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The title Duke of York is a title of nobility in the British peerage. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of the British monarch. Since the second creation (1474), not one of the holders of the title has ever passed it on: they either died without male heirs or became King themselves.

The current Duke of York is The Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II. Andrew currently has no male heirs.

The wife of the Duke of York is known as the Duchess of York.


In medieval times, Yorkmarker was the main town of Northern England, and Yorkshiremarker was England's largest shire.

In the interval between the fall of Jorvik under Eirik Bloodaxe, last King of Jorvik, 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 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 Agincourtmarker 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 next 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 citymarker and statemarker of New York in what is now the United States of Americamarker 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", and "Bonnie Prince Charlie", and the younger son, Henry, who became a Roman Catholic cardinal, was known as the Cardinal Duke of York. To the Jacobites, they were Kings James III, Charles III, and Henry IX, respectively. (From the Jacobite perspective, this creation of the title merged into the Crown with Charles's death without legitimate issue, and Henry's succession to his rights.)

During the 18th century the Dukedom of York and Albany was created a number of times in the Peerage of Great Britain. The title was first held by Duke Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Bishop of Osnabrück, the youngest brother of King George I. He died without heirs. The second creation of the Dukedom of York and Albany was for Prince Edwardmarker, younger brother of King George III, who also died without heirs, having never married. The third and last creation of the Dukedom of York and Albany was for Prince Frederick Augustus, the second son of King George III. He served as Commander-in-Chief of 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 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 most recent creation was for Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II. As of the present day, he only has two daughters. Thus, if he has no future sons, which seems likely, the title will become extinct at his death. If the tradition of awarding the title to the second son of the monarch were to continue, the title would then be awarded to Prince Harry, the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, the current heir apparent to the throne. Titles are traditionally given on marriage and if Harry's marriage predated Andrew's death, another title would presumably be awarded instead (following the precedent of the Earldom of Wessex being awarded to the current Duke of York's brother, Prince Edward, with the promise of the Dukedom of Edinburgh being granted to him at a later date, Prince Harry may be created an Earl with the expectation of being created Duke of York on his uncle's 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. This has fuelled the rumour that there is a curse on the title.


Dukes of York

First creation, 1385–1415, 1425–1461

Second creation, 1474–1483

Third creation, 1494–1509

Fourth creation, 1605–1625

Fifth creation, (1633) 1644–1685

Dukes of York and Albany

After the Union of Great Britainmarker, the Hanoverian kings liked to grant double titles (one from one constituent country, one from another) to emphasise unity.

First creation, 1716–1728

Second creation, 1760–1767

Third creation, 1784–1827

Dukes of York

After Queen Victoriadecided against awarding the available dukedom to her second sonas was traditional (possibly due to its Hanoverian connections), she eventually granted the dukedom of York (alone, rather than "York and Albany") to her eldest son's second (but by then eldest living) son.

Sixth creation, 1892–1910

Seventh creation, 1920–1936

Eighth creation, 1986–Present

Possible future of the title

Under current law the eighth creation will become extinct on Andrew's death (unless he previously remarries and has a son), and the right to re-grant the title will revert to the Crown; the then monarch will most likely follow tradition and create his own second son Duke of York. If Charles is king, the title will thus go to his second son Prince Harry. However, if by this time Prince Harry has already been conferred with a Dukedom (such as Cambridge or Sussex), the title will be reserved for future use.

The dukedoms of York, Cornwall, Lancaster, Clarence, and Gloucester compose the original group created between 1337 and 1385. Prince Charles is the Duke of Cornwall, The Queen is the Duke of Lancaster, and Prince Richard is the Duke of Gloucester. The only one of these titles not currently extant is Clarence, last held by Queen Victoria's grandson who died in 1892. Prince Andrew is not likely to be the last Duke of York.

External links

See also

Places named after Dukes of York:

Edmund of Langley
House of York (founder)

5 June 1341
Kings Langleymarker
son of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault

Isabella of Castile
3 children

Joan de Holland
no children

1 August 1402
Kings Langleymarker
aged 61

Edward of Norwich
House of York

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 Plantagenet succeeding Edward until the king deemed it prudent to restore them.
Richard Plantagenet
House of York

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

28 April 1442
son of Richard Plantagenet 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.
Richard of Shrewsbury
House of York

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 Richard died is a controversial, frequently debated topic and there is no solid evidence for his date, age or place of death, though he was incarcerated in the Tower of Londonmarker along with his brother, becoming popularly known as one of the Princes in the Tower. It is most likely that he died without issue, and his titles became extinct
Henry Tudor
House of Tudor

28 June 1491
Greenwich Palacemarker
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 Palacemarker
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
Charles Stuart
("Saint Charles the Martyr")
House of Stuart

19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace
son of James I of England and Anne of Denmark

Henrietta Maria of France
13 June 1625
9 children

30 January 1649
Whitehall Palacemarker
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 his titles all merged with the crowns
James Stuart
House of Stuart

14 October 1633

James's Palacemarker
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-Layemarker
aged 67

Prince James was styled Duke of York from birth and officially created as such in 1644. When his brother died without legitimate male issue, James succeeded as 'James II & VII in 1685, and his titles merged with the crowns
Prince Ernest Augustus
House of Hanover

7 September 1674
son of Ernest Augustus, Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Sophia of the Palatinate

never married 14 August 1728
aged 53

Prince Ernest also held the title Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück. He was the younger brother of George I and died without issue
Prince Edwardmarker
House of Hanover

25 March 1739
Norfolk Housemarker
son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha

never married 17 September 1767
Prince's Palace of Monacomarker
aged 28

Rather than the second son of the soveriegn, Prince Edward was the second son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and the younger brother of George III. Edward died without issue while still in his 20s after a short illness
The Prince Frederick
House of Hanover

16 August 1763

James's Palacemarker
son of George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Frederica Charlotte of Prussia
29 September 1791
No children

5 January 1827
Rutland Housemarker
aged 63

Prince Frederick separated from his only wife Frederica Charlotte (with whom he had no children) but was rumoured to have fathered several illegitimate children]
The Prince George
House of Windsor

3 June 1865
Marlborough Housemarker
son of Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Alexandra of Denmark

Mary of Teck
6 July 1893
6 children

20 January 1936
Sandringham Housemarker
aged 70

Prince George became 'George V in 1910, and his titles merged with the crown
The Prince Albert
House of Windsor

14 December 1895
Sandringham Housemarker
son of George V of the United Kingdom and Mary of Teck

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
26 April 1923
2 children

6 February 1952
Sandringham House
aged 56

Prince Albert succeeded as 'George VI upon his brother's abdication in 1936, and his titles merged with the crown
The Prince Andrew
House of Windsor

19 February 1960
Buckingham Palacemarker
son of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Sarah Ferguson
23 July 1986 – May 30, 1996
2 children

current holder
Prince Andrew has no legitimate sons, and it is generally considered to be very unlikely that he will

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