philip
Prince Philip 10 June 1921
Mon Repos, Corfu
son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg
Princess Elizabeth
20 November 1947
4 children
9 April 2021
Windsor Castle, Windsor
aged 99
Prince Charles
also: Prince of Wales (1958), Duke of Cornwall (1952, created 1337), Duke of Rothesay (1952, created 1469)
Prince Charles 14 November 1948
Buckingham Palace, London
son of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II
Lady Diana Spencer
29 July 1981 – 28 August 1996
2 children
Camilla Parker Bowles
9 April 2005
Prince Charles ascended as Charles III in 2022 upon his mother's death; and his hereditary titles merged in the Crown.

Family tree[edit]

In media[edit]

A fictional Duke of Edinburgh appears in the 1983 sitcom The Black Adder. Rowan Atkinson plays the title character, Prince Edmund, who is granted the title Duke of Edinburgh by his father, a fictitious King Richard IV.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Cokayne, G. E. (1926). Gibbs, Vicary; Doubleday, H. A. (eds.). The Complete Peerage. Vol. 5: Eardley of Spalding to Goojerat (2nd ed.). London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 6–8.
  2. ^ a b "No. 6494". The London Gazette. 12 July 1726. p. 1.
  3. ^ "No. 6741". The London Gazette. 4 January 1728. p. 2.
  4. ^ "No. 9050". The London Gazette. 16 April 1751. p. 1.
  5. ^ "No. 23119". The London Gazette. 25 May 1866. p. 3127.
  6. ^ "No. 38128". The London Gazette. 21 November 1947. p. 5495.
  7. ^ "No. 38128". The London Gazette. 21 November 1947. p. 5496.
  8. ^ "No. 41009". The London Gazette. 22 February 1957. p. 1209.
  9. ^ "HRH The Duke of Edinburgh". College of Arms. 9 April 2021. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  10. ^ "The Earl of Wessex". Royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  11. ^ Nikkhah, Roya (11 July 2021). "Edward wants to be Duke of Edinburgh but his brother is not on his side". The Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2021. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  12. ^ Perry, Simon (12 July 2021). "Will Prince Charles Deny Brother Prince Edward the Duke of Edinburgh Title He Expects?". People. Retrieved 12 September 2022.