Duke of Albany

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

Dukedom of Albany
Creation date24 May 1881
MonarchQueen Victoria
PeeragePeerage of the United Kingdom
First holderPrince Leopold
Last holderPrince Charles Edward
Remainder tothe 1st Duke's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titlesEarl of Clarence
Baron Arklow
StatusSuspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 on 28 March 1919


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) was the first Dukedom created in Scotland. It passed to Robert's son Murdoch Stewart, and was forfeited in 1425 due to the attainder of Murdoch.

The title was again created in 1458 for Alexander Stewart but was forfeit in 1483. His son John Stewart was restored to the second creation in 1515 but died without heirs in 1536. In 1541 Robert, second son of James V of Scotland, was styled Duke of Albany, but he died at less than a month old. The fourth creation, along with the Earldom of Ross and Lordship of Ardmannoch, was for Mary, Queen of Scots' king consort Lord Darnley, whose son, later James VI of Scotland, I of England and Ireland, 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 York and Albany, New York, were thus both named after James, as he was the Duke of York and of 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 granted three times by the Hanoverian kings.

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.[1] Prince Leopold's son, Prince Charles Edward (who had succeeded as reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1900), was deprived of the peerage in 1919 for bearing arms against the United Kingdom in World War I.[1] His grandson, Ernst Leopold (1935–1996), only son of Charles Edward's eldest son Johann Leopold, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1906–1972), sometimes used the title "Duke of Albany",[1] although the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 stipulates that any successor of a suspended peer shall be restored to the peerage only by direction of the sovereign, the successor's petition for restoration having been submitted for and obtained a satisfactory review of the appropriate Privy Council committee.[2]

Dukes of Albany

First creation, 1398

Other titles (1st Duke): Earl of Fife (1371), Earl of Buchan (1374–1406), Earl of Atholl (1403–1406)
Other titles (2nd Duke): Earl of Menteith (bef 1189), Earl of Fife (1371), Earl of Buchan (1374)

Second creation, 1458

Other titles (1st Duke): Earl of March (1455), Earl of Mar and Earl of Garioch (1482)
Other titles (2nd Duke): Earl of March (1455)
  • John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany (1481–1536), only legitimate son of the 1st Duke, was restored to his father's dukedom and Earldom of March in 1515. The honours became extinct upon his death without issue

Only styled, 1541

Arthur Stewart
House of Stuart
no portrait 7 November 1677
Falkland Palace, Falkland
son of King James V and Queen Mary
not married 12 December 1677
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh
aged 8 days

Third creation, 1565

Henry Stuart
House of Stuart
also: Earl of Ross and Lord Ardmannoch (1565)
19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline
son of Matthew Stewart and Lady Margaret Douglas
Mary, Queen of Scots
29 July 1565
1 child
10 February 1567
Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh
aged 21
James Stuart
House of Stuart
also: Earl of Ross and Lord Ardmannoch (1565);
Duke of Rothesay (1398)
19 June 1566
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry Stuart, Duke of Albany
Princess Anne of Denmark
29 July 1565
9 children
27 March 1625
De Vere Theobalds Estate, Cheshunt
aged 58
Prince James succeeded as James VI in 1567 upon his mother's abdication, and his titles merged with the crown.

Fourth creation, 1600

Charles Stuart
House of Stuart
also: Marquess of Ormond, Earl of Ross, Lord Ardmannoch (1600–1625);
Duke of York (1605–1625);
Prince of Wales (1616), Duke of Cornwall (1337) and Duke of Rothesay (1398)
19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline
son of King James I and Queen Anne
Henrietta Maria of France
13 June 1625
9 children
30 January 1649
Whitehall Palace, London
aged 48
Prince Charles succeeded as Charles I in 1625 upon his father's death, and his titles merged with the crown.

Fifth creation, 1660

James Stuart
House of Stuart
also: Duke of York (1633/1644), Earl of Ulster (1659)
14 October 1633
St. James's Palace, London
son of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria
Anne Hyde
3 September 1660
8 children

Mary of Modena
21 November 1673
7 children
16 September 1701
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Paris
aged 67
Prince James succeeded as James II in 1685 upon his brother's death, and his titles merged with the crown.

Sixth creation, 1881

Prince Leopold
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
also: Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow (1881)
7 April 1853
Buckingham Palace, London
son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont
27 April 1882
2 children
28 March 1884
Villa Nevada, Cannes
aged 30
Prince Charles Edward
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
also: Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow (1881)
19 July 1884
Claremont, Esher
son of Prince Leopold and Princess Helena
Princess Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein
11 October 1905
5 children
6 March 1954
aged 69
The Titles Deprivation Act 1917 suspended the title on 28 March 1919.

Family tree

Family tree: Dukes of Albany
Robert II of Scotland
Robert III of Scotland
Robert Stewart,
1st Duke of Albany

James I of Scotland
Murdoch Stewart,
2nd Duke of Albany

Dukedom forfeit, 1425
James II of Scotland
James III of Scotland
Alexander Stewart,
1st Duke of Albany

Forfeit 1479, restored 1482, forfeit 1483
James IV of Scotland
John Stewart,
2nd Duke of Albany

Dukedom restored, 1515
James V of Scotland
Prince Arthur Stewart,
Duke of Albany
Mary, Queen of Scots
(1542–1587, r.1542–1567)
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley,
1st Duke of Albany

Prince James, 2nd Duke of Albany
King James VI & I
Princess Elizabeth Stuart
m. Frederick V of the Palatinate
Prince Charles, Duke of Albany
King Charles I
Sophia of Hanover
m. Ernest Augustus of Brunswick
King Charles II
Prince James, Duke of Albany
King James II
(1633–1701, r.1685–1688)
King George I
Ernest Augustus,
Duke of York and Albany

Queen Mary II
Queen Anne
King George II
Prince Frederick Louis,
Prince of Wales

King George III
Prince Edward,
Duke of York and Albany

King George IV
Prince Frederick,
Duke of York and Albany

King William IV
Prince Edward,
Duke of Kent

Queen Victoria
King Edward VII
Prince Leopold,
1st Duke of Albany

King George V
Charles Edward,
2nd Duke of Albany

Dukedom forfeit, 1919
King Edward VIII
(1894–1972, r.1936)
King George VI
Queen Elizabeth II

Dukes of Albany in fiction

  • Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville's play Gorboduc includes Fergus, the Duke of Albany, who tries to claim the British throne after Gorboduc's death through his royal descent.
  • 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, presumably meant to be the same person as the historic Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, who would have held the title at that time, as the fictitious character comments that his surname is Mountbatten (a later surname of the British royal family, which is an Anglicised version of the German surname Battenberg).

See also


  1. Eilers, Marlene (1997). Queen Victoria's Descendants. Falkoping, Sweden: Rosvall Royal Books. pp. 106–108, 160–162, 164–165, 179–180. ISBN 91-630-5964-9.
  2. "Titles Deprivation Act 1917". The National Archives. 1917. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  3. Gregg, Pauline (1981), King Charles I, London: Dent
  4. Callow, John, The Making of King James II: The Formative Years of a King, Sutton Publishing, Ltd, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2000. Page

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