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The Dukedom Of Clarence

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The Dukedom Of Clarence

Post by Karen on Wed 8 Sep 2010 - 2:37



"The Queen has been pleased to confer the dignity of a peerage of the United Kingdom upon his Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward of Wales, K.G., K.P., by the name, style, and title of Duke of Clarence and Avondale, and Earl of Athlone."

This announcement, which first appeared in the London Gazette of Friday, May 23, reminds us that this is the fifth creation of the same title and dignity in the peerage of England. In the four previous cases the dignity has been confined, in like manner, to persons of royal blood and to near relatives of the reigning sovereign. In each of these cases, also, the dignity has become extinct at the decease of its possessor, a coincidence rare, if not unique, in the history of the peerage. The fifth and latest creation will, ere long, in the course of nature, be merged in the crown, and many generations may lapse before the world shall hear of another Duke of Clarence who is not sovereign of Great Britain. But it is equally probable that in the great democratic and destructive future that awaits us crowns and sovereigns, dukes and nobles, shall have ceased to be!

1. The first Duke of Clarence was, undoubtedly, Lionel, third son of Edward III. and his queen Philippa of Hainault. He was born at Antwerp, Nov. 29, 1338, during the attendance of the king and queen at a great tournament held in that city. Lionel evidently received his name out of compliment to the Lion of Flanders, the national emblem of the Comitatus Flandrensis, and also of Brabant. He prided himself upon being a Fleming, both by the nationality of his mother and the place of his birth. He grew up remarkably tall, to the height of nearly seven feet, and was strong in proportion. He was the favourite son of Philippa, whom he resembled in person. When only in his eighth year he was left "Custos of the realm," during his father's absence, with the Prince of Wales, to prosecute the war with France. He was regent when David, King of Scotland, invaded England and risked a battle at Neville's Cross in 1347; but on account of the prince's youth, Philippa seems to have assumed the reins of government. David, we know, was defeated and taken prisoner by the Northumbrian knight Coupland, who at first refused to surrender his captive either to the prince or his mother, but to the king in person only.
In the following year, when still only nine years old, Prince Lionel was betrothed, it is said, "on the petition of the Irish," to Elizabeth de Burgh, daughter and one of the co-heiresses of William, Earl of Ulster, deceased, of royal blood by descent from Henry III. The bride had been given in wardship by the king to his consort Philippa, and was yet an infant at the time of her betrothal. The marriage was deferred till 1354, when the young prince was created Earl of Ulster in right of his wife, and subsequently Duke of Clarence. He was the third duke ever made in England; the title of duke seems to have been unknown in the English peerage till the Black Prince became Duke of Cornwall in 1337. Prince John of Gaunt was the second, and was created Duke of Lancaster shortly before the creation of Clarence, his elder brother, because the latter was absent in Ireland, as Lord Lieutenant, 1361-5, where his position became so critical that the king had to issue writs commanding all the absentee Irish lords to hasten home to the assistance of the prince, "for that his dear son and his companions in Ireland were in imminent peril." He was soon recalled. Prince John was invested by the king, in person, Nov. 13, 1362, "with the sword, furred cap, and circle, or coronet of gold." I cannot find when Clarence was invested, but his dukedom dates from the same year as that of Lancaster. Both brothers were made K.G. at the same time. The title of Clarence is derived from the lordship of Clare, in Suffolk, the inheritance of his wife, Elizabeth of Clare. She seems to have been the sole heiress and representative of Gibert de Clare, the last Earl of Gloucester and Hertford of that family, who died in 1313, leaving his vast possessions to his three sisters as co-heiresses. Elizabeth, the third sister, married William de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, carrying the lordship of Clare into that family.

Source: Oxford Journals, No. 234, London, Saturday, June 21, 1890, Page 481

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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