Queen Victoria is the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, reigning for around 63 and a half years. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has reign for 61 years and God willing, will reign for many more.
But who has held a peerage title such as a dukedom, either royal or non-royal, for the longest period of time?
The current Duke of Kent inherited his Dukedom from his father Prince George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942) 4th son of King George V of the UK and Queen Mary (Princess May of Teck). Prince George was created Duke of Kent in 1934. He died when the R.A.F. Short Sunderland flying boat he was on crashed into a hillside near Dunbeath, Caithness, in Scotland while en route from Evanton, Ross-shire, to Iceland on August 25, 1942. At that time his 7 years old son, HRH Prince Edward of Kent succeeded to the Dukedom of Kent and has held that title for 70 years.
Prince Arthur, The Duke of Connaught, 3rd son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created as created Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex on May 24, 1874 and would hold those titles until his death on January 1942 at the age of 91. He held those titles for 67 years.
Her Majesty The Queen’s husband, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (son of Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg) was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich on November 20, 1947 and has held these titles for 65 years.
Their son, Prince Charles, the Current Prince of Wales, automatically took the titles Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, upon his mother succession to the throne on February 6, 1952. Therefore he has held his dukedoms for 61 years. The title of Prince of Wales is not an inherited title it is created for the heir to the throne at the sovereigns discretion. Charles was created Prince of Wales on July 26, 1958 and has held that title for 55 years.
This takes care of the Royal dukedoms. Who have been the longest holders of non-Royal dukedoms?
Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, (in the Peerage of Scotland) held this Dukedom for 75 years 1752-1827.
George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough (in the Peerage of England) held his dukedoms for 59 years. 1758-1817.
The longest held Peerage title was not a Dukedom however. It was a Marquessate. George John Patrick Dominic Townshend, 7th Marquess Townshend, succeeded to his peerage on 17 Nov 1921. He died on 23 April 2010,having held the peerage for 88 years, 157 days.
The Peer to have lived the longest was Frank Douglas-Pennant, 5th Baron Penrhyn. born 21 Nov 1865, died 3 Feb 1967 Age 101.
photo credit: Alexander Bassano
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