Miles Fitzalan-Howard, 17th Duke of Norfolk

Major General Miles Francis Stapleton Fitzalan-Howard, 17th Duke of Norfolk, KG, GCVO, CB, CBE, MC, DL (21 July 1915 – 24 June 2002) was a British Army general and peer. He was the eldest son of Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 3rd Baron Howard of Glossop, and his wife Mona Stapleton, 11th Baroness Beaumont. In 1975, he inherited the Dukedom of Norfolk from his second cousin once removed, making him the premier duke in the Peerage of England.

The Duke of Norfolk

Portrait by Allan Warren
Earl Marshal
In office
31 January 1975  24 June 2002
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byThe 16th Duke of Norfolk
Succeeded byThe 18th Duke of Norfolk
Personal details
Miles Francis Fitzalan-Howard

(1915-07-21)21 July 1915
49 Eaton Place, London, England
Died24 June 2002(2002-06-24) (aged 86)
Bacres House, Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, England
Resting placeFitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle, West Sussex
Political partyConservative
Anne Constable-Maxwell
(m. 1927; died 2013)
Children5, including:
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service British Army
Years of service1936–67
RankMajor General
CommandsDirector of Service Intelligence
Director of Management and Support Intelligence
1st Armoured Division
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

Military career

Educated at Ampleforth College and Christ Church, Oxford,[1] Miles Fitzalan-Howard was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Territorial Army as a university candidate on 3 July 1936.[2] and was subsequently commissioned in the same rank in the Grenadier Guards on 27 August 1937, with seniority from 30 January 1936.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant on 30 January 1939[4] and to captain on 30 January 1944.[5]

In April 1944, as a temporary major during the Second World War, he was awarded the Military Cross for reconnaissance of mined roads.[6] He was at the time on foot and under enemy fire. He was quoted in his obituary in The Independent as saying: "Anyone can be the Duke of Norfolk, but I'm rather proud of that medal."[7]

Fitzalan-Howard was promoted to the substantive rank of major on 30 January 1949.[8] Promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 28 February 1955,[9] he was appointed Chief of the British mission to the Soviet forces in Germany in 1957, and received a promotion to colonel on 24 April 1958[10] He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), Military Division, in the 1960 New Year Honours.[11]

In 1961, he was appointed Commander of the 70th Brigade (King's African Rifles and the Kenya Regiment), just before Kenyan independence.[12] Promoted to brigadier on 1 January 1963,[13] he became General Officer Commanding 1st Division on 5 November, with the rank of temporary major general.[14] He was confirmed in the substantive rank of major-general in February 1964, retroactive to 5 November and with seniority from 10 April 1963.[15]

After relinquishing his command on 5 November 1965, he became Director of Management and Support Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence on 6 January 1966[16] Appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 1966 Queen's Birthday Honours,[17] he was appointed Director of Service Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence on 29 July.[18] He relinquished this appointment on 18 September of the following year and retired the same day, after 31 years of service.[19]

Baronies of Beaumont and Howard of Glossop

The Duke inherited the Barony of Beaumont from his mother, the 11th Baroness, in 1971,[1] and the Barony Howard of Glossop from his father, the 3rd Baron, in 1972.[1]

Dukedom of Norfolk

When he was Lord Beaumont he inherited the Dukedom of Norfolk from his second cousin once removed, The 16th Duke of Norfolk, in 1975[1] and added his mother's maiden name of Stapleton before his own that year. He also inherited the Great Office of Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England, which is attached to the Dukedom of Norfolk, thereby becoming responsible for State occasions.[1] He became, by virtue of this office, the hereditary judge of the Court of Chivalry and head of the College of Arms, responsible for heraldry in England and Wales as well as other parts of the Commonwealth of Nations such as Australia and New Zealand.

The Dukes of Norfolk remained Roman Catholic despite the Reformation (see recusancy). The Duke, as senior Roman Catholic peer of the United Kingdom, represented The Queen at the installation of Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II and at the funeral of Pope John Paul I.[1] The 17th Duke was patron of many Catholic charities and benevolent organisations, including the Catholic Building Society.

Personal life

One of eight children (all of whose first names started with the letter "M"), the Duke married Anne Mary Teresa Constable-Maxwell in 1949. They had two sons and three daughters:[1]

The Duke died on 24 June 2002 and is buried at Fitzalan Chapel on the western grounds of Arundel Castle. A memorial service was held at Westminster Cathedral, celebrated by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster; the congregation was led by Princess Alexandra of Kent representing the Queen and by Field Marshal Lord Bramall representing the Duke of Edinburgh.[21]

Honours and awards



See also


  1. Obituary: The Duke of Norfolk The Daily Telegraph, 26 June 2002
  2. "No. 34301". The London Gazette. 3 July 1936. p. 4230.
  3. "No. 34430". The London Gazette. 27 August 1937. p. 5441.
  4. "No. 34594". The London Gazette. 31 January 1939. p. 681.
  5. "No. 36353". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 February 1944. p. 570.
  6. "No. 36456". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 April 1944. p. 1587.
  7. Obituary: The Duke of Norfolk The Independent, 26 June 2002
  8. "No. 38526". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 February 1949. p. 564.
  9. "No. 40479". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 May 1955. p. 2867.
  10. "No. 41550". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 November 1958. p. 7046.
  11. "No. 41909". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1960. p. 6.
  12. Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  13. "No. 42959". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 April 1963. p. 3025.
  14. "No. 43149". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 November 1963. p. 9043.
  15. "No. 43241". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 February 1964. p. 1257.
  16. "No. 43875". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 January 1966. p. 655.
  17. "No. 44004". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1966. p. 6531.
  18. "No. 44066". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 July 1966. p. 8501.
  19. "No. 44410". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 September 1967. p. 10207.
  20. "Tessa Balfour is many things". New York Social Diary.
  21. "Miles Francis Stapleton Fitzalan-Howard, 17th Duke of Norfolk". Rootsweb.
Military offices
Preceded by
Thomas Pearson
General Officer Commanding the 1st Division
Succeeded by
Richard Ward
Political offices
Preceded by
The 16th Duke of Norfolk
Earl Marshal
Succeeded by
The 18th Duke of Norfolk
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Mona Fitzalan-Howard
Baron Beaumont
Succeeded by
Edward Fitzalan-Howard
Preceded by
Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard
Duke of Norfolk
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bernard Edward Fitzalan-Howard
Baron Howard of Glossop
Succeeded by
Edward Fitzalan-Howard
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