Queen Elizabeth Has a Secret Royal Title and It Breaks All the Rules

In the royal family, official titles are everything. After all, it’s how its many members establish themselves amongst one another. However, no royal title is worth more weight than Her Majesty The Queen. As the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth has held the same royal title since 1952 when she ascended the throne. However, it appears she has an unofficial royal title, too — one that goes against the royal family’s biggest title rule.

What is Queen Elizabeth’s secret royal title? Find out, below.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth’s royal title

The queen’s title has changed many times throughout her life. First, she was Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York. Then, when her father ascended the throne, she became Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth. And, once she married Prince Philip, she was Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. But, today, her title is simple, straight-forward, and powerful: Her Majesty The Queen.

That said, Queen Elizabeth has an additional, less official royal title (and, no, we aren’t talking about her great-grandchildren’s nickname for her, Gan Gan). In addition to officially being Her Majesty The Queen, Queen Elizabeth is also considered a duke, despite the one royal rule that states women can’t hold dukedoms.

In the royal family, a dukedom is one of the highest ranking titles and usually belongs to the sons and grandsons of a monarch. The status is bestowed upon them at the time of marriage or majority. However, royal women cannot hold dukedoms — they can only carry on their husband’s title as duchesses. But, as with many things, the queen is exempt.

As the sovereign and head of the Duchy of Lancaster, a portfolio of land responsible for much of Queen Elizabeth’s income, Her Majesty is unofficially known as the Duke of Lancaster. According to the Duchy of Lancaster’s website, the title has been held by the reigning monarch since 1399 and “the title Duke of Lancaster continues to be used, even for a female monarch.”

What is the Duchy of Lancaster?

As sovereign, Queen Elizabeth makes money in a few different ways. Most notably, she earns money from the government — aka, British taxpayers — by way of the Sovereign Grant. This income is small compared to the income received from the Duchy of Lancaster and can only be used for official business such as staff salaries, upkeep and maintenance on assets owned by The Crown, travel, and other expenses related to her official duties. To supplement her Sovereign Grant income, the queen earns money from a portfolio of land called the Duchy of Lancaster, which gets passed on from sovereign to sovereign.

The Duchy of Lancaster is a portfolio of 45,550 acres of land consisting of rural estates, farmland, urban developments, historical buildings, and commercial properties throughout England and Wales. However, most of the land holdings are located in Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, and the Savoy Estate (Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy) in London.


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