Crown Office in Chancery. Warrants and Patents
Teck and Battenberg
Relinquishment of foreign titles
Assumption of surnames
Grants of British titles
The origin of the House of Guelf or Welf is lost in immemorial antiquity. Putting aside the fairy tales which derive the family name from the translation into German (Welf) of the Latin Catulini -"the Whelps"-descendants of the daughter of a Roman Senator, Cathalina, or which claim descent from the late Merovingen Kings, there seems to he some ground for a suggestion that a Guelf first appears in history as the leader of a tribe called Scyrri - a Hunnish tribe forming part of Attila's horde, who eventually became merged into the tribes of Southern Germany.
However that may be, towards the end of the 8th Century we find a certain Warin seated as Count of Altdorf. From him come the original German branch of the family. His grandson was Duke of Bavaria; his great granddaughter married Louis the Debonnair and was the mother of the Emperor Charles the Bald, and his line continued until towards the close of the 11th Century when it was represented by a female - Cunigunda. This lady married the heir of the Italian House of Este and her descendants thereupon succeeded to the Germanic estates of the Guelf family. The Este family claim to be like the descendants of Warin, a branch of the family of Guelf. The first of the House to settle in Italy appears to have been an officer of the Court of Charlemagne, representing the Emperor in the neighbourhood of Padua, his name - Wulfhard - being as it is suggested latinised into Boniface.
The Este Guelfs, thus settled in Germany, rapidly grew in territorial power and influence and it is said that the origin of the party names of Guelf and Ghibelline arose from the Battle of Weinsberg 21st December, 1140, when Conrad of Waiblingan (Conrad of Franconia) defeated Guelf the Third. Throughout the 12th Century the rivalry between the Imperial House and the House of Guelf continued until in Henry the Lion, Duke of Bavaria and Saxony, the House of Guelf reached its zenith. Frederick Barbarossa then finally overthrew the Guelfs, stripping Henry the Lion of his Duchies of Bavaria and Saxony but permitting him to retain the Duchy of Brunswick.
From this time until the close of the 17th Century the history of the House of Guelf is not unlike that of any other of the German princely families.
In 1658, however, Ernest Augustus married Sophia, daughter of Frederick the Elector Palatine (the Winter King) and of Elizabeth only daughter of James I and Princess Royal of Great Britain. In 1692 Hanover was converted into an Electorate and in 1714 the then Elector, the son of this marriage, succeeded to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland under the provisions of the Act of Settlement. It will be seen that Hallam's observation as to "the almost unrivalled splendour and antiquity of the House of Brunswic" is fully justified. And it may not be out of place to add the following observation from the work of Dr. Halliday domestic physician to the Duke of Clarence (that is the son of George III):- "Could the conjectured evidence of the German antiquaries be admitted, not less than five centuries might be added to the period of our history, and fifteen generations more, of probable ancestors; but the highest ambition of human pride may be satisfied with what is certain in the pedigree of the House of Guelph. There is no sovereign house in Europe, ancient or modern, that has not been connected with, or sprung from, some branch of this family".
If other objections to the assumption of the name of Guelf by the descendants of this House do not exist, the name itself has sufficient renown in history for anyone to be happy to bear it and the same may perhaps be said of the name of Este.
Other names, which by reason of having been borne by families of which the present Royal House traces its descent, might be considered to be appropriate or on the other hand might be considered as too intimately Royal for the name of a subject, are Plantagenet, Tudor, and Stuart, as to which it may be remarked that while Plantagenet is associated almost exclusively with a Royal House and Stuart is of great antiquity, Tudor in its origin is only the name of a Welsh country squire.
Possibly it might be worth considering whether some compound name indicating descent from a recent English King might not be appropriate. Such names are FitzGeorge or FitzRoy. But FitzRoy has now become too exclusively the family name of an English noble house and suggests a not very creditable origin, and "Fitz",as a prefix, perhaps become too much to indicate a morganatic or irregular connection, as in the case of FitzClarence. Even if this were not so, two of the families now under consideration have this distinct characteristic that they are descended from Queen Victoria and FitzVictoria or FitzVictor are impossible while perhaps FitzAlbert would be rejected as suggesting rather the descent from the foreign element in the Royal line.
If any step, as is now understood to be in contemplation, should be taken several questions will arise which deserve consideration.
1. All the descendants of Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein and of Prince Henry and Prince Louis of Battenberg and the Duke of Teck are called in this country Princes and Princesses. It would seem that they are entitled to this style by reason of various foreign creations, but it is at least highly doubtful whether they are entitled to any such style by reason of any British rank or status. It was at only a very late date that any descendants of the King, other than the Prince of Wales, were referred to as Princes or Princesses. The various Patents and Warrants issued by Queen Victoria are somewhat confusing and indeed when they were issued there was very little precedent. It is clear that under the Letters of the 30th January, 1864, sons of the Sovereign are entitled to bear the title of "Royal Highness" and the Letters Patent recite that "the Princes and Princesses of our Royal family descended from and in lineal succession to the Crown.....all bear the style and title of Highness", but apart from the difficulty of construing the words "in lineal succession to the Crown", it is very doubtful what are the limits of the class described as Princes and Princesses of our Royal family. In any event, if the German authorities were to retaliate upon the families of Schleswig Holstein, Teck and Battenberg, by depriving them of their German titles, the members of those families in this country would appear to be left without any names except their Christian names. The title of Battenberg is Hessian and was created by a "collation" of 1851 conferring the title of Gräfin upon the then Countess von Hauke, and by a further "collation" of 1858 conferring upon her and her descendants the dignity of a Prince with the prefix of Durchlaucht.
The title of Prince of Teck is a Wurtemburg title conferred with the prefix of Durchlaucht upon the 1st December 1863 on Francis Graf von Hohenstein the son of Alexander Duke of Wurtemburg by his morganatic marriage with Claudine Countess of Rhedey. The title was "recognised" in Austria in January 1864. In 1871 the further title of Duke of Teck (which descends by primogeniture) was added by a further Wurtenburg Act. It will be remembered that the present Duke received the title of "Highness" in this country on the 20th June, 1911.
The titles of the House of Schleswig Holstein (or to be more accurate Schleswig Holstein Sondeburg Augustenburg) are far more ancient and appear to depend partly on creations by the Empire or Denmark and partly upon the assumption by the then head of the house of the title of Duke of Schleswig Holstein in 1863 - an assumption which according to the Almanac de Gotha, is said to have been recognised by Prussia in 1885. The fact that in recent years the title of Prince has in England usually been taken to denote membership of the Royal Family, while at the same time in Germany the title of Fursten has no necessary connection with royalty, has no doubt led to some popular misconception as to the status of the descendants of German Princes who have married into the English Royal Family. By reason of Letters Patent or Warrants issued by the late Queen several members of these families are entitled to be styled "Highness" in England while they are at the same time usually known as "Prince So-and-So", by reason of German creations. This misapprehension was pointed out so long ago as in the days of Selden who in his "Titles of Honour" (3rd Edition, 1672, p.357) pointed out that "in regard that the Hertzogen or Dukes were of a greater place in Germany than those Pagorum, Principes or Fursten and the Comites or Graves of territories, or less and subordinate to them, thence is it (say they) that even to this day the title of Prince with the addition of a territory is less than that of Hertzogen, and greater than Grave or Count ,in the Empire; whereas in other places in Europe it is above that of Duke".
2. The Royal Marriage Act 1772 (12 Geo.III. c. 11) enacts that "no descendant of the Body of His late Majesty King George the Second, Male or Female, (other than the issue of Princesses who have married, or may hereafter marry, into Foreign Families) shall be capable of contracting matrimony without the previous consent of His Majesty, His Heirs, or Successors, signified under the Great Seal and declared in Council, ..........and that every marriage or matrimonial contract of any such descendant, without such consent first had and obtained, shall be null and void".
Section 2 gives power, however, to any such descendant over 25 to give notice of his intention to marry in spite of the disapproval of the King, and to contract a good marriage 12 months after the date of the notice, unless both houses before the expiration of the 12 months expressly declare their disapprobation.
This enactment "is principally declaratory of the Common Law under which the King had the care and approbation of the marriages of his children and grand children and of the Heir Presumptive (other than the issue of Princesses married into foreign families)". (Halsbury, Laws of England, Vol.6, p. 370, footnote). This had been declared to be the law by the Judges in 1772, as it had been in "The Grand Opinion" given by the Judges in 1717 (See Fortescue Reports, 401). The form of the question put to the Judges in 1772 was "Whether the care and approbation of the marriages of the Royal Family, other than the issue of Princesses married into foreign families, does belong to the Kings of this Realm?", and this question they answered in the affirmative so far as it related to the King's children and grand-children and the Heir Presumptive, other than the issue of Princesses married into foreign families. "But to what other branches of the Royal Family such care and approbation extend, we do not find precise determination" (House of Lords Journal 772, p.270).
It is curious to notice that the Peers who protested against the Royal Marriage Bill put their protest, among other things, upon the ground that "because the enacting Part of the Bill has an inconvenient and impolitic Extent; namely, to all descendants of George the Second. In course of time that description may become very general, and comprehend a great number of people; and we conceive it would be an intolerable Grievance that the marriage of so many subjects, perhaps dispersed among the various Ranks of Civil Life, should be subject to the Restrictions of this Act, especially as it has been asserted in Argument, and endeavoured to be maintained by the Authority of the grand Opinion given by the Judges in the Year 1717, that the Care and Approbation of the Marriage includes the Education and Custody of the Person; we fear that this extensive power would come in time to make many of the First Families in the Kingdom totally dependent on the Crown; and we therefore lament that the Endeavours so earnestly used in the Committee in some Degree to limit the generality of that description, were not suffered to take effect". This fear that the power conferred upon the King would come to make many of the First families totally dependent on the Crown is not likely to be realised. But, on the other hand, the existence of so many descendants of George II, whose descendents in turn, though subject to the Statute, will become ever more and more distantly related in blood to the Crown, seems likely in the future to cause great inconvenience to the sovereign. It is suggested that if some change is to take place in the status of the remoter descendants of Queen Victoria, it might be found convenient to free them from the restrictions of the Royal Marriage Act and the Common Law power which the King has over them in respect of their relationship, and at the same time free the King from a responsibility involved by this relationship.
Henry Reeve in a note to the Appendix to the Greville Memoirs (2nd Part, Vol.l. p. 396) had already in 1885 hinted at the difficulties which were likely to arise when the descendants of Queen Victoria became numerous. "In two or three generations from the present time", he says, "it is not improbable that the descendants of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert will exceed a hundred persons, and although they will doubtless all look back with pride to their illustrious ancestry, they will have no rank or precedency in the strict sense of the term except such as may be conferred upon them personally by the Crown".
College of Arms, E.C.
24th April 1917.
Dear Lord Sanderson,
The questions you ask me are not easy to answer and if I have delayed somewhat in replying it has been with the desire to look carefully into the facts and supply you with the details which may assist you.
s.3 of the Act of 31 Henry VIII declares that the Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord President of the Council, and Lord Privy Seal, being of the degree of Barons, shall sit 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 brother's or sister's sons".
In terms the Act only applies to precedence in the Parliament Chamber and only to those Royal Personages named if they are Dukes and so entitled to sit in Parliament. It does not deal with the precedence of female members of the Royal Family. By custom however the Act has been applied to Social Precedence and has been generally treated as defining the precedence of those members of the Royal Family therein specially mentioned. The King's grandsons have been held to be included under the term "Sons".
There is no general order of the Crown, or legislative enactment regulating the precedence of the female members of the Royal Family. They are included in the general tables of Precedence by analogy, or in conformity with the direction of the Sovereign in particular cases.
The question of Princely style is more difficult. I would remark at the outset that, with the exception of the Prince of Wales who is so created by Letters Patent under the Great Seal, there is no rank of Prince in the country as a degree of Peerage such as exists in Foreign Countries. Princes of the Blood Royal, as such, have no place in the House of Lords. They can sit there only if created Dukes. "Prince" or "Princess" in this country is I think a style or titular dignity, exclusively appertaining to certain members of the Royal Family, indicative of their Royal Descent, but a style or designation only and not a rank. How far this style extends is a matter of great doubt, and no general principle has ever been enunciated by Royal Authority. I can only lay before you the following facts:-
(1) By Letters Patent dated 30th January 1864 Queen Victoria declared that the title of "Royal Highness" should extend to the children of the sons of the sovereign, and the Letters Patent contained this recital "Whereas 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 'Highness'."
Of this recital I would remark,
(a) that it appears to be declaratory of the existing custom and not to be founded on any previous Royal Warrant to that effect.
(b) that it limits the title of "Highness" to such as are Princes and Princesses of the Royal Family in lineal succession to the Crown; or conversely, it may, perhaps, be argued that it establishes the proposition that those members of the Royal family who bear the title of "Highness" are also entitled to the style of Prince or Prince; or even that all those who are in succession to the Crown as by law established are Princes or Princesses and Highnesses.
(2) In 1878 the status of the Duke of Cumberland had to be considered, and my predecessor in office, the late Sir Albert Woods, Garter, wrote a carefully considered memorandum for the Queen in which he gave his opinion that "the Princely title ceases with the grandchildren of the Sovereign and does not extend to more remote relationship". He stated however that no precedent could be quoted and that it might be considered a moot point which the Queen's Prerogative alone could decide and he suggested:- (a) that the question of the place of the Duke of Cumberland in the House of Lords should be referred to the Committee for Privileges, and he intimated that falling any order to the contrary, he should feel bound to place him below the Duke of Northumberland.
(b) that the Queen should issue Letters Patent defining the limit to which the Princely attributes were to extend.
(c) that the point might be considered in connection with the assignment of a special Coronet to the Duke of Cumberland.
(3) No reference to the House of Lords was made, and the Duke of Cumberland was placed in the Peers Roll after the Duke of Northumberland, which place he still occupies. No such Letters Patent as suggested by the late Garter were issued defining the limits of the Princely Title, but by Royal Warrant dated 29 February 1879 Arms, &c. were assigned to the Duke of Cumberland in which the following passage occurs "And it not appearing that any Coronet hath hitherto been appropriated to Princes Cousins of the Sovereign We do further ordain that Our said dear Cousin shall in future use and bear a Coronet of crosses and flowers or leaves in every respect similar to that which was assigned to his father".
The Duke of Cumberland was great-grandson of George III and first Cousin once removed to Queen Victoria. He was son of the King of Hanover and it is difficult to say (as I have not before me the further correspondence, if any, which passed) whether by the inclusion of the term "Prince" in this Warrant it was intended to override the report of Sir Albert Woods as to the extent of the Princely style in this country, or whether (as is more probable) the term "Princes" was intended to refer (particularly in this case) to cousins of the Sovereign holding the title of Prince in other countries.
(4) By Royal Warrant dated 80 January 1864 Queen Victoria granted to Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein (before his marriage with the Princess Helena) the style of Royal Highness and by Warrant under the Sign Manual and the Great Seal dated 15 May 1867 (by which time Prince Christian had become naturalised) further granted to the issue of his marriage with the Princess Helena the style of "Highness" as a prefix to their styles and titles, "Such issue being natural born subjects and descendants of Our Royal House".
(5) By identically worded Warrants to those last quoted, dated respectively 22 July 1865 and 4 December 1866 Queen Victoria conferred the style of Royal Highness on Prince Henry of Battenberg, and the style of "Highness" on his issue by the Princess Beatrice.
In these Warrants there is no mention of the title of Prince or Princess as a British title.
(6) In 1891 Queen Victoria decided that the issue of the marriage of Princess Louise Duchess of Fife and the Duke of Fife should hare the rank and title of sons and daughters of a Duke.
(7) By Letters Patent dated 9 November 1906 Xing Edward VII conferred upon Princess Louise Duchess of Fife the title of "Princess Royal" , and upon her daughters the styles of "Highness" and "Princess" and further declared that such daughters should take precedence immediately after Royal Highnesses.
The above instances 4.5.6. and 7 suggest to me the following remarks:- The children of Princess Christian and Princess Henry of Battenberg were (and are) grandchildren of a Sovereign. According to the views of the late Garter it might be argued that they were Princes and Princesses by birth and if so (according to the recital of the Royal Warrant of 30 Jan. 1864 quoted in (1) above) entitled to the style of "Highness" without the intervention of a Royal Warrant. The children of the Duchess of Fife in 1891 were great-grandchildren of the Sovereign and, if the Princely style were held (as suggested by the late Garter) to extend only to grand children of the Sovereign were not entitled to the style of Prince or that of Highness. In 1905 however they were grandchildren of the Sovereign and it is not clear why (in their case) the Letters Patent of 9 November 1905 or (in the case of the children of Princess Christian and Princess Henry of Battenberg) the Letters Patent of 15 May 1867 and 4 December 1866 were needed, unless it be held, as a further limitation of the Princely style, that it descends to the grandchildren by a Son and not to the grandchildren by a Daughter. There is, so far at I am aware, no authorities pronouncement to this effect, and I have no papers which throw light on the "ratio decidendi" in those cases.
(6) On the 17th day December 1913 the King declared his consent to the marriage of the Duke of Brunswick and Princess Victoria Louise daughter the German Emperor. The consent was signified under the Great Seal and entered on the Books of the Privy Council. His Majesty therein described the Duke Of Brunswick as "H.R.H. Prince Ernest Augustus Christian George horn Prince of Great Britain and Ireland Duke of Brunswick and Luneburg". It is probable that the term "His Royal Highness" referred to his Foreign rank as Grandson of a King of Hanover. As regards his right by birth to the titular dignity of Prince it is to be observed that he is great-grandson of King George III and son of the Duke of Cumberland whose status was in issue in 1878. It might be desirable to search the books of the Privy Council for any other declarations of the Sovereign at to the styles of Members of the Royal Family similar to that on the marriage of the Duke of Brunswick, as such declarations are not recorded here. By Letters Patent dated 17 June 1914 the King declared that the infant son of the said Duke of Brunswick should enjoy the title of "Highness" together with the designation of "Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". This boy (born in 1914) is Great-great-grandson of King George III.
You will I think see that the matter is one of grave difficulty. The only Warrant or Patents which have assigned the title of Prince or Princess la this country so far as I am aware (other than in the case of the Prince of Wales) are those in favour of the Princess Royal (Duchess of Fife) and her daughters (9 Nov. 1905) and the son of the Duke of Brunswick (17 June 1914). In all the cases the style conferred either generally or specifically has been that of "Royal Highness" or "Highness" as a prefix to the styles to which the persons so designated might otherwise be entitled.
The general question seems to me to be one in which, as suggested by the late Garter, His Majesty's pleasure should be taken and officially declared. I feel I cannot usefully do more than place the facts before you.
Yours very truly,
(SD) A.S. SCOTT-GATTY
The Lord Sanderson, G.C.B., K.C.M.G., I.S.O., &c. &c., &c.
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 TO ALL Archbishops Dukes Marquesses Earls Viscounts Bishops Barons Baronets Knights Provosts Freemen and all other Our Officers Ministers and Subjects whatsoever TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME GREETING: WHEREAS Our most dear Cousin HIS HIGHNESS PRINCE ADOLPHUS CHARLES ALEXANDER ALBERT EDWARD GEORGE PHILIP LOUIS LADISLAUS, DUKE OF TECK, in the Kingdom of Wurtemburg and Prince of Teck in the said Kingdom, Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of Our Royal Victorian Order, and Companion of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, has resigned and renounced for himself and for the heirs male of his body and all other his issue begotten or to be begotten the said states, degrees, styles, dignities, titles, and honours of Duke of Teck and Prince of Teck respectively and all other states, degrees, styles, dignities, titles, or honours in the said Kingdom of Wurtemburg or Empire of Germany to him or them belonging NOW KNOW YE that We of Our especial Grace certain knowledge and mere motion do by these Presents grant unto His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid our Royal leave that he may assume and bear the surname of CAMBRIDGE and KNOW YE FURTHER that We of Our especial Grace certain knowledge and mere motion do by these Presents advance create and prefer His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid to the state degree style dignity title and honour of VISCOUNT NORTHALLERTON In Our County of York and for Us Our heirs and successors do appoint give and grant unto His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid the name state degree style dignity title and honour of Viscount Northallerton aforesaid TO HAVE AID TO HOLD the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of Viscount Northallerton aforesaid unto him Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten AND of Our abundant grace do by these Presents further advance create and prefer Els Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid to the state degree style dignity title and honour of EARL OF ELTHAM and for Us Our heirs and successors do appoint give and grant unto His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louie Ladislaus aforesaid the name state degree style dignity title and honour of Earl of Eltham and him His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid by these Presents do dignify invest and ennoble by girding him with a Sword and putting a Cap of Honour and a Coronet of Gold on his head TO HAVE TO HOLD the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of Earl of Eltham unto him His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten AND know ye that We of Our more abundant grace do by these Presents further advance create and prefer Hie Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid to the state degree style dignity title and honour of MARQUESS OP CAMBRIDGE and for Us Our heirs and successors do appoint give and grant unto him His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid the name state degree style dignity title and honour of Marquess of Cambridge and him His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid by these Presents do dignify invest and ennoble by girding him with a Sword and putting a Cap of Honour and a Coronet of Gold on his head and by giving into his hand a Rod of Gold TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of Marquess of Cambridge unto him His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten WILLING AND BY THESE PRESENTS GRANTING for Us Our heirs and successors that His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Louis Philip Ladislaus aforesaid and his heirs male aforesaid and every of them successively and respectively may in respect of each of the said titles respectively have hold and possess a seat place and voice in the Parliaments and Public Assemblies and Councils of Us Our heirs and successors within Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland amongst other Marquesses Earls and Viscounts as Marquess Earl and Viscount of Parliaments and Public Assemblies and Councils and also that he His Highness Prince Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus aforesaid and his heirs male aforesaid may enjoy and use by the name of Marquess of Cambridge Earl of Eltham and Viscount Northallerton aforesaid All and singular the rights privileges pre-eminences immunities and advantages to the degrees of Marquess Earl and Viscount respectively in all things duly and of right belonging which other Marquesses Earls or Viscounts of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland have heretofore honourably and quietly used and enjoyed or as they do at present use and enjoy.
26th June 1917.
Dear Lord Stamfordham,
I enclose the draft which I showed you yesterday. It is, of course, only in a provisional state and can be altered to meet the King's wishes. In drawing the Patent for Prince Louis of Battenberg we should describe him as "Our right trusty and well beloved Counsellor" - he being a Privy Counsellor. In drawing Prince Alexander of Teck's we should describe him in normal circumstances as "Our right trusty and well beloved", as he is not a Privy Counsellor and from our point of view a Commoner, but if the King wishes that the Duke of Teck should be described as his entirely beloved brother-in-law, we had better use the same expression for Prince Alexander. As regards Prince Alexander of Battenberg he would also naturally be described as "trusty and well beloved". He is the King's first cousin and we might use some expression to intimate this propinquity of blood. The difficulty is that the word "cousin" is used generally in Patents in a conventional sense to indicate all peers above the rank of baron.
(sgd.) Claud Schuster
The Right Hon.
27th June, 1917.
Herewith a Draft of Letters Patent conferring the Marquisate, Earldom, and Viscounty upon the Duke of Teck. Will you be good enough to treat it purely as a draft and as strictly confidential.
I should call attention to the following points : -
I understood that you desired that the draft should contain a statement of the renunciation of the German titles, and I have included words for the purpose. The words are by way of recital and assume that the renunciation has in fact taken place by some other Act or document. There is, of course, no precedent, so far as I am aware, for the renunciation in England of titles conferred by a foreign Sovereign, and I suppose that properly such a renunciation ought to take place according to the laws of the State according to the laws of which the titles were granted. I take it, however, that the form here used is sufficient for all practical purposes.
I have not put in any recital expressly stating that the German appellations of "Highness" or "Serene Highness" have been renounced (I suppose that "Highness" and "Serene Highness" are the translations of the German appellations of "Durchlaucht" and "Erlaucht"). I have tried to deal with these appellations by general words.
I do not know by what process the Duke has got rid, or proposes to get rid, of his English appellation of "Highness". It was conferred by Sign Manual Royal Warrant and I assume that it will be dealt with in an omnibus Royal Warrant under the Sign Manual, taking away all the "Highnesses" and "Serene Highnesses" which the King may now wish to abolish. But so long as the present Warrant of 1911 remains unrevoked, there is a direction that the Duke shall be styled "His Highness" 'in all deeds, records, instruments, or documents whatsoever' which it is very difficult to disregard. On the other hand, as it is desired - also I understand - to lay stress upon the assumption of the family name' of "Cambridge", I am very anxious to avoid the use of the appellation "Highness" in the present Letters since the result of using them is somewhat ludicrous. We shall should otherwise be obliged to call the grantee "His Highness Adolphus etc.. Cambridge" which is as if one called a man "His Highness John Jones".
We considered yesterday whether we could not make the Letters serve the purpose also of a Royal License to bear the name of "Cambridge" as a surname. Thinking it over I have come to the conclusion that if we did, the document would have to be stamped in its double capacity both as Letters Patent conferring a Peerage and as a Royal License. There is no necessity for anyone to take out a Royal License in order to assume a name.
Any one of His Majesty's subjects can call himself by whatever surname pleases him, so long as he does not thereby deceive His Majesty's subjects. In the case of the Royal Dukes it would be discourteous to the King for them to assume a surname without his leave, but there is no reason why that leave should not be given informally. I have, therefore, turned the assumption of the surname into the form of a recital. This will be amply sufficient for the purposes of record.
Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, K.C.V.O.
2nd July 17.
I have had an opportunity of talking over with the lord Chancellor the questions which you asked me this afternoon.
My own opinion upon them is as follows:-
1. It is now too late in the day to question Coke's dictum (4th Institute, 362) explaining "King's nephew" as meaning "King's grandchild". His opinion is supported by the fact that the Statute goes on to mention King's brothers' or sisters' sons" as though they were a class additional to "King's nephew", which certainly seems to suggest that "nephew" in the Statute does not hear its natural modern meaning.
It is worth noting that the House of Lords in the 18th Century seem to have been of the same opinion as Coke, for when in 1760 Edward Augustus, a grandson of George II, was created Duke of York and His Majesty recommended it to the House to consider the place His said Royal Highness should occupy in the House", the House adopted the Resolution of the Committee of Privileges who, having "considered the Statute of the thirty-first of King Henry the Eighth for placing of the lords", resolved "that it is the opinion of this Committee that His Royal Highness the Duke of York have place and precedence in this House next after His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland and before the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc." (See House of Lords Journals, 22nd April and 24th April, 1760, Vol.29, pages 658, 659, & 660). See also the cases of this use of the word "nephew" collected in Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, 2nd Edition Vol. II, at page 1265, and in the Oxford Dictionary, Vol.VI. page 91, sub.tit. nephew, and particularly the quotation from Bentley's Phalaris "among the ancient Greeks the name of the grandfather was commonly given to the nephew".
2. The excepted class at the end of Section 4 of the Statute of Henry VIII appears to be a class of Dukes - "above all dukes except only such as shall happen to be the King's son, etc." That is except only such dukes as shall happen to be the King's son, etc. I think, therefore, that the Statute does not confer any precedence upon such of the Royal Family as are of a less degree in the peerage than dukes.
3. The degrees of relationship set out in the Statute of Henry VIII are, in my opinion, degrees of relationship to the reigning sovereign, and not to some past sovereign to whom an individual may happen to have stood in the relationship of some uncle, grandson, or nephew. The expression used in the Statute is "the King". See on this matter Blackstone, 21st Edition. Vol.1, pages 225 and following, and particularly "the more confined sense includes those who are in a certain degree of propinquity to the reigning prince and to whom therefore the law pays an extraordinary regard and respect; hut, after that degree is past, they fall into the rank of ordinary subjects, and are seldom considered farther, unless called to the succession upon failure of the nearer lines. For, though collateral consanguinity is regarded indefinitely, with respect to inheritance or succession, yet it is, and can only be regarded, within some certain limits in any other respect, by the natural constitution of things and the dictates of positive law". See also Greville's pamphlet on the precedency question (which is said to have been "carefully revised and approved by Lord Wensleydale and some of the most eminent lawyers of the time when it was written"); reprinted in the Greville Memoirs, 2nd Part, Vol.1, at page 395, and especially the observations as to the precedence of Prince George of Cambridge on pages 406 and 401.
4. For these reasons I do not think that the Statute of Henry VIII has any bearing upon the precedence of Prince Alexander of Battenberg if he should be created a Marquis. The Lord Chancellor concurs generally in this opinion, though he has not read this memorandum, and in addition to the reasons set out above he doubts whether the precedence conferred by the Statute upon the King's grandsons (if any such precedence is conferred) is conferred upon the sons of daughters of the reigning sovereign.
Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, K.C.V.O. Garter.
Prince Alexander of Battenberg
was born 1886
Queen Victoria died 1901.
He was therefore by birth Grandson of the Sovereign.
He was also by birth nephew to king Edward 7th being the "son of a sister".
If given a Peerage no matter what rank he takes by birth under the Act 31 H.8 Precedence of All Dukes [vide opinion of the late Lord Redesdale].
This leads me to the conclusion that the whole question should be settled by the Committee for Privileges as was the case with the Duke of Cambridge in 1850.
[initialled; in Garter's handwriting]
4th July 1917.
Dear Lord Stamfordham
On looking at the books this morning I am completely puzzled by Garter's statement that the case of the Duke of Cambridge was settled by the Committee for Privileges. The first Duke of Cambridge died on the 8th July 1850, and the late Duke took his seat on the 25th July in that year. There is no trace
The Right Hon.
Lord Stamfordham, G.C.B., K.C.V.O.
5th July 1917.
The Lord Chancellor asks me to say that he has again considered the matter of Prince Alexander's precedence, and that he remains of the opinion that if the Prince is created a Marquess he will not he entitled to any precedence in the House of lords other than that appertaining to the date of his Patent.
I will return Lord Redesdale's memorandum later in the day.
(sgd) CLAUD SCHUSTER
Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, K.C.V.O.
6 July 1917
College of Arms
My Dear Schuster
I have seen both Lord Stamfordham and Prince Louis and we are all pleased and contented with the Lord Chancellor's dictum. I enclose "flimsies" (a nasty name) of the styles and titles and you may as well be preparing the Letters Patent. Prince Alexander married on the 19th of this month so they must be passed before that date. So the dates must stand over, not only on that account but also as to the precedence in the House but this I shall get by Tuesday I hope.
I also enclose the draft Patent of Teck which seems all right.
7th July 1917.
Very many thanks for your letter of the 6th July and the flimsies enclosed.
They still leave the question open as to how we are to deal with the English "Highnesses" of those Princes who have had these appellations conferred upon them by Warrant. Perhaps you will be good enough to let me know about this.
16th .July 1917.
My dear Schuster,
The King has now decided that the Marquesses should take the following seniority:
I count upon Lord Carisbrooke's Patent being completed before his marriage on Thursday next.
Yours very truly,
17th July 1917.
Dear Lord Stamfordham,
Many thanks for your letter of the 16th July. The Patents of the three Marquesses have been dated accordingly as follows:
Marquess of Cambridge, 16th July,
Marquess of Milford Haven, 17th July, .
Marquess of Carisbrooke. 18th July.
I assume that it is intended that the Earl of Athlone's patent should be dated the 19th. There is no question of precedence in this last case since anyhow he will come after the Marquesses, but it seems reasonable that he should receive his Earldom after his elder brother receives his Marquessate.
We learnt last night that the warrants had been signed by the King. We are therefore sending the Patents across to the Home Office today and are asking the officials to hare thorn stamped at once. When this is done they will return them to us; we shall then affix the seal and everything will be ready.
You have probably been informed by the Home Office that in normal course the fees are supposed to be paid to that office before the sealing.
Yours very truly,
(sgd.) CLAUD SCHUSTER
The Right Hon.
Lord Stamfordham. C.C.B., G.C.V.O.
18th .July 1917.
Thank you for your letter of yesterday If you have not already dated the Earl of Athlone's Patent the King thinks that it might fairly hear the same date as that of his brother, namely 16th.July.
Yours very truly,
Sir Claud Schuster
A question has arisen whether H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge is under the provisions of the Act of 31 Henry VIII. c.10 entitled to be placed in the House of Lords as a Prince of the Blood Royal or only after the ancienty of his Dukedom.
It is commonly but erroneously supposed that all Precedence in the House of Lords is clearly and definitively regulated by that Statute whereas much is still determined there in accordance with ancient usage only.
In considering the Act in question it is first to be remarked that it only indicates indirectly the place to which the members of the Royal Family are entitled by enacting in the fourth clause that the Lord Chancellor the Lord President and the Lord Privy Seal shall sit on the left of the Throne on the higher part of the form above all Dukes "except only such as shall "happen to be the King's son the King's uncle the King's "nephew or the King's brothers and sisters sons".
The precedence of the Archbishops is before settled in the third clause, and they are placed on the right of the throne, and it is expressly enacted that the Archbishop of Canterbury shall sit first and next to him on the same form and side the Archbishop of York and next to him on the same form and side the Bishops.
On enquiring into the practice of the House in connection with the above enactments it will be found that the interpretation of the Statute is to a very great extent determined and even controlled by ancient usage. The Act does not declare that the Archbishop of Canterbury ranks before the Lord Chancellor unless the placing him on the right side of the House be held to imply such precedence. But this would equally give him precedence of the Royal Dukes whose place is on the left side and in fact the Act does not determine that the Royal Dukes shall be placed above the Archbishop but only above the Lord Chancellor. It however positively enacts that the Archbishop of York shall be next to the Archbishop of Canterbury. By ancient usage nevertheless the Chancellor takes precedence of the Archbishop of York and that Prelate of the President. So special rank is enacted for the Bishops bat they are ordered to be placed on the same form and next to the Archbishops. This according to a strict interpretation of the letter of the Act would appear to give them rank immediately after them, whereas in accordance with ancient usage they rank after Viscounts. These points have no immediate bearing on the question under discussion but are quoted as proving that the Act has never been interpreted according to its strict letter, but that ancient usage has always been held to regulate the precedence under it.
H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge was born during the lifetime of his Grandfather King George III and consequently being born a King's grandson is probably entitled to be accounted as a King's son for the purposes of the Statute of Henry VIII. But it is unnecessary to enter into any lengthened discussion of this point for unquestionably as nephew of King George IV and King William IV he has stood in that relationship to the Crown which under the Statute entitled him to Royal precedence. Those who are disposed to deny to H.R.H. the privilege contend that as he is only first cousin to Her present Majesty he is not included in any of the degrees to which precedence is reserved.
It becomes therefore necessary to investigate the nature end character of the precedence So assigned to certain persons of the Blood Royal. It is clearly a privilege altogether distinct from their Peerages. It is a rank which belongs to them whether they are peers or not. Kings sons, brothers, uncles, and nephews do not as such sit in Parliament, but when summoned to the Bouse of Lords in right of their Peerages they are in right of their descent entitled to a certain precedence there above that conferred by their Peerages. The only question therefore which remains to be determined is whether this privilege which is one of inheritence and not of creation is of a changeable character and can be lost by an alteration in nearness of relationship to the Reigning Sovereign.
The Statute is silent upon this point. It must therefore be determined by ancient usage and the general custom of the country in such matters. There can be no doubt that there is but one invariable rule on this subject. Whatever rank a person is born to or acquires afterwards by inheritance is retained for life. The sons of a Duke have rank as such. The brothers or uncles of a Duke have no rank as such. But the sons of a Duke do not lose their rank when by the death of their father they become brothers or uncles of the person who inherits the Dukedom. The unchangeable character of this privilege of rank once inherited is proved in a still more remarkable degree in the female descendants, for the daughters of a Duke retain that rank for life, though the Dukedom through which alone they are entitled to it may have become extinct.
There is a marked distinction between the rank derived from Royal and that from noble descent. The latter becomes merged in a peerage although the rank of that peerage may be below that to which the party may have been entitled by descent; the rank derived through the Blood Royal is expressly acknowledged in the Act in question to give precedence to those to whom it belongs above the ancienty of their Peerages. If therefore as has been shown the rank derived from noble descent has always by ancient usage been held to remain unchanged by any increased remoteness of the relationship of the party holding it from the actual possessor of the title from which it is derived, so much the more must the rank derived from Royal descent be held to be unchangeable. Since the passing of the Act in the reign of Henry VIII there is only one precedent to be found connected with this subject, and that is conclusive upon it. The late Duke of Gloucester during the life of George III was the King's nephew and as ouch entitled to precedence under the Act. On the accession of George IV he became King's cousin only, but his place in the House of Lords remained unaltered. It is however urged by those who resist the Duke of Cambridge's claim that the Duke of Gloucester retained his rank only because he had been once placed in it. It is extraordinary how anyone at all acquainted with the subject can think of putting forward such an argument. The rule of the House of lords both by ancient usage and by the Statute is that all the Peers shall he placed in their several degrees after the ancienty of their peerages. The exceptions are in favour of the peers of the Blood Royal and certain high officers of State. These latter are right of their Offices placed in the House and on the Roll, some above lords of their own degree only, and some above all other Lords except the Blood Royal and the Archbishops; but each placing gives them no right to retain that precedence except during the tenure of such offices, and the placing of the late Duke
of Gloucester as King's nephew in the reign of George III entitled him to retain that place, if he had ceased to have a right to rank as King's nephew on the accession of George IV, any more than the place of Lord Truro at the head of tbe Dukes Bench a a few weeks ago would entitle him to sit there tomorrow if he had ceased to be Chancellor;
For these reasons it appears that the Duke of Cambridge is entitled to be placed as a Royal Duke under the provisions of the Act of Henry VIII as being entitled to that rank as a King's nephew and probably as a King's grandson.
August 17th, 1850.
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 TO ALL Archbishops Dukes Marquesses Earls Viscounts Bishops Barons Baronets Knights Provosts Freemen and all other Our Officers Ministers and Subjects whatsoever TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME GREETING: WHEREAS Our entirely beloved brother-in-law [HIS HIGHNESS] ADOLPHUS ALEXANDER ALBERT EDWARD GEORGE PHILIP LOUIS LADISLAUS, Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of Our Royal Victorian Order, Companion of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George and Colonel in Our Army, [lately called His Highness Adolphus Charles AlexanderAlbert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Duke of Teck] has at Our desire relinquished for himself and for the heirs male of his body and all other lawful issue begotten or to be begotten the use of the states degrees styles dignities titles and honours of Duke of Teck and Prince of Teck respectively in the Kingdom of Wurtemburg to him or to them heretofore belonging and all other states degrees styles dignities titles honours or appellations in the said Kingdom of Wurtemburg or in the Empire of Germany to him or to them heretofore belonging and has with Our Royal leave assumed for himself and for his lawful issue begotten and to be begotten the surname of Cambridge NOW KNOW YE that We of our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion do by these Presents advance create and prefer the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge to the state degree style dignity title and honour of VISCOUNT NORTHALLERTON in Our County of York and for Us Our heirs and successors 40 appoint give and grant unto him the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge the name state degree style dignity title and honour of Viscount Northallerton aforesaid TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of Viscount Northallerton aforesaid unto him the said Adolphus Charles Alexander I Albert Edward George Philip Louie Ladislaus Cambridge and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten AND further know ye that of Our abundant grace We do by these Presents further advance create and prefer the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge to the state degree Style dignity title and honour of EARL OF ELTHAM and for Us Our heirs and successors do appoint give and grant unto the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge the name state degree style dignity title and honour of Earl of Eltham and him the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge by these presents do dignify invest and ennoble by girding him with a Sword and putting a Cap of Honour and a Coronet of Gold on his head TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of Earl of Eltham unto him the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to he begotten AND further know ye that We of Our more abundant grace do by these Presents further advance create and prefer the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge to the state degree style dignity title and honour of MARQUESS OF CAMBRIDGE and for us Our heirs and successors do appoint give end grant unto him the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louie Ladislaus Cambridge the same state degree style dignity title and honour of Marquess of Cambridge end him the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge by these Presents do dignity invest and ennoble by girding him with a Sword and putting a Cap of Honour and a Coronet of Gold on his head and by giving into his hand a Rod of Gold TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of Marquess of Cambridge unto him the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten WILLING AND BY THESE PRESENTS GRANTING for Us Our heirs and successors that the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge and his heirs male aforesaid and every of them successively and respectively may in respect of the said Marquessate Earldom and Viscounty respectively have hold and possess a seat place and voice in the Parliaments and Public Assemblies and Councils of Us Our heirs and successors within Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland amongst other Marquesses Earls and Viscounts as Marquess Earl and Viscount of Parliaments and Public Assemblies and Councils and also that he the said Adolphus Charles Alexander Albert Edward George Philip Louis Ladislaus Cambridge and his heirs male aforesaid may enjoy and use by the name of Marquess of Cambridge Earl of Eltham and Viscount Northallerton aforesaid All and singular the rights privileges pre-eminences immunities and advantages to the degrees of Marquess Earl and Viscount respectively in all things duly and of right belonging which other Marquesses Earls or Viscounts of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland have heretofore honourably and quietly used and enjoyed or as they do at present use and enjoy.
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