Duke of Clarence

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For the ship, see TSS Duke of Clarence.

Duke of Clarence is a title which has been traditionally awarded to junior members of the English and British Royal families. The first three creations were in the Peerage of England, the fourth in the Peerage of Great Britain, and the fifth in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

The title was first granted to Lionel of Antwerp, the third son of King Edward III, in 1362. Since he died without sons, the title became extinct. The title was again created in favour of Thomas of Lancaster, the second son of King Henry IV, in 1412. Upon his death, too, the title became extinct. The last creation in the Peerage of England was for George Plantagenet, brother of King Edward IV, in 1461. The Duke forfeited his title in 1478, after he had been convicted of treason against his brother. He allegedly met his end (according to William Shakespeare) by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey.

A fourth creation in England was suggested and planned to take effect; the title of Duke of Clarence was going to be given to Lord Guilford Dudley, husband of Lady Jane Grey, upon her coronation, as she declined to make her husband king consort. However, she was deposed before this could take effect.

The next creation (Duke of Clarence and St Andrews) was in 1789 for Prince William, third son of King George III. When Prince William succeeded his brother to the throne in 1830, the dukedom merged in the crown.

The most recent creation (Duke of Clarence and Avondale) was for Prince Albert Victor of Wales, the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). This was the last royal dukedom to be created with two territorial designations. The Duke died of pneumonia in 1892 and the title again became extinct.

The title also took the form of an earldom for Queen Victoria's son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany and his son Prince Charles Edward, the Clarence earldom being a subsidiary title.

The title is said to originate[1] from the town of Clare, Suffolk, which was owned by the first duke of Clarence, Lionel of Antwerp. His wife, Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster, was a direct descendant of the previous owners, the de Clares, and the Manor of Clare was among the lands which she brought to her husband.[2] After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the holders of the title were also given titles including Scottish place names: St Andrews and Avondale.

Dukes of Clarence, first Creation (1362)[edit]

also Earl of Ulster (1264) jure uxoris

Dukes of Clarence, second Creation (1412)[edit]

also Earl of Aumale (1412)

Dukes of Clarence, third Creation (1461)[edit]

also Earl of Warwick and Earl of Salisbury (1472)
William IV was styled "HRH The Duke of Clarence" between his creation in 1789 and his accession in 1830

Dukes of Clarence and St Andrews (1789)[edit]

also Earl of Munster (1789)

Earls of Clarence (1881)[edit]

Dukes of Clarence and Avondale (1890)[edit]

also Earl of Athlone (1890)


  1. ^ Polydore Vergil, in his Anglica Historia of 1534 (Book XIX.36) dates the Dukedom to 1361 and claims to have rediscovered the lost origins of the name. See also David Hatton, Clare, Suffolk, an account of historical features of the town, its Priory and its Parish Church, 2006, Book 1, p21 ISBN 0-9524242-3-1 It is also available online on the Clare website. However, other writers, e.g., T.A. Trant, Narrative of a Journey Through Greece (London: 1830) p4, trace the title Dux Clarentiae to Clarentia (Glarentza) in the Peloponnese, seat of Matilda of Hainaut (aka Maud, Mahaut), Princess of Achaea from 1313-1318, from whom her cousin Philippa of Hainault might have passed to her son Lionel at least an honorific claim to Achaea.
  2. ^ "Dukes of Clarence", Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911).