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LCO 2 7299

 

No 1661A

 

Date : 1917

Crown

Lord President of the Council

As to titles or styles of descendants of Queen Victoria

 

 


 

Private

 

1 Carlton House Terrace

S.W.

 

Jan 5, 17

 

My dear Lord Chancellor,

 

people keep writing to me about H. Grahamís post.  I fancy it is in my gift, but ? would ? and have a few words with me on the subject.

It is an opportunity for rewarding a man of distinction.

A little while ago the Duchess of  Connaught asked me privately to look into the question of the style of her grandson the child of Prince A. of Connaught.  On her motherís side (she being duchess of Fife in her own right) he is Earl Macduff but he might as the son of a Prince of the Blood Royal be more than this.

Is he or ought he to be a Prince?  I fancy there is some rule or prescription about Princedom, [?] in the 4th generation :

Queen Victoria

D of  Connaught

Prince Arthur

Child

 

The King is indifferent [?] rather hostile, having always been rather jealous of the Connaughts.

They accordingly put the care in my hands. I said I would consult you.

I think we ought to settle it on [?].

May I talk it over with you after you have looked into the precedents?

Yours sincerely,

 

Curzon

 


 

Note by Mr Napier to Lord Chancellor

6 Jan 1917

(2) I wil try and find out about the rule of Prince's sons, without asking Lord Stamfordham

 


 

Private

11 Jan. 1917.

 

My dear Lord President,

 

I have now looked into the points mentioned in your letter of the 5th.

 

1.  I find that the practice has been that the Clerk of the Parliaments should "be appointed by the Crown on the advice of the Prime Minister.

 

The Statute (5 Geo.IV c.82) in S.2 provides that the Clerk of. P. should be appointed by the Crown while the 3rd section provides what appointments to the office of the Clerk Assistant and other clerks at the Table should be made by the Lord Chancellor subject to the approbation of the House.    The Crown in appointing under S.2 acts on the advice of the Prime Minister, no other Minister being designated for the purpose, and I think that the practice which has in fact been followed is correct upon the wording of the statute.

 

2.  The most important document which has been brought to my notice as bearing on the question of "Princedom" is the Patent of 30 Jan. 1864, a copy of which I enclose.

That Patent contains the following recital:

"We taking into our Royal consideration that the Princes and Princesses of our Royal family descended from and in lineal succession to the Crown as now established by Law all bear the style and title of Highness but that it has not been declared or defined by due authority what members of the Royal Family other than the children of the  sovereign are   entitled to the style of Royal Highness"

and then goes on to define the class entitled to the style of Royal Highness as extending  to the children of the sons of  Sovereign besides of course the children of the Sovereign.

 

A Patent of 27th May 1898 makes the same provision with regard to the children of the  eldest  son of any Prince of Wales.

 

The son of Prince Arthur of Connaught being the grandson of a son of Queen Victoria,   though he does  not fall within the  class  entitled to the style of Royal Highness by the  Patent  of 1864 appears  to fall within the class designated in the  recital as Princes and  entitled to the style of Highness.

 

There may he other documents available on search in the Herald's College or elswhere which  would  throw further light upon the subject, but on the material before me I   think  it would be in accordance with usage that the son of Prince Arthur of Connaught should be styled'"Prince" and "Highness" .     This however would be subject to the pleasure

of  His  Majesty as  the fountain of Honours and no step should be taken without submitting the  matter  for  the consideration of H .M.

 

A note upon this matter has been prepared for me by my Per. Sec. Sir Claud Schuster and it is at your service if you would like to see it.

 

Sincerely yours

(Sd) Finlay.

 

The Rt. Hon.

The Lord President of  Council. Privy Council Office.


11-1-17

 

The only documents dealing with the titles or styles of the descendants of Queen Victoria which can be found in the office,  of to which I have been able to gain access elsewhere, are the following:-

(1)   Letters Patent of the 30th January 1864 declaring what members of the Royal Family are entitled to the style of "Royal Highness".

(2)     Letters Patent of the 27th May 1898 "declaring that the  children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales shall be entitled to the style of  'Royal Highness'".

(3)  A document under the Sign Manual of Queen Victoria and the Great Seal dated 21st May 1867 conferring upon the  children of the marriage of Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein and Her Royal Highness Princess Helena the title of "Highness'" .

 

The first document after reciting that "taking into Our Royal consideration that the Princes and Princesses of the Royal Family descended from and  in lineal succession to the Crown   . . .  all bear the style and title of Highness but that it has not been declared or defined by due authority what members of the Royal Family (other than the children of the Sovereign) are entitled to  the style of Royal Highness" goes on to declare that besides the children of the Sovereigns of these Realms the children of the  sons of any Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland shell have   Ö 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.

 

The second document oonfers the title of Royal Highness upon the  children of the oldest son of any Prince of Wales using similar language with regard to the titular dignity of Prince.

 

These documents make it clear

(a) that there is a class of persons entitled to bear the titular dignity of Prince.

(b) that that class is larger than the class entitled to bear the style of Royal Highness,

(c) that the persons composing this larger class bear the title of Highness. It may be difficult to define this larger class with precision. If  the recital of the Letters Patent of 1864 is to hear its natural meaning and is accurate, the document of 1867 would have been unnecessary. But the fact that the later document was thought necessary makes it clear that, in the absence of specific provision, the sons of daughters of the Sovereign are not, ipso facto, entitled to the style of Highness. Howevor that may be, as there is a class

of persons who apart from specific provision are entitled to the title of Highness  (and presumably that of Prince or Princess) it seems reasonably clear that that class must include the younger children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales and the children or the King's grandsons in the male line.     It would result that the  son of Prince Arthur of Connaught is entitled to be styled "Highness" and (presumably) Prince.

                                                                                                 

(d) that the matter is one for the regulation of the reigning Sovereign - a proposition which might be arrived at aliunde,  for "the King is  the source  of all  titles of honour,

distinctions, and dignities".   (See Halsbury Laws of England Vol.VI. p.375 S.V. Constitutional  Law).

 

Further than this it seems difficult to go. The original authority for the precedence of the members of the Royal Family is 31 Henry VIII c.10, which prohibits any persons "except only the King's children from at any time hereafter Attempting to sit or have place at any side of the Cloth of Estate  in the Parliament Chamber neither on the one hand of the King's Highness or on the other whether the King's Majesty be there personally present or absent".  The statute then proceeds to assign the proper place in the House to Thomas Lord  Cromwell then Vice Gerent,  to the Archbishop of Canterbury and  the holders of the other great offices of State,  and places certain of them "on the left side of the said Parliament Chamber on the higher part of the  form of the  same  side above all Dukes,   except only such as shall happen to be  the King's son,  the King's brother,  the King's unkle,  the King's nephew, or the King's brothers' or sisters'  sons".

 

Coke (4 Institute 362) explains that the word "nephew" in this passage is to be taken to mean grandson or nepos.

 

It is extremely difficult to fix the  time,   if indeed any time could be fixed, at which the title of Prince of Princess began to be used as denoting the descendants of the Sovereign of this country.

 

In the Act (25 Henry VIII. c.22) "declaring the establishment of succession of the King's most Royal Majesty in the  Imperial Crown of this Realm" Arthur the elder brother of Henry VIII is described as "Prince Arthur".  Elizabeth is described as "the lady Elizabeth now Princess",  while Catherine of Aragon is described as "the lady Catherine being before the lawful wife to Prince Arthur".

 

To take a long step from Henry VIII to the Act of Settlement, Anne  (afterwards Queen) is therein referred to as "The Princess Anne  of Denmark", and, to take a still further step,  by the Royal Marriages Act  (12 Geo.III c.11)  the prohibition imposed upon the members of the Royal Family is expressed to lie upon any "descendant of the body of his late Majesty King George  II male or  female   (other than the  issue of Princesses who have married or may hereafter marry into foreign families)".

 

It is further very difficult to decide by precedent the  question of what should be  the style of the great grandson of a Sovereign, since for hundreds of years there has been no instance of the existence of such a great grandson descended from the Sovereign in the male line, except in the case of the Duke of Cumberland. The present Duke of  Cumberland is the 4th in descent from King George III, hut his British style, whetever it might properly have been, has been merged in effect by reason of the fact that his grandfather Ernest Augustus the fifth son of George III became King of Hanover upon the death of William IV.

 

Neither William IV nor George IV left any legitimate male descendant and the only male descendants in the direct male line of George III,in addition to the Duke of Cumberland already mentioned,were the Dukes of Cambridge whose line became extinct in the person of his late Royal Highness George Duke of Cambridge 2nd of that creation.

 

The only male descendant of George II (other than those who died without issue or subsequently ascended the throne 1 were his grandson William Henry Duke of Gloucester and the letter's son William Frederick 2nd Duke of Gloucester. Of this second Duke it is stated in the Dictionary of National Biographies that "he was styled Prince William of Gloucester until his father's death (25 August 1805) when he succeeded to the Dukedoms of Gloucester and Edinburgh, and the Earldom of Connaught: but it was not until 1816, being only the great grandson of George II, that he was allowed the style of Royal Highness".

 

George I left no son except George II. William III left no issue. The case of the descendants of James II is not in point, but in fact his family died out with the deaths of his two grandsons. Charles II left no legitimate descendants and Charles I left no male descendant who attained full age except Charles II and James II. James I also left no son except Charles I.. Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth left no descendants. Henry VIII and Henry VII's male line ended with Edward VI.

 

It will thus be observed that except the 2nd Duke of Gloucester there is no instance in history since the Wars of the Hoses of any male person, being great grandson by direct male descent from a Sovereign of this Country, who has not ascended the throne  So far as the daughters are concerned, they in every  case either died unmarried or married into foreign reigning houses, except in the one case of Mary youngest child of George III who married William Duke of Gloucester mentioned above.

 

Note: Since the above memorandum was written we have borrowed from the Home Office a document from which it appears that on the 9th November 1905 King Edward VII by a document under the Great Seal conferred upon the then Duchess of Fife (Her Royal Highness Princess Louise) the style of the Princess Royal and upon her two daughters the style, title and attribute of "Highness" and the style of "Princess", with precedence "immediately after all members of our Royal Family enjoying the style of Royal Highness".

 

This document, so far as it treats the case of the two daughters of the Duchess of Fife,is precisely similar in effect to the document of the 21st May 1867, and supports the suggestion made above that in the absence of specific provision the children of daughters of the sovereign are not entitled to the style of "Highness",


 

The only documents dealing with the titles or styles of the descendants of Queen Victoria which can he found in the office, or to which I have been able to gain access elsewhere, are the following:-

(1) Letters Patent of the 30th January 1864 "declaring what members of the Royal Family are entitled to the style of 'Royal Highness'".

(2)  Letters Patent of the 27th May 1898 "declaring that the children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales shall he entitled to the style of 'Royal Highness'".

(3) A document under the Sign Manual of Queen Victoria and the Great Seal dated 21st May 1867 conferring upon the children of the marriage of Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein and Her Royal Highness Princess Helena the title Of "Highness".

 

        The first document after reciting that "taking into Our Royal consideration that the Princes and Princesses of the Royal Family descended from and in lineal succession to the Crown . . . all hear the style and title of Highness but that it has not been declared or defined by due authority what members of the Royal Family (other than the children of the Sovereign) are entitled to the style of Royal Highness", goes on to declare that besides the children of the Sovereigns of these Realms the children of the sons of any Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland shall have  Ö  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.

 

The second document confers the title of Royal Highness upon the children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales, using similar language with regard to the titular dignity of Prince.

 

These documents make it clear

(a)  that there  is  a class of persons entitled to bear the  titular dignity of Prince,

(b)  that that class is larger than the class  entitled to bear the style  of Royal Highness,

(c)  that the persons  composing this larger class bear the title of Highness.   It may be  difficult to define  this larger class with precision.     If the recital of the Letters Patent of 1864 is to  bear its natural meaning and  is accurate,   the document of 1867 would have been unnecessary.  But the fact that the later document was thought necessary makes  it clear that,  in the absence of specific provision,  the sons of daughters of the  Sovereign are not, ipso facto, entitled to the style of Highness. However that may be, as there is a class of persons who apart from specific provision are entitled to the title of Highness  (and presumably that of Prince or Princess) it  seems  reasonably clear that that class must include the  younger children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales and the children of the King's grandsons in the male line.    It would result that the son of Prince Arthur of Connaught is  entitled to be  styled "Highness" and (presumably) Prince.

(d)   that  the matter is one  for the regulation of the reigning Sovereign - a proposition which might be arrived at aliunde,  for "the King is  the  source of all  titles of honour, distinctions,  and dignities".   (See KaIsbury Laws of England Vol.VI.  p.375 S.V.  Constitutional  Law).

 

Further than this it seems difficult to go.  The original authority for the precedence of the members of the Royal Family is 31 Henry VIII c.10, which prohibits any persons

"except only the King's children from at any time hereafter attempting to sit or have place at any side of the  Cloth of Estate  in the Parliament Chamber neither on the one hand of

the King's Highness or on the other whether the King's Majesty be there  personally present or absent". The Statute then proceeds to assign the proper place in the House to Thomas Lord  Cromwell then Vice Gerent, to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the holders of the other great offices of State, and places certain of them "on the left side of the said Parliament Chamber on the higher part of the form of the same side above all Dukes, except only such as shall happen to be the King's son, the King's brother, the King's uncle, the King's nephew, or the King''s brothers' or sisters' sons".

 

Coke  (4 Institute 368)  explains that the word "nephew" in this passage is to be taken to mean grandson or nepos.

 

It is extremely difficult to fix the time,  if indeed any time could be fixed, at which the title of Prince of Princess began to be used as denoting the descendants of the

Sovereign of this country.

 

In the Act (25 Henry VIII. c.22) "declaring the establishment of succession of the King's most Royal Majesty in the Imperial Crown of this Realm" Arthur the elder brother of Henry  VIII is described as "Prince Arthur". Elizabeth is described as "the lady Elizabeth now Princess", while Catherine of Aragon is described as "the lady Catherine being before the lawful wife to Prince Arthur".                                                                  

 

To take a long step from Henry VIII to the Act of Settlement, Anne (afterwards Queen) is therein referred to as "The Princess Anne of Denmark", and, to take a still further step, by the Royal Marriages Act (12 Geo.III c.11) the prohibition imposed upon the members of the Royal Family is expressed to lie upon any "descendant of the body of hie late Majesty King Goerge II male or female (other than the issue of Princesses who have married or may hereafter marry into foreign families)"

 

It is further very difficult to decide by precedent the question of what should be the style of the great grandson of a Sovereign, since for hundreds of years there has been no instance of the existence of such a great grandson descended from the Sovereign in the male line, except in the case of the Duke of Cumberland. The present Duke of Cumberland is the 4th in descent from King George III, but his British style, whetever it might properly have been, has been merged in effect by reason of the fact that Me grandfather Ernest Augustus the fifth eon of George III became King of Hanover upon the death of William IV.

 

Neither William IV nor George IV left any legitimate male descendant and the only male descendants in the direct male line of George III, in addition to the Duke of Cumberland already mentioned, were the Dukes of Cambridge whose line became extinct in the person of his late Royal Highness George Duke of Cambridge End of that creation.                                                         

 

The only male descendant of George II (other than those who died without issue or subsequently ascended the throne) were his grandson William Henry Duke of Gloucester and the letter's son William Frederick 2nd Duke of Gloucester. Of this second Duke it is stated in the Dictionary of National Biographies that "he was styled Prince William of Gloucester until his father's death (25 August 1805) when he succeeded to the Dukedoms of Gloucester and Edinburgh, and the Earldom of Connaught: but it was not until 1816, being only the groat grandson of George II, that he was allowed the style of Royal Highness".

 

George I left no son except George II. William III left no issue. The case of the descendants of James II is not in point, but in fact his family died out with the deaths of his two grandsons. Charles II left no legitimate descendants and Charles I left no male descendant who attained fall age except Charles II and James II, James I also left no son except Charles I.. Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth left no descendants. Henry VIII and Henry VII's male line ended with Edward VI.

 

It will thus be observed that  except the 2nd Duke of Gloucester there  is no instance  in history since the Wars of the Roses of any male person,   being great grandson by direct male descent from a Sovereign of this Country,  who has not ascended  the throne.      So far as the daughters are concerned,   they in every case either died unmarried or married  unto foreign reigning houses,  except in the one case of Mary youngest child of George III who married William Duke of Gloucester mentioned above,

 

Note: Since the above memorandum was written we have borrowed from the Home Office a document from which it appears that on the 9th November 1905 King Edward VII by a document under the Great Seal conferred upon the then Duchess of Fife (Her Royal Highness Princess Louise) the style of the Princess Royal and upon her two daughters the style, title and attribute of "Highness" and the style of "Princess", with precedence "immediately after all members of our Royal Family enjoying the style of Royal Highness".

 

This document, so far as it treats the case of the two daughters of the Duchess of Fife, is precisely similar in effect to the document of the 21st May 1367, and supports the suggestion made above that in the absence of specific provision the children of daughters of the Sovereign are not entitled to the style of "Highness".


1 Carlton House Terrace.

S.W.

 

Jan 13, 1917

 

My dear Lord Chancellor,

I am much obliged for your full reply to my questions re clerk of Parliament and children of Prince Arthur of Connaught.  I should like to see Sir Claud Schusterís note on the latter subject.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Curzon

 


 

"Princess Royal".

The title 'Princess Royal' was introduced into England by Charles I.  The origin of the title does not seem to be known Mary, daughter of Charles I, who married William Prince of Orange, was commonly called 'Princess Royal'. . Charles II died without issue.

 

James II. His daughter married William, Prince of Orange, before her father's accession, and she afterwards became Queen of England.  She had no issue.

 

George I. His daughter Sophia Dorothy was not called. 'Princess Royal' because prior to the accession of her father to the Throne she had married the Crown Prince of Prussia.

 

George II' s daughter Anne, who was born before her father's accession, was called 'Princess Royal'.

 

George III's daughter Augusta was 'Princess Royal' and was buried as such at Westminster Abbey in 1828, although she had married the King of Wurtemburg.

 

George IV's only daughter Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales died before her father's accession.

 

William IV. His two daughters died shortly after birth, before he came to the Throne.

 

Queen Victoria.  Princess Victoria, afterwards Empress Frederick, had Arms assigned to her in 1841 and was called 'Princess Royal' in the documents relating to that matter.  She was baptized at Buckingham Palace on February 10th, 1841, as the Princess Royal.

Garter, with whom I have discussed this question say's that there are no papers on the subject, the title being the birth-right of the eldest daughter of the Sovereign.   The Princess Royal follows immediately after the Princess of Wales, taking precedence of her sisters.  By Letters Patent dated January 30, 1864, the style and title of "Royal Highness" was defined, and limited to he used and enjoyed by the children of the sons of the Sovereign.

 

On the marriages of the Princess Christian and Princess Beatrice warrants were prepared providing that the sons and daughters of the marriage should hold and enjoy the style, title, and attribute of "Highness" prefixed to their respective Christian names, or any titles of honour which may belong to them.   See A44591.

 

It is clear that it would be strictly in accordance with precedent for the Duchess of Fife to be called "Princess Royal".  If the King desires that the Duchess's children should have the title "Highness" a Warrant must be prepared similar to those of 1867 and 1886.

 

G.A.A.

 

25.10.1905.


 

Edward the Seventh by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas King Defender of the Faith To Our Right Trusty and Bight Entirely Beloved Cousin and Counsellor Henry Duke of Norfolk Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of Our Royal Victorian Order, Earl Marshal and Our Hereditary Marshal of England, Greeting !

 

Whereas We are desirous of defining and fixing the style by which Our  dear Daughter The Princess Louise (Duchess of Fife) shall be designated, We are pleased to declare that She shall henceforth be styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal:

 

And Whereas by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the said United Kingdom bearing date the thirtieth day of January One thousand eight hundred and sixty four Our beloved Mother Her late Majesty Queen Victoria was pleased to declare Her Royal Will and Pleasure touching the style and title of Royal Highness and of defining and limiting the same to be used and enjoyed by the children of the sons of any Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland And Whereas We are also desirous of defining and fixing the style and title by which the children of Our said dear Daughter shall be designated

 

Now We are hereby pleased to declare that the Lady Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwins Louise Duff and the Lady    Maud Alexandra Victoria Georgina Bertha Duff daughters of Our said Dear Daughter Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal shall at all times hold and enjoy the style title and attribute of highness prefixed to such respective styles or titles of    Honour as may belong to them, and further to declare that Our said dear Granddaughters shall hear the style of Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names, and shall take, hold and enjoy during the term of their natural lives in all Assemblies or Meetings whatsoever the precedence and Bank following,that is to say immediately after all Members of Our Royal Family enjoying the style of Royal Highness.

 

Our Will and Pleasure further is that you Our said Earl Marshal to whom the cognizance of matters of this nature doth properly belong do see this Our Order kept and that the same be duly registered in Our College of Arms to the end that Our Officers of Arms and all others upon occasion may take full notice and have knowledge thereof:

 

In Witness whereof We have caused the Great Seal to be affixed to these Presents.

Given at Our Court at Buckingham Palace the Ninth day of November 1905 in the Fifth year of Our Reign.

 

By the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, signed with His own hand.

 

 


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