Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha, families of two British consorts

Anyone who is interested in the history of the British monarchy is familiar with the names Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha: Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria is certainly a well-known figure; Princess Augusta, the mother of George III, probably less so. Those who have read about monarchies in the 19th century more generally are also awareContinue reading “Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha, families of two British consorts”

Dukes and Abbeys in the Midi: A Circular Drive around the Centre of France

Driving tours in France often include visits to the country’s periphery, the seacoast, the Alps, the Pyrenees. This long circular drive I did in the summer of 2000, to allow me to dig in to some regional archives for my dissertation about the Lorraine-Guise family, instead took me deep into France’s interior. Aside from exploringContinue reading “Dukes and Abbeys in the Midi: A Circular Drive around the Centre of France”

Dukes of Westminster

What do rural Cheshire and the most fashionable neighbourhoods in West London have in common? Both have been part of the extensive portfolio of the Grosvenor family for centuries. The dukedom of Westminster may be relatively new (1874), but their development of Mayfair and Belgravia stretches back to the early 18th century, and their controlContinue reading “Dukes of Westminster”

Leinster Dukes and Princes: An Irish Driving Tour

In September 2014, I attended a wedding of a dear friend in the south-east corner of Ireland, near Kilkenny. The wedding was hosted in a gorgeous country house called Borris. I knew nothing about this house with an odd-sounding name, but in the evening before the wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, I chatted with theContinue reading “Leinster Dukes and Princes: An Irish Driving Tour”

Dukes of Bridgewater

When it comes to name swapping within the British aristocracy, the Egertons are champions. At various times their surname has been Malpas or Grey or Tatton, or more recently Leveson-Gore or Grosvenor. In fact, the dynasty’s founders used the name Le Belward before marrying the heiress of the barony of Malpas in the southwestern cornerContinue reading “Dukes of Bridgewater”

What is a prince? What is a duke?

When reading about someone who is the prince of this or the duchess of that, most people immediately conjure up an image of someone who is very grand, an elite part of the old aristocracy of Europe. But I am very often struck by how frequently historians, including professional academic historians, regularly use noble titlesContinue reading “What is a prince? What is a duke?”