Duchess of Edinburgh

Duchess of Edinburgh
Term length As long as married to the Duke of Edinburgh
Inaugural holder Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha

Duchess of Edinburgh is the principal courtesy title held by the wife of the Duke of Edinburgh. The title is gained with marriage alone and is forfeited upon divorce.

Duchesses of Edinburgh

The five Duchesses of Edinburgh (and the dates the individuals held that title) are as follows:

1. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1736-1751) was also Princess of Wales between 1736 and 1751, and Dowager Princess of Wales thereafter. Princess Augusta's eldest son succeeded as George III of the United Kingdom in 1760, as her husband, Frederick, Prince of Wales, had died nine years earlier.

2. Maria Walpole (1766-1805) was the daughter of Edward Walpole and Dorothy Clement. Her grandfather was Robert Walpole, considered to be the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1721–41). She was the wife of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh. Her marriage to the Duke without the knowledge of King George III led to the passing of the Royal Marriages Act 1772.

3. The Princess Mary (1816-1834) was the 11th child and 4th daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom. She married her first cousin, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, when both were 40, and was his widow in later life. In her last years, her niece, Victoria, was on the throne as the fourth monarch during Mary's life, after her father and two of her brothers. Princess Mary was the longest-lived (at 81 years) and last survivor of George III's fifteen children; of those fifteen issue, thirteen lived to adulthood. She was also the only one of George III's children to be photographed. She died on 30 April 1857 at Gloucester House, London.

4. Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (1874-1900) was the fifth child and only surviving daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia and his first wife Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna. She was the younger sister of Tsar Alexander III of Russia and the paternal aunt of Russia's last Tsar, Nicholas II. In 1874, Maria Alexandrovna married Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; she was the first and only Romanov to marry into the British royal family. In August 1893, Maria Alexandrovna became Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha when her husband inherited the duchy on the death of his childless uncle, Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

5. The Princess Elizabeth (1947–Present) is, and has been from her accession in 1952, Queen of the United Kingdom. From her marriage in 1947 to her accession in 1953, she was styled HRH The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937.[1] They are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth—though only 13 years old—said she fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters.[2] Their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.[3] Before the marriage, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, taking the surname of his mother's British family.[4] Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style His Royal Highness.[5] Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey.


  1. Brandreth, pp. 132–139; Lacey, pp. 124–125; Pimlott, p. 86
  2. Bond, p. 10; Brandreth, pp. 132–136, 166–169; Lacey, pp. 119, 126, 135
  3. Heald, p. 77
  4. Hoey, pp. 55–56; Pimlott, pp. 101, 137
  5. The London Gazette: no. 38128. p. 5495. 21 November 1947. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
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