Monday, May 07, 2007

Question: Who is of higher rank, a prince or a duke?

If you check the top left hand corner of the blog, just above recent articles, you'll see that I welcome questions on royalty. I love answering them, and sometimes I even learn something new. I recently received questions from two different people. Why am I mentioning this? Well, the questions were almost identical - Who is of higher rank, a prince or a duke?

Since this question seems to be so popular, I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else was wondering the same thing.

So, who does rank higher?

Well, it's easy to say that a prince ranks higher than a duke. However, there are two types of Duke's in the United Kingdom - Royal Duke's and noble (non-royal) Duke's.

It is customary, on the marriage of the sons of a sovereign, to be given a Dukedom upon their marriage. The Queen did this with Prince Andrew (Duke of York) in 1986 and Prince Edward (Earl of Wessex - to be created Duke of Edinburgh after his father's death), upon his marriage in 1999. The Prince of Wales, as the eldest son of the sovereign, automatically became Duke of Cornwall upon his mother's accession in 1952, making him the most senior of dukes. Therefore he was not given any titles when he married in 1981.

Although there is nothing that defines these titles as exclusive to the royal family or makes them royal in general, any available dukedom, created by the sovereign for one of her sons, could become a royal dukedom. These royal dukedom's, which unlike other dukedoms, do not come with any estate or property. A good example of this would be the Duke of Windsor, which was simply a title. As such, because they are royal dukedoms, they rank higher than that of an "ordinary" older dukedom.

So a prince, whether a royal duke or not, ranks higher than a noble duke, which is the highest rank, just below that of a king or a prince.

Thanks for your questions ladies!

© Marilyn Braun 2007

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