Royal styles and titles: Files from the UK National Archives
Garter's memorandum as to the
and usage in styling members of the Royal Family (1850s-1860s)
(National Archives, HO 45/8933/1.)
Note: the memo is undated, but signed by C.G. Young, who
from 1842 to 1869. My notes are added between brackets in smaller
Mem.dum as to the practice and usage in styling members of the Royal
placed with 1855 (1864?) papers. G.D. 8/1/86
The prefix of "Royal" to the style of "Highness", and the attribute of
Royal Highness applied to sons and daughters of the Sovereign, is not
of very ancient usage in this Country, but may be said to have been
generally adopted since the accession of the House of Hanover.
The following notes are the result of an examination into the
and usage, supported by such authorities as can be relied upon in proof
of the attribution of styles to the members of the Royal family since
the accession of King James the Ist.
K James I.
In May 1605 the daughterr of King James the Ist was baptized at
Greenwich as the "Princess Mary daughter of His Majesty King James" and
was buried in 1607 as Mary, daughter of King James.
In 1612 the Banns of Marriage between Frederic Prince Elector Count
Palatine of the Rhine, and the "Lady Elizabeth Her Grace" only
daughter of the High and Mighty King of Great Britain, were publicly
asked in Whitehall Chapel, the Princess being then styled "The Lady
Elizabeth Her Grace".
K Charles Ist.
The style given to the daughter of King Charles Ist at the Funeral
1640 was that of the "Lady Anne".
K. Charles II.
In 1660 Henry Duke of Gloucester the King's brother
buried as Henry Duke of Gloucester, as appears by the register of St.
Peters, but in the ceremonial of this funeral, and the the style
proclaimed thereat, he was styled His Royal Highness.
In 1680 James Duke of York the King's brother was styled His Royal
Highness and his daughter Isabella was in that year at her interment
styled "Her Highness Isabella", and the style of Highness only was
given to his other children at their several interments between 1660
In the burial register of the Church of Westminster, the daughters
the duke were styled "Lady Henrietta" "the Lady Isabella" "The Lady
The style given to Prince Rupert who died in 1682 who was grandchild to
King James the Ist and nephew to King Charles the Ist was that of "his
Queen Anne 1702
The daughters of Queen Anne when Princess of Denmark were in 1686
1687 styled in their burial "The Lady Anne" and "the Lady Mary". a son
was buried in 1692 by the style of Lord George. The Lady Mary was in
the ceremonial of her interment 1686 styled "Her Highness", the Prince
and Princess being called their "Royal Highnesses". their son the duke
of Gloucester, is in the register of his burial in 1700 styled "His
Royal Highness William Duke of Gloucester" but in all public
announcements relative to his illness and death in the Earl Marshal's
order for the general mourning published in the Gazzette he was styled
only His Highness and that style only was given to him in the
Ceremonial of his interment.
K George I crowned 1714.
The younger children of George Augustus Prince of Wales. son of King
George the Ist were styled only Highness at their baptisms between 1720
The style of his brother Ernest Augustus Duke of York who died 1728,
was that of "His Highness".
In 1721, George Prince of Wales (son of George the Ist) styled His
Royal Highness, but his second surviving son baptized 18 April was
styled only His Highness William Augustus and the other younger
children the Princesses Mary and Louisa in 1722 and 1723 were styled
K George IInd
The Prince succeeded to the throne in 1727, as King George the IInd.
His son Frederick Louis became Prince of Wales and married in 1736
Augusta daughter of Frederick Duke of Saxe Coburg, and all the children
of His Royal Highness were between 1737 and 1757 styled at their
baptisms Royal Highness. The brothers and sisters of Frederick
Lewis were styled only Highness and always so styled during their
lives and at their interment. The Prince of Wales had thought
proper to call all his own children by the style of "Royal Highness".
A narrative in Walpole's Memoirs alluding to the circumstance states
that upon the birth of the Princess Augusta in 1737, the Prince ordered
that she should be called the Lady Augusta instead of the
Princess. This resumption of a custom [referring to the practice
in the reigns of king James the Ist, king Charles the Ist, James the
IInd and Queen Anne] long obsolete was for the purpose of obtaining
popularity, and also desired that she should be styled "Royal Highness"
to mortify his sisters, who when their father was Prince, had not borne the title.
Cf. Lord Hervey's Memoirs,
London 1884, 3:229: "the Prince [of Wales], as soon as
the christening [of Augusta, on Aug. 29, 1737] was
over, sent his treasurer, Mr. Herbert, to tell
everybody belonging to his family then at Court, that
the Prince would not have his daughter called Princess Augusta, but according
to the old English fashion, the Lady Augusta, and
that she should be called her Royal Highness,
though his sisters had not been so when his father was
Prince of Wales.
Thus it would seem according to Walpole's narrative that
children of the Prince of Wales had never before been styled Royal
Highness. Frederick Lewis died in 1751, and his son George Prince of
Wales became King George the IIId, whose brothers and sisters as just
observed were all styled Royal Highness and that style given to them at
their interments but Prince William Frederick his nephew (only son of
his brother Prince William Henry Duke of Gloucester) was called only
His Highness from his birth until the month of July 1816, when the
Prince Regent directed that he should henceforth be styled "Royal
Highness", and the same Act of Grace was at the same time accorded to
his sister the Princess Sophia Matilda.
The Princess Charlotte Augusta only daughter of His Royal Highness
George Prince of Wales, was styled Her Royal Highness.
In the London
Gazette of the 6th of March 1821 [17686, p. 1], in the announcement of the
death of the Princess Elizabeth daughter of His Royal Highness the Duke
of Clarence she was styled only Her Highness. Niece to the King and
granddaughter to the late king George the IIId.
In the year 1825 (6 Geo: IVth) In the Act granting an annual sum to His
Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland for the provision and support of
his son Prince George Frederic of Cumberland the Prince was styled "His
Highness" [6 Geo 4 c. 71]. The Prince was then nephew to the King and grandon of the
late King George the IIId.
In 1825 in the Act for granting to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of
Kent a provision for the support of the Princess Alexandrina Victoria
of Kent, the Princess was styled Her Highness. Niece to the King and
granddaughter to the late king George the IIIrd.[6 Geo 4 c. 72].
At the funeral of King George the IVth in June 1830 His Majesty King
William the IVth followed the Royal remains as Chief mourner, attended
by the Prince George of Cumberland [
in the margin, "Cambridge"].
In the ceremonial announced in the London
Gazette [18707, p. 6] under the direction
of the Earl Marshal on the 19th of July 1830, the Prince was styled
"Royal Highness" by command of the King.
K William IVth
In the year 1830 (1 Wm IVth) In the Act to provide for the
administration of the government in case the crown should have
descended upon the Princess Alexandrina Victoria daughter of His late
Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, under the age of eighteen years, and
for the care and government of her person, the Princess was styled "Her
Royal Highness". The Princess was then niece of the King and
granddaughter of the late King George the IIIrd.[1 Will 4 c. 2]
In 1835 when the Princes George of Cumberland and Cambridge were
elected in the Order of the Garter His Majesty was pleased to direct
Garter to style them "Royal Highness" and they were so respectively
styled in the announcement of the ceremonial of election in the
London Gazette of the 18th of August in that year.
[note: this is not
correct; in the Gazette, issue 19298, p. 1-2, the princes are given
In 1843 in the Act (6& 7 Vict c 25) to enable Her Majesty to settle
an annuity on the Princess Augusta eldest daughter of his Royal
Highness the Duke of Cambridge in contemplation of her marriage, she
was styled Royal Highness, and in conformity with the style assigned to
her Royal brother and cousin, that style was given to her by the
Queen's command in the ceremonial settled by Her Majesty for the
marriage of that Princess with the Duke of Mecklenburg. Cousin to the
Queen and granddaughter of King George the IIIrd.
London Gazette 20231, p. 2]
In 1850 (13 & 14 Vic cap 7) in the Act to enable Her Majesty to
make a suitable provision for the present Duke of Cambridge, and for
his sister the Princess Mary of Cambridge, they were both respectively
styled "Royal Highness". Cousins to the Queen and granchildren to King
George the IIIrd.
NB In regard to styles given
in the Acts of Parliament cited, it should
be remarked that the authority upon which they proceed are the styles
given in Royal messages from the Crown transmitted to the House of
Commons for making the necessary provisions for the respective parties,
and therefore must be considered as emanating from the Sovereign.
return to Styles and Titles of the British royal
British Heraldry Page
| Search Heraldica
| Heraldic Glossary
Last modified: Jan 12, 2008