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Garter's memorandum as to the practice and usage in styling members of the Royal Family (1850s-1860s)

(National Archives, HO 45/8933/1.)

Note: the memo is undated, but signed by C.G. Young, who was Garter from 1842 to 1869. My notes are added between brackets in smaller font.

Mem.dum as to the practice and usage in styling members of the Royal Family.
date uncertain
placed with 1855 (1864?) papers. G.D. 8/1/86

The prefix of "Royal" to the style of "Highness", and the attribute of Royal Highness applied to sons and daughters of the Sovereign, is not of very ancient usage in this Country, but may be said to have been generally adopted since the accession of the House of Hanover.

The following notes are the result of an examination into the practice and usage, supported by such authorities as can be relied upon in proof of the attribution of styles to the members of the Royal family since the accession of King James the Ist.

K James I.

In May 1605 the daughterr of King James the Ist was baptized at Greenwich as the "Princess Mary daughter of His Majesty King James" and was buried in 1607 as Mary, daughter of King James.
In 1612 the Banns of Marriage between Frederic Prince Elector Count Palatine of the Rhine, and the "Lady Elizabeth Her Grace" only daughter of the High and Mighty King of Great Britain, were publicly asked in Whitehall Chapel, the Princess being then styled "The Lady Elizabeth Her Grace".

K Charles Ist.

The style given to the daughter of King Charles Ist at the Funeral in 1640 was that of the "Lady Anne".

K. Charles II.

In 1660 Henry Duke of Gloucester the King's brother buried as Henry Duke of Gloucester, as appears by the register of St. Peters, but in the ceremonial of this funeral, and the the style proclaimed thereat, he was styled His Royal Highness.

In 1680 James Duke of York the King's brother was styled His Royal Highness and his daughter Isabella was in that year at her interment styled "Her Highness Isabella", and the style of Highness only was given to his other children at their several interments between 1660 and 1680.

In the burial register of the Church of Westminster, the daughters of the duke were styled "Lady Henrietta" "the Lady Isabella" "The Lady Charlotte Marie".
The style given to Prince Rupert who died in 1682 who was grandchild to King James the Ist and nephew to King Charles the Ist was that of "his Highness".

Queen Anne 1702

The daughters of Queen Anne when Princess of Denmark were in 1686 and 1687 styled in their burial "The Lady Anne" and "the Lady Mary". a son was buried in 1692 by the style of Lord George. The Lady Mary was in the ceremonial of her interment 1686 styled "Her Highness", the Prince and Princess being called their "Royal Highnesses". their son the duke of Gloucester, is in the register of his burial in 1700 styled "His Royal Highness William Duke of Gloucester" but in all public announcements relative to his illness and death in the Earl Marshal's order for the general mourning published in the Gazzette he was styled only His Highness and that style only was given to him in the Ceremonial of his interment.

K George I crowned 1714.

The younger children of George Augustus Prince of Wales. son of King George the Ist were styled only Highness at their baptisms between 1720 and 1724.

The style of his brother Ernest Augustus Duke of York who died 1728, was that of "His Highness".

In 1721, George Prince of Wales (son of George the Ist) styled His Royal Highness, but his second surviving son baptized 18 April was styled only His Highness William Augustus and the other younger children the Princesses Mary and Louisa in 1722 and 1723 were styled Highness only.

K George IInd

The Prince succeeded to the throne in 1727, as King George the IInd. His son Frederick Louis became Prince of Wales and married in 1736 Augusta daughter of Frederick Duke of Saxe Coburg, and all the children of His Royal Highness were between 1737 and 1757 styled at their baptisms Royal Highness.  The brothers and sisters of Frederick Lewis were styled only Highness and always so styled during their lives and at their interment.  The Prince of Wales had thought proper to call all his own children by the style of "Royal Highness".

A narrative in Walpole's Memoirs alluding to the circumstance states that upon the birth of the Princess Augusta in 1737, the Prince ordered that she should be called the Lady Augusta instead of the Princess.  This resumption of a custom [referring to the practice in the reigns of king James the Ist, king Charles the Ist, James the IInd and Queen Anne] long obsolete was for the purpose of obtaining popularity, and also desired that she should be styled "Royal Highness" to mortify his sisters, who when their father was Prince, had not borne the title.

Cf. Lord Hervey's Memoirs, London 1884, 3:229: "the Prince [of Wales], as soon as the christening [of Augusta, on Aug. 29, 1737] was over, sent his treasurer, Mr. Herbert, to tell everybody belonging to his family then at Court, that the Prince would not have his daughter called Princess Augusta, but according to the old English fashion, the Lady Augusta, and
that she should be called her Royal Highness, though his sisters had not been so when his father was Prince of Wales.

Thus it would seem according to Walpole's narrative that the younger children of the Prince of Wales had never before been styled Royal Highness. Frederick Lewis died in 1751, and his son George Prince of Wales became King George the IIId, whose brothers and sisters as just observed were all styled Royal Highness and that style given to them at their interments but Prince William Frederick his nephew (only son of his brother Prince William Henry Duke of Gloucester) was called only His Highness from his birth until the month of July 1816, when the Prince Regent directed that he should henceforth be styled "Royal Highness", and the same Act of Grace was at the same time accorded to his sister the Princess Sophia Matilda.

The Princess Charlotte Augusta only daughter of His Royal Highness George Prince of Wales, was styled Her Royal Highness.

In the London Gazette of the 6th of March 1821 [17686, p. 1], in the announcement of the death of the Princess Elizabeth daughter of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence she was styled only Her Highness. Niece to the King and granddaughter to the late king George the IIId.

In the year 1825 (6 Geo: IVth) In the Act granting an annual sum to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland for the provision and support of his son Prince George Frederic of Cumberland the Prince was styled "His Highness" [6 Geo 4 c. 71]. The Prince was then nephew to the King and grandon of the late King George the IIId.

In 1825 in the Act for granting to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent a provision for the support of the Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, the Princess was styled Her Highness. Niece to the King and granddaughter to the late king George the IIIrd.[6 Geo 4 c. 72].

At the funeral of King George the IVth in June 1830 His Majesty King William the IVth followed the Royal remains as Chief mourner, attended by the Prince George of Cumberland [ in the margin, "Cambridge"]. In the ceremonial announced in the London Gazette [18707, p. 6] under the direction of the Earl Marshal on the 19th of July 1830, the Prince was styled "Royal Highness" by command of the King.

K William IVth

In the year 1830 (1 Wm IVth) In the Act to provide for the administration of the government in case the crown should have descended upon the Princess Alexandrina Victoria daughter of His late Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, under the age of eighteen years, and for the care and government of her person, the Princess was styled "Her Royal Highness". The Princess was then niece of the King and granddaughter of the late King George the IIIrd.[1 Will 4 c. 2]

In 1835 when the Princes George of Cumberland and Cambridge were elected in the Order of the Garter His Majesty was pleased to direct Garter to style them "Royal Highness" and they were so respectively styled in the announcement of the ceremonial of election in the London Gazette of the 18th of August in that year.
[note: this is not correct; in the Gazette, issue 19298, p. 1-2, the princes are given no style.]

In 1843 in the Act (6& 7 Vict c 25) to enable Her Majesty to settle an annuity on the Princess Augusta eldest daughter of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge in contemplation of her marriage, she was styled Royal Highness, and in conformity with the style assigned to her Royal brother and cousin, that style was given to her by the Queen's command in the ceremonial settled by Her Majesty for the marriage of that Princess with the Duke of Mecklenburg. Cousin to the Queen and granddaughter of King George the IIIrd.
[ London Gazette 20231, p. 2]

In 1850 (13 & 14 Vic cap 7) in the Act to enable Her Majesty to make a suitable provision for the present Duke of Cambridge, and for his sister the Princess Mary of Cambridge, they were both respectively styled "Royal Highness". Cousins to the Queen and granchildren to King George the IIIrd.

NB In regard to styles given in the Acts of Parliament cited, it should be remarked that the authority upon which they proceed are the styles given in Royal messages from the Crown transmitted to the House of Commons for making the necessary provisions for the respective parties, and therefore must be considered as emanating from the Sovereign.
C.G. Young

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