Strathearn was one of the ancient Scottish mormaerdoms, and developed along with Menteith from the original Pictish kingdom of Fortriu, which was for many years the dominant Pictish realm, its rulers bound tightly to the royal house and providing kings of the Picts, then of Alba, and finally of Scots. Its central location in what is now east Perthshire, and its fertile lands, allowed the native Celtic mormaers to wield power within the kingdom well into the period of Norman influence. As is usual, there is little information regarding the early holders of the mormaerdom, and it is not until the 12th century shift to a more feudal earldom that specific names appear.
Earls of Strathearn (c.1115)
1st Earl of Strathearn, Mael Iosa
Mael Iosa, anglicised as Malise, no doubt from a long line of native Celtic holders, is the first to appear on the stage of history. He was with King David at the Battle of the Standard in 1138, after which he had to hand a son over as hostage. Apart from this he seems to have had little to do with the Scottish-Norman nobility.
2nd Earl of Strathearn, Ferchar, b.?, a.?, d.1171
Son, or perhaps a nephew, of Mael Iosa, Ferchar was regarded as the most important Gaelic noble of his time and led the Revolt of the Earls in protest over King Malcolm IV’s accompanying of Henry II of England to France.
3rd Earl of Strathearn, Gille Brigte, b.c.1150, a.1171, d.1223
Son of Ferchar and Eithne. Gille Brigte, or Gilbert, took more involvement in state affairs than his predecessors, and was for a time Justiciar of Scotland. He joined the expedition of King William I against Harald Maddadsson, Earl of Orkney and Caithness, and he accompanied King William I as hostage to England after the Battle of Alnwick in 1174 and was held with his king at Falaise in Normandy, where the infamous Treaty was signed that gave England overlordship of Scotland. Much later, in 1213, he was involved in the controversy surrounding the succession of the neighbouring earldom of Menteith, and attended the Coronation of Alexander II in 1215.
4th Earl of Strathearn, Robert, b.?, a.1223, d.1244
Son of Gille Brigte and Maud d’Aubigny (b.?, d.a.1210), daughter of William d’Aubigny, 3rd Earl of Arundel. As opposed to his father, he did not involve himself with affairs of the realm, although he was present during the Treaty of York in 1237.
5th Earl of Strathearn, Maol Iosa II, b,?, a.1244, d.1271
Son of Robert. He became much more involved in the politics of the time, allowing French-speaking Normans into his lands, and he seems to have had a controlling or at least calming influence over the various factions at court, notably the Comyn and Durward rivalry.
6th Earl of Strathearn, Maol Iosa III, b.?, a.1271, d.1317
Son of Maol Iosa II and his second wife Matilda, daughter of Gilbert, mormaer of Caithness and Viking earl of Orkney. He married into the Comyn family, which put him on the Balliol side of the Great Cause. He pledged himself to Edward I of England but then took to the field against Edward’s forces on several occasions, latterly alongside William Wallace, however being repeatedly forgiven by Edward. After Bruce was crowned King, Maol Iosa tried to remain neutral but could not convince Edward and was held by the English from 1310. On his release he pledged himself to the young Edward II against Robert the Bruce and fought at the English defence of Perth in 1313, where he was eventually captured by his own son.
7th Earl of Strathearn, Maol Iosa IV, b.?, a.1317, d.1329
Son of Maol Iosa III and a daughter of Alexander Comyn, 2nd Earl of Buchan. Unlike his father, he was a keen supporter of Robert the Bruce and was imprisoned in England from 1306 to 1308. He was later one of the signatories to the Declaration of Arbroath.
8th Earl of Strathearn, Maol Iosa V, b.c.1290, a.1329, d.1350
Son of Maol Iosa IV. In 1330 he also inherited the earldom of Orkney and the mormaerdom of Caithness via his great-grandmother Matilda mentioned above. After the death of Robert I, Maol Iosa mistakenly sided with Edward Balliol, and although on the winning side at the Battle of Halidon Hill, he was deprived of his mormaerdom by Balliol, who handed it to John de Warenne, 8th Earl of Surrey. When David II returned to Scotland in 1341, Maol Iosa was forgiven but failed to get Strathearn back; instead it was given to Maurice de Moravia. Maol Iosa continued as earl of Orkney and Caithness until his death. He married Marjory Ross, daughter of Hugh, 4th Earl of Ross, and they had four daughters. He was replaced by his son-in-law Erengisle Suneson in Orkney, who married his daughter Agneta, and his grandson Alexandre de l’Arde in Caithness, son of his daughter Matilda. Another daughter, Isabella, married William Sinclair of Roslin, and their son Henry Sinclair would eventually be made the first Scottish Earl of Orkney.
Earls of Strathearn (1344)
1st Earl of Strathearn, Maurice de Moravia, b.?, a.1344, d.1346
Maurice de Moravia of Drumsagard was from a cadet branch of the great de Moravia family (the principal branch were the earls of Sutherland). A soldier of renown, he was Sheriff of Lanark as far back as 1334, and became known as Lord of Clydesdale. He became a favourite of King David II and was given the forfeited earldom of Strathearn, having married Joanna of Menteith in 1339, who had previously been married to Maol Iosa IV and then to John Campbell, 1st Earl of Atholl. In 1346 he was made Justiciar of Scotland, but was killed that year at the Battle of Neville’s Cross. Having no legitimate children, the earldom reverted to the Crown.
Earls of Strathearn (1357)
1st Earl of Strathearn, Robert Stewart, b.1316, a.1357, d.1390
Son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward
of Scotland and Marjorie Bruce (b.c.1297, d.1316), daughter of King Robert I.
He was heir-presumptive from 1318 to 1324, when the future King David II was
born. He became High Steward himself in 1326, and was again
heir-presumptive. He served as Guardian
of Scotland alongside John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray
during David’s youth, again when David was in exile in
2nd Earl of Strathearn, David Stewart, b.1357, a.1371, d.c.1386
Son of the 1st Earl (King Robert II) and Eupheme Ross (b.?, d.1387), Countess of Moray. He was also created 1st Earl of Caithness. He was styled Earl Palatine of Strathearn.
3rd Earl (Countess) of Strathearn, Euphemia Stewart, b.?, a.c.1386, d.c.1434
Daughter of the 2nd Earl and a sister of David Lindsay, 1st
Earl of Crawford. Known as Countess Palatine of
Strathearn, she married Sir Patrick Graham (b.?, d.1413) of the family of
Graham of Kincardine, and he became Earl of Strathearn de uxoris. She abdicated
as earl of
4th Earl of Strathearn, Malise Graham, b.1406-1413, a.1434, d.1490
Son of the Earl and Countess. He was deprived of the Strathearn earldom while still relatively young by James I in 1427 on the debatable grounds that the succession was male only, and given the earldom of Menteith in return, though with a much reduced extent, while his old earldom of Strathearn was given to Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl and Caithness. Shortly after this he was handed over as hostage to the English in the King’s place, and was not released until 1453.
Please consult the Menteith page for a continuation of this line.
Earls of Strathearn (1631)
1st Earl of Strathearn, Walter Graham, b.1589, a.1631, d.1661
Walter Graham, 7th Earl of Menteith, was temporarily created 1st Earl of Strathearn in 1631, but the patent for this title was shortly afterwards withdrawn and he was instead created 1st Earl of Airth.
The title is now reserved to the monarchy and has occasionally been granted to junior members of the British Royal Family as part of a grander title as follows.
1st Duke of Cumberland & Strathearn, Henry Saxe-Gotha, b.1745, a.1766, d.1790
Prince Henry was the sixth child and fourth son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King George II, and Augusta Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (b.1719, d.1772), daughter of Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. In 1766 he was created 1st Duke of Cumberland & Strathearn and 1st Earl of Dublin. He joined the Royal Navy in 1768 as a Midshipman but was quickly promoted to Rear-Admiral and then Vice-Admiral in 1770. He had various dalliances and in 1771 married a commoner, Anne Horton, which offence resulted in the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which forbade any descendant of George II to marry without the monarch’s permission. He was promoted to Admiral in 1778, though this being a purely honorary position, and was also responsible for the development of Brighton (formerly known as Brighthelmstone) as a holiday resort. He had no legitimate children, though there are reports of at least one illegitimate child from a relationship with Olivia Wilmot in 1767, and so the titles reverted to the Crown.
1st Duke of Kent & Strathearn, Edward Saxe-Gotha, b.1767, a.1799, d.1820
Prince Edward was the fourth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte, daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He began military training in Germany in 1785 and was educated at Luneburg, Hanover and finally Geneva. In 1789 he was appointed as Colonel of the 7th Royal Fusiliers, but the following year returned home without leave and was sent off in disgrace to Gibraltar as an ordinary officer. In 1791 he was sent to Canada, reaching the rank of Major-General in 1793 and Lieutenant-General in 1796. In 1799 he was created 1st Duke of Kent & Strathearn and 1st Earl of Dublin and later that year was promoted to General and made Commander-in-Chief in North America. In 1802 he was appointed Governor of Gibraltar, but his harsh discipline led to a mutiny and he was recalled, although he remained titular Governor of Gibraltar until his death. On returning to England he was made an honorary Field-Marshal and he served as honorary Colonel of the 1st Foot Regiment (Royal Scots), also until his death. He was given the Order of the St Patrick in 1783 and the Order of the Garter in 1796 and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1799. In 1815 he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. He had a number of mistresses during his life, resulting in at least one illegitimate child, but did not marry until his father’s succession began to look problematic due to the lack of heirs from his older brothers. He then married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, daughter of Duke Franz Friedrich of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and by whom he had one child, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, who would later assume the Crown as Queen Victoria. He died a few days before his father, leaving substantial debts that were not paid off until his daughter became Queen.
1st Duke of Connaught & Strathearn, Arthur Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, b.1850, a.1874, d.1942
Prince Arthur was the third son and seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He attended the Royal Military College at Woolwich from 1866 and then joined the British Army as a lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers. He then transferred, first to the Royal Regiment of Artillery, then the Rifle Brigade. Briefly in South Africa, he then went with his regiment to Canada, where he made a major impression on the locals, and documented his travels with photographs. In 1874 he was created 1st Duke of Connaught & Strathearn and 1st Earl of Sussex. Having been an honorary colonel since 1871, he was given the substantive rank of colonel in 1880 and continued to serve in various theatres of war, including Egypt in 1882 and India from 1886 to 1890. In 1893 he reached the rank of General and was hopeful of taking his cousin’s place as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, but was overlooked. In 1899 he came into the line of succession of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in Germany due to the death of his nephew Prince Alfred of Edinburgh, but renounced his rights, perhaps due to his loyalty to Britain. He was Commander-in-Chief in Ireland from 1900 to 1904 and reached the rank of Field-Marshal in 1902. He also replaced his brother, King Edward VII, as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1901, and held this position until 1939. In 1911 he was finally installed as Governor-General of Canada, and he and his wife became heavily involved in the development of civic buildings in Canada and supporting Canadian troops during the First World War. After his return from Canada after the war, he retired from public life, though at the outbreak of the Second World War he aided the military in its recruitment campaign. To this day he remains the longest-lived male member of the British Royal family.
Earls of Strathearn (2011)
1st Earl of Strathearn, William Mountbatten-Windsor, b.1982, a.2011
Prince William is the first son of Charles, Prince of Wales, son and heir of Queen Elizabeth II, and his first wife Diana Spencer.He was educated at Eton, the University of St Andrews and RMC Sandhurst before being commissioned as a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals, one of two regiments of the Household Cavalry, and formed from the amalgamation of the Royal Horse Guards and the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. However his desire to take part in active combat could not be granted and he subsequently trained in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, obtaining his RAF wings in 2008, and then spending periods in the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Marines before extending his military service in the Army Air Corps. He then transferred back to the RAF with the rank of Flight Lieutenant in order to train as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, graduating in 2010 and taking up an active role in search and rescue at RAF Valley on Anglesey. He was invested as a Royal Knight in the Order of the Garter and in 2011 he was created 1st Duke of Cambridge, 1st Earl of Strathearn and 1st Baron Carrickfergus immediately prior to his marriage to Catherine Middleton. He is also Honorary Colonel of the Irish Guards.
(Last updated: 02/05/2011)