Duke of Albany was a peerage title that has occasionally been bestowed on the younger sons in the Scottish and later the British royal family, particularly in the Houses of Stuart and Windsor.


The Dukedom of Albany was first granted in 1398 by King Robert III of Scotland on his brother, Robert Stewart, the title being in the Peerage of Scotland. "Albany" was a broad territorial term representing the parts of Scotland north of the River Forth, roughly the former Kingdom of the Picts. The title (along with the Dukedom of Rothesay) was the first Dukedom created in Scotland. It passed to Robert's son Murdoch Stewart, and was forfeited in 1425 due to the attainder of Murdoch.

The title was again created in 1458 for Alexander Stewart but was forfeit in 1483. His son John Stewart was restored to the second creation in 1515 but died without heirs in 1536. In 1541 Robert, second son of James V of Scotland, was styled Duke of Albany, but he died at less than a month old. The fourth creation, along with the Earldom of Ross and Lordship of Ardmannoch, was for Mary, Queen of Scots' king consort Lord Darnley, whose son, later James VI of Scotland, I of England and Ireland, inherited the titles on his death. That creation merged with the Scottish crown upon James's ascension. The title, along with the title of Duke of York, with which it has since been traditionally coupled, was created for a fifth time in 1604 for Charles, son of James VI and I. Upon Charles's ascent to the throne in 1625, the title of Duke of Albany merged once again in the crowns.

The title was next granted in 1660 to Charles I's son, James, by Charles II. When James succeeded his elder brother to the throne in 1685, the titles again merged into the crown. The cities of New York and Albany, New York, were thus both named after James, as he was the Duke of York and of Albany. The pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, gave the title Duchess of Albany to his illegitimate daughter Charlotte; she died in 1789.

The title "Duke of York and Albany" was granted three times by the Hanoverian kings.

HRH Prince Charles Edward, the last person to hold the title, was deprived thereof in 1919.

The title of "Albany" alone was granted for the fifth time, this time in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, in 1881 to Prince Leopold, the fourth son of Queen Victoria. Prince Leopold's son, Prince Charles Edward (who had succeeded as reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1900), was deprived of the peerage in 1919 for bearing arms against the United Kingdom in World War I. Under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917, the legitimate lineal male heir of the 1st Duke of Albany was allowed to petition the British Crown for the restoration of the peerages. Because subsequent descendants have married in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act 1772, there were no people alive who can make such a petition. The last person eligible to do so was Friedrich Josias, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who died in 1998. Prior to 2013, the marriages of the male descendants of the 2nd Duke were invalid in the UK. However the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 specified otherwise in section 3(5).

Dukes of Albany, first creation (1398)

Other titles (1st Duke): Earl of Fife (1371), Earl of Buchan (1374–1406), Earl of Atholl (1403–1406)
Other titles (2nd Duke): Earl of Menteith (bef 1189), Earl of Fife (1371), Earl of Buchan (1374)

Dukes of Albany, second creation (1458)

Other titles (1st Duke): Earl of March (1455), Earl of Mar and Earl of Garioch (1482)
Other titles (2nd Duke): Earl of March (1455)
  • John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany (1481–1536), only legitimate son of the 1st Duke, was restored to his father's dukedom and Earldom of March in 1515. The honours became extinct upon his death without issue

Duke of Albany (1541)

Dukes of Albany, third creation (1565)

Other titles: Earl of Ross and Lord Ardmannoch (1565)

Duke of Albany, fourth creation (1604)

Other titles: Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (1616), Duke of Cornwall (1337), Duke of Rothesay etc. (1469), Duke of York (1605), Marquess of Ormond (1600), Earl of Carrick (1469), Earl of Ross (1600), Baron Renfrew (1469), Lord Ardmannoch (1600), Lord of the Isles (1540), Prince and Great Steward of Scotland (1469)

Duke of Albany, fifth creation (1660)

Other titles: Duke of York (1644), Earl of Ulster (1659)

Dukes of York and Albany

Duchess of Albany, Jacobite Peerage (1783, or earlier)

Charlotte was Charles Edward Stuart's illegitimate daughter by his mistress Clementina Walkinshaw (known as the Countess of Albestroff) and his only child to survive infancy. She was also created a Lady of the Order of the Thistle (LT) by her father on 30 November 1784.

Dukes of Albany, sixth creation (1881)

Other titles: Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow (1881)

Line of succession

Family tree

Family tree: Dukes of Albany
Robert II of Scotland
Robert III of Scotland
Robert Stewart,
1st Duke of Albany

(c. 1340–1420)
James I of Scotland
Murdoch Stewart,
2nd Duke of Albany

Dukedom forfeit, 1425
James II of Scotland
James III of Scotland
Alexander Stewart,
1st Duke of Albany

Forfeit 1479, restored 1482, forfeit 1483
James IV of Scotland
John Stewart,
2nd Duke of Albany

Dukedom restored, 1515
James V of Scotland
Prince Arthur Stewart,
Duke of Albany
Mary, Queen of Scots
(1542–1587, r.1542–1567)
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley,
1st Duke of Albany

Prince James, 2nd Duke of Albany
King James VI & I
Princess Elizabeth Stuart
m. Frederick V of the Palatinate
Prince Charles, Duke of Albany
King Charles I
Sophia of Hanover
m. Ernest Augustus of Brunswick
King Charles II
Prince James, Duke of Albany
King James II
(1633–1701, r.1685–1688)
King George I
Ernest Augustus,
Duke of York and Albany

Queen Mary II
Queen Anne
King George II
Prince Frederick Louis,
Prince of Wales

King George III
Prince Edward,
Duke of York and Albany

King George IV
Prince Frederick,
Duke of York and Albany

King William IV
Prince Edward,
Duke of Kent

Queen Victoria
King Edward VII
Prince Leopold,
1st Duke of Albany

King George V
Charles Edward,
2nd Duke of Albany

Dukedom forfeit, 1919
King Edward VIII
(1894–1972, r.1936)
King George VI
Queen Elizabeth II

Dukes of Albany in fiction

  • Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville's play Gorboduc includes Fergus, the Duke of Albany, who tries to claim the British throne after Gorboduc's death through his royal descent.
  • William Shakespeare's King Lear includes as a major character the Duke of Albany, who is husband to Lear's daughter Goneril.
  • In the movie Kate & Leopold, Leopold is the Duke of Albany, presumably meant to be the same person as the historic Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, who would have held the title at that time, as the fictitious character comments that his surname is Mountbatten (a later surname of the British royal family, which is an Anglicised version of the German surname Battenberg).

See also