HistoryInsight

The Earl of Dumbarton: an historic title for Harry and Meghan’s son



The proud dad confirmed that a first name was still under consideration but the baby boy born to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex early on May 6th 2019 already has access to a title. The new seventh in line to the throne won’t be an HRH but he could take his father’s secondary title, Earl of Dumbarton. And it’s a title he could well make his own.

When the Queen bestowed the title on Prince Harry on the morning of his wedding, she revived an old earldom with a rather short and sweet past. The first Earl of Dumbarton was a certain George Douglas, son of the Marquess of Douglas. He found fame as a soldier and was given the title in 1675 by King Charles II.  George ended up far from grateful. He didn’t get any land with it and was heard to complain that his new status in life only cost him money.

The next Earl of Dumbarton was his only son, another George, who inherited in the title as a 5 year old on his father’s death in 1692. He spent a lot of time at the court of James II following his exile and, like his father, was famed for his military service. However, George had no children and when he died, in 1749, the title of Earl of Dumbarton became extinct.

Dumbarton, which is northwest of Glasgow, itself has plenty of royal history. Back in the 5th century, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde and kept its important role for centuries. Mary, Queen of Scots spent several months at Dumbarton Castle as a child before she left for France to marry that country’s future king.

And while Prince Harry has been its very first royal earl, his baby son is about to make the town very famous indeed if he does end up known by the courtesy title of the Earl of Dumbarton.



About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.