Dukes of Albany (1398)
1st Duke of Albany, Robert Stewart, b.c.1340, a.1398, d.1420
The Dukedom of Albany was created for Robert Stewart, a younger brother of Robert III (whose given name was actually John), and third son of Robert II of Scotland and Elizabeth Mure, daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan. He was one of a large family of children from this liaison, who were all legitimised by their parents’ marriage in 1349. In 1361 Robert married Margaret Graham, Countess of Menteith, and he became Earl of Menteith de uxoris. His other older brother Walter Stewart (b.1336-1347, d.1362) married Isabella Macduff, Countess of Fife at the same time, but died shortly afterwards, and the Countess, having no children, resigned the earldom to the Crown. When his father became King in 1371, Robert was then also made Earl of Fife, the title he was known as for most of his life. Late in his reign, Robert II became infirm, and his two sons John, Earl of Carrick (later Robert III) and Robert acted as Regents, with Fife, the dominant partner, being made High Chamberlain. He led several successful expeditions into England at this time. In 1389 John had a bad accident, from which he never fully recovered, and although he became King the following year, it was Fife who continued to be the power behind the throne as Guardian of the Realm. In 1394 he obtained the title of Earl of Buchan following the ex-communication of his younger brother Alexander Stewart, a title he later resigned in favour of his son John. In 1398 he obtained for himself the title of 1st Duke of Albany at the same time as his nephew David, John’s son and heir, was made 1st Duke of Rothesay, this being the first usage of the rank of duke to appear in Scotland. At this time, with David’s coming of age, he was made Lieutenant of Scotland by his father. The power started to shift away from Albany, and there was a serious rift between the two. David, however, was an unstable character, accused of bigamy after marrying a daughter of Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas, while still married to a daughter of George, 10th Earl of Dunbar, an action that also alienated Dunbar, who then joined in an invasion of Scotland backed by Henry IV of England. As a result of this and various other misjudgements, Rothesay became increasingly unpopular, finally having the Lieutenancy removed in 1402. Albany acted decisively, arresting David and imprisoning him at Falkland Palace, where he later died (or was killed) in mysterious circumstances in 1402, leaving Albany in charge. When Robert III died in 1406, Albany made himself Earl of Atholl, a title that had previously belonged to Rothesay, and continued to rule as Regent for David’s younger brother James, who by then had been taken prisoner by the English. James was not to be released until 1424, with Albany unsurprisingly making little effort to obtain said release. Albany’s rule was unpopular, but was backed by the strength of the Black Earls of Douglas and a ruthless streak which led to several of his most effective political opponents being murdered.
2nd Duke of Albany, Murdoch Stewart, b.1362, a.1420, d.1425
Son of the 1st Duke and Margaret Graham, Countess of Menteith. Under his father’s influence he was made Justiciar of the North in 1389, and worked closely with his father in expanding the Stewart hegemony in the north. In 1402, partly as a response to the English invasion so unfortunately caused by Prince David, the Scots invaded England, but were defeated at the Battle of Homildon Hill, where Murdoch was captured. He was held prisoner until 1415, when he was finally exchanged for Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland. When his father died, he took over the Regency until the return of James I. His rule was as unpopular as that of his father, but backed by the power of the Stewart earldoms of Mar and Buchan. When James was finally returned in 1424, Murdoch was removed from power, though as Earl of Fife he performed the Coronation at Scone. After the death’s of his brother John, Earl of Buchan, and of Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas, while fighting for the French against England at the Battle of Verneuil, Murdoch’s position became substantially weakened, and in 1425 he was arrested along with his sons and various other supporters. An hastily arranged Parliament found them guilty of treason and they were executed by beheading outside Stirling Castle, attainted and all titles forfeit.
Dukes of Albany (c.1455)
1st Duke of Albany, Alexander Stewart, b.c.1454, a.1455-1458, d.1485
Son of King James II and Marie of Gueldres. As younger brother to the heir, he was given the titles 1st Duke of Albany, Earl of March and Lord of Annandale. When James III came to the throne, Albany was appointed Lord High Admiral and Warden of the Marches, but his clandestine actions in the border areas threatened the recent truce with England, and his earldom was seized, whereupon he fled to France in 1479, where he was well received. However, Louis XI would not aid him against his brother the King, and so he made a pact with Edward IV of England, promising to hold Scotland as an English province. He then joined Edward’s heir, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, at the head of a large army, which took Berwick, the last time it changed hands, and then moved on to Edinburgh. James III was taken prisoner and held in Edinburgh castle. Gloucester then headed back to England, leaving Albany to form a government with those nobles willing to support him. However, the King retained some influence and Albany was encouraged to reconcile himself with his brother, obtaining the title of Earl of Mar and Garioch. Control swung back and forward between the brothers until Edward IV’s death, after which Albany’s position weakened, and he fled back to England. Another invasion attempt in 1484, aided by the exiled James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas, was turned back at the Battle of Lochmaben, looked-for support amongst the Douglas and March lands not forthcoming and Gloucester, now Richard III of England, also not willing to participate. A final return to Scotland in 1485 resulted in him being imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, from where he managed to escape and flee to France, where he was killed at a jousting tournament.
2nd Duke of Albany, John Stewart, b.1481-1484, a.1485, d.1536
Son of the 1st Duke and his second wife Anne de la Tour d’Auvergne (b.?, d.1512), daughter of Bertrand VI, Comte d’Auvergne. His father had several sons by his first wife, Catherine Sinclair, daughter of William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney, but that marriage was dissolved and the offspring illegitimated, allowing him to inherit the titles, and throughout his life he was considered to be the heir-presumptive (that is, heir provided that no direct heir is born in the meantime), behind both James IV and James V while in their minority. He was raised in France but was called upon in 1514 to act as Regent for James V, though in opposition to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, who had married the King’s mother, now Dowager Queen Margaret. Before long he had outmanoeuvred Margaret, who was forced to flee to England, and come to an amicable agreement with Angus. Although often absent in France from 1517, Albany managed to retain the Regency due to factional infighting. When he returned to Scotland in 1521, Margaret now sided with him, and against her husband, from whom she now wanted a divorce, and Angus was taken back to France by Albany under a charge of treason. When the King’s minority came to an end in 1524, however, Margaret seized power with the help of Albany’s cousin, James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran. Albany returned to France, where he was welcomed at court. During the Italian Wars he led a section of the French Army of Francis I against the Spanish and Papal forces. He died at Mirefleur Castle in the Auvergne, and his titles became extinct.
Dukes of Albany (1509)
1st Duke of Albany, Arthur Stewart, b.1509, a.1509, d.1510
He was the second legitimate son of James IV and Lady Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England, and since his older brother had already died, he automatically became heir to the throne and Duke of Rothesay. He was given the additional title of Duke of Albany at birth, since it was at the time considered forfeited by Alexander Stewart mentioned above. He died in infancy and John Stewart resumed his position as heir-presumptive and Duke of Albany.
Dukes of Albany (1541)
1st Duke of Albany, Arthur Stewart, b.1541, a.1541, d.1541
He was the second son of James V and Mary of Guise. He died in infancy.
Dukes of Albany (1565)
1st Duke of Albany, Henry Stuart, b.1545, a.1565, d.1567
Son of Matthew Stuart, 4th Earl of Lennox and Lady Margaret Douglas (b.1515, d.1578), daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. He was otherwise known as Lord Darnley and was Mary Queen of Scots’ second husband, and father to King James VI. For more detail please refer to the Ross page.
2nd Duke of Albany, James Stuart, b.1566, a.1567, d.1625
Son of the 1st Duke and Mary, Queen of Scots, he became King James VI shortly after succeeding to his father’s titles, which automatically became extinct when merged with the Crown.
Dukes of Albany (1604)
1st Duke of Albany, Charles Stuart, b.1600, a.1604, d.1649
He was the second son of James VI and Anne Oldenburg, Princess of Denmark, born at Dunfermline Palace, and such a poorly child when young that he was left behind in Scotland when his father travelled to London to become King of Great Britain. His health gradually improving as he grew, he was eventually considered strong enough to go to London himself, where he lived in the shadow of his older brother, Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales. Henry died in 1612, however, leaving Charles as the heir-apparent, and he eventually succeeded his father as King in 1625.
Dukes of Albany (1660)
1st Duke of Albany, James Stuart, b.1633, a.1660, d.1701
He was the second son of Charles I and Henriette de Bourbon, Princess of France, born at St James’ Palace in London. He was created 1st Duke of York in the Peerage of England in 1644 but was forced into exile with his brother Charles. At the Restoration in 1660 he was created 1st Duke of Albany in the Peerage of Scotland and 1st Duc de Normandie in the Peerage of France. A keen soldier and seaman, he fought in various engagements in England and Europe and also served as Lord High Admiral of England from 1660 to 1673 and from 1683 to 1685 and of Scotland from 1673 to 1688. In 1685 he succeeded his brother as King. When he fled in the face of William of Orange’s invasion in 1688, he was considered by Parliament to have abdicated his position as King of Great Britain, deposed as King of England, and was later considered declared as having forfeited as King of Scotland by the Scottish parliament the following year.
Dukes of Albany (1716)
1st Duke of Albany, Ernst August Hanover, b.1674, a.1716, d.1728
He was the youngest son of Ernst August Kurfurst von Hannover, Herzog (that is, Duke) of Braunschweig-Luneberg and of Hannover, and Prinzessin Sophie Dorothea von der Pfalz, daughter of Friedrich V, King of Bohemia. He had already installed as Prince Bishop of Osnabruck (once an ancient Catholic diocese but by then a powerful political entity because of it’s strategic significance) and he was created 1st Duke of York and 1st Duke of Albany in the Peerage of Great Britain and 1st Earl of Ulster in the Peerage of Ireland shortly after his oldest brother became King George I of Great Britain. He had no children and the title became extinct once more.
Dukes of Albany (1760)
1st Duke of Albany, Edward Augustus Hanover, b.1739, a.1760, d.1767
He was a younger son of Frederick Louis Hanover, Prince of Wales, and Prinzessin Auguste von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg, daughter of Friedrich II, Herzog von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg, and so brother to King George III. He was briefly heir-presumptive until the birth of his brother’s first child. He was also created 1st Duke of York and 1st Duke of Albany in the Peerage of Great Britain and 1st Earl of Ulster in the Peerage of Ireland. He served in the Royal Navy and in 1766 reached the rank of Admiral of the Blue. He was also invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1752 and as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1760. He also died with no children.
Dukes of Albany (1784)
1st Duke of Albany, Frederick Augustus Hanover, b.1763, a.1784, d.1827
He was the second son of George III and Herzogin Sophie Charlotte von Mecklenburg-Strelitz, daughter of Grossherzog Karl Ludwig Friedrich von Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and so brother to King George IV. He was invested as Prince-Bishop of Osnabruck in 1764 by his father, and held this title until obtaining his British titles of 1st Duke of York and 1st Duke of Albany in the Peerage of Great Britain and 1st Earl of Ulster in the Peerage of Ireland in 1784 at the age of 21. He served in the British Army and reached the rank of Field Marshal in 1795 and was Commander-in-Chief of all Forces in Britain and Irland from 1801 to 1809. He was invested as a Knight of the Bath in 1767, a Knight of the Garter in 1771, a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1815 and a Knight Grand Cross of the Hanoverian Order, also in 1815. He is immortalised as the “Grand Old Duke of York” in folklore, but was at the time considered to be a very able soldier, introducing military discipline and removing the Army from political influence. He also founded the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.
Dukes of Albany (1881)
1st Duke of Albany, Leopold George Duncan Albert Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (b.1853, a.1881, d.1884
He was fourth son and eighth child of Queen Victoria and Prince-Consort Albert, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He received a Knighthood in the Order of the Garter in 1869 and the Order of the Thistle in 1871 and then went to study at Christ Church College Oxford. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1874 and was invested as a Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in 1877 and in the Order of St Michael and St George in 1880. He was created 1st Duke of Albany in 1881, together with the titles of 1st Earl of Clarence and 1st Baron Arklow, all in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Plagued by haemophilia, he died after falling and injuring his knee while staying at Cannes in France.
2nd Duke of Albany, Charles Edward George Albert Leopold Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, b.1884, a.1884, d.1954
Son of the 1st Duke and Helene Frederike Auguste, Prinzessin zu Waldeck und Pyrmont. Born after the death of his father, he succeeded his uncle as Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha in 1900 and remained as head of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha until his death. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1900 and a Knight of the Garter in 1902. He was subsequently struck off the register of Knights of the Garter in 1915 after taking the side of the German Empire during the First World War, and had all of his English titles removed by an Order in Council in 1919. He later joined the Nazi Party and reached the rank of Obergruppenfuhrer in the Brownshirts. In 1936 he was sent by Hitler to Britain to improve Anglo-German relations and pursue a possible alliance between the countries with Edward VIII. After Edward’s abdication, the duke welcomed the former king and his wife in an official tour of Germany in 1937. After the war he was heavily fined by the allies and lost the Gotha part of his lands to the Soviet occupation.
Last updated: 11/03/2011