On his Wedding Day, The Queen was pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.
Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.
In 1706 George Augustus (subsequently George II) the only son of George Ludwig, Elector of Hanover (subsequently George I of Great Britain) was created with other titles Duke of Cambridge. On the accession of his father to the throne in 1714 he also became Duke of Cornwall and was created Prince of Wales. On his own accession to the throne in 1727 the Dukedom of Cambridge merged with The Crown and ceased.
Cambridge was previously a Royal Dukedom and four sons of James, Duke of York (afterwards James II) who died in infancy were all created Duke of Cambridge. As an Earldom Cambridge was a medieval Royal title. Edward IV was Duke of York and Earl of Cambridge till proclaimed King of England in 1461 when his titles merged with The Crown.
His father and grandfather both Richard Plantagenet were both Earls of Cambridge and the latter was also Duke of York. Edmund of Langley, 5th son of Edward III and great-grandfather of Edward IV, was created Earl of Cambridge in 1362 and Duke of York in 1385.
The Dukedom of Cambridge created in 1801 became extinct on the death of the 2nd Duke of Cambridge in 1904. Cambridge existed as a Marquessate from 1917 when it was conferred on Queen Mary’s brother till 1981 when the 2nd Marquess died and the title became extinct.
Strathearn has had Royal connections since Robert Stewart, High Steward of Scotland, was created Earl of Strathearn in 1357. In 1371 he succeeded his Uncle as King of Scotland becoming Robert II and the Earldom merged with The Crown Robert II created his 5th son David, Earl of Strathearn in 1371. Subsequently in 1427 the 6th son of Robert II was created Earl of Strathearn.
In 1766 George III’s younger brother Prince Henry Frederick was created
Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn. He died without issue in 1790 and in 1799 Queen Victoria’s father was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn. These Dukedoms became extinct on his death in 1820. Finally, Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, 3rd son of Queen Victoria was created Duke of Connaught and Strathearn in 1874. He died in 1942 and was succeeded by his grandson who died the following year
1943 since when Strathearn as a title has been extinct.
An Irish Viscountcy of Chichester of Carrickfergus now held by the Marquess of Donegall was created in 1625 but Carrickfergus alone only existed as a title between 1841 and 1883. The 3rd Marquess of Donegall was created Baron Ennishowen and Carrickfergus, of Ennishowen, co: Donegal and Carrickfergus, co: Antrim. He died in 1883 being succeeded by his brother and the Barony became extinct.
Carrickfergus is County Antrim’s oldest town. The word means Rock of Fergus and as an urban settlement it predates Belfast. It is on the north shore of Belfast Lough and is the site of Carrickfergus Castle which dates from circa 1180 and is one of the best preserved Castles in Ireland.
Prince William was given a Coat of Arms to mark his 18th birthday. The design is derived from his father’s Coat of Arms with elements from the Coat of Arms used by his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince William, as second in line to The Throne, is the only one of The Queen’s grandchildren who is granted a label of three points, which normally identifies the child of a monarch. Grandchildren are otherwise distinguished by labels with five points.
The escallop on Prince William’s Coat of Arms is derived from the Spencer Coat of Arms which has been used by Prince William’s ancestors on his mother’s side for many centuries.
An identifying addition consists in each case of a ‘label’; a device consisting of a horizontal line with three or five ‘points’ or tabs hanging from it, applied to the upper portion of the shield, and to the necks of the lion and unicorn that support the shield, as well as to that of the lion in the crest above the shield. White labels are used by all members of the Royal family to distinguish their arms. With the exception of the Prince of Wales, who as heir apparent uses a plain white label of three points, all have some distinctive features added to their labels so that their arms may be told apart.
Prince William of Wales, as second in line to the throne, uses a white label of three points like his father, but has in addition a small red ‘escallop’ or sea-shell on the central point.
The escallop is derived from the Spencer Coat of Arms: Quarterly Argent and Gules in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters a Fret Or over all on a Bend Sable three Escallops of the First. This has been borne by the two princes’ ancestors, the Earls Spencer, for many centuries and was used by the late Diana, Princess of Wales (see below).
Mr Peter Gwynn-Jones, Garter Principal King of Arms, who is the senior herald and responsible for all matters of Royal Heraldry, said at the time of Prince William’s eighteenth birthday “It is a welcome innovation to incorporate maternal symbols into the Royal Family’s arms and it is something that Prince William and his family wanted to do. In the fullness of time, Prince William’s Arms will change, as The Prince of Wales’s shall, but a precedent has been set here that others in the Royal Family may well follow”. He went on to say that “Three escallops were added to the ancient Despencer arms when they were adopted by the Spencer family, in the latter part of the sixteenth century”.
As to the escallop’s symbolism, Garter said, “There are references to the escallop being worn by pilgrims to the shrine of St James of Compostella, in Santiago, during the twelfth century. It was a popular symbol among mediaeval pilgrims and inevitably became a favoured ‘charge’ in heraldry”.
The full achievement of Prince William is ‘blazoned’, or described in heraldic language, as follows: Quarterly 1st and 4th, Gules three Lions passant guardant in pale Or (England) 2nd, Or a Lion rampant within a Double Tressure flory counterflory Gules (Scotland) 3rd, Azure a Harp Or stringed Argent (Ireland) the whole differenced by a Label of three points Argent the central point charged with an Escallop Gules.
Princes William also displays the coronet of their ‘degree’, as a Sovereign’s grandchild, which has two ‘crosses formy’ and two strawberry leaves alternating with four fleurs-de-lys.
See Related: Royals Archive