Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

When Prince William was created Duke of Cambridge right before his wedding, what practical effect did that have for him? Does he now have a vote in the House of Lords that didn’t exist before? Does he have any power over or responsibility for the people of Cambridge?

I suppose the same question applies to the other titles that he was granted on that occasion, Earl of Stratham and Baron Carrickfergus.

He doesn’t get a seat in the House of Lords. A few seats are still reserved for hereditary peers, so I suppose that when one becomes available he could theoretically put his name forward for election (by other peers), but in practice that would be unthinkable, given that monarchs and likely future monarchs are expected to stay the hell out of politics.
So the title is essentially ceremonial. It also confers no power over or responsibility for the city of Cambridge, although people would probably expect the holder to at least show some polite interest in the place.

The only real power to be had by royal title in England is the power to earn money.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchies_in_England

The two duchies are now relegated to the Palace and grounds, and various property. Well the point is that its distinct parcels of land, as if privately owned… The royalty doesn’t own the entire province…

The Duchy of Lancaster - pays the Duke or Duchess of Lancaster, which is always the monarch.

The Duchy of Cornwall Pays the Duke of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales… the eldest (heir) son to the thrown. If there isn’t any, it pays the monarch.

(Too bad if its a female heir… OR perhaps they would have changed the rule if they had to. )
No Duchy for the Duke of Cambridge.

I understand his uncle, Prince Edward, would have become Duke of Cambridge had he married earlier. So how come Edward is now Earl of Wessex and not a Duke (of Kent perhaps?)

He’s an Earl because the intention is that he will succeed his father as Duke of Edinburgh, and a duke outranks an earl. I suspect he’s specifically the Earl of Wessex because that’s what he wanted to be.

There’s already an Edward, duke of Kent.

Prince Edward apparently opted for the Wessex title after being inspired by the film Shakespeare in Love (in which Colin Firth plays the fictional earl of Wessex). Apparently, the plan is that he will one day become duke of Edinburgh when his father dies.

There’s several royal dukedoms that could be granted to, say, Prince Harry or future sons of William and Kate.

The suspended dukedoms in your link (Albany and Cumberland) are specifically NOT available for Harry and company: they were suspended but not ended in the wake of World War I and the heirs to those titles are eligible to apply for restoration. Neither Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg (heir to Albany) nor Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover (heir to Cumberland) has seen fit to do so, but the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917 gives them the right to do so.

There are several traditionally royal dukedoms that are currently vacant though, and one of these is likely Harry’s future title, with Clarence and Sussex the most likely contenders.

Back in the day when all hereditary titles automatically carried a seat in Parliament, it was very much the convention that the royal dukes never exercised their right to sit and vote in Parliament.

There’s actually some indication Edward was never made a Duke because his mother doesn’t think too highly of him. Edward has done several things that both the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen have reportedly been pretty embarrassed about. From his failed military career (I believe the only member of the Royal family who completely washed out of the military) to his embarrassing involvement with show business I just think he’s conducted himself in a way that the Queen and her consort don’t particularly like.

What’s odd is while they did specify he would receive the title Duke of Edinburgh, it will only happen when both that title is vacant and Prince Charles has ascended to the throne. So if his father pre-deceases his mother (which is likely) the Ducal title would be vacant until she actually died and her eldest son succeeded her. That’s just weird, as there’s been a long running tradition among modern British monarchs to grant all of their sons Ducal titles when they marry, and Queen Elizabeth has extended this to her grandson upon his marriage and will probably do the same for Harry if he marries during her reign.

There’s not really a practical difference in Edward’s lifestyle that he was only raised an Earl upon marriage, but I can see where it sends a type of message. The official line is the Shakespeare in Love story, but with the Royals I wouldn’t necessarily buy that unskeptically.

The royal family’s earnings come from the Civil List, not their holdings. Those now go to the Treasury.

Historically yes but they recently abolished the Civil List. Some recent reforms have actually set the annual budget for the Royal Household at an amount equal to 10% of the revenue of the Crown Estates–but made clear that this scheme does not in any way entitle the monarch to the revenue of the Crown Estates. But the Royal Household has done a poor job of managing their finances and I believe have ran into the red every year under this new scheme.

It’s ironic that George III surrendered the revenue from the Crown Estates to Parliament in exchange for the Civil List since those estates were not sufficient to support the Royal Household (well sort of, Parliament also wanted more direct control over the monarch’s revenue and worked to achieve that during the reigns of William and Mary, Anne, and George II.) Now the Crown Estates produce vastly more income than the Royal Household would ever need but the monarch has no right to collect the revenue.

The second part of your post about the holdings is also only partially correct. Much of the historical crown holdings are aggregated together as the Crown Estates, and the revenue from that goes to the government (and it is substantial these days.)

But there are two exceptions, the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster. The Duchy of Cornwall is worth almost £800m, and the Duke of Cornwall is entitled to the revenue income generated from this property portfolio (averages around £18m a year.) The Duke of Cornwall is always the Prince of Wales/male heir to the throne, but recent legislation has entitled any heir to the throne to the income whether they are Duke of Cornwall or not–I guess to cover a situation where a female heir would not be the Duke of Cornwall as it’s a title women cannot hold.

They’ve also fairly firmly established that income from the Duchy of Cornwall is not-taxable due to its special status. But the Prince of Wales has voluntarily paid tax on it since the 90s to try and avoid any negative publicity (special tax treatment was a historical gripe of British Republicans.)

The Duchy of Lancaster is much the same, except it is held by the current monarch and the income revenue goes to the current monarch. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for managing this property portfolio, and it’s a ministerial position filled on advice of the PM.

As most also know, in addition to the two Royal Duchies the Royal Family also has some level of private income from lands and investments owned privately, it’s never been clear how much the value of those assets is, but I’ve seen it estimated at anywhere from £30m-300m.

No, the Edinburgh title won’t be vacant (absent some major catastrophe in the royal family). If the current duke predeceases the queen, Charles as the eldest son will inherit the Dukedom of Edinburgh. If Philip and Charles both predecease the queen, William will add Edinburgh to Cambridge (and George, Harry, and Andrew are in line behind him). If Philip outlives the queen, he will still be Duke until his death, when it goes to Charles.

At some point, though, the title will “merge with the Crown” when the current holder is both Duke of Edinburgh and King. Since a king can’t hold a feudal title from himself, a merged title is therefore available to be granted to someone else.

For example, Queen Victoria’s senior grandson, Prince George of Wales, was created Duke of York in 1892. When he ascended the throne as King George V, the Dukedom of York merged with the crown and was therefore available for his second son, Prince Albert. Albert himself became King George VI, so the title merged again, making it available for another new creation for Albert’s grandson, Prince Andrew (the current title-holder).

Prince Edward has taken up many of his father’s charitable endeavors, and in particular is now a trustee for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program, so I’d be leery of putting much faith in the “royal dislike” story.

I stand properly corrected. :smack:

Ah, it was my understanding Philip would hold the DoE til death either way, but I thought it would “merge with the Crown” during the period between Philip’s death and Elizabeth’s death (if he predeceased her.) I didn’t realize it would go to Charles in the interim.

This is true generally about titles merging or reverting to the crown. Since the monarch is the fount of honor though, they can technically create any number of titles if they need to–they are not limited only to ones that had previously merged with the crown, at least not legally. Although I’m not aware of any modern examples of wholly new title creations (as opposed to 2nd, 3rd etc creations of previously dormant titles), as there are so many titles that have merged with the crown over the years there is probably little reason to reinvent the wheel.

Also while I don’t believe Elizabeth truly has any Ducal titles by right or warrant, she is commonly called the Duke of Lancaster and the Duke of Normandy, in Lancaster and the Channel Islands respectively. In the 60s some French referred to her as Duchesse, and she responded that she was the “Duke of Normandy.” Although again, I think legally her title over the Channel Islands is just Queen, though.

That may be so, especially after he got out of show business and has basically solely “worked” as a Royal for the past 10-14 years. But there’s a lot of gossip that the royal parents were not really thrilled with Edward’s life and the choices he made up until that point.

Depends on what you want to consider “modern.” The first (and probably last :slight_smile: ) creation of the Dukedom of Windsor was in 1936. Of course, the family may well have wanted to reinvent the wheel in that instance.

Among the titles created for minor family in the wake of the first world war, I believe the title Marquess of Milford Haven was wholly new, although others (e.g., Earl of Athlone) were new creations of extinct titles. The Earldom of Snowden was a new title for Princess Margaret’s husband in 1961, although the Barony of Snowden had been an earlier royal title.

For non-royals, brand-new titles are not unusual. See, e.g., the war-hero titles (Earl Alexander of Tunis, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Earl Kitchener of Khartoum), or the most recent nonroyal earldom: the title Earl of Stockton was created for Harold Macmillan in the 1960s.