Come for the explanation of the gender-bending titles, stay for a little historical drama.
Her Majesty is a woman known by many names and titles.
To her great-grandchildren, she’s Gan-Gan. And to most of her subjects, she’s Her Majesty. But for a selective group of Brits, the Queen goes by a very different title: ‘Duke of Lancaster’.
Despite being a woman, Her Majesty is known as a Duke as opposed to a Duchess. And today, she will be toasted as such.
As the Crown Chronicles pointed out on Twitter, “Today is Lancashire Day, marking the area first sending representatives to Parliament in 1295. During the day, you may hear a chorus of ‘Long live our noble Duke’ instead of ‘God Save The Queen'”.
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“As Her Majesty The Queen’s title in that county is ‘Duke of Lancaster'”.
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Indeed, according to the official Duchy of Lancaster’s website, the 92 year-old reigning monarch has held the specific title of Duke of Lancaster since the year, 1399.
The site goes into detail about the history of the royal title.
It notes that “when John of Gaunt, the Second Duke of Lancaster died in 1399, his nephew, King Richard II confiscated the Lancaster inheritance and banished John’s son, Henry Bolingbroke, from England for life”.
“Bolingbroke was back in just a year. And he was not alone, but with an army at his back. It forced his brother to abdicate. He then ascended to the throne as Henry IV in October 1399”.
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“One of Henry’s first acts as King was to stipulate the conditions in which the Lancaster inheritance should be held. He specified that it should be held separately from all other Crown possessions, and should descend through the monarchy as a private estate”.
And, that has been going on ever since.
In 1702, the Crown Lands act clarified that the King or Queen would only receive income and not capital from the Duchy. And so, it has been ever since. Her Majesty continues to receive income from the Duchy.
It is a revenue which is kept separate from other Crown properties. In her capacity as Duke, Elizabeth has visited the area a number of times over the course of her long reign.