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The Duke of Lancaster is the titular owner of the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster and head of the County Palatine of Lancaster. It is also an ancient title that is informally used within Lancaster to describe Elizabeth II, the monarch of the United Kingdom. The Duchy of Lancaster exists as a separate entity from the Crown Estate and currently provides income for the British monarch.[1]

Duke of Lancaster
Queen Elizabeth II, current incumbent
Elizabeth II

since 6 February 1952
StyleHer Majesty
ResidenceBuckingham Palace
Term lengthLife tenure
Inaugural holder Henry IV
SuccessionCharles, Prince of Wales
WebsiteOfficial website
Dukedom of Lancaster
Extinct, merged with Crown
Coronet of a British Duke.svg
Arms of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Leicester and Lancaster.svg
Arms of Henry of Grosmont: the arms of his grandfather Edmund Crouchback (arms of King Henry III, a label France of three points)
Creation date1351 (first creation)
1362 (second creation)
1399 (third creation)
MonarchEdward III (first creation)
Edward III (second creation)
Henry IV (third creation)
PeeragePeerage of England
First holderHenry of Grosmont
Last holderHenry V (merged with crown)
Subsidiary titlesFirst creation
Earl of Derby
Earl of Leicester
Earl of Lancaster
Earl of Lincoln
Earl of Moray
Second creation
Earl of Richmond
Earl of Leicester
Earl of Lancaster
Earl of Derby
Third creation

Earl of Chester
(subsidiary of Prince of Wales)
Extinction date1361 (first creation)
1399 (second creation)
1413 (third creation)
Former seat(s)Lancaster Castle

It is customary at formal dinners in the historic county boundaries of Lancashire and in Lancastrian regiments of the armed forces for the Loyal Toast to the crown to be announced as "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster." In addition, in Lancaster it was quite common as late as the second half of the twentieth century to hear the national anthem sung as "God save our gracious Queen, long live our noble Duke," but this is a tradition that has no constitutional warrant, and the British monarch is not styled legally so within either the County Palatine of Lancashire nor the Duchy of Lancaster in any official capacity (for example, Letters Patent or Acts of Parliament), merely as a sign of local, 'Lancastrian' loyalty.



There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th centuries. There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster. The first creation was on 6 March 1351, for Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl of Lancaster, a great-grandson of Henry III; he was also 4th Earl of Leicester, 1st Earl of Derby, 1st Earl of Lincoln and Lord of Bowland. He died in 1361 and the peerage expired.

The second creation was on 13 November 1362, for John of Gaunt, 1st Earl of Richmond,[2] who was both the 1st Duke's son-in-law and also fourth son of King Edward III. John had married Blanche of Lancaster, 6th Countess of Lancaster, daughter of Henry Grosmont and heiress to his estates. When John of Gaunt, the 1st Duke of this creation died on 4 February 1399, the Dukedom passed to his son, Henry of Bolingbroke, 1st Duke of Hereford. Later that same year, the new 2nd Duke usurped the throne of England from Richard II, ascending the throne as Henry IV, at which point the Dukedom merged in the crown (i.e. becomes vested with the crown).

The third creation was on 10 November 1399, for Henry of Monmouth, Prince of Wales, eldest son of the new king. In 1413, the 1st Duke ascended the throne as King Henry V, and the Dukedom merged in the crown again, where it has remained ever since.

Dukes of Lancaster, first creation (1351)Edit

also Earl of Derby (1337), Earl of Leicester (1345), Earl of Lancaster (1345), Earl of Lincoln (1349), Earl of Moray (1359), Lord of Beaufort and Nogent (1345)

Dukes of Lancaster, second creation (1362)Edit

also Duke of Aquitaine (1390), Earl of Richmond (1342–1372), Earl of Leicester, Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, Baron of Halton (1361)
2nd Duke: also Duke of Hereford (1397), Earl of Northampton (1337)

Dukes of Lancaster, third creation (1399)Edit

also Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (1399), Duke of Cornwall (1337), Duke of Aquitaine (1390)

Family treeEdit

Family tree: Earls and Dukes of Lancaster
King Henry III
King Edward I
Edmund Crouchback,
1st Earl of Lancaster

King Edward II
Thomas of Lancaster,
2nd Earl of Lancaster

Henry of Lancaster,
3rd Earl of Lancaster

King Edward III
Henry of Grosmont,
4th Earl, 1st Duke of Lancaster

John of Gaunt,
5th Earl, 1st Duke of Lancaster

Blanche of Lancaster
Henry Bolingbroke,
6th Earl, 2nd Duke of Lancaster

King Henry IV
Henry of Monmouth,
1st Duke of Lancaster

King Henry V
King Henry VI
(1421–1471, r.1422–61, 1470–71)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Duchy of Lancaster". Duchy of Lancaster. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Duchy of Lancaster". Lancaster Castle. Retrieved 15 December 2016.

External linksEdit