• Advance notice of ennoblement: Meghan Markle becomes Duchess of Albany, Countess of Clarence and Baroness Trematon.


    NB: Today’s article was uploaded in the afternoon and is NOT a prank.
    Saturday 19th May 2018 will see large cheering crowds outside Windsor Castle add their congratulations and best wishes to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who will be marrying that day. This organ, and we are sure our readers will add their good wishes for the couple’s future happiness as well.

    The purpose of today’s article has however more to it than a straightforward presentation of good wishes to the soon to be happy couple. It is to also to inform and yes, to speculate.

    An interesting (to boring old souls like your Editor) fact is that Harry and Meghan’s wedding will be the first such ceremony to be held under the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 (c. 20) which repealed the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 c. 11 (Regnal. 12 Geo 3) the long title being: An Act for the better regulating the future Marriages of the Royal Family.

    There is of course a saying – marry in haste and repent at leisure. Well the previous Act could be said to be a case of legislating in haste and repenting at long leisure. It is commonly supposed by many members of the public that the RMA 1772 was placed on the statute book to prevent members of the Royal family contracting marriages with Roman Catholics. This was NOT the case. That prohibition was secured by the Act of Settlement 1700 c. 2 (Regnal. 12 and 13 Will 3)

    The statute was put onto the statute book as a direct result of the marriage of King George III’s bother, Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, who in 1771 had married a Mrs Anne Horton, the daughter of Simon Luttrell and the widow of a Mr Christopher Horton.

    Now, Mrs Horton was a perfectly respectable lady and was not a Roman Catholic. However she was clearly not a foreign princess and she was not the daughter of a high ranking aristocrat. It was her lowly social status that King George III regarded as something that should bar marriage to a Prince of the Blood Royal.

    However, there was no law preventing it. Now, on the continent they had a legal concept known as the morganatic marriage. A morganatic marriage has and hopefully never will be something that takes place in these British Isles for it is an alien concept. A morganatic marriage is a marriage where the wife and the children are legal but they do not carry the rank that flows from their princely father. They are invariably given lesser titles. The Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary was the product of such a union being HSH Princess May of Teck.

    The RMA 1772 was therefore drawn up and quickly enacted. It was a very poorly drafted piece of legislation as it was in effect self perpetuating down the generations.
    In other words, it was like the present government’s policy on Brexit: Not thought through!
    It was a brief measure and the two surviving clauses are reproduced below:

    1. No descendant of his late Majesty, George The Second (other than the issue of princesses married, or who may marry into foreign families) shall be capable of contracting matrimony without the previous consent of his Majesty, his heirs, &c. signified under the great seal, declared in council, and entered in the Privy Council books. Every Marriage of any such descendant, without such consent, shall be null and void.

    2. In case any descendant of George The Second being above 25 years old, shall persist to contract a marriage disapproved of by his Majesty, such descendant, after giving 12 months notice to the Privy Council, may contract such marriage; and the same may be duly solemnized, without the previous consent of his Majesty; and shall be good; except both Houses of Parliament shall declare their disapproval thereof.

    3. [repealed] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Now then, we are sure that British Gazette readers will know the phrase the law of unintended consequences! Well the RMA 1772 was replete with them! And, even following it’s repeal we can report that this piece of late eighteenth century bungling has had a practical effect which may well be used to benefit the happy couple!

    At this point we would wish to draw your patient attention to the speculation regarding the peerages it is widely accepted that Harry will receive. It is assumed that it will be a dukedom and will follow the pattern of a ducal primary title, a secondary title being an earldom (marquessates being regarded as “foreign”) and a barony as the tertiary title. It is also assumed that the territorial designations will follow the traditional pattern of one being in England, another being in Scotland and another being in Ireland (Northern Ireland since 1949). This is not sacrosanct. The Duke of Edinburgh was additionally created Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. Generally speaking, monarchs prefer to reuse (should that now be recycle?) former titles that have become extinct. This indeed was the case with Harry’s brother who became Duke of Cambridge and Earl of Strathearn. As such, the dukedom of Sussex has been widely touted as a possibility.

    The British Gazette however is of a different opinion. We think that the Queen may well take the opportunity presented by circumstances to bestow two of the three titles of Prince Leopold, eighth child and youngest son of Queen Victoria. On 24th May 1881, he was created Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow. The dukedom of Albany has a long history originating as a Royal title of the Scottish Crown. Clarence, generally as a dukedom has a long history, originating as a Royal title of the English Crown.

    Now at this point some British Gazette readers will shout Ah Ha! at their computer screens and point out that the Duke of Albany has male line descendants and although the title was suspended in 1919 following the Great War it was not forfeited.

    This is true. However, it is also a FACT that all the legitimate descendants of these peerages are dead and thus these titles have become extinct.

    This is because the descendants of the duke are German and did not seek permission under the RMA 1772 to marry and thus their issue cannot claim the peerages were they so minded to.

    The last gentleman who could have claimed the title was Friedrich von Sax-Courg-und-Gotha who died in Grein on 23rd January 1998.

    It is to be noted that the successor act to the RMA 1772 did NOT retrospectively repeal it’s effects!

    Now although the Queen may be considering recreating the honours of Albany and Clarence we can rest assured that she will have NO intention whatsoever of recreating the honours of Arklow!

    You see, Her Majesty, unlike many of her ministers and sadly many of her citizens who sadly have not been taught much in the way of history, will be only too aware of the tragic and bloody history surrounding this lovely part of County Wicklow – notwithstanding the fact that it lies in the Republic of Ireland!

    You see, on 9th June 1798, the town was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1798 rebellion when a large force of Wexford rebels attacked the town in an attempt to spread the rising to Dublin but were repulsed by the entrenched British forces with huge loss of life on the Irish side!

    We consider that a possible tertiary title would be the barony of Trematon. There is in fact a link between this title and the others discussed. The title was last created as a viscountcy being the secondary title of the Earl of Athlone, the brother of the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary who was constrained to give up his German titles in 1917. Lord Athlone’s wife was Princess Alice the daughter of the 1st Duke of Albany. She died on 3rd January 1981 aged 97 having lived in a grace and favour apartment at Kensington Palace. She was quite close to the Queen and her only son who bore the title Viscount Trematon suffered from haemophilia and died as a single young man as a result of a motorcycle crash.

    Trematon is in Cornwall and has a long history with the Duchy of Cornwall. The Wikipedia entry is informative.
    GOTO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudal_barony_of_Trematon
    Furthermore, this fits in with the now established “PC” dogma that Cornwall is a “nation” and not a county of England – the latter of which it is!

    It is therefore the opinion of the British Gazette that in 47 days time, on the afternoon of Friday 18th May 2018, Buckingham Palace will announce that HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Miss Meghan Markle will become TRHs, the Duke and Duchess of Albany, Earl and Countess of Clarence and Baron and Baroness Trematon (pronounced, “trwa” “mate” “un”).

    Herewith a further speculation: Will the happy couple become the leaseholders of Trematon Castle?

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