Fears Meghan Markle will have to wait to be UK citizen

The first and only Duke of Sussex was Prince Augustus, sixth son of King George III.

Suffering from asthma, he was deemed too delicate to join the military. He was sent abroad and married Lady Augusta Murray – whom he called ‘Goosy’ – in secret in Rome in 1793.

But the marriage was declared void by George III, who had not given his approval. It was later annulled on the grounds that it contravened the Royal Marriages Act 1772.

The prince became the Duke of Sussex in 1801. Lady Augusta did not become the Duchess of Sussex. She called herself princess and demanded a peerage, but never received one.

The duke’s political views – such as backing parliamentary reform and the abolition of the slave trade – sparked a rift between him and his father and brother, the Prince Regent.

The duke’s second marriage was to Lady Cecilia Underwood, ninth daughter of the Earl of Arran.

This was also deemed illegal because he did not seek permission from the king, so Lady Cecilia was not styled the Duchess of Sussex. She was later made the Duchess of Inverness by Queen Victoria instead.

This means Meghan Markle could become history’s first Duchess of Sussex, if Harry accepts this title from his grandmother.

The Duke of Sussex was Victoria’s favourite uncle and he gave her away at her wedding to Prince Albert.

He was musically gifted, had a fine singing voice, and amassed a huge library, a variety of singing birds and a large number of clocks.

His children from his first marriage were not recognised so when he died without a legitimate heir in 1843, his title became extinct.

The Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward had been expected to be given the title the Duke of Sussex when he married in 1999, but in a surprise move he received an Earldom linked to the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex.


King William IV (1765-1837) held the double title of Duke of Clarence and St Andrews before he acceded the throne. He was also known as the ‘Sailor King’ for his love of the sea and career in the Navy, which began at the age of 13.

He was good-natured but could also be boorish and was fond of practical jokes, and swearing.

He was also dubbed ‘Silly Billy’ for his rambling speeches. From the early 1790s until 1811, William lived with his mistress, the actress Dorothy Bland, who went by the stage name Mrs Jordan. She bore him 10 children, who took the surname FitzClarence.

He later married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen after being encouraged to produce an heir. She became the Duchess of Clarence and later Queen Adelaide. His reign, which began in 1830, saw the passing of the Reform Act of 1832.

He died on 20 June 1837, without any surviving legitimate children and was succeeded by his niece, Queen Victoria.

The official London residence of Prince Harry’s father the Prince of Wales is Clarence House.

It was built for William IV when he was the Duke of Clarence following his marriage to Adelaide. He remained there as king and lived there until his death.

Another Duke of Clarence – this time the Duke of Clarence and Avondale – was Prince Albert Victor (1864 -1892), known as ‘Eddy’.

He was Queen Victoria’s grandson and the eldest son of King Edward VII, but died in his late twenties before he could accede to the throne.

Eddy was linked to a gay brothel scandal and was also a suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders, although this claim has been discredited.

The 1st first Duke of Clarence was Lionel of Antwerp, the third son of Edward III, who was given the dukedom in 1362, and the 2nd Duke of Clarence was Thomas of Lancaster in 1412, second son of Henry IV. Both died without male heirs.

In 1461, the 3rd Duke of Clarence – George Plantagenet – was given the title at the age of 11. But he was later imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was executed for treason by his elder brother Edward IV, apparently by drowning in a butt of malmsey wine.


The title duke comes from the Latin ‘Dux’ meaning ‘a leader’.

It is the highest rank in British Peerage. The Queen is also the Duke of Lancaster, while the Prince of Wales is the Duke of Cornwall. 

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