Scottish Titles of the Prince of Wales

Scottish Titles of the Prince of Wales

In 1469, the Parliament of Scotland passed an Act setting down which titles would be traditionally inherited by the heir to the throne of Scotland. These titles are all now non-feudal and are:

Duke of Rothesay 

This title is traditionally used by The Prince of Wales when in Scotland, to signify that Scotland was a separate country until 1707 when it became part of the United Kingdom. It was first conferred in 1398 by Robert III, King of the Scots, on his son David. Since 1603, this title has traditionally descended alongside the Dukedom of Cornwall. 

Earl of Carrick 

This title is not actively used by The Prince of Wales. It was created in 1138 and was the title held by the ruler of Carrick (South Ayrshire). Created by William, The Lion (ca 1142-1214), who was the King of Scots between 1165 and 1214, the first holder of the title was Duncan who held it until his death in 1250. His father and uncle, son of the Prince or Lord of Galloway, were in conflict with William, The Lion and, as a result, Duncan was taken hostage by Henry II of England. He was held captive in England for nearly a decade and returned home expecting to succeed to the Galloway lands. It was not to be. Instead, he was granted Carrick and became its Earl or Mormaer (the Gaelic name for a regional ruler, who was ranked above the Chieftan but second only to the King of the Scots).  

Baron of Renfrew 

This title was first used by the heir apparent to the throne of Scotland in about 1404. It was first held by David, son of Robert III, King of the Scots, in 1398. David was a direct ancestor of the first Great Steward of Scotland, Walter Fitz Alan.

In 1991, the House of Lords declared, after many years of confusion over the status of this title, that:

‘The Barony of Renfrew is not a peerage … [but] a feudal or minor barony of Scotland.’ 

Lord of the Isles 

This is an ancient title held by the rulers of the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides) as vassals (holders of land by feudal tenure on conditions of homage and allegiance) of the King of Scotland. At the time, the kingdom or lordship held by the Lord of the Isles was largely independent from the rest of Scotland. This changed in 1493 when the western isles were annexed into mainland Scotland. At the same time, the lordship of the Isles was siezed by James IV of Scotland. 

Prince and Great Steward of Scotland 

The hereditary office of Great or High Steward of Scotland dates from the 12th century and was an officer who controlled the domestic affairs of the royal household. The first Great Steward of Scotland was Walter Fitz Alan (ca 1106-1177) who entered the employ of David I, King of Scotland, in about 1136, becoming Steward in about 1150. Walter was Steward to two further Scottish Kings: Malcolm IV and William I. He was succeeded in the role by his son, Alan Fitz Walter and the office was held by descendants of Walter Fitz Alan until the sixteenth century. It was Walter’s grandson who adopted the patronymic of Steward or Stewart, and the seventh holder of the office, Robert Stewart, became Robert II, King of Scotland in 1371. 

Image, Top: Edward VI as a Child by Hans Holbein the Younger, probably 1538

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