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Territories Where Queen Elizabeth II Is Called "Duke"

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

As the reigning sovereign of the United Kingdom  and Her Realms, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, held many titles.

Some of it are unofficial and virtually unknown to the public. However, most of the styles were altered upon her accession to suit her gender like the national anthem from "God Save the King" to "God Save the Queen".

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh 

Surprisingly, there are two titles that weren't changed when she ascended the throne, and it remained as such.

The Duke of Lancaster and the Duke of Normandy, albeit unofficial but have been merged to the British crown for centuries.

Instead of Duchess, the Queen is recognized at these territories as Duke. The Duchy of Lancaster is part of Great Britain while the Duchy of Normandy refers to the Channel Islands.

Why? Here's the explanation. It's worth knowing. 

The Duke of Lancaster 

Whether a British sovereign is a male or a female it doesn't matter, the title is always held as it is by the monarch, Duke of Lancaster in the Duchy of Lancaster.

How can this even be possible?

The Queen during a visit in the
Duchy of Lancaster 

Duke of Lancaster has been held by the reigning British monarch since King Henry IV of England, known as Henry Bolingbroke because he was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Linconshire. 

He was the son of Prince John, known as John of Gaunt, the fourth son of King Edward III and Queen Philippa.

Henry's mother was Blanche of Lancaster, great grand daughter of King Henry III of England.

Blanche's father, Henry Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster, was considered the wealthiest aristocrat in Britain during his time.

Bolingbroke Castle 

But the Duke of Lancaster title had some serious attachment to a bloody conflict that would later be known in history as Wars of the Roses, the bloodiest civil war in English history.

Henry Grosmont was a prominent politician and soldier and the leading figure during the early phases of  the Hundred Years of War, a military campaign against France  initiated by Edward III to reclaim the French throne, among other reasons. 

Grosmont was also one of the founding members of The Most Noble Order of the Garter, a chivalric order  established by Edward III in 1348.

Lancaster Castle 

However, he had no son to inherit the title, upon his death, the title became extinct. Edward III conferred it to his son, John of Gaunt.

Along with the title, came its lands and other properties in the Duchy of Lancaster and elsewhere, making him the wealthiest person in his era in Britain. He was also the most recognized person who founded the Royal House of Lancaster.

John of Gaunt, founder of the Royal House of Lancaster

He was the most influential figure in the court during his father's reign and that of his nephew, King Richard II, the last Plantagenet king. 

However, as John's son, Henry of Bolingbroke, and King Richard II (who were close cousins during their childhood) grew into adulthood, power struggle tore their once warm relationship and drew them apart.  

Henry participated in the rebellion of the Barons to expel the corrupt and tyrant favorites of King Richard II.

Though the rebellion collapsed and he was forgiven by his cousin, he was seriously involved again in another conflict, this time with a nobleman.

Richard II decided to banish them in court to avoid bloodshed. When John of Gaunt died, Richard II was afraid his cousin would become powerful and influential due to the inheritance attached to the dukedom of Lancaster.

He denied Henry with the Duke of Lancaster title and sequestered his inheritance. He also barred his cousin from returning to England.

Incensed with the circumstances, Henry gathered supporters to overthrow his cousin and take back his inheritance and title

Richard II was defeated and he was sent to prison where he died later. He had no children and the throne would supposed to be inherited by Edmond, Mortimer, 5th Earl of March and grandson of Prince Lionel, Duke of Clarence, who was John of Gaunt's older brother.

Henry Bolingbroke ignored this hierarchy in the line of succession and declared himself King of England and Duke of Lancaster.

From then on, all succeeding British monarchs held the title Duke of Lancaster irrespective if the sovereign is a male or female.

Richard, Duke of York whose wife was the younger sister of Mortimer, would later press this claim, culminating in Henry IV's grandson's murder, Henry VI, during War of the Roses.

The Duchy of Lancaster covers more than 18,400 hectares of land and consists of urban and rural properties, holdings, commercial buildings across England and Wales particularly in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Lancashire and the Savoy Estate in London.

It provides private income to the sovereign and managed separately from the Crown Estate.

It's one of the two royal duchies in England, the other one is the Duchy of Cornwall which provides income to the heir apparent.

The Duke of Normandy

Queen Elizabeth II held the title of Duke of Normandy in the Channel Islands since her accession.

It's an archipelago off the French coast of Normandy and part of UK's Crown Dependencies.

Bailiwick of Guernsey 

Channel islands consist of Bailiwick of Jersey and Bailiwick of  Guernsey, except the Isle of Wight which is part of the United Kingdom.

However, the region of Normandy, except the Channel Islands, was already ceded by England to France in 1259 under the Treaty of Paris.

Bailiwick of Jersey

Total population in the Channel Islands now more than 170,400. They tossed for the Queen's health Duke of Normandy.

The Channel Islands are part of the Crown Dependencies of Britain but not part of the Commonwealth of Nations nor the European Union.

The Queen's full title is Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith.

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