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Duke of York

Duke of York
The Arms of the Duke of York
Prince Andrew, current incumbent
HRH The Prince Andrew

since 23 July 1986
Style His Royal Highness
Residence Royal Lodge
Appointer Monarch of England, and successor states
Term length Life tenure or until accession as Sovereign
Inaugural holder Prince Edmund of Langley
Formation 1385
Salary Undisclosed

The Duke of York is a title of nobility in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of English (later British) monarchs. The equivalent title in the Scottish peerage is Duke of Albany.

Initially granted in the 14th century in the Peerage of England, the title Duke of York has been created eight times. Additionally, the title Duke of York and Albany has been created three times. These occurred during the 18th century, following the 1707 unification of the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland into a single, united realm. The double naming was done so that a territorial designation from each of the previously separate realms could be included.

Since 1461, when the great-grandson of the first duke became King Edward IV, not one of the ten subsequent holders of the title has ever passed it on: they either died without male heirs or became King themselves. This has fuelled the rumour that there is a curse on the title.[1]

The current Duke of York is Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Andrew currently has no male heirs and has been unmarried since his 1996 divorce.


  • History 1
  • Dukes 2
    • Dukes of York 2.1
      • First creation, 1385–1415, 1425–1461 2.1.1
      • Second creation, 1474–1483 2.1.2
      • Third creation, 1494–1509 2.1.3
      • Fourth creation, 1605–1625 2.1.4
      • Fifth creation, (1633) 1644–1685 2.1.5
      • Dukes of York and Albany 2.1.6
      • Sixth creation, 1892–1910 2.1.7
      • Seventh creation, 1920–1936 2.1.8
      • Eighth creation, 1986–present 2.1.9
  • Family tree 3
  • Duke of York eponyms 4
    • Places 4.1
    • Ships and locomotives 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


In medieval times, York was the main town of the North of England and the see of the Archbishop of York from AD 735. Yorkshire was England's largest shire in area.

York under its Viking name "Jorvik" was a petty kingdom in the Early Medieval period. In the interval between the fall of independent Jorvik under Eirik Bloodaxe, last King of Jorvik (d. 954), and the first creation of the Dukedom of York, there were a few Earls of York.

The title Duke of York was first created in the Peerage of England in 1385 for Edmund of Langley, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, and an important character in Shakespeare's Richard II. His son Edward, who inherited the title, was killed at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The title passed to his nephew Richard, the son of Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge (who had been executed for plotting against King Henry V). The younger Richard managed to obtain a restoration of the title, but when his eldest son, who inherited the title, became King in 1461 as Edward IV, the title merged into the Crown.

The title was next created for Richard of Shrewsbury, second son of King Edward IV. Richard was one of the Princes in the Tower, and, as he died without heirs, the title became extinct at his death.

The third creation was for Henry Tudor, second son of King Henry VII. When his elder brother Arthur, Prince of Wales, died in 1502, Henry became heir to the throne. When Henry ultimately became King Henry VIII, his titles merged into the crown.

The title was created for the fourth time for Charles Stuart, second son of James I. When his elder brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, died in 1612, Charles became heir. He was created Prince of Wales in 1616 and eventually became Charles I in 1625 when the title again merged into the Crown.

The fifth creation was in favour of James Stuart, the second son of Charles I. The city and state of New York in what is now the United States of America were named for this particular Duke of York. When his elder brother, King Charles II, died without heirs, James succeeded to the throne as King James II, and the title once again merged into the Crown.

In the early 18th century, the Jacobite claimant to the throne, James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II, granted the title "Duke of York" (in the Jacobite Peerage) to his own second son, Henry. James Francis Edward Stuart was known to those who rejected his claims as "The Old Pretender"; his elder son Charles was called "The Young Pretender" (or "Bonnie Prince Charlie" among his supporters), and the younger son, Henry, who became a Roman Catholic cardinal, was known as the Cardinal Duke of York. To the Jacobites, they are Kings James III, Charles III, and Henry IX, respectively. (From the Jacobite perspective, this creation of the title merged into the Crown with Charles' death without legitimate issue, and Henry's succession to his rights.)

During the 18th century the British Army for many years, and was the original "Grand old Duke of York" in the popular rhyme. He too died without heirs.

The sixth creation of the Dukedom of York (without being combined with Albany) was for Prince George of Wales, second son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII. He was created Duke of York following the death of his elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. The title merged with the crown when George succeeded his father as King George V.

The seventh creation was for Prince Albert, second son of King George V, and younger brother of the future King Edward VIII. Albert came unexpectedly to the throne when his brother abdicated, and took the name George VI, the Dukedom then merging into the crown.

The title was created for the eighth time for Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II. At present (September 2015), he only has two daughters. Thus, if he has no future sons, the title will again become extinct at his death.

Aside from the first creation, every time the Dukedom of York has been created it has had only one occupant, that person either inheriting the throne or dying without male heirs.


Dukes of York

First creation, 1385–1415, 1425–1461

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Edmund of Langley
House of York (founder)
also: Earl of Cambridge (1362)
Edmund of Langley 5 June 1341
Kings Langley
son of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault
Isabella of Castile
3 children

Joan Holland
no children
1 August 1402
Kings Langley
aged 61
Edward of Norwich
House of York
also: Duke of Aumale (1397–1399), Earl of Cambridge (1362–1414), Earl of Rutland (1390–1402), Earl of Cork (c. 1396)
Edward of Norwich 1373
son of Edmund of Langley and Isabella of Castile
Philippa de Mohun
no children
25 October 1415
aged 42
Edward of Norwich's brother, Richard of Conisburgh, had been attainted and executed for treason in August 1415. This attainture stood in the way of his son Richard of York succeeding Edward until the king deemed it prudent to restore them.
Richard (Plantagenet) of York
House of York
also: Lord Protector of England, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall (1460, see Act of Accord); Earl of Ulster (1264), Earl of March (1328), Earl of Cambridge (1414, restored 1426), feudal Lord of Clare (bt. 1066–1075), Baron Mortimer of Wigmore (1331)
21 September 1411
son of Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge and Anne de Mortimer
Cecily Neville
13 children
30 December 1460
aged 49
Edward Plantagenet
House of York
also: Earl of Ulster (1264), Earl of March (1328), Earl of Cambridge (1414), feudal Lord of Clare (bt. 1066–1075), Baron Mortimer of Wigmore (1331)
Edward Plantagenet 28 April 1442
son of Richard of York and Cecily Neville
Elizabeth Woodville
1 May 1464
10 children
9 April 1483
aged 40
Edward Plantagenet seized the throne as Edward IV in 1461, and all of his titles merged with the crown.

Second creation, 1474–1483

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Richard of Shrewsbury
House of York
also: Duke of Norfolk (1477), Earl of Nottingham (1476), possibly Earl of Warenne (1477)
Richard of Shrewsbury 17 August 1473
son of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville
Anne de Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk
15 January 1478
no children
How Prince Richard died is a controversial, frequently debated topic and there is no solid evidence for his date, age or place of death. He was last seen in the Tower of London along with his brother, becoming popularly known as one of the Princes in the Tower. Since he died without issue his titles became extinct.

Third creation, 1494–1509

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Henry Tudor (later Henry VIII of England)
House of Tudor
also: Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (1504), Duke of Cornwall (1502)
Henry Tudor 28 June 1491
Greenwich Palace
son of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York
Catherine of Aragon
11 June 1509
1 child Anne Boleyn
25 January 1533
1 child Jane Seymour
30 May 1536
1 child Anne of Cleves
6 January 1540
no children Catherine Howard
28 July 1540
no children Catherine Parr
12 July 1543
no children
28 January 1547
Whitehall Palace
aged 55
Henry's older brother Arthur, Prince of Wales predeceased their father, so Henry was made Prince of Wales and succeeded his father as Henry VIII in 1509, and all of his titles merged with the crown

Fourth creation, 1605–1625

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Charles Stuart
("Saint Charles the Martyr")
House of Stuart
also: Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (1616), Duke of Cornwall (1337), Duke of Rothesay (1398), Duke of Albany, Marquess of Ormond (1600), Earl of Carrick (1398), Earl of Ross (1600), Baron Renfrew (1398), Lord Ardmannoch (1600), Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland (1398)
Charles Stuart 19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace
son of James VI and I and Anne of Denmark
Henrietta Maria of France
13 June 1625
9 children
30 January 1649
Whitehall Palace
aged 48
Charles' older brother Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales predeceased their father, so Charles was made Prince of Wales, and went on to succeed as Charles I in 1625, when all of his titles merged with the crown.

Fifth creation, (1633) 1644–1685

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
James Stuart
House of Stuart
also: Duke of Albany (1660), Earl of Ulster (1659)
James Stuart 14 October 1633
St. James's Palace
son of Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France
Anne Hyde
3 September 1660
8 children

Mary of Modena
21 November 1673
7 children
16 September 1701
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
aged 67
Prince James was styled Duke of York from birth and officially created as such in 1644. When his brother died without legitimate issue, James succeeded as James II & VII in 1685, and his titles merged with the English Crown

Dukes of York and Albany

Note: Queen Victoria granted the title Duke of Albany (single geographic designation) to her 4th son, Prince Leopold in 1881, and the title Duke of York (single geographic designation) to her eldest son's second (but by then eldest living) son, Prince George, in 1892.

Sixth creation, 1892–1910

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Prince George
House of Windsor
also: Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (1901), Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick (1398), Earl of Inverness (1600), Baron Renfrew (1398), Baron Killarney (1892), Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland (1398)
3 June 1865
Marlborough House
son of Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Alexandra of Denmark
Mary of Teck
6 July 1893
6 children
20 January 1936
Sandringham House
aged 70
Prince George succeeded as father's death, and his titles merged with the crown

Seventh creation, 1920–1936

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
The Prince Albert
House of Windsor
also: Earl of Inverness, Baron Killarney (1920)
14 December 1895
Sandringham House
son of Mary of Teck
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
26 April 1923
2 children
6 February 1952
Sandringham House
aged 56
Prince Albert succeeded as his brother's abdication in 1936, and his titles merged with the crown

Eighth creation, 1986–present

Duke Portrait Birth Marriages Death
The Prince Andrew
House of Windsor
also: Earl of Inverness, Baron Killyleagh (1986)
19 February 1960
Buckingham Palace
son of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Sarah Ferguson
23 July 1986 – 30 May 1996
2 children
If Prince Andrew has no legitimate male heirs, which at present he does not, all his titles will become extinct upon his death.

Family tree

Duke of York eponyms


Ships and locomotives

See also


  1. ^ Duke of York
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Edmund of Langley First Duke of York
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Edward of Norwich Second Duke of York
  4. ^ English Monarchs
  5. ^ BBC Edward IV
  6. ^ Scarisbrick, J. J. (1997). Henry VIII (2nd ed.). Yale University Press. ISBN 0300071582.
  7. ^ Gregg, Pauline (1981), King Charles I, London: Dent
  8. ^ Callow, John, The Making of King James II: The Formative Years of a King, Sutton Publishing, Ltd, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2000. Page 31. ISBN 0-7509-2398-9.
  9. ^ Clay, Catrine (2006), King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War, London: John Murray, p. 149,  
  10. ^  
  11. ^ The Duke of York Background

External links

  • Duke of York
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