The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Her Majesty the Queen has given Prince William and Catherine Middleton the title of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day.

Her Majesty the Queen has given Prince William and Catherine Middleton the titles Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The announcement ends months of speculation as to whether the title would be chosen as the couple’s new title after today’s royal wedding.

The announcement follows just two days after the Queen visited Cambridge to open a new plant science laboratory and to visit St John’s College.

The previous Duke of Cambridge

Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
Collodion of Prince George, 1855, by Roger Fenton

The giving of titles on wedding days is a long tradition in the royal family.

The last Duke of Cambridge was Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge. He was the son of Prince Adolphus the 7th son of King George III. He was born at Cambridge House in Hanover, Germany on 26th March 1819.

Prince George inherited the title of Duke of Cambridge upon the death of his father in 1850. However, Prince George had no legitimate heirs, despite having married and raised children. George married in 1847 to Sarah Fairbrother – an actress – the daughter of a servant in Westminster. Their marriage was done privately which therefore contravened the 1772 Royal Marriages Act.

This meant that the marriage did not exist in British Law and therefore his bride would not be granted the title of Duchess of Cambridge or ‘Her Royal Highness’, and she would not be recognised by Queen Victoria.

This in turn meant that their children were illegitimate and therefore not deemed as heirs to the dukedom titles or to the throne. The title consequently became extinct upon Prince George’s death in 1904.

The new Duke and Duchess titles start from Prince William’s marriage to Catherine Middleton on 29th April 2011.

Author: Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin is a British author, family historian, tech nerd, AFOL, and host of The Family Histories Podcast.

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