British princess

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This is a list of British princesses from the accession of King George I in 1714. This article deals with both princess of the blood royal and women who become princesses upon marriage.

The use of title of Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is entirely at the will of the Sovereign. Individuals holding the title of princess are styled Her Royal Highness. Since King George V's Letters Patent of 30 November 1917, the title Princess and the use of the style Royal Highness has generally been restricted to the following persons:

  • The daughters of a British Sovereign;
  • The granddaughters of a British Sovereign in the male-line;
  • The wife of a British prince

There have been several exceptions to these rules, as explained later in this article.

Contents

Princesses of the blood royal and princesses by marriage

Under the current practice, princesses of the blood royal are the legitimate daughters and the male-line granddaughters of a British Sovereign. They are dynasts, that is potential successors to the throne. For these individuals, the title "Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and the style "Her Royal Highness" is an entitlement for life. The title Princess and the style Royal Highness is prefixed to the Christian name, before another title of honor. From 1714 until 1917, the male-line great granddaughters of the Sovereign were titled "Princess of Great Britain and Ireland" with the style "Highness." Since 1917, the male-line great granddaughters of the Sovereign, have held "the style and title enjoyed by the children of dukes." For example, the daughters of the current Duke of Gloucester, a male line grandson of George V, are styled The Lady Davina Windsor and The Lady Rose Windsor.

Princesses by marriage are the recognized wives of the Sovereign's sons and male line grandsons. Generally, these women are entitled to the style Royal Highness by virtue of marriage. They retain the style during their widowhood. However, Queen Elizabeth II issued Letters Patent dated 21 August 1996 that stated that any woman divorced from a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with the style "Royal Highness" would no longer be entitled to the style "Royal Highness."

Since the passage of the 1772 Royal Marriages Act, there have been several instances in which princes of the blood contracted marriages in contravention of that act and several instances in which the Sovereign withheld the style "Her Royal Highness" from a prince's wife deemed to be unsuitable. For example, Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, a male-line grandson of King George III, married Sarah Louisa Fairbrother, in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act. Although morganatic marriage did not exist in British law, the duke's wife was never titled the Duchess of Cambridge or accorded the style "Her Royal Highness." Instead, she known as "Mrs. FitzGeorge." Most famously, King George VI issued Letters Patent dated 27 May 1937 that entitled the Duke of Windsor "to hold and enjoy for himself only the title style or attribute of Royal Highness so however that his wife and descendants if any shall not hold the said title style or attribute."


The wife of a prince of the blood takes her husband's Christian name in her title as do all married royal women. For example, upon her marriage to Prince Michael of Kent in 1978, Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz assumed the title and style of "Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent." Similarly, upon her marriage to then Prince Richard of Gloucester, the former Birgitte van Deurs assumed the title and style of "Her Royal Highness Princess Richard of Gloucester."

The situation is slightly different when a woman is married to a prince who happens to be a peer or the Prince of Wales. Upon marriage, the wife the Prince of Wales becomes "Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales." Upon marriage, the wife of a royal duke (or earl) becomes "Her Royal Highness The Duchess (or Countess) of X." When Prince Richard of Gloucester succeeded to his father's dukedom in 1974, his wife became "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester."

It is technically incorrect to refer to the wife of a royal peer only as "Princess Husbandsfirstname" alone. However, you can refer to her as "Princess Husbandsfirstname, Peerage Title." So, if a woman marries HRH The Duke of Cambridge, she may not be referred to as "HRH The Princess George," but she may be called "HRH The Princess George, Duchess of Cambridge."

History

The use of the titles prince and princess and the styles of Highness and Royal Highness for members of the Royal Family is of fairly recently usage in the British Isles. Before 1714, there was no settled practice regarding the use of the titles prince and princess other than the heir apparent and his wife. From 1301 onward, the eldest sons of the kings of England (and later Great Britain and the United Kingdom) have generally been created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. Their wives were titled Princess of Wales.

The title Princess Royal came into being in 1642 when Queen Henrietta Maria, French-born the wife of King Charles I) wished to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the French King was styled (Madame Royale). However, there was no settled practice on the use of the title princess for the Sovereign's younger daughters or male-line granddaughters. For example, as late as the time of King Charles II, the daughters of his brother James, Duke of York, both of whom became queens regent, were called simply "The Lady Mary" and "The Lady Anne." The future Queen Anne was styled princess in her marriage treaty to Prince George of Denmark and then styled "Princess Anne of Denmark" once married.

After the accession of George I, the children, male line grandchildren, and male line great grandchildren of the British Sovereign were automatically titled "Prince or Princess of Great Britain and Ireland" and styled "Royal Highness" (in the case of children and male line grandchildren) or "Highness" (in the case of male line great grandchilren). Queen Victoria confirmed this practice in Letters Patent dated 30 January 1864 (the first Act of the Prerogative dealing with the princely title in general terms).

Letters Patent, Royal Warrants, and Implied Grants

Since 1864, there are have been several Acts of Prerogative specifically dealing with the titles of princess of the blood royal and princesses by marriage.

On 5 November 1905, Edward VII ordered Garter King of Arms to gazzette his female-line granddaughters, Lady Alexandra Duff and Lady Maud Duff, as Princesses of Great Britain and Ireland with the style Highness and precedence immediately after all members of the British Royal Family styled Royal Highness. On the same day, the King declared their mother, Princess Louise the Princess Royal.

Princess Patricia of Connaught, a male line granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was allowed by King George V's Royal Warrants of 25 February 1919 to "relinquish the style of Royal Highness and the title of Princess of Great Britain and Ireland" and to assume the style of "Lady Patricia Ramsay" (precedence immediately before Marchionesses of England) upon the solemnization of her marriage to Commander the Honourable Alexander Ramsay, R.N. This change in style and title did not affect Lady Patricia Ramsay's membership in the Royal Family or her place in the line of succession.

On 9 November 1948, George VI issued Letters Patent granting the title of Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom, with the style Royal Highness, to the children of The Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. Thus, the current Princess Royal was styled "Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Edinburgh" from birth. Previous to this letters patent, she would have been styled "The Lady Anne Mountbatten" as a child of a duke, although she would have been elevated on the accession of her mother to the throne as a child of the sovereign.

In 1974, The Dowager Duchess of Gloucester, widow of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was granted a request by Elizabeth II to assume the style Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. Although not specifically created a Princess by letters patent, the Princess was entitled to style herself as a British princess. The main reason for the change was to distinguish herself from her daughter in law, HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, wife of HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

In 2003, TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex decided to style their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor in place of HRH The Princess Louise. This was a personal decision that was taken before the Earl and Countess married, and with the permission of the Queen.

In 2005, when Camilla Parker Bowles married HRH The Prince of Wales, she used the style Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall rather than Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, mainly due to the fact that the latter style was associated with Diana, Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales's first wife.

Styling of princesses

  • Daughters of sovereigns- HRH The Princess "X"
  • Male-line granddaughters of sovereigns- HRH Princess "X" of "Y", where "Y" is the territorial designation of their father’s peerages, eg HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent.
  • Wife of a son of the Sovereign or male line grandson of the Sovereign- "HRH Princess Husband's Christian Name" (if her husband is not a peer of the realm) or "HRH The Duchess/Countess of X." (otherwise)
  • A Princess Royal is normally styled HRH The Princess Royal.

When a princess marries, she still takes on her husbands title. If the title is higher than the one she possesses, she will normally be styled using the female equivalent. If her husband has a peerage, she may well be styled, HRH Princess X, and then the female equivalent of the peerage, for example HRH The Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll or HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.

List of princesses of the blood since 1714

Title at birth Other titles heldYear of birthYear of deathNotes.
HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent Hon Lady Ogilvy1936  Granddaughter of George V
HRH Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh18781942Granddaughter of Queen Victoria, daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh
HH Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland 1882 1963 Great great granddaughter of George III, daughter of Prince Ernst (II) of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland
Lady Alexandra Duff HH Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught 1891 1959 Granddaughter of George V, daughter of HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife
HRH The Princess Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine 1843 1878 Daughter of Victoria
HRH Princess Alice of Albany Countess of Athlone 1883 1981 Granddaughter of Victoria, daughter of HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
HRH Princess Amelia 1783 1810 Daughter of George III
HSH Princess Amelia Sophia of Hanover HRH The Princess Amelia Sophia 1711 1746 Daughter of George II
HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh Princess Royal 1950   Daughter of Elizabeth II
HSH Princess Anne of Hanover Princess Royal 1709 1759 Daughter of George II
HRH Princess Augusta of Wales 1737 1813 Daughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales
HRH Princess Augusta of Cambridge   1822 1916 Granddaughter of George III
HRH Princess Augusta Sophia 1768 1840 Daughter of George III
HRH The Princess Beatrice HRH Princess Henry of Battenberg 1857 1944 Daughter of Queen Victoria
HRH Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh18841966 granddaughter of Queen Victoria, daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh
HRH Princess Beatrice of York 1988 Granddaughter of Elizabeth II
HH Princess Caroline of Gloucester 17741775Great granddaughter of King George II, daughter of HRH Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester
HSH Princess Caroline Elizabeth of Hanover HRH The Princess Caroline Elizabeth 1713 1757 Daughter of George II
HRH Princess Caroline Matilda of Wales HM Queen of Denmark and Norway 1751 1775 Daughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales
HH Princess Caroline Mathilde of Albany Countess of Castell Rüdenhausen 1912 1983 Great granddaughter of Victoria, daughter of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
HRH The Princess Charlotte Princess Royal, Queen of Württemberg 1766 1828 Daughter of George III
HRH Princess Charlotte of Wales   1796 1817 Daughter of George IV
HRH Princess Charlotte of Clarence18191819Daughter of William IV
HRH Princess Elizabeth of York Duchess of Edinburgh 1926 Daughter of George VI, succeeded as Elizabeth II
HRH Princess Elizabeth 1770 1840 Daughter of George III
HRH Princess Elizabeth of Clarence18201821Daughter of William IV
HRH Princess Elizabeth Caroline of Wales 1740 1759 Daughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales
HRH Princess Eugenie of York 1990 Granddaughter of Elizabeth II
HH Princess Fredrica of Hanover 1848 1926 Great granddaughter of George III, daughter of George V of Hanover
HH Princess Fredrica of Hanover and Brunswick-Luneburg 1917 1981 great great great granddaughter of George III, daughter of HH Prince Ernst August (III) of Cumberland and Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg
HRH Princess Fredrica of Clarence daughter of William IV
HRH The Princess Helena Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein 1846 1923 daughter of Queen Victoria
HRH The Princess Louisa Queen of Denmark and Norway 1724 1751 daughter of George II
HRH Princess Louisa Anne of Wales 1749 1750 daughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales
HRH Princess Louise of Wales Princess Royal 1867 1931 daughter of Edward VII
HRH Princess Louise Duchess of Argyll 1848 1939 Daughter of Queen Victoria
Lady Louise Windsor   2003   Granddaughter of Elizabeth II, daughter of HRH Prince Edward,Earl of Wessex
HRH Princess Margaret of York Countess of Snowdon 1930 2002 Daughter of George VI, sister of Elizabeth II
HRH Princess Margaret of Connaught Crown Princess of Sweden 1882 1920 Granddaughter of Queen Victoria, daughter of HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught
HRH Princess Marie of Edinburgh Queen of Romania 1879 1938 Granddaughter of Queen Victoria, daughter of HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh
HH Princess Marie of Hanover 1849 1904 great granddaughter of George III, daughter of George V of Hanover
HH Princess Marie Louise of Hanover and Cumberland 1879 1948 Great great granddaughter of George III, daughter of Prince Ernst (II) of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland
HH Princess Mary of York Princess Royal 1897 1965 Daughter of George V
HRH Princess Mary Duchess of Gloucester 1776 1857 Daughter of George III
HRH Princess Mary   1723 1772 Daughter of George II
HRH Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge Duchess of Teck 1833 1897 Granddaughter of George III, mother of Queen Mary
HRH Princess Maud of Wales Queen Maud of Norway 1869 1938 Daughter of Edward VII, mother of King Olav V of Norway
Lady Maud Duff HH Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk 1893 1945 Granddaughter of Edward VII, daughter of HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife
HH Princess Olga of Hanover and Cumberland 1884 1958 Great great granddaughter of George III, daughter of Prince Ernst (II) of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland
HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught Lady Patricia Ramsey 1886 1974 Granddaughter of Queen Victoria
HH Princess Sophia of Gloucester HRH Princess Sophia of Gloucester 1773 1834 Great grandaughter of George II, granted style of HRH Princess Sophia of Gloucester
HRH Princess Sophia 1777 1848 Daughter of George III
HSH Princess Sophia of Hanover HRH The Princess Sophia 1686 1757 Daughter of George I
HH Princess Sybilla of Albany Princess of Sweden 1907 1972 Great granddaughter of Victoria, daughter of Prince Leopold Charles, Duke of Albany
HRH Princess Victoria of Kent Empress of India 1819 1901 Granddaughter of George III, succeeded as Queen Victoria
HRH The Princess Victoria Princess Royal

Crown Princess of Prussia (and later Germany)

The Empress Friedrich
1840 1901 Daughter of Queen Victoria, mother of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia
HRH Princess Victoria of Wales HRH The Princess Victoria 1865 1935 Daughter of Edward VII
HRH Princess Victoria Melita of EdinburghGrand Duchess of Russia18761936 Granddaughter of Queen Victoria, daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

See also

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