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HO 144/44/86252

Dated 2nd Aug 1879       

The Style of « Prince »
her Majesty’s wishes and memo by the Lord Chancellor. [July 1878]

This old paper came to light in connection with the preparation of the note on HON 9/1/1 [= HO 286/50] dealing with the question whether the title Prince of the United Kingdom of GB & NI connoted sovereignty.
            (initials) 30/6

College of Arms,  Queen Victoria Street E.C. 2d August 1879

Dear Hugvett,

Herewith copies of the Lord Chancellor’s memorandum and Sir Henry Ponsonby’s letter touching the style of Prince.

Yours very truly,

Albert Woods

Carey Hugvett Esq

Windsor Castle, July 19, 1878

Dear Sir Albert

The Lord Chancellor having decided that there is not any limit among those in succession to the Throne within which the use of the style of Prince is to be confined, the Queen wishes this opinion to be duly recorded so as to prevent any further controversy on this subject in the future.

I enclose a copy of the Lord Chancellor's Memorandum.

yours very truly,

Henry F . Ponsonby.


Memorandum by the Lord Chancellor as to the Title of Prince in the Royal Family.

1. There is not as far as I know any Law or Statute in this Country as to the use of the Style of Prince or as to the Precedence to be attached to it.

2. There is a use of the word more common perhaps formerly than now, in which it is applied rather as an epithet or description than as a Title - Thus a Duke is spoken of as "High and mighty Prince".

3. But in England the word has become by custom and the pleasure of the Sovereign, the appropriate title of those who are of the Blood Royal, the sons, grandsons and nephews of the Sovereign, and although occasions have not arisen in modern times for its application to remoter issue there is not in my opinion any limit among those in Succession to the Throne within which the use of the style of Prince is to be confined, until some such limit is imposed by the Will of the Sovereign as the Fountain of all Honour.

4. All Precedence is at the pleasure of The Queen, except such as by the consent of Her Majesty's Predecessors has been regulated by Statute, and the Statute 31 Hen VIII c. ? has regulated the Precedence of Officers of State and Peers in Parliament and in the Council but nowhere else.
The Precedence of a Prince therefore cannot be affected by the Statute of Hen VIII unless he is sitting as a Peer of Parliament or a Member of the council and then only as to his seat in Parliament or in the Council.
Her Majesty may by Royall Warrant regulate the Precedence of Princes of the Blood as Her Majesty thinks fit excepting only in the House of Lords and Council.

July 1878.


stamp : H.O. registry put up

2 August 1879


Her Majesty’s wishes and memo by the Lord Chancellor touching the Style of « Prince ».

Put up for future use.

2 Aug 1879

copy given to Ld Irving at Foreign Office at Liddell’s direction . see 85833. 18/8/79

See further commands of the Queen as to the style and title of the children of HRH the Princess Louise of Wales Duchess of Fife’s children. B8136A.

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Last modified: Jan 12, 2008