Royal styles and titles: Files from the UK National Archives
introduction to the files cast of characters styles and titles of the British royal family

LCO 6 3562

 

2 documents closed until 2038.

 

 



DRAFT LETTERS PATENT.

 

WHEREAS Her late Majesty Queen Victoria by Her Letters Patent dated the thirtieth day of January in the twenty-fourth year of Her reign did declare Her Royal Pleasure that certain members of the Royal Family being in lineal succession to the Crown, namely, the children of the Sovereigns of these Realms and the children of the sons of any Sovereign should have the style title or attribute of Royal Highness:

AND WHEREAS His late Majesty King George the Fifth by His Letters Patent dated the thirtieth day of November in the eighth year of His reign did extend and amend the said Letters Patent by declaring that as well as those hereinbefore mentioned the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have the style title or attribute of Royal Highness:

AND WHEREaS Our Brother Edward by His Instrument of Abdication executed on the tenth day of December 1936 and by His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, 1 Edward VIII, chapter 3, ceased to be [together with His issue, if any] as did also his issue if any, in the lineal succession to the Crown:

AND WHEREAS] We deem it expedient to declare the right of Our Brother Edward to the said style title and attribute of Royal Highness:

[NOW KNOW YE that We of Our especial grace, certain knowledge and mere motion do hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that Our Brother Edward having been born in the lineal succession to the Crown shall, notwithstanding his exclusion from the succession as aforesaid, be entitled to hold [for his personal use] and enjoy the said title style or attribute of Royal Highness and that by reason of the said exclusion His Wife and Children, if any, and the Children of His Sons, if any, shall not have the said style title or attribute.


 

Home Office,

Whitehall,

S.W. 1.

27th May,   1937.

Dear Harington,

I enclose the formal letter about the Letters Patent,  of which I  left the Attorney General's  draft with Sir Claud Schuster on Tuesday.       If Sir Claud agrees I would suggest that in order to save time the most convenient plan would he for your people to send direct to the Palace, both the Warrant and the Letters Patent, and ask them to  return the documents to me, when I would get the Warrant countersigned by the Home Secretary and let Sir Claud have both documents back without delay.      As   I mentioned on the telephone last night it is desired to have these documents completed by mid-day to-day.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

[sig]

 

V. Harington,  Esq.


 

HOME OFFICE,

WHITEHALL.  

 

27th May, 1937.

 

Sir,

I am to signify to you The King's Commands that you prepare a Warrant for His Majesty's Signature, addressed to the Lord High Chancellor, to cause Letters Patent to he passed under the Great Seal of the Realm for declaring that the Duke of Windsor shall, notwithstanding his exclusion from the succession to the Crown, he entitled to hold and enjoy the title, style or attribute of Royal Highness, and that by reason of the said exclusion His Wife and Children, if any, and the Children of His Sons, if any, shall not have the said style, title or attribute, and that such Warrant shall set forth the tenor and effect of such Letters Patent and shall contain all such clauses as are requisite.

 

I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

 

[sig2]

 

 

The Clerk of the

Crown in Chancery.

&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 to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas Her late Majesty Queen Victoria did by Her Letters Patent dated the thirtieth day of January in the twenty-seventh year of Her Reign declare Her Royal Pleasure as to the style and title of the princes and princesses of the Royal Family in the manner in the said Letters Patent particularly mentioned and Whereas We deem it expedient that the said Letters Patent should he extended and amended and that the styles and titles to he borne by the princes and princesses of the Royal Family should be henceforth established defined and limited in manner hereinafter declared Now Know Ye that We of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion Do hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that the children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sone of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold style and enjoy the style title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince of Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour and We do further declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that save as aforesaid the style title or attribute of Royal Highness Highness or Serene Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess shall not henceforth be assumed or borne by any descendant of any Sovereign of these Realms excepting always any such descendant who at the date of these Letters Patent holds or bears any right to any such style degree attribute or titular dignity an pursuance of any Letters Patent granted by Ourselves or any of Our Royal Predecessors and still remaining unrevoked It being Our Royal Will and Pleasure that the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy on all occasions the style and title enjoyed toy the children of Dukes of these Our Realms Our Will and Pleasure further 1b that Our Earl Marshal of England or his Deputy for the  time toeing do cause these Our Letters Patent or the enrolment thereof to toe recorded in Our College of Arms  to the end that Our Officers of Arms and all others may take due notice thereof In Witness Whereof We have caused these Our Letters to toe made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the thirtieth day of November In the eighth year of Our Reign

BY WARRANT UNDER  THE KING'S SIGN MANUAL

SCHUSTER.

 


 

HOUSE OF LORDS,

S.W.1.

 

27th May 1937.

 

Lord Chancellor.

 

Here is the document as it comes out. (The recital of Queen Victoria's Letters and the formal parts at the end being omitted).

 

I saw the Attorney General and he agreed in substance to the draft as it now is.

 

CS

 

L.C.  approved 27/5

 


 

AND WHEREAS Our Brother Edward by his Instrument of Abdication executed on the tenth day of December One thousand nine hundred and thirty six declared his irrevocable determination to renounce the Throne for himself and for his descendants,   and by His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act,   1936,  effect was given to the said Instrument   and By reason of the  said   instrument   and  the said Act his issue, if any, and the descendants of that issue will not be in the lineal succession to the Crown

NOW KNOW YE that We of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion DO hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that Our Brother Edward having been born in the lineal succession to the Grown shall notwithstanding his said Declaration and the said Act be entitled  to hold and enjoy for himself only the style title or attribute of Royal Highness so however that his wife and descendants, if any, shall not hold the said style title or attribute.

 

--

 

27th May 1937.

 

Dear Attorney General,

Here is the document as it comes out. .

 

As I came to write out what we decided, I found myself forced to one or two slight verbal alterations, but I think you will find them inevitable.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

The Attorney General, C.B.E. ,K.C, ,M.P.

 


 

AND WHEREAS Our Brother Edward by his Instrument of Abdication executed on the tenth day of December One thousand nine hundred and thirty six declared his irrevocable determination to renounce the Throne for himself and for his descendants, and by His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, 1936, effect was given to the said Instrument' and by reason of the said Instrument and the said Act his issue, if any, and the descendants of that issue will not be in the lineal succession to the Crown NOW KNOW YE that We of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion DO hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that Our Brother Edward having been born in the lineal succession to the Crown shall notwithstanding his said Declaration and the said Act toe entitled to hold and enjoy for himself only the style title or attribute of Royal Highness so however that his wife and descendants, if any, shall net hold the said style title or attribute.

 

well beloved Cousin and Counsellor Douglas McGarel Viscount Hallsham

 


 

GEORGE THE SIXTH by the Grace of God of Great  Britain   Ireland and the British  Dominions beyond the Seas King Defender of the Faith To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas Her late Majesty Queen Victoria by Her Letters Patent dated the thirtieth day of January in the twenty-fourth year of Her reign did declare Her Royal Pleasure that certain members of the Royal Family being in lineal succession to the Crown namely the children of the Sovereigns of these Realms and the children of the sons of any sovereign should have the style title or attribute of Royal Highness And Whereas His late Majesty King George the Fifth by His Letters patent dated the thirtieth day of November in the eighth year of His reign did extend and amend the said Letters Patent by declaring that as well as those hereinbefore mentioned the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have the style title or attribute of Royal Highness And Whereas Our Brother Edward by his Instrument of Abdication executed on the tenth day of December One thousand nine hundred and thirty six declared his irrevocable determination to renounce the Throne for himself and for his descendants and by His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, 1936, effect was given to the said Instrument and by reason of the said Instrument and the said Act his issue if any and the descendants of that issue will not be in the lineal succession to the Crown Now Know Ye that We of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion DO hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that our Brother Edward having been born in the lineal succession to the Crown shall notwithstanding his said Declaration and the said Act be entitled to hold and enjoy for himself only the style title or attribute of Royal Highness so however that his wife and descendants if any shall not hold the said style title or attribute Our Will and Pleasure further is that Our Earl Marshal of England or his Deputy for the time being do cause these Our Letters Patent or the enrolment thereof to be recorded in Our College of Arms to the end that Our Officers of Arms and all others may take due notice thereof IN WITNESS &c.  WITNESS &c.

 

declare Your Majesty's Pleasure in regard to the style and title of His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor

 

Secretary Sir John Simon

 


 

The Daily Telegraph, Monday September 18, 1972

 

Doubts over refusal to give Duchess Royal title

 

DOUBTS whether the Duchess or Windsor should have been denied a royal title at her marriage to the Duke in 1937 are revived today by Mr Patrick Montague-Smith in his preface, as editor, to the latest edition of Debrett. He questions whether restriction of the royal style of "His Royal Highness" to the Duke alone was constitution-ally and legally valid. The Duke died in Paris on May 28 after 36 years of exile. what hurt him most, the Duchess once wrote, was that his brother King George VI said in a  letter restoring his title as Royal Highness that the same title could hot be extended to his wife.

 

M.  Montague-Smith said last night that he had written his preface at this time because of the discussion of the subject following the King's death. "It seems remarkable that we know so little about the reasons for the decision that the royal title should be restricted to the Duke", he said.

 

In his preface, Mr Montagu-Smith notes a report by Albany in the Sunday Telegraph on June 4 that the Duke raised the question of his wife's title with his friend Sir Walter Monckton, an eminent lawyer, almost as soon as he had left England in 1937.

 

Junior's opinion

 

Sir Walter advised him to consult Sir William Jowitt the legal expert.  His opinion was that Parliament was wrong to deny the Duchess the right to be called Her Royal Highness, Albany recalled.

 

However, Queen Mary and the Government were obdurately opposed, and the war prevented further action.   After the war, when Sir William Jowitt was Lord Chancellor, the Duke re-minded him of his opinion.  Sir William did nothing. The legal opinion was not in fact written by him but by a brilliant young junior, Walter Wigglesworth.

 

Mr Wigglesworth, the Albany report ended, became a Q.C. He died on May 27, a few hours before the Duke.

 

Mr. Montague-Smith says it should be remembered that under the Instrument of Abdication, though the Duke ceased to reign, he remained a member of the Royal House.

There was no British precedent to follow for a King's status on abdication.

 

Ministers' advice  

 

The Duke of Windsor made a farewell broadcast on the day of his abdication. Sir John Reith introduced him, on the instructions of the new King George VI, as "His Royal Highness Prince Edward." So, says Mr Montagu-Smith, it could be accepted that either he  reverted to this style when he abdicated, or that as his style was uncertain it was clarified by George VI, being the the Fount of all Honours.

 

At the Council following King George's accession he announced: "My first act on succeeding my brother will be to confer on him a dukedom, and he will henceforth be known as His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor." On May 28, before the Duke's marriage, the London Gazette announced that the Duke would "be entitled to, and enjoy for himself only, the style or attribute of Royal Highness, so however that his wife and descendants shall not hold the title, style, or attribute." Mr Montague-Smith says that "we know that the exclusion of the Duchess from the title or style of H R H resulted from the advice tendered by Ministers of the Crown in Britain and in various Common-wealth countries."

 

The following arguments arise: "Can one receive a title or style that one already has by birth and membership of the House of Windsor without restriction, and yet subsequently, in May, 1937, be restricted by Letters Patent to such a title or style for himself only?

"If one accepts that the title or style of HRH emanates from the Sovereign following the abdication, again without restriction, can this legally be restricted at a subsequent date to himself only? "Is it legal to prevent a wife holding the same titles and styles permitted to her husband?                        

 

"Even though the Sovereign is the fountain of honours, there are certain circles in which he, or she, is powerless to act.

 

One is to alter the destination of a peerage already created, its precedence, its alienation or its surrender.  Peerage law sanctions that the wife of a peer thereby becomes noble, provided she remains  his  wife or Widow and does not remarry.  Does such Status also apply to wives of those with other titles or styles?

 

I know of no other case where such a restriction was applied."

 

Mr. Montague-Smlth declares: "It is doubtful how knowledgeable the British and Common-wealth Ministers were on constitutional and legal issues, whether they consulted eminent authorities for  advice before the May statement was issued or if they did so, whether they took the advice which was offered.

 


 

GEORGE THE SIXTH by the Grace of God of Great  Britain Ireland and the British  Dominions beyond the Seas King Defender of the Faith To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas Her late Majesty Queen Victoria by Her Letters Patent dated the thirtieth day of January in the twenty-fourth year of Her reign did declare Her Royal Pleasure that certain members of the Royal Family being in lineal succession to the Crown namely the children of the Sovereigns of these Realms and the children of the sons of any sovereign should have the style title or attribute of Royal Highness And Whereas His late Majesty King George the Fifth by His Letters patent dated the thirtieth day of November in the eighth year of His reign did extend and amend the said Letters Patent by declaring that as well as those hereinbefore mentioned the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have the style title or attribute of Royal Highness And Whereas Our Brother Edward by his Instrument of Abdication executed on the tenth day of December 1936 and by His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, 1 Edward VIII, chapter 3, ceased to be together with his issue if any in the lineal succession to the Crown And Whereas we deem it expedient too declare the right of Our Brother Edward to the said style title and attribute of Royal Highness Now Know Ye that We of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion do hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that our Brother Edward having been born in the lineal succession to the Crown shall notwithstanding his exclusion from the succession as aforesaid be entitled to hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of Royal Highness and that by reason of the said exclusion His Wife and Children if any and the Children of His Sons if any shall not have the said style title or attribute Our Will and Pleasure further is that Our Earl Marshal of England or his Deputy for the time being do cause these Our Letters Patent or the enrolment thereof to be recorded in Our College of Arms to the end that Our Officers of Arms and all others may take due notice thereof IN WITNESS &c.  WITNESS &c.

 


 

 

AND WHERAS Our Brother Edward by bis Instrument of Abdication executed on the tenth day of December One thousand nine hundred and thirty six declared his irrevocable determination to renounce the Throne for himself and for his descendants and by His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act, 1936, effect was given to the said Instrument and by reason of the said Instrument and the said Act his issue if any and the descendants of that issue will not be in the lineal succession to the Crown Now Know Ye that We of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion DO hereby declare Our Royal Will and pleasure that Our Brother Edward having been born in the lineal succession to the Crown shall notwithstanding his said Declaration and the said Act be entitled to hold and enjoy for himself only the style title or attribute of Royal Highness so however that hie wife and descendants if any shall not hold the said style title or attribute


return to Styles and Titles of the British royal family
British Heraldry Page | Search Heraldica | Heraldic Glossary | Contact

François Velde

Last modified: Jun 28, 2007