Royal styles and titles: Files from the UK National Archives
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LCO 6/3559

CO 146/2

Crown Office. Warrants and Patents.

Title of Royal Highness.
Letters Patent dated 19th November 1947.
Lt Sir Philip Mountbatten, KG

see also P83

The correspondance leading up to this is in a "secret" file in the Crown Office safe.
20 Nov 47

I certify the following to be a true copy of H.M's Letters Patent dated 19th November, 1947, passed under the Great Seal.                        

GEORGE THE SIXTH by the Grace of God of Great Britain Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King Defender of the Faith To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Know Ye that in the exercise of Our Royal and undoubted prerogative and of Our especial grace We do by these Presents declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that Our most dear and beloved Cousin SIR PHILIP MOUNTBATTEN Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter Lieutenant in Our Navy shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of ROYAL HIGHNESS in addition to any other appellations and titles of honour which to him belong or at any time hereafter may belong And We do hereby authorize and empower the said Sir Philip Mountbatten henceforth at all times to assume and use and to be called and named by the style title or attribute of His Royal Highness accordingly Our Will and Pleasure further is that Our Earl Marshal of England or his Deputy for the time being do cause these Our Letters Patent or the enrolment thereof to be recorded in Our College of Arms to the end that Our Officers of Arms and all others may take due notice thereof In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the nineteenth day of November in the eleventh year of Our Reign.

By warrant under The King's Sign Manual

Sir,—Your correspondent  Mr. W. H.  F. Barklam is mistaken in thinking that the right of the Crown to grant this dignity was not exercised in this country between the Congress of Vienna and 1914.     Queen Victoria did grant this rank to Prince Henry of Battenberg on his marriage to Princess Beatrice, as she had previously granted it to Prince Albert upon her betrothal to him, and both Princes were so styled in England.     But it is true that their rank was not always acknowledged on the Continent.  In the next reign King Edward VII gave the same rank to his niece Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg on her betrothal to King Alfonso of Spain. Queen Victoria certainly, and King Edward apparently, claimed the power to do this independently.    In Sir Sidney Lee's "Life of King Edward " (Vol. 2, p. 514) is printed a letter from the King to Sir Edward Grey, in which he writes: " The King having created Princess Victoria Eugenie a Royal Highness, she would have in any further official document to be styled thus."

It would be interesting to know if in fact there was in any of these cases consultation with the other Powers.

Your obedient servant,
Bagendon House, near Cirencester.

Sir ALGAR HOWARD, K.C.V.O., C.B., M.C, Garter Principal King of Arms.

Queen Victoria Street

l9th December 1947.

Hon. Sir Albert Napier KCB. House of Lords.

My dear Napier,

You might have seen the enclosed two letters in the "Times" concerning the title of Royal Highness.

I also enclose a draft of a letter which Wollaston had intended to send to the "Times" but did not as it was forestalled in part by the letter from Mr. Croome.

There is I think a general idea that the Duke by virtue of his H.R.H. has become a Prince of the United Kingdom, but in fact I believe he remains a Prince of Greece and Denmark though naturalized here.

We might still send this letter to the "Times" if circumstances warrant it, but in any case I thought you might like to see it before it goes.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Howard

Sir Gerald W. Wollaston, KCB., KCVO.
The Editor of the "Times"

His Royal Highness.

I do not think that Mr. Barklam's letter appearing in the "Times" of 8 December should pass without question.

Queen Victoria conferred the style of Royal Highness on Prince Henry of Battenberg by Royal Warrant dated 22 July 1885.

The style of Royal Highness does not necessarily connote the rank or dignity of Prince. Certain Members of the Royal Family, according to their relationship to the Sovereign, are Princes and Princesses and Royal Highnesses by birth. Beyond that there is no rank or degree of Prince in this Country, and I am aware of no instance in modern times in which anyone, not so entitled by birth, has been created a Prince.

The style of Royal Highness has been given to other people.  Queen Victoria conferred it on Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg 8 February 1840 (two days before their marriage), on Prince Louis of Hesse 5 July l862 (four days after his marriage to her daughter Princess Alice), on Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein 29 June 1566 (six days before his marriage to her daughter Princess Helena), and on Prince Henry of Battenberg as stated above. 

In all these cases the terms of the Warrants were identical; the style of Royal Highness was  to be used "before his name and such titles and appellations which to him do now, or at any time hereafter may, belong or appertain".

It is well established law that women share their husband's rank and titles, but that men have not equal rights in this respect.   The persons enumerated above did not by their marriages to British Princesses, become British Princes. They were created Royal Highnesses, but their titles of Prince remained German.

Gerald W. Wollaston

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Last modified: Oct 04, 2006