The dignity of Albemarle was previously held as an earldom, but with the death of Isabella, widow of the 3rd and last de Fortibus Earl in 1293, the title reverted to the posession of the crown. It was thereafter twice granted as a dukedom to immediate members of the royal family. Firstly to Edward of Norwich, son of Edmund of Langley the 1st Duke of York, and secondly to his distant kinsman Thomas Plantagenet, a younger son of Henry IV.
Edward of Norwich, who was Earl of Rutland at the time, was created the Duke of Albemarle on the 29th September 1397. (And hence his appearance in the play Richard II as the 'Duke of Aumerle'.) He was deprived of his dukedom by Henry IV in 1399, but in 1406, four years after his father's death, he was eventually restored to his father's title as Duke of York, and was generally known under the later title from that time onwards.
Having deprived Edward of Norwich of the title Henry was therefore able to dispense it to his younger son Thomas. Consequently on the 9th July 1411, Thomas was created both Duke of Albemarle and Duke of Clarence, but he was killed at the battle of Baugy in 1421, and since he died without direct heirs both titles became extinct.
There be that toll me that there is a certain cunning fellow in Scotland, called George Monk, who is said to lie in wait there to introduce Charles Stuart
George Monck was the younger son of a Thomas Monk from Potheridge, near Torrington, in Devonshire, who entered the army and served in Spain and the Netherlands. Appointed a colonel in the service of Charles I at the outbreak of the Civil War, he later served as the Governor of Dublin before he was captured by the Parliamentarians and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
George Monck was released from captivity in 1646, when he agreed to re-enter military service with the new republican administration, presumably justifying his change of master on the grounds that the royalist cause was by then lost. In any event, he was employed in fighting against the government's external enemies, and achieved a certain amount of success against both the Scots and the Dutch.
But Monck's sympathies remained with the royalists and following the death of Oliver Cromwell and the resignation of his son Richard Cromwell shortly thereafer, Monck moved to occupy London and was instrumental in arranging for the return of the monarchy. It was Monck who organised the Convention Parliament that confirmed the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in the form of Charles II. A grateful king Charles therefore granted him the title of Duke of Albermarle and a pension of a £1,000 a year.
His son Christopher Monck inherited the title on his death in 1670. The 2nd Duke also followed a military career like his father and in 1687 was appointed as Governor of Jamaica. He married Elizabeth Cavendish, who was the daughter and coheiress of Henry Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, but she became mentally unstable soon after the marriage which proved childless. Therefore with the death of Christopher Monck in 1688 the title reverted to the crown once more.
The dignity of Albermarle was thereafter re-granted as an earldom to Arnold Joost van Keppel in 1697, whose descendants still hold the title of Earl of Albermarle to this day.
There is however one further Duke of Albermarle that needs to be dealt with, and that is Henry Fitzjames, the illegitimate son of James II and Arabella Churchill who was raised to the peerage as 'Duke of Albemarle' in 1696 at the age of twenty-three. The only problem with this is that James II was no longer king in 1696, having been deposed by William and Mary in 1688. This however did not stop James believing that he was still the legitimate king and capable of dispensing honours as he saw fit, and the grant of the title 'Duke of Albermarle' to his son was one of many Jacobite creations that surfaced at the time.
In any event Henry Fitzjames died in 1702 without any issue.
THE DUKES OF ALBEMARLE
Creation of 1397
Creation of 1411
Unofficial Jacobite Creation
- The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for
ALBEMARLE, EARLS AND DUKES OF
- Royal Genealogy information held at University of Hull see
- RoyaList Online at http://www.royalist.info/royalist/index.html
- Charles Arnold Baker The Companion to British History (Longcross Press, 1996)
- George Monck from
- THE ENGLISH PEERAGE or, a view of the ANCIENT and PRESENT STATE of the ENGLISH NOBILITY London: (1790)