Author Topic: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.  (Read 68772 times)

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Offline Margot

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #75 on: March 06, 2010, 07:09:17 PM »
The Devonshire coronets were an exhibit a few years ago! But due to the changes that the present Duke and Duchess are undertaking, they may have been moved

The Roxburghes have a special 'Robe Room' at Floors where you can seen their coronets and robes proper!

Various ceremonial robes including glorious tabards, mantles and whatnot were certainly displayed at Arundel and made a wonderful exhibit!

Ian 13th Duke of Bedford claimed that the family coronation robes and coronet were 'lost' after his father had lent them to 'another Duke'. The present Duke will probably have to get go to London for fittings if they were not replaced! In all likelihood incumbent Dukes and Duchesses could always hire the whole caboodle from Ede and Ravenscroft rather than fork out tens of thousand on a new set which will only ever be worn at a coronation!

In a rather hauntingly prescient move, the 11th and penultimate Duke of Leeds included his coronet in one of several auctions where he placed lots! The coronet fetched eight guineas and his robes a further forty! Jack Leeds was an intriguing man! He was one of those later babies. His parents the impossibly suave 'Dolly' 10th Duke and Duchess Katherine had been married for seventeen years and had four daughters the youngest of whom was nearly nine when the Duchess finally provided an heir to the Dukedom!

At the time of John's birth, the Dukedom appeared relatively secure! His father had two brothers, Lord Francis whose wife Blanche was still hoping to have children after only five years of marriage and Lord Albert, unmarried but very much alive as a prospective father of future Dukes. In addition there were three teenage cousins, D'Arcy, Sidney and Maurice Osborne, second cousins of Jack's father the 10th Duke. Thus the Dukedom appeared to be reasonable secure for the future. Nevertheless Jack Carmarthen as the future 11th Duke was known from birth grew up cherished, adored and cosseted by his mother in particular. She became somewhat detached from her husband and after her daughters had all 'come out' took to spending longer and longer periods abroad in Paris and at a villa she rented in Bordighera on the Italian Riviera. Duchess Katherine always took her son with her as often as school holidays permitted when she migrated to the continent and he appears to have grown into a young man of particularly discerning and worldly tastes unlike many others heirs to British Dukedoms of his generation.

Perhaps his childhood and youthful travels abroad planted the seeds of Jack's adult preference for a life spent predominantly on the continent! Later Dukes followed suit, but few save the 10th Duke of Manchester seem to have altogether severed their links with their native land so thoroughly. In 1948 Jack did buy Trafalgar House, the former home and estate of the Nelson family, but he never lived there and leased the house to his brother-in-law. Apparently Jack acquired the  Trafalgar estate in order to avoid the ever increasing worry over taxes, putting money into a property was quite a sensible option at the time when he was childless, but shortly after his daughter was born he sold the estate.

He had a sartorial elegance about him that was akin to that of his father the eponymous Edwardian Duke, 'Dolly' 10th Duke of Leeds. I always found it fascinating that Jack Leeds sold his coronet when he was still a young bachelor in his twenties! He certainly didn't have to sell it as his father had left an estate valued in the region of 700,000 pounds! Death duties would have been very heavy, but Jack sold more or less every last acres of the family holdings in North Yorkshire and Cornwall and spent most of his time living in an early form of tax exile, mostly in France and Jersey ! I often wonder when twenty years after selling his patrimony and his coronet and robes, how Jack Leeds must have felt when he was told he was to become a father for the first time? Pleased that he had got rid of the trappings of a ducal lifestyle that was no longer relevant? Or perhaps he may have felt a twinge of guilt in case he had robbed a possible male successor of some part of his rightful inheritance! It is irrelevant anyway as his only child was Lady Camilla Osborne.

By the time Jack became a father in 1950, the possible heirs to the Dukedom had dwindled significantly. In 1901 when he was born, there had been five other males in remainder. As it turned out, neither of Jack's uncles sired legitimate children. Lord Albert, one of those archetypically appalling spendthrift black sheep younger sons that all families produced, died unmarried aged forty eight just before the outbreak of the Great War and Lord Francis died without issue in 1924. Of Jack's three second cousins once removed, Maurice had been killed in action in 1915 unmarried. Thus when Jack Leeds' daughter was born in 1950 there were only two remaindermen left, Maurice's elder brothers, Sir D'Arcy Osborne and Sidney Osborne. Both were by then over sixty and confirmed bachelors. Sidney died in 1958. Leaving the impossibly urbane and fascinating Sir D'Arcy Osborne, former Minister Plenipotentiary to the Vatican between 1936 and 1947, and a full time resident in Rome as sole heir. Even at this time, now married for a third time, Jack Leeds and his twenty seven year old wife hoped for a child of their own, but to Duchess Caroline's great disappointment she never bore a child and so after a long and harrowing illness Jack Leeds died aged sixty three and was succeeded by his rather more famous kinsman, Sir D'Arcy Osborne.

Sir D'Arcy Osborne who briefly became 12th Duke of Leeds, was a great chum of the Queen Mother and visitor at Clarence House and at Castle of Mey as one of her guests whenever he returned to Britain. With his panache, wit and extraordinary experiences during the War when he helped hide thousands of allied personnel and Jews, he was one of the a select 'few' who were genuinely close to QEQM. I have some of his poetry which is rather lovely and his memoirs are extremely elegant and very evocative!    

Offline Margot

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #76 on: March 06, 2010, 07:35:04 PM »

Though I guess looking at peers' coronets would be a bit more boring than watching royal regalia in the long run, as they all are alike. If I were a (loaded) duke I think my inbreeding-induced eccentricity would be to make myself a coronet that was a bit more elaborate (but of course within the regulations: eight strawberry leaves), but of real gold with jewels etc. And I would wear it a bit more often, not just sit around bareheaded hoping for a coronation to happen in my lifetime. Do you think Her Majesty would reprimand me for that? Do you know of any "mad dukes" guilty of said eccentricity?

I have a confession!!!! A few years ago I discovered Baroness' coronet from 1902 in a dressing up box in an attic! Lord knows where it came from! I cleaned it up with some 'Silvo' and even thought about getting the cap replaced! It had long ago lost its storage case and was a bit jaded! Anyway, I used to wear it when I used to do my hoovering! It was impossibe to keep in place without pins!!! I would have loved to have had the robes then I really could have gone the whole hog and cooked dinner in my finery! Like Nanette Newman making cheese on toast in her emeralds!


Anyway, it would be hilarious to see a Duke in his coronet chomping on a cigar in his dressing gown and slippers wouldn't it! Or stalking the halls of his home as tourists file pasts mobile phones poised to capture his grace in his get up!

There is one rather famous instance of an 'eccentric' Duke, Obby, 12th Duke of St Albans and younger brother of the completely insane 11th Duke and elder of the pyromanic Lord William Beauclerk who tried to burn down Eton College! Obby wasn't really mad but he was obsessed with the madness that ran in his family and sometimes played on it out of sheer mischief!
   In 1953 he announced that he would only attend the coronation if he was permitted to play a role as Hereditary Grand Falconer of England! He demanded to be allowed to bring a falcon into the abbey with him! He was subsequently informed that a live specimen would not be permitted, but it was suggested that perhaps he could make do with a stuffed one if he insisted upon the matter! Obby did not attend the coronation!


 
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 07:47:24 PM by Margot »

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #77 on: March 06, 2010, 07:45:23 PM »
Since they are so rarely used, I think most the robes and coronets are hired from a shop in London. If they are no longer in the family.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 07:48:38 PM by Robert_Hall »
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Offline Margot

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #78 on: March 06, 2010, 08:00:43 PM »
You are quite right Robert! You can hire the lot from Ede and Ravenscroft and Garrards! The cost of buying robes even second hand is staggering! The Marquess of Cambridge's robes and coronet were for sale a couple of years ago and were priced at just under 15,000 pounds! I suppose the Royal associations probably hiked up the price but even so!

I know a couple of peers who haven't a clue where the family robes and coronets went, but there are still plenty of others who have them packed away! It used to be a real obsession with peers as to the provenance of their robes! One Earl refused to get new robes in 1902 and when his wife objected and said he looked a 'fright' replied with smug pride that as the robes had been made for the coronation of George III it was hardly surprising they may have looked a little 'worn'! Another Earl had parliamentary peers robes that dated from the reign of Elizabeth I and made sure everyone knew it!

« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 08:02:39 PM by Margot »

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #79 on: March 06, 2010, 09:13:46 PM »
Who knows if there will even be   all this at the next coronation? Reform is in  deeply in the works. A lot of the  "poofery" is being eliminated.
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Offline Margot

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #80 on: March 06, 2010, 10:05:43 PM »
Ah yes, I recall a conversation about possible concepts for the next coronation and the way the whole conversation veered off from a polite debate about the role of the peerage in the proceedings to one dominated by the role of the Lords Spiritual! It all became a bit zealous and tedious as Religious fuled matters so often do! I never bothered to contribute after the whole thing became a duel between the die hard Anglican traditionalist brigade and the more open minded who tend to applaud the Prince of Wales' Defender of Faith stance and how it may be incorporated into a future coronation.

I personally do not care to go down that route here, as it is not applicable to the Lords Temporal of which the Dukes of the realm were but a tiny portion! As the present Duke of Devonshire has recently said 'Aristocracy is dead.' Therefore I doubt that the hereditary ranks have a justifiable place in proceedings or will even be invited to attend any future coronation unless they are active holders of one of the Great Offices, a member of the Queen's household, a member of the Privy Council or a member of the Lords through elevation to new peerages by recommendation from the Government and the leader of HM's opposition, which in some cases is already in effect.

By 'poofery' I assume you mean the dressing up aspect of robes and coronets? With the final abolition of the hereditary element of the Lords, I tend to think that coronets, ermine, miniver, crimson robes etc should be reserved exclusively for the use of the Royal Family as the last representatives of the Hereditary principle. The life peers should perhaps be given different and more modern outfits to don on such occasions as where there presence is required on state occasions. Perhaps a new design of simpler Parliamentarian robes.

Saying that, I do think that the Hereditary Officers, such as the Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshal and the Marquess of Cholmondeley as Lord Great Chamberlain both of whom have significant roles to perform during state occasions including coronations should perhaps be exceptions to the rule! After all, they are and will remain in their positions and continue in their duties for the foreseeable future, primarily because of Hereditary right and tradition. Therefore, I think they alone should perhaps be permitted to keep their 'poofery' for just such occasions.
 
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 10:15:19 PM by Margot »

Offline Victor

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #81 on: March 06, 2010, 10:09:43 PM »
Robert-what a marvellously descriptive phrase you have coined!Another I have heard referring to cutting back on fuss and bother is 'No fur,no feathers'.
'The world breaks all of us but some of us are stronger in the broken places.'Ernest Hemingway.

Offline Margot

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #82 on: March 06, 2010, 10:39:15 PM »
I was most intrigued to learn that some hard up peers and peeresses could compromise in their choice of fur trim on their robes. If they did not wish to hire robes and wanted spanking new ones in 1953 they could have them made with either white rabbit or ermine trim! The choice was theirs, that a small matter of the price which was a difference of 300 guineas!

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #83 on: March 06, 2010, 10:56:34 PM »
How many ermines does it take to  trim those moth eaten robes?  No wonder they rent the things.
 In 1953, The UK was still under rationing,  I think.  Rabbit!  What sacrilege !!
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

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Offline Margot

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #84 on: March 06, 2010, 11:05:07 PM »
The meat from the rabbit could perhaps have been sold to make pie fillings! Rabbit did not officially come under farmed livestock meat distributed through rationing! Many people kept rabbits in the cities specifically to add meat to their diet! I don't think ermine is edible as it is a weasel and I have never heard of people eating weasel or stoat!

I haven't a clue how many ermine or rabbit would be required for the trimming of a peer or peeress' robes and coronet! But certainly less than those required for a Prince or Princess of the Blood!

Anyway I can't believe we are sitting here discussing robes and coronets and rationing! This is quite surreal!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 11:13:09 PM by Margot »

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #85 on: March 07, 2010, 07:05:19 AM »
Margot

I am intrigued to know how you came to be in a position to find a coronet in a cupboard!

I don't know about 'abroad', but there is a bit of a 'thing' in Britain about not having finery that looks new. So barristers go round in grubby-looking wigs and torn gowns, and the best way to acquire something is to inherit it. There is a standing joke that the thing to do with a new Barbour jacket (a waxed cotton garment very popular among rural members of the upper crust) is to drag it behind your Land Rover!

Ann

Offline Margot

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #86 on: March 07, 2010, 07:48:15 AM »
Oh Ann I remember that one about the Barbours! Same applies to Robes etc....'New money don't you know?' wink wink! I am English born and bred too!

The coronet and where it came from is a complete mystery! We certainly never played with it when we were little! Otherwise I am sure we would have remembered it as being a 'real crown' so to speak, rather than the common or garden cardboard or plastic ones we did use for dress up! I have been meaning to do more research into it as it is hallmarked so I guess it wouldn't be too difficult to research.

Goodness, we are still on about coronets! Perhaps I should start a little post about the Dukes of Somerset! Now they are an absolutely fascinating lot and full of the most extraordinary homogeny of amazing personalities! Actually they are my second favourite ducal dynasty after the Dukes of Leeds!


 



Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #87 on: March 07, 2010, 08:37:46 AM »
My Barbour hasn't been dragged behind a Land rover, but is about 15 years old and been allowed to age gently, so that I has a couple of holes on the outside and more in the lining.

Perhaps your coronet is like the WW1 bayonet that I found in my grandmother's coal shed!

Ann

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #88 on: March 07, 2010, 10:36:47 AM »
 I do not think I have a Barbour.   Would have to ask my friend where I keep my winter clothes in a village. But, I do have a couple of Australian "Dryasa bones" which are  way too large for me. One I inherited, the other I bought as a gift, but it was never used so given back. It sounds about the same, except for the Land Rover part.
 Mentioning rabbits.  It is interesting...a couple of years ago I had a birthday party in a restaurant in London [ no  robes or coronets] and the special menu featured rabbit.   My partner & I did not eat it ourselves, but it was a hit with the guests. [it was not the only thing on the menu]  I had it when I was quite young, but my partner  used to be a magician and rabbits are rather special to him.
 But, The Dukes.... some of them were real reprobates, were they not? I have just started on a book by Brian Masters- The Dukes. Looks interesting. So far, Shaftsbury is  a bit of a puzzle. I do not even know who the current one is. [didn't the young heir die very soon after inheriting?]
 And, a friend of mine is involved with the Buccleuch family.
 
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Offline RoyalWatcher

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Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #89 on: March 07, 2010, 12:13:50 PM »
Going back to the coronation formal dress, I think it would be an interesting choice to go with sashes for both males and females instead of those robes. The sashes would be much more understated, but would allow the wearer the distinction of their position?!? As for the coronets, well I think perhaps they should be retired altogether.