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Duke of Cornwall

The Dukedom of Cornwall was the first dukedom created in the peerage of England. King Edward III created it for his son and heir-apparent, Edward, the Black Prince. (Prior to its creation, an earldom of Cornwall had existed.)

The dukedom remains the last in the United Kingdom still associated with an actual duchy, the income of which goes to the Duke (or to the monarch when the dukedom is vacant). The Duchy of Cornwall is separate and distinct from the political county of Cornwall and from the geographic region of Cornwall in southwestern Britain.

The Duke of Cornwall is the eldest son of the reigning monarch who is also the heir apparent. This would be the eldest living son if no older brothers left heirs. If no one meets these qualifications, the dukedom has either merged with the Crown (its holder has become monarch and has no eldest son who is heir apparent) or lapsed to the Crown (its holder has died and there is no living eldest son of the monarch who is heir apparent). The dukedom does not become extinct in either of these instances. A son becomes Duke of Cornwall when his parent takes the throne, or, if born to a reigning monarch, at the moment of birth.

This means that one can be the Duke of Cornwall without being the Prince of Wales, since the monarch confers the latter title explicitly, and often does not do so until the prospective Prince reaches the age of majority.

One can also become heir apparent without becoming the Duke of Cornwall (if one is not the child of the reigning monarch.)

Holders of the Dukedom of Cornwall, with the processes by which they became dukes of Cornwall and by which they ceased to hold the title:

  1. Edward, the Black Prince - by Parliament 1336/1337; died 1376
  2. Richard of Bordeaux - by charter 1376; ascended as Richard II in 1377
  3. Henry of Monmouth - by Parliament 1399; ascended as Henry V in 1413
  4. Henry son of Henry V; by birth 1421; ascended as Henry VI in 1422
  5. Edward of Westminster - son of Henry VI; by birth 1453; died 1471
  6. Edward Plantagenet - son of Edward IV; by charter 1470 and by patent 1471; ascended as Edward V in 1483
  7. Edward of Middleham, Earl of Salisbury - son of Richard III; by the accession of his father in 1483; died 1484
  8. Arthur Tudor - son of Henry VII; by birth 1486; died 1502
  9. Henry Tudor, Duke of York - son of Henry VII; by the death of his elder brother Arthur; 1502; ascended as Henry VIII in 1509
  10. Henry Tudor - son of Henry VIII; by birth 1511; died 1511
  11. Henry (possibly named) - son of Henry VIII; by birth 1514; died 1514
  12. Edward Tudor - son of Henry VIII; by birth 1537; ascended as Edward VI in 1547
  13. Henry Frederick Stuart, Duke of Rothesay - son of James I; on the accession of his father in 1603; died 1612
  14. Charles Stuart, Duke of York - son of James I; on the death of his brother in 1612; ascended as Charles I in 1625
  15. Charles James Stuart - son of Charles I; by birth 1629; died 1629
  16. Charles Stuart - son of Charles I; by birth 1630; ascended (de jure) as Charles II in 1649
  17. James Francis Edward Stuart - son of James II; at birth 1688; ceased to be so by his father's deposition in 1689; attained 1702
  18. George Augustus - son of George I; by the accession of his father in 1714; ascended as George II in 1727
  19. Frederick Lewis (or Frederick Louis) - son of George II; on the accession of his father in 1727; died 1751
  20. George Augustus Frederick - son of George III; by birth 1762; ascended as George IV in 1820
  21. Albert Edward - son of Queen Victoria; by birth 1841; ascended as Edward VII in 1901
  22. George Frederick Ernest Albert - son of Edward VII; on the accession of his father in 1901; ascended as George V in 1910
  23. Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David - son of George V; on the accession of his father in 1910; ascended as Edward VIII in 1936
  24. Charles Philip Arthur George - son of Queen Elizabeth II; on the accession of his mother in 1952

Additional details appear in Cokayne, George Edward, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, A. Sutton, Gloucester, 1982. [orig. 13 volumes, published by The St. Catherine Press Ltd, London, England from 1910-1959; reprinted in microprint: 13 vol. in 6, Gloucester: A. Sutton, 1982 ]

See also: Duke of Rothesay