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Duke of Albany is a peerage title that has occasionally been bestowed on the younger sons in the Scottishmarker, and later the British, royal family, particularly in the Houses of Stuart and Hanover.

The Dukedom of Albany was first granted in 1398 by King Robert III of Scotland on his brother, Robert Stewart, the title being in the Peerage of Scotland. "Albany" was a broad territorial term representing the parts of Scotland north of the River Forth, roughly the former Kingdom of the Picts. The title (along with the Dukedom of Rothesay, the first Dukedom created in Scotland) was forfeited in 1425 due to the treason of the second Duke.

The title was again created in 1458 for Alexander Stewart; the title became extinct when his son John died without heirs in 1536. It was created again in 1541 for Arthur, second son of James V of Scotland, who died in early infancy. The fourth creation, along with the Earldom of Ross and Lordship Ardmannoch, was for Mary, Queen of Scots's king consort Lord Darnley, whose son, later James VI and I, inherited the titles on his death. That creation merged with the Scottish crown upon James's ascension. The title, along with the title of Duke of York, with which it has since been traditionally coupled, was created for a fifth time in 1604 for Charles, son of James VI and I. Upon Charles's ascent to the throne in 1625, the title of Duke of Albany merged once again in the crowns.

The title was next granted in 1660 to Charles I's son, James, by Charles II. When James succeeded his elder brother to the throne in 1685, the titles again merged into the crown. The cities of New Yorkmarker and Albany, New Yorkmarker were thus both named after James, as he was the Duke of York and Albany. The pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, gave the title Duchess of Albany to his illegitimate daughter Charlotte; she died in 1789.

The title "Duke of York and Albany" was often granted by the Hanoverian kings (see Duke of York). The title of "Albany" alone was granted for the fifth time, this time in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, in 1881 to Prince Leopold, the fourth son of Queen Victoria. Prince Leopold's son, Charles, was deprived of the peerage in 1919 for bearing arms against the United Kingdom in World War I. Under the 1917 Titles Deprivation Act, the lineal male heirs of the 2nd Duke of Albany have the right to petition the British Crown for the restoration of his peerages. To date, none has done so. The current heir is the 2nd Duke's great-grandson, Hubertus Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (b. 1961). (Although Hubertus' grandfather, Johann Leopold, lost his status as heir of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha by making a morganatic marriage, this would only affect German princely titles and not British peerages.)

Dukes of Albany, first Creation (1398)

Dukes of Albany, second Creation (1458)

Dukes of Albany, third Creation (1541)

  • Arthur Stewart, Duke of Albany (1541) (died eight days after his baptism)

Dukes of Albany, fourth Creation (1565)

Dukes of Albany, fifth Creation (1604)

Dukes of Albany, sixth Creation (1660)

Dukes of York and Albany

First creation (1716)

Second creation (1760)

Third creation (1784)

Dukes of Albany, Jacobite Peerage (1783, or earlier)

Charlotte was Charles Edward Stuart’s illegitimate daughter by his mistress Clementina Walkinshaw (known as the Countess of Albestroffmarker) and his only child to survive infancy. She was also created a Lady of the Order of the Thistle (LT) by her father on 30 November 1784.

Dukes of Albany, seventh Creation (1881)

Heirs to the Dukedom, if restored

Dukes of Albany in Fiction

  • William Shakespeare's King Lear includes as a major character the Duke of Albany, who is husband to Lear's daughter, Goneril.
  • In the movie Kate & Leopold, Leopold is the Duke of Albany. He is not, however, meant to be the same person as the historic Leopold, Duke of Albany, who would have held the title at that time, as the fictitious character is not a member of the Royal Family.

See also

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