|Duke of Lancaster|
|Term length||Life tenure|
|Inaugural holder||John of Gaunt|
|Succession||Charles, Prince of Wales|
The Duke of Lancaster is the titular owner of the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster and head of the County Palatine of Lancaster. It is also an ancient title that is informally used within Lancaster to describe Elizabeth II, the monarch of the United Kingdom. The Duchy of Lancaster exists as a separate entity from the Crown Estate and currently provides income for the British monarch. The title merged with the crown as a result of the House of Lancaster's participation in the Wars of the Roses.
It is customary at formal dinners in the historic county boundaries of Lancashire and in Lancastrian regiments of the armed forces for the Loyal Toast to the crown to be announced as "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster." In addition, in Lancaster it was quite common as late as the second half of the twentieth century to hear the national anthem sung as "God save our gracious Queen, long live our noble Duke," but this is a tradition that has no constitutional warrant, and the British monarch is not styled legally so within either the County Palatine of Lancashire nor the Duchy of Lancaster in any official capacity (for example, Letters Patent or Acts of Parliament), merely as a sign of local, 'Lancastrian' loyalty.
There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th centuries. There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster. The first creation was on 6 March 1351, for Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl of Lancaster, a great-grandson of Henry III; he was also 4th Earl of Leicester, 1st Earl of Derby, 1st Earl of Lincoln and Lord of Bowland. He died in 1361 and the peerage expired.
The second creation was on 13 November 1362, for John of Gaunt, 1st Earl of Richmond, who was both Henry Grosmont's son-in-law and also third surviving son of King Edward III. John had married Blanche of Lancaster, 6th Countess of Lancaster, daughter of Henry Grosmont and heiress to his estates. When John of Gaunt, the 1st Duke of this creation died on 4 February 1399, the Dukedom passed to his son, Henry of Bolingbroke, 1st Duke of Hereford. Later that same year, the new 2nd Duke usurped the throne of England from Richard II, ascending the throne as Henry IV, at which point the Dukedom merged in the Crown (i.e. becomes vested with the Crown).
The third creation was on 10 November 1399, for Henry of Monmouth, Prince of Wales, eldest son of the new king. In 1413, the 1st Duke ascended the throne as King Henry V, and the Dukedom merged in the crown again, where it has remained ever since.
First creation, 1351-1361
|Henry of Grosmont
House of Plantagenet
also Earl of Derby (1337), Earl of Leicester (1345), Earl of Lancaster (1345), Earl of Lincoln (1349), Earl of Moray (1359), Lord of Beaufort and Nogent (1345)
son of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth
|Isabel of Beaumont
23 March 1361
|Henry of Grosmont died in 1361 without male issue.|
Second creation, 1362-1399
|John of Gaunt
House of Lancaster (founder)
also Duke of Aquitaine (1390), Earl of Richmond (1342–1372), Earl of Leicester, Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, Baron of Halton (1361)
|6 March 1340
son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault
|Blanche of Lancaster
19 May 1359 – 12 September 1368
Constance of Castile
21 September 1371 – 24 March 1394
13 January 1396
3 February 1399
House of Lancaster
also Duke of Hereford (1397), Earl of Northampton (1337)
|c. April 1367
son of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster
|Mary de Bohun
c. 1381 – 4 June 1394
Joan of Navarre
7 February 1403
20 March 1413
|Henry Bolingbroke seized the throne in 1399, and all of his titles merged with the crown.|
Third creation, 1399-1413
|Henry of Monmouth
House of Lancaster
also Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (1399), Duke of Cornwall (1337), Duke of Aquitaine (1390)
|16 September 1386
son of Henry IV and Mary de Bohun
|Catherine of Valois
2 June 1420
31 August 1422
|Henry of Monmouth succeeded to the throne in 1413, and his titles merged with the crown.|
- "HM The Queen, Duke of Lancaster". Duchy of Lancaster. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- Kretschmer, Anna (13 October 2019). "The Queen's surprising ancient titles revealed - and why her main title causes controversy". Daily Express.
- "The Reverend John Williams". The Daily Telegraph. 24 December 2003.
- Tulloch, Alexander (2013). The Little Book of Lancashire. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7524-9746-4.
- "Duchy of Lancaster". Lancaster Castle. Retrieved 25 December 2019.