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The revocation of royal licenses for holders of Austrian and German titles (1920)

National Archives, HO 45/10964/383538


14 May 1919
Lord Chamberlain

Baroness Boxall, Baroness de Bush: applications for invitations to Their Majesties' parties

States applications have been received from above whose titles were Granted by Duke of Saxe-Coburg & asks S.of.S. remarks before submitting.


See memo within.
AJE 30.5.19

It seems undesirable at the present time that ladies should be received at Court under German or Austrian titles.  They should either stay away or drop their titles for the time being.

There are only eleven of these cases as far as H.O. knows.  See list in 164826/3 [= HO 45/10553/164826; Baron Nugent]. In two the title has been dropped, and as the names of Craignish and von Reuter do not appear in "Who's Who" it is possible they are extinct.  There is a good deal to be said for withdrawing all these licenses.  If public attention were drawn to them, there wd. probably be some outcry which would lead to their being withdrawn and it would be better all round that it should be done now.  The position is different from what it was in 1915 after the question came up before.  If it is decided to do this, the holders of the licenses might be impressed in the first instance of the king's wishes and given the opportunity of dropping them voluntarily.  The licenses cd then be revoked with an intimation (?) to that effect.
M.D.  31.5.19
CJ (ALJ?) 31.5.19

While they choose to hold titles given to them by an enemy state they shd not be invited to Court.  It might be wise to consult Lord Stamfordham as to HM's wishes on the general subject.
ES SoS  12.6.19

Wrote Comptroller 12/6/19

See correspondence with Lord Stamfordham within.

? Now write as in draft.  (There is no need to write in all the cases where the titles are extinct or have been dropped voluntarily.  The licenses can always be revoked later.)
S.W.H. 27/6
CJ (ALJ?) 26.6.19


24th May 1919

Sir,  I am desired by the Lord Chamberlain to acquaint you, for the information of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, that he has received applications from Baroness Boxall to he invited to one of Their Majesties' Afternoon Parties, and also from a lady who wishes to present Baroness de Bush at one of these Parties.

Invitations to these Garden Parties are equivalent to attendance or presentation at Court as the case may be.

Both the above titles are granted by the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg, but the holders are British subjects.

The Lord Chamberlain hesitates to submit the names of persons to the King whose titles are derived from a Country with which we are still at War, but before making any submission to His Majesty he would be glad to receive the remarks of the Secretary of State for the Home Department upon the point.

I am, Sir,
 Your obedient Servant

Douglas Dawson


P.S. The Lord Chamberlain would be obliged if the matter could he treated as "urgent", in view of the forthcoming Garden Parties.

The Under Secretary of State
Home Office.


I have had more than one conversation on the telephone with Mr. Trendell and Mr. Osgood about this, and have pointed out  to them that Royal Licences have been granted and are still in force authorizing the use of these titles, I understood that this as sufficient, and that no reply was required, hut this morning I have heard from Mr. Osgood that the Lord Chamberlain is anxious to have the opinion of H.O. as early as possible.

1.  As to  the immediate point at issue I do not think there can be any question.  Baron Boxall and Baron de Bush have the Royal Licence to use these titles (see B.32587 [= HO 45/19622] and B20857 [= HO 144/391/B20857]) and as long as these licences remain in force I do not see how the Officers of the Household can properly refuse to recognize the titles or exclude the holders (if otherwise qualified) from Court  functions merely on the ground that the baronies were granted in the past by the Duke of Saxe Coburg.

2.  The real question is however whether any general action should be taken in the matter of British subjects who have licences to use foreign titles of enemy origin. (Some of them appear to have relinquished their titles voluntarily; see  164,826/3, B96204 [ = ?], and 343309 [ = ?]).

It was decided  in 1915 that  it was not necessary to raise this question  (164,820/3 [sic: should be 164,826/3 ?]) .  Since then H.M. and  the members of the Royal family have formally renounced all names and titles of enemy origin.  See the King's Proclamation in 344,241/1 [ = HO 45/13695] and 342,469 [= HO 144/22945] for the relinquishment of foreign titles by members of the Royal Family. I doubt however whether this renders it necessary to modify the opinion expressed in 1915 for two reasons:
  1. The exalted position of the Royal House and the well-known fact of its blood connextion with German Royal Houses made its retention or renunciation of enemy titles a question of political importance. No such importance can possibly attach to the retention of foreign titles by private individuals, who in many cases have no foreign blood at all.
  2. The Royal titles (Teck, Battenberg etc.) unmistakeably indicated their origin. But no one, except Heralds and expert students of Burke and Debrett would ever know whether e.g. Baron Boxall's title belonged to Saxe-Goburg or Portugal.  No public feeling would therefore be aroused over the matter of these titles.
The general question however seems to depend on His Majesty's personal wishes.  I presume that  the licences could be revoked, but I can find no record of any instance in which this has been done. This however would be a somewhat drastic step, and if H.M. thinks it desirable that his example should be followed by those who hold licences authorising them to use titles of enemy origin, the best method of effecting this object would be a public intimation of H.M.'s desire that for the present at any rate such persons should refrain from using their titles particularly in connection with attendance at Court.

AJE [i.e. A. J. Eagleston]

13th June, 1919.

Dear Lord Stamfordham,

The Lord Chamberlain has consulted the Home secretary question whether Baroness Boxall and Baroness de Bush, who use titles conferred by enemy alien states under Royal Licence, should receive invitations to attend one of Their Majesties' afternoon parties. Mr. Shortt has replied that it is very undesirable at the present time that ladies should be received at Court under titles of German or Austrian origin, and has expressed the opinion that the holders  of such titles should either discontinue the use of them for the time being or should  refrain from applying to attend at Court.  This settles the immediate question, but sir Malcolm Delevingne in his minute has raised the general question whether Royal Licences in respect of enemy alien titles should not now be cancelled. You will find in the papers enclosed a list of such titles so far as can be ascertained from our records; and you will notice among them is  the case of Baron Schroder.

Mr. Shortt would be glad if you would consider this question and let him know whether His Majesty wishes any action to be taken.
Yours  sincerely,


 The Lord Stamfordham,




My dear Harris,
Your letter of yesterday with regard to the Lord Chamberlain's question whether Baroness Boxall and Baroness de Bush should receive invitations to one of Their Majesties' Garden Parties, raises a point, so far as Baroness Boxall is concerned, which is really pathetic. Baron Boxall is a Solicitor, a member of an old English family which can count its ancestry back as far as 1360.

In the year 1900 he was employed by the Duke of Coburg (Duke of Edinburgh) to negotiate the settlement of His Royal Highness' very serious financial I embarrassments and for which I believe he received little or no recognition.  It was suggested that he should be I given a Knighthood, but Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister, deemed it inadvisable in the circumstances of the case that this should be done, and in consequence Mr. Boxall was created a Baron of Coburg with special authority from Queen Victoria to assume that title in England.

Baron Boxall never had any connection with Germany or with German affairs, and his services to the Duke of Coburg were performed solely in this country.

In 1915 he raised the question of his position of holding a Barony of Coburg which had become an enemy's country, and it was suggested by his friends that perhaps the King might substitute some other honour and allow him to drop his present title for, as he truly said, he felt sure that neither Queen Victoria nor Lord Salisbury could have had any conception what the result of this title would be to him and his family.

His Majesty now thinks that it might be well to I give the holders of licences the opportunity of dropping them voluntarily, but in the case of Baron Boxall will ask I the Prime Minister to recommend him for a Knighthood after a certain time has elapsed from the date of his ceasing to be styled - Baron Boxall.

handwritten note: he was given a baronetcy in May 1919  B32587/3

The title of Baron of Craigneish became extinct on the death of the late and first Baron.

I do not know anything about Baroness de Bush, but the King will certainly wish Baroness Boxall to be asked to a party.

Please let me know for His Majesty's information what are the Secretary of State's views about these proposals. Yours very truly,


S.W. Harris Esq.,
Home Office.

12th June, 1919.
Having laid before the Secretary of State your letter of the 24th ultimo, I am directed by him to say, for the information of the Lord Chamberlain, that in his opinion it is very undesirable at the present time that ladies should be received at Court under titles of German or Austrian origin. The  holders of such titles should either discontinue the use of them for the title being or should refrain from applying to attend Court.

I am,  Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
Colonel Sir Douglas Dawson,
G.C.V.O., C.B., C.M.G.,
&c. &c. &c .,
Lord Chamberlain's Departments

handwritten notes:

After dated 1/7 sent to first four:

Baron de Forest 59, Grosvenor St. W
Baron Boxall  14, Cambridge Square Hyde Park
Baron Schroder Waleston Cottage, Nantwich
Baron Anthony de Worms  Milton Park Egham
Baron Percy de Worms  21 Lowndes Street, S.W.
(I can find no address for Baron de Hochepied)



The attention of the secretary of state has been drawn to the use in this country of Austrian and German titles for which Royal Licences have been issued from time to time.  From inquiries which he has made he understands that since the War some holders  of such titles have relinquished their use from a desire to dis-associate themselves entirely from the enemy states responsible for the War. Mr.Shortt has considered this question and it appears to him undesirable  that titles conferred by these enemy States should continue to be used by British subjects, and he would be disposed to advise the King to revoke the Licences which have been issued. He believes such a course would he approved by His Majesty, who, as you will be aware, has relinquished the use of all German  titles and dignities for the Royal House and Family.  It occurs, however, to Mr. Shortt that the existing holders of Austrian and German titles might prefer to abandon them voluntarily; and he directs me therefore to invite your attention to the matter. Mr. Shortt will be happy  to consider any observations you may wish to make.

I have the honour to to be,
Yours faithfully,

 The compilation of a complete list of living British subjects who hear under Royal Licence in this country,  foreign titles conferred by enemy States is a formidable task in the absence of any official record of descent.  I have spoken to Mr. Ashworth P. Burke  (the Editor) about the List which appears in Burke's Peerage and he informs me that it  is by no means complete.

A serious difficulty to contend with is the difference between the remainder clauses of Foreign Creations and our own.  Abroad,  in the sometime enemy States, the grant is more often made to a man and all his descendants, who thus participate equally in the honour with the heir.  As late Garter stated in his report on the application of Baron von Boeselager (B.136l/ll) "all of the younger sons of a person ennobled in Germany are entitled under the terms of the Patent of Creation to the prefix of Count or Baron, but with the distinctive addition of their Christian names thus "Count or Baron William--------";  the question therefore to be  determined in each case is who is the representative of the original grantee and as such entitled to the designation
"Baron --------", and this is very difficult to determine.

The foreign Titles which members of our own Peerage are entitled to bear may perhaps be ignored - there are several such cases Mr. Burke tells me.

In addition to the names in the List in 164826/3 the following cases require consideration:-

Count Bentinck.

On the 22nd April, 1886 (on A.42086 [= HO 144/163/A42086]) William Charles Philip Otho Bentinck was authorized to bear in this Country the title of Count Bentinck originally conferred on his Ancestor the Honourable William Bentinck by Charles the Sixth Emperor of Germany in 1732.

The scope of this Royal Licence was very wide for not only was the  title recognized in respect of the grantee and his heirs male, "but his Mother was allowed to bear in this Country the title of Countess, and authority to use the title Count and Countess prefixed to Christian names was also granted to "the other descendants of the Petitioner's father' Lieutenant General Charles Anthony Ferdinand Bentinck.

Count Bentinck died in 1912 and, according to Burke, the  title is now held by his 4th son Count Bentinck of Amerongen Castle.

Baron Campbell  von Laurentz.

In 1887 (on A.44176 [= HO 144/176/A44176]) Captain Edmund Kempt Laurentz Campbell  (7th Regiment of Prussian Cuirassiers) was granted permission to bear the title Baron Campbell von Laurentz. Heirs male on whom the title devolves  (being natural born British subjects) were included  in the grant.  The title was conferred by the Duke of Saxe Coburg and Gotha.

Captain Campbell was the 1st and last Baron. Kelly's Handbook gives the address of his Widow Baroness Campbell von Laurentz as  'Rosemead, Windsor'.

Baron de Hochepied

In September 1819 Lieutenant-General George de Hochepied (formerly George Porter) was granted a Royal Licence to bear the title of Baron de Hochepied which was granted to the Petitioner's Ancestor by Leopold the First Emperor of Germany, King of Hungary.

In this case there was a wide remainder.  The Royal Authority covered the Petitioner and his only nephews John James de Hochepied Larpent and George Gerard de Hochepied Larpent and their issue respectively on whom the dignity of Baron and Magnat of the Kingdom of Hungary shall devolve. The present Baron is a descendant of the first-named nephew. George Gerard, the second nephew, was created a Baronet in 1841 and the Baronetcy became extinct on the death of his second son (the 3rd Baronet) in 1913.

Baron de Worms (Austrian title).

The Royal Licence in this case was granted to Solomon Benedict Worms on the 10th August 1874.  The grant was to him and the heirs male of his "body (being respectively natural born subjects) upon whom the rank of a Baron of Austria shall devolve pursuant to the limitations of the original Patent of Diploma.

Mr. Butler, Garter's Private Secretary, tells me that several applications have been received by Garter for a Royal Warrant of revocation; but if there is to be revocation by the Sovereign one Warrant would meet all the cases.  This seems to be the only satisfactory solution haying regard to the fact that the compilation of a complete list presents so many difficulties.

<initials> 15/7


Enemy Titles held by British subjects.


Replies to the letter in ./1 have now been received from
  1. Baron Boxall, who has submitted a petition to H.M. for the revocation of his license
  2. Baron Schroder, who has also submitted a petition
  3. Count Gurowski, who is willing (under protest) voluntarily to relinquish the use of his title, but wd like a quid pro quo in the shape of e.g. a knighthood
  4. Baron de Forest, who objects to relinquish his title
  5. Baron Anthony and Baron Percy de Worms. Sir Harry Samuel protests against revocation, (?) S of S, while holding out no hope that an exception can be made in this case, has promised to bring the matter to H.M.'s notice
? Now take H.M.'s pleasure (my note to Ld Stamfordham) as to whether a warrant shd be prepared revoking the licenses in these cases. As regards (1), (2), (3) and (5) it will be possible to state in the warrant that the revocation is affected by desire of the licensees; & before the Warrant is finally executed, it wd no doubt be desirable to give Baron de Forest an opportunity to come into line with the rest.
W 15/11

I agree, but the warrant should also include Baron Nugent, who has repudiated his Austrian title (164,826/3).
AJE 21.11.19
CLJ 21.11.19
SoS agreed

See corrs. wth Ld Stamfordham within.  Baron de Forest reluctantly agrees (B32440/12 [ = HO 144/969/B32440]).
To E Div for preparation of Warrant.
W 17/12

Draft Warrant within.
I think we had better have Garter's observations on the draft before it goes to HM.  Also as to whether the list of cases is complete.
? To Garter for observations.
AJE 30.12.19
HD 31/12

College of Arms
I have suggested, in pencil, some slight alterations to the Warrant. I do not think that all the holders of foreign titles could have been communicated with, for instance, was Count de Salis ever written to?

Count de Salis's title is a countship of the Holy Roman Empire.  As the Empire came to an end in 1806, and the election to it did not always or necessarily fall on a German or Austrian prince, it cannot be regarded as an enemy power.
Warrant herewith for submission to H.M.
AJE 9.1.20
HD 9/1
CLJ 9.1.20
warrant signed HD 1.3.20

24th November, 1919

Dear Lord Stamfordham,

I am sorry that the question of the revocation of the Licences granted to British subjects to use German and Austrian titles has not yet been finally concluded, but I hope that we may now be able to settle it.

The position is that I have now received replies from all  the persons to whom I wrote.  Sir Alleyne Boxall, as you know, has asked that his licence Bay be revoked, and Baron Schroder and Baron Nugent have also done the same,  stating that they have not used their titles during the War.  Count Gurowski came to see me and was inclined to protest or, at any rate, to ask for some quid pro quo in the shape of, e.g., a Knighthood.  I gave him no encouragement in this direction and he finally, with some demur, agreed voluntarily to relinquish his title.  Baron de Forest objects to do so.  I enclose a copy of his letter.

As regards the two Baron de Worms's - Baron Anthony and Baron Percy - Sir Harry Samuel came to see the Home Secretary and subsequently left the enclosed memorandum.  Mr. Shortt held out no hope that an exception could be made in their cases but promised to bring the memorandum to your notice. This completes the list.

The matter appears now to be ripe for the issue of a warrant revoking the Licences in all these cases. As regards all of them except de Forest, it think it would be proper to state in the Warrant that the revocation is effected by desire of the licensees, and this should remove any apprehension on the part of the de Worms that the revocation will cast any aspersion on their loyalty.

Before issuing the Warrant, it would perhaps be right to give Baron De Forest a further opportunity of coming into line with the others and, if you concur in these proposals, I will write to him at once.

Yours sincerely,


The Lord Stamfordham, GCB, GCIE , GCVO.

29th November, 1919.

Dear Whiskard, 

In reply to your letter of the 24th. instant, on the subject of the revocation of the Licences granted to British subjects to use German and Austrian titles, if the Home Secretary is still of opinion that a Warrant should be issued revoking these Licences His Majesty approves of that procedure being carried out at once.

The King fully appreciates the spirit in which the various gentlemen in question, with the exception of Baron de Forest, have received the suggestion that they should no longer make use of their respective titles, and His Majesty approves that the Warrant should contain a statement that the revocation is effected by desire of the Licensees, though, of course, should Baron de Forest continue to decline to come into line with the others, his Warrant must he differently worded.

Yours very truly,

G.G. Whiskard Esq.,
Home Office.

16th January, 1920.

Dear Colonel Wigram,

I send herewith a Warrant for His Majesty's signature if approved revoking certain warrants of permission to bear German and Austrian titles in this Country.

I do not know whether you are acquainted with the previous history of this matter in which I have been in correspondence with Lord Stamfordham; and in case you are not I attach the papers relating to it.

Yours sincerely,


Clive Wigram, CB., CSI., CVO.

York Cottage,
Sandringham, Norfolk.
17th. January, 1920.
Dear Mr. Whiskard,

In answer to your letter of January 16th., I am returning you herewith the Warrant revoking certain warrants granting permission to wear German and Austrian titles in this country.  You will see that this has now been signed by the King.

I note that Baron de Forest , who at one time was recalcitrant,has now reluctantly agreed to come into line. Yours sincerely,


G.G. Whiskard Esq.,
Home Office, S.W.1.

Whitehall, March 1, 1920.

The KING has issued a Warrant under His Majesty's Royal Sign Manual to the following effect: —
George the Fifth, 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, Emperor of India, To Our Right Trusty and Well-Beloved Counsellor Sir Edmund Bernard Talbot (commonly called Lord Edmund Bernard Talbot), Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Cbmpaniqn of the Distinguished Service Order, Deputy to Our Right Trusty and Right Entirely Beloved Cousin Bernard Marmaduke, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and Our Hereditary Marshal of England,

Whereas the persons named in the Schedule hereunto annexed are severally possessed of the foreign titles of nobility set forth in the second column of the said Schedule;

And whereas by warrants under the Royal Sign Manual respectively bearing date as set forth in the third column of the said Schedule the said persons have received licence and authority to bear and use the said foreign titles of nobility in this Country:
And whereas the said persons have expressed to Us their desire to relinquish the rights and privileges granted to them under the respective Warrants above-mentioned, in consideration of the fact that the said foreign titles of nobility appertain to Countries now or recently at war with Us, and were originally granted and conferred by the Sovereigns of such Countries:

Now therefore We, being desirous of acceding to the request of the said applicants, do by these Presents revoke and determine the Warrants set forth in the said Schedule.

Our Will and Pleasure therefore is that you Sir Edmund Bernard Talbot (commonly called Lord Edmund Bernard Talbot) Deputy to Our said Earl Marshal to whom the cognizance of matters of this nature doth properly belong do require and command that this Our Warrant be 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.

And for so doing this shall be your Warrant,

Given at Our Court at Saint James's, the Seventeenth day of January, 1920, in the Tenth year of Our Reign, By His Majesty's Command.

Edward Shortt.

Date of Warrant
Anthony Denis Maurice George de Worms
Percy George de Worms
Baron of Austria  10 August, 1874
Maurice Arnold de Forest  Baron of Austria   6 October, 1900
Alleyne Alfred Boxall. Baron of Saxe Coburg and Gotha 17 October, 1900
Algernon John FitzRoy Nugent  Baron of Austria 22 July, 1908
Dudley Beaumont Gurowski Count Gurowski . Title granted by Frederick William King of Prussia (1787) 9 November, 1911.
William Henry Schroder Baron of Prussia 6 November, 1913
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