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Prince Francis of Teck & Ellen, Countess of Kilmorey, & Royal Wills

Prince Francis Teck and Ellen, Countess of Kilmorey, and Royal Wills

He was Francis ('Frank') Joseph Leopold Frederick, Prince of Teck, born at Kensington Palace, London, 9 January 1870, the second son of Francis, Prince and Duke of Teck (died 21 January 1900), by his wife Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge (died 27 October 1897), the daughter of Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge the seventh son of King George III. His father had been created Duke of Teck by the King of Wurttemberg in 1863, a title recognized in Austria in 1864. Francis was a godson of Francis-Joseph, Emperor of Austria, of Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts and of Queen Victoria's youngest son, a delighted Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, who had haemophilia and died in 1884 [Charlotte Zeepvat, Prince Leopold (1998) 65]. Prince Francis's only sister Mary (called 'May' in the family) married the Duke of York in 1893; her husband was created Prince of Wales, 9 November 1901, and succeeded as King George V, 6 May 1910.


Prince Francis was educated at Eton; then at Wellington College where he was expelled for misbehaviour. Then, a day boy. he resided with the Principal, Dr Kynaston, at Cheltenham College, January 1886, and received the Hornby Prize of £5, 1886 [A.A. Hunter, Cheltenham College Register 1841-1889 (1890) 387]. He was confirmed by the Bishop of St Albans, at the Chapel Royal, 24 March 1887. He was then at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

Aged eigteen he was as dark as his elder brother Adolphus ('Dolly') was fair, 'a tall handsome youth with black hair and startlingly blue eyes' [James Pope-Hennessy, Queen Mary 1867-1953 (1959) 182]. He was elegant and stylish, extravagant like his mother, and considered somewhat 'wild' [S.W. Jackman, The people's princess: a portrait of H.R.H. Princess Mary, Duchess of Teck (1984) 171].

Army 1889-95

Prince Francis was appointed Second Lieutenant, 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers, 30 January 1889; transferred to the 1st Bn, The King's Royal Rifle Corps, 17 April 1889; to be transferred as Second Lieutenant, 1st Royal Dragoons, 8 October 1890 [London Gazette, 7 October 1890, page 5326]; Lieutenant, 1st Royal Dragoons, 26 August 1891; Captain, 1st Royal Dragoons, 28 July 1894 [London Gazette, 27 July 1894, page 4303] when he served at York.

Illegitimate Son?

The indexes of births and marriages compiled at the General Register Office, London, and available online show that the parents of the noted actress Sarah E. Miles, who was born at Ingatestone, Essex, on 31 December 1941, and of her brother Christopher John Miles, who was born at Paddington, London, on 19 April 1939, whose births were registered in the surnames, 'Miles or Remnant', were John Miles and Clarice Vera Remnant who were married in Holborn Registration District in 1942 [GRO, September Quarter 1942, Holborn, 1b 902].

The mother, Clarice Vera Remnant, was born in Edmonton, in 1916 [GRO, Birth Index, March Quarter 1916, Edmonton, 3a 381], daughter of Frank Remnant and Doris May Taylor who married by Licence at Holy Trinity, Tottenham, Middlesex, on 24 November 1915 [Registers, Entry 231, Page 116], when Frank Remnant described himself as aged 21, bachelor, Sageant in the Middlesex Regiment, of 42 St Loys Road, the son of Frank Remnant, coachman. Doris May Taylor was aged 20, spinster, of the same address, daughter of George Taylor, deceased, constructor. Emily Remnant was a witness.

According to Sarah Miles. writing in her memoir A right royal bastard (1993), page 20, although her mother's father, Frank Remnant, was ostensibly the eldest son of Frank Remnant, a coachman, at 6 Waldeck Terrace, Mortlake, Surrey, and his wife Georgina, born on 25 February 1894 and baptised at St Mary, Mortlake, on 1 April 1894 [Registers, Entry 1303, Page 163], he was in truth the son of Prince Francis of Teck.

However, research has shown that the boy born, baptised and registered as Frank Remnant in 1894, was the fifth of eight children of this couple who never married, and he lived with them until he married in 1915, his father being Frank Remnant, a domestic coachman. The boy was with his parents at 39 Ipplepen Road. Tottenham, aged 7 in 1901 [RG13/1251-52-30] and with them at 42 St Eloy Road, South Tottenham, aged 17 in 1911, as a gasfitter's labourer for a Gas and Coke Company. No evidence of the claimed parentage or of any connection between the couple and Prince Francis of Teck has been published or found.

The child's father, Frank Remnant, died at Edmonton in 1915 [GRO, March Quarter 1915, aged 58, Edmonton, 3a 796]. The child's mother, Georgina, who never married Frank Remnant, died at Edmonton on 31 January 1929, aged 61, having as Georgina M. Wakelin married John George Harrow at Edmonton in 1915 [GRO, September Quarter, 1915, Edmonton, 3a 1733]. She had been born at Notting Hill, London, in November 1868 [TNA, 1871 Census, Springfields Lodge, Acton, Middlesex, RG 10/1322-140-13], and baptised at St Helen, Regent Square, Middlesex, 25 April 1876, one of four children of Arthur Boys Wakelin, of 30 Judd Street, policeman, and his wife Emma [Registers, Entries 62-65, Pages 8-9]. Unverified pedigrees on 'Ancestry' develop their ancestry and relatives.

No other involvement with women has been attributed to Prince Francis , except for his friendship with the Countess of Kilmorey described below, and he showed so litle interest in marriage as not to answer letters from Edward VII's daughter, Princess Maud, who had fallen in love with him. She married in 1896, Prince Charles of Denmark, later King of Norway [John Van der Kiste, Edward VII's Children (1989) 79-83].

Gambling, 1895

Prince Francis was an incorrigible gambler. Whilst quartered in Ireland on 27 June 1895 and already owing £1,000, he lost a further £10,000 on a single bet at The Curragh in a race for the Steward's Plate. Believing a horse called Bellevin superior to the race's other three horses, Prince Francis had backed it at 10 to 1, but Bellevin lost to the unconsidered Wingfield's Pride by a length and a half [Sport (Dublin), 29 June 1895, page 6; South Wales Echo, 28 June 1895, page 3; Kenneth Rose, King George V (1983) 37-38].

Although bailed out by his sister and brother-in-law and exiled to India in disgrace the Prince was ' cheerfully unrepentant'. Indeed Pope-Hennessy thought him 'one of those who find the burden of gratitude too heavy to bear' [James Pope-Hennessy, Queen Mary (1959) 323]. His mother blamed his friends in Ireland for his 'racing, betting and horse propensities' but he had been indulged and taught to bet by her and spoiled by a wealthy godmother who paid his college fees. He was described by Kenneth Rose as an engaging idler and a spendthrift but, like his mother, he 'knew no boundaries' [Jane Ridley, George V (2021) page 126].

Army 1896-1902

As a result of his gambling fiasco, Prince Francis was appointed A.D.C. to the General Officer commanding, First Class District (Major-General W. Galbraith), at Quetta in Baluchistan, 25 November 1896 [London Gazette, 23 March 1897, page 1673] and seconded for service on Staff, 25 November 1896 [London Gazette, 6 April 1897, page 1945]. He had lunch with Queen Victoria before going when she urged him, as she wrote to his mother, that he be 'very steady in every way', to which he had answered that 'he would try', but his long letters in 1897 from Ganeshkhind, Mahabaleshwar ('this sarcophagus of a place'), Poona/Pune and Quetta, reveal him partly bitter and irritatingly unrepentant. India was for him, he wrote, 'meant as an example of what to expect in the world below' [James Pope-Hennessy, Queen Mary (1959) 318-9].

He was attached to the Egyptian Army, 6 August 1897; served in the Soudan under Sir Herbert Kitchener, 1897-8 [Hart's Annual Army List, 1906, page 852]; served on the Nile Expedition, present at battle of Atbara River, 8 April 1898 (despatches) and Omdurman or Khartoum, 2 September 1898 (despatches); awarded D.S.O., 16 November 1898 [London Gazette, 15 November 1898, page 6689, ' in recognition of sevices in Egypt and the Sudan'] with gratuity from 1st Dragoons [Hart's Army List, 1906, page 804; statements that, unlike his brothers, he did not receive the D.S.O. [Kenneth Rose, King George V (1983) 37; Jane Ridley, George V (2021) 126] are incorrect; he was also named Knight Commander, Royal Victorian Order, 8 December 1898 [London Gazette, 13 December 1898, page 8045; W.A. Shaw, Knights of England, vol. 1 (1906) 433]; and was a Knight of Justice of St John of Jerusalem.

During  the South African War, 1899-1902, he served on Staff (despatches) [Hart's Army List, 1906]; was A.D.C. to General Officer commanding, South Eastern District, Dover (Major-General Sir Leslie Rundle), 11 January 1899 [London Gazette, 4 April 1899, page 2229]; the Duke of Cambridge lent him one of his best chargers [Lancashire Evening Post, 25 January 1899, page 2]; of 1st Dragoons, to be employed in Remount Establishment [a body set up in 1887, responsible for purchase and training of horses and mules, with two divisions for Cavalry at Dublin] and graded Assistant Adjutant-General, 29 May 1900 [London Gazette, 24 July 199, page 4589]; 'has vacated his appointment as ADC to General Sir leslie Rundle at Salisbury and has proceeded to Ireland on appointment as Staff-Captain of Remount Department from 1 September 1899' [Essex Standard, 9 September 1899, page 6]; Brevet Major, 29 November 1900; resumed appointmentt as Staff Captain, Remount Establishment, 10 December 1900 [London Gazette, 19 February 1901, page 1227]; staying with Earl of Kilmorey when Queen Victoria died, 22 January 1901 [PRONI Catalogue]; Brevet Major, 19 April 1901 [London Gazette, 19 April 1901, page 2705]; reported has left Dublin for London, 2 November 1901; wrote to Sir Francis Knollys, Comptroller of King's Household, 8 November 1902, 'see no necessity to return to South Africa, and am particularly keen not to do so for private reasons' [Nash (2017) 153]; Major 1st Dragoons, transferred to reserve of Officers, 16 November 1901 [London Gazette, 15 November, 1901, page 7395]; has been home for some months, starts immediately for Cape Town to rejoin his Regiment, they are to proceed to India  when they leave South Africa [Leeds Mercury, 10 December 1901]; will not at present vacate staff appointment in Ireland as was prepared to do in view of his service being required in South Africa [Nottingham Evening Post, 13 December 1901]; article, 'Tattooing, past and present', says he 'wears a frog chasing a fly' [The Showman, 27 December 1901]; reported at Viceregal Lodge, Dublin, 1 January 1902; had lunch with and took leave of King and Queen, 17 March 1902 [The Times]; reported left Southampton for South Africa on board hospital ship Avoca, 18 March 1902; has vacated appointment as staff captain, Remount Establishment, 19 March 1902 [London Gazette, 8 April 1902. page 2335]; his Department shown to be entirely inadequate by the quite abnormal demand for horses in the Boer War by the Court of Enquiry into Department's administration in 1899-1902 ['The Remounts for South Africa' in The Times, 4 March 1902; Midland Daily Telegraph - Topics of the day, 4 March 1902]; his picture on cover of Tatler, 26 March 1902; reported has left left Cape Town to join Regiment, 9 May 1902; war in South Africa, ended by treaty, 31 May 1902; left Cape Town on Kinfauns Castle with 800 others and arrived at Southampton, morning 21 June 1902; with Princess Henry of Battenberg attended Faust at Covent Garden same evening [Evening Mail, 23 June 1902, page 5]; retired from 1st Dragoons with gratuity, 3 September 1901 [London Gazette, 2 September 1902, page 5681]; left London yesterday for Dublin [The Times, 16 September 1902]. He returned to live at Greenmount, Clonsilla, near Dublin, a house which he had leased before going abroad; at Lohundra Park, Clonsilla, in Thom's Official Directory of the United Kingdom, 1902; was still in Ireland, 1 March 1903 [Jane Ridley, George V (2021) 127].

Countess of Kilmorey

In Ireland Prince Francis had come to know the Earl and Countess of Kilmorey who lived at Mourne Park, Kilkeel, near Newry, and had a house at 5 Aldford Street in Mayfair, London. The Countess, born in 1858, was some sixteen years younger than her husband and both were strong opponents of the Irish Home Rule Bills, taking leading parts in the resistance by Ulster [Complete Peerage, vii (1929) 264]; Prince Francis personally greatly supported their stance. The year after her marriage she was presented to Queen Victoria by her mother-in-law the widowed Viscountess Newry at a Drawing Room in 1882 [The Times, 18 February 1882]. She had children born in 1883, 1886 and 1889. Although twelve years older, the Countess became a close friend of Prince Francis who strongly supported her husband's political views [Nash (2027) 156-7]. Francis was staying at Mourne Park when Queen Victoira died, 22 January 1901 [PRONI Catalogue].

James Pope-Hennessy described the Countess as Prince Francis's 'elderly lady-love' [James Pope-Hennessy, Queen Mary (1959) 323] and Kenneth Rose called her 'his ageing paramour' [Kenneth Rose, King George V (1983) 38] but there does not seem to be any surviving evidence that the Prince's relatioship with the married Countess, which Jane Ridley calls 'a flirtation' [George V (2021) 127], was anything other than entirely platonic. Michael Nash himself wrote, in what he describes as 'this most seminal chapter on royal wills' [Nash (20217) 161], that 'it is tempting to say that it was almost a platonic relationship' [Nash (2017) 156].

The Prince's brothers, however, took the view that this close relationship with a married woman precluded any other, and his sister Mary, who failed to appreciate her brother's flippancy and teasing sense of humour, greatly disapproved. Mary's concerns became greater when, after the death of their mother in 1897, she learned that her brother had apparently come into possession of the Teck family's emeralds, won in a lottery in 1808 [Michael Nash, Royal wills in Britain (20217) 147], and had loaned them to the Countess of Kilmorey. Francis had written to his elder brother Adolphus in 1899 (when both were overseas) that 'the jewels should go with the title' and Adolphus succeeded to the title of Duke of Teck in January 1900 [Nash (20217) 151-2]. However, a rift was now developing between Francis and his sister.

That Prince Francis had taken rooms in Welbeck Street, off Cavendish Square, in Marylebone, was commented upon disapprovingly by his sister in October 1902, because of the expense involved [Jane Ridley, George V (2021) 127], but when in London after 1904 he lived at No 36 Welbeck Street, as the List of Subscribers to the Post Office London Telephone Exchange System shows. In 1906 he was a Parliamentary Voter at that address and shared the dwelling house with Edward Mayo Halliday who had been at No 36 since at least 1900, the London Post Office directory listing Halliday that year with Protene Co Ltd, proteid specialists, and Miss Hammon. In 1910 Protene Co Ltd was described as 'bakers'. By 1911 a four-room flat at No 36 was occupied by the same Emily Pike Hammon, now aged 75 and secretary to Sir Anderson Critchett, surgeon oculist to the King (she died at Clapham in 1923). A further two rooms in 1911 were occupied by Eleanor Lambert, 'manageress to Proteid specialists', and she had been a book-keeper here, aged 29, in 1901 [TNA, RG13/103-154-10].

Edward Mayo Halliday, who by 1921 had moved with his wife Caroline to Bickenhall Mansions, described himself in the 1921 census as a 'rice expert', He was a Director of Oriental Cafes Limited, and had in 1905 tried to raise £50,000 to extend its business [Daily Telegraph, 8 February 1905, page 3] but the company's liabilities were so great that it was voluntarily wound up, 28 November 1906 [London Gazette, 7 December 1906, issue 27974, page 8664]. Halliday must have known Prince Francis but how far the latter worked with him one cannot say. Halliday died in Marylebone in 1924, age 61, and was buried at Lewisham.

In 1906 Prince Francis's brother-in-law, the Duke of York, noted that he was 'still busily occupied in doing nothing' but although without a job or income he had developed an interest in cars and was 'driving about London in a smart electric brougham' [James Pope-Hennessy, Queen Mary (1959) 323]. On 9 November 1907, as from 36 Welbeck Street, and proposed by John Lister Kaye, he was elected a member (No 1709) of the Incorporated Stage Society, when his profession was unstated. In 1908 Prince Francis accepted the Chairmanship of the Royal Automobile Club founded in 1897 [Globe, 21 May 1908, page 9]. The National Motor Museum has letters from the Prince about the initial establishment of Brooklands Automoblile Club, 1903-8 [National Motor Museum, BARC/1]. As President of the Club, he and Prince Henry of Prussia (a brother of the Kaiser) visited the Daimler Motor Works in Coventry on 22 February 1910 [The Times, 22 February 1910].

Prince Francis was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, 1 December 1909 [London Gazette, 10 December 1909, page 9413]. His estrangement from his sister lasted until, in the period of mourning following King Edward's death  on 6 May 1910, Prince Francis and his two brothers, Adolphus (who had succeeded his father as Duke of Teck in 1900 and was created Marquess of Cambridge in 1917), and Alexander George ('Algie'), created Earl of Athlone in 1917, began to take semi-public duties in Charitable activities considered inappropriate for the King's closer relatives. Francis was an actve member of the boys' club at Hoxton and early in June 1910, although often a lounger, he threw himself into a widely publicised and completely successful appeal to raise £20,000 to relieve the Middlesex hospital in Mortimer Street of its existing heavy debt, dictating and writing a great number of letters. In a novel form of charity appeal, a series of moving bioscope pictures illustrating the hospital's work, were shown that year at a music hall in Mile End and at the Surrey Theatre, where collections were also made [The Bioscope, 11 August 1910, page 19].

Illness and death

A photograph and article about Prince Francis, 'Bachelor Hosts", appeared in The Tatler for 3 August 1910, and shows that he was, as James Pope-Hennessy later wrote, 'losing his looks and becoming fatter' [Queen Mary (1959) page 323]. He was, it seems, not altogether well and he spent three weeks that month with Mr. Sidney Greville at the Hotel Weimar at Marienbad for 'a course of the waters' [Truth, 10 August 1910, page 4; Daily Mirror, 8 August 1910, page 7, and 20 August 1910, page 7]. Prince Francis returned to London on 18 August [Evening Mail, 19 August 1910, page 4] and then went grouse shooting at Studley Royal [Leeds Mercury, 27 August 1910, page 2] but on 5 September he left London for Dublin [Evening News, 5 September 1910, page 1] and on 8 September he was back at Kilkeel for the first flax market of the season, with the Countess of Kilmorey and her eldest son Charles, Viscount Newry and Mourne [Belfast Telegraph, 'Kilkeel Notes', 8 September 1910, page 4]. On 22 September the Belfast Weekly News and the journal Truth remarked that he was 'a frequent visitor' there [Truth, 21 September 1910, page 49].

However, his health unfortunately obliged him to return to London, where in a nursing home on 17 September 1910, he had a minor operation on a nasal blockage. He was staying at 36 Welbeck Street. His appeal on behalf of the Middlesex Hospital had reached its target, but too prematurely on 25 September he joined the new King and Queen (his sister) for a week at a chilly Balmoral in Scotland. Although he was suposedly there in the care of the royal family's physician, Sir James Reid, the Prince developed pleurisy and on 10 October was reported to be seriously ill. He was hurried back to London and on 22 October 1910, after a further operation, died suddenly at a nursing home run by Miss Clara Nelson Smith, at 15 Welbeck Street. Sir James Reid's detailed biography, Ask Sir James, by Michaela Reid (1989), makes no mention of these events.

An obituary in The Times, issue 38411, 24 October 1910, said that Prince Francis was 'a man of frank and genial personality, an interesting companion, a keen sportsman, and a staunch friend ... extremely popular in society ... an expert horseman and an enthusiastic fox hunter'. He was buried in the Royal Vault of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, 26 Ocrober 1910, and transferred to the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore, 23 October 1928.

The Prince's Will

Probate of the Prince's will was briefly reported in The Times on Wednesday, 22 February 1911, the newspaper noting that probate of his will and a codicil, both dated 29 January 1902, had been granted to his two brothers in London on 17 Februay 1911, by order of the President of the Probate Division of the High Court, 'without annexing a copy of the will and codicil'. The Prince had left estate with gross value of £23,154 3s 1d and net personalty of £670 16s [The Times, issue 39515, 'Prince Francis of Teck's Estate', 22 February 1911]. No further details of the will's contents were made public, and it remains sealed.

However, draft notes for the will, made by Prince Francis on 1 January 1902 at the offices of Rawle Johnstone & Co, 1 Bedford Row, London WC [Nash (2027) 155]. were found by Michael Nash of the University of East Anglia, amongst the Kilmorey papers at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland at Belfast [PRONI, D2638/34/20]. Nash provides an extract of a section of the notes in which the Prince wrote, 'my emeralds, pearls, etc. in fact all my jewellery that I inherited from my Mother I leave to C.O.X. with a hope that C.O.X. will have the emeralds re-set to suit C.O.X. - and also if C.O.X. so to reset any of the articles as C.O.X. sees fit. I ask C.O.X. to leave all these jewels on C.O.X' death to D.T. or in case D.T. be deceased, to his son G.T. or failing him if so be he be [sic] too deceased to my niece M.T.'. These persons are identified by Nash: C.O.X. as the Countess of Kilmorey, D.T. as Adolphus ('Dolly') Teck (1868-1927), and G.T. and M.T. as the latter's two children George Teck (1895-1981) and Mary Teck (1897-1984), though the latter is incorrectly called Margaret instead of Mary [Michael N. Nash, Royal Wills in Britain from 1409 to 2008 (2017) page 158; Burke's Royal Families of the World, vol. 1 (1977) 1984-5; Michael Huberty, &c, L'Allemagne Dynastique, vol. 2, Anhalt-Lippe- Wurtemberg (1979) 539-40 and 547].

Prince Francis's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Teck, who died in 1897, had not in fact left a will taken for probate, so it is not known what he had inherited from her. A copy of the short will of his father, Francis, Duke of Teck, dated 4 August 1882 is attached to the latter's Administration granted in London on 28 February 1900 to his daughter Mary, Duchess of York, and this remains unsealed and open to inspection, but does not assist us.

It thus appears from the Kilmorey papers that the intentions of the will outlined in the notes made by Prince Francis on 1 January 1902, were the same as those in his will dated 29 January 1902 and proved in 1911 and that the bequest of 'all my jewellery that I inherited from my moter', was carried out, the executors presumably handing any jewels in the possession of Prince Francis to the Countess of Kilmorey.

Some of the jewels were then sold by the two executors with the Countess's agreement, to his sister (by now Queen Mary) on 24 July 1911, for a payment of £10,000. Michael Nash discusses the sealing of the will and a story that Prince Francis had bequeathed 'the Cambridge emeralds' to Countess Kilmorey and that Queen Mary had bought them from her for £10,000 so that she could wear them at the Imperial Durbar to be held at Delhi on 12 December 1911. The receipt for such a  payment remains in the archives at Belfast but Nash does not provide the necessary detail of what was being sold, merely giving reference 'Appendix 12, PROBI, D2638/D/24/6, quoted in Newell, op. cit., 14, n.58', but the full details provided by the draft notes are not given in his book, and the unhelpful reference is to an unpublished typescript by Ann Newell, The secret life of Ellen, Lady Kilmorey (2016). See M.L. Nash, Royal Wills (2017) 160, and Jane Ridley, George V (2021) 161].

There has been speculation about the contents of the Prince's will, but this seems to have arisen mainly because of its unusual closure. No similar closure had taken place since that on the will of the Prince Consort in 1861, and Prince Francis's father's will had not been closed in 1900, though since 1911 the wills of all those entitled to the style 'Royal Highness' have been closed. Prince Francis was technically only a 'Serene Highness'.

The Countess of Kilmorey

Ellen Constance, the daughter of Edward Holmes Baldock, M.P. for Shrewsbury. had been born 25 July 1858 and baptised at St Peter, Eaton Square, from Grosvenor Place, 9 November 1858. She had married at the same church on 23 June 1881, Francis Charles (Needham), 3rd Earl of Kilmorey, who was born 2 August 1842 and who died intestate at 5 Aldford Street, Mayfair, 28 July 1915. She died at Mourne Park, near Newry, co. Down, 25 April 1920, and was buried in Christ Church Cemetery, Kilkeel.

Both the Countess and her husband, an Irish Representative Peer, were prominent in their opposition to Gladstone's Home Rule Bills [The Complete Peerage, vol. VII (1929) 264, from his obituary in The Times]. From the mention in her will the Countess was obviously friendly with Prince Leopold prior to 1882 and as mentioned Prince Francis was staying with the Kilmorey family when Queen Victoria died in January 1901 [PRONI Catalogue]. Gossip is said to suggest (though I have not seen any evidence to confirm it) that the Countess had previously had an affair with Edward VII.

Her will dated 4 October 1915, with codicil dated 29 July 1917, was proved by her solicitors in London (Romer Williams and Rowland Beavor, of Norfolk House, Norfolk Street, Strand), on 30 November 1920, the gross value of her estate being £24,502-17-4 (net value of personal estate £16,673-8-10) and resworn at £26,041-6-2. Her will is not mentioned by Michael Nash who says of the jewel given at baptism to Prince Francis, 'it is not known exactly what this jewel was' [Nash (2017) 164], but the will of the Countess of Kilmorey made in 1915 describes the jewel clearly, as the following abstract reveals.

Her London solicitors were firstly appointed executors and trustees. She secondly gave to her trustees all her personal effects with powers to distribute those of small value or of perishable nature or 'unsuitable to be made heirlooms' amongst unnamed relatives and friends, the remainder being left to the trustees of an indenture dated 22 February 1905 made between her late husband, herself, her eldest son and her solicitors, and of a supplementary unspecified indenture.

She thirdly wrote, 'I give the jewel (consisting of a diamond and pearl centre corsage ornament with three pear shaped pearl drops) which I received from the late Prince Francis of Teck and referred to in his will as given him by his God father Francis Joseph Emperor of Austria to Her Royal Highness the Princess Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland daughter of His late Majesty King Edward the Seventh if she survives me but if not then the same is to go with the jewels bequeathed by the next paragraph hereof'.

In the next or fourth paragraph she gave the lace and the jewels listed in a schedul to her will to the trustees of an indenture dated 22 February 1905 under the same trusts, this bequest only taking effect in case her eldest son survived her or having predeceased her left a surviving son who survived her and in  any other event she bequeathed the lace and jewels to her daughter the Countess of Jersey. In the fifth paragraph she gave all her remaining jewels and wearing apparent to her daughter. The provenance of the jewels is not mentioned.

In the sixth paragraph she gave the residue of her property to her trustees to convert to ready money to pay her debts and testamentary expenses and to invest the residue in trust during the life of her son Captain Francis Edward Needham and pay the income from the same to his benefit or that of his wife or children and after his death to hold the capital and the income for any wife or his ssue and if no children then in trust for her eldest son if surviving and if not for his children and if none to my granddaughter Lady Joan Villiers absolutely.

In the seventh and eighth paragraphs she gave further powers without liability to her trustees. Her will was signed on 4 October 1915 and the schedule abovementioned  then followed (and is transcribed below). The codicil, witnessed in London in 1917, bequeathed the leasehold house 5 Aldford Street, to her eldest son, subject to the mortgages thereon.

Nash unfortunately does not provide a full copy of the draft will of Prince Francis, but says that it contained the passage, 'The jewel given to me by my god father F.J.E.A. I leave to C.O.X., with the wish that C.O.X. will leave it to P.V. daughter of E.S.' [Nash (2017) 164] and it is thus clear that he intended that the jewel should eventually go to Princess Victoria, the daughter of King Edward the Seventh, and not to remain with the Countess of Kilmorey.

Princess Victoria, the intended recipient of the diamond and pearl ornament, was born in 1868 and died unmarried at Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire, on 3 December 1935. She thus survived the Countess of Kilmorey and presumably received the jewel on the latter's death in 1920. Her will was proved in London on 11 March 1936, but as she was a member of the Royal Family, it was sealed by order of the President of the Probate Division on 16 March 1936. The jewel may thus have passed out of the Princess's family or likely went to her favourite nephew George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942), who inherited from her the Coppins estate.

The schedule copied after the Will of the Countess of Kilmorey is in one continuous paragraph which, if broken up, reads as follows. The actual Schedule filed with the Original Will may be clearer:

"The Schedule above referred to / A six line diamond dog collar / seven line Russian shape diamond tiara / a 34 stone diamond riviere / pair of solitaire diamond earrings / single stone  diamond ruby entourage ring / large pearl and diamond bar corsage ornament / 18 row Pearl dog collar with five enamel and diamond bars / 2 rows of 239 pearls on one diamond and pearl snap / 1 single row or 105 pearls on 3 brilliant snap / one pearl and diamond brooch pendant with pear shaped drop / pair of grey pear and diamond entourage earrings / one diamond crown pin containing hair of George IV and Queen / one diamond half hoop bracelet / six white pearl and one plack pearl diamond double heart and coronet brooch / pearl and diamond coronet and K pendant sapphire and 2 brilliant ring in gold / brilliant and 2 ruby ring in gold / rigid gold watch bracelet set with diamonds engraved with inscription from Queen Victoria / 'Bonheur' pencil bracelet / 1825[?] in diamonds sapphires rubies and emeralds / fine regular emerald and diamond half hoop bracelet in gold (center forming brooch) / peridot and diamond pendant blue enamel and diamond 'K' and coronet brooch with diamond loop / two turquoise and double diamond entourage pendant / pair of  turquoise and diamond earrings / pair of coral rose earrings given me by the late Prince Leopold / black enamel and gold watch with Viscounts coronet / and N. 'Eye' riviere set in gold.  Ellen Constance Kilmorey   Signed by the testatrix Ellen Constance Countess of Kilmorey in our presence and by us in hers - Alice Julia Gray  Newcastle Co Down Spinster - Hunter Moore  Newry Solr."

This Schedule was signed in 1915. I presume that the 'large pearl and diamond bar corsage ornament' is the one received from Prince Francis in 1910 and passed to Princess Victoria as a result of this Will in 1936.

Anthony Camp, 26 September 2023.

Royal Wills

In view of the statements made by Michael L. Nash in his Royal wills in Britain from 1509 to 2008 (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2017), about published and unpublished probate records of members of the Royal Family, I thought that it would be fitting to pay a small tribute here and  draw attention to the considerable work of Jane Cox and of the late Alice Stanley on this subject (based largely on their work in the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury) in earlier years,

In 1988 the then Public Record Office published Wills, Inventories and Death Duties: the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and the Estate Duty Office: a provisional guide, by Jane Cox, summarising the practical knowledge which, 'armed with a vacuum cleaner and an industrial mark', she had gained by her ten years of hard work on the 84 tons of records accumulated over some 600 years at the former Principal Probate Registry at Somerset House and elsewhere, which were brought to the Public Record Office at Kew from Doctors Commons in the City of London, and in the early 1960s given into her hands as a Principal Asistant Keeper of Public Records, to clean and sort.

In her 'provisional guide' Jane Cox listed (pages 59-63) the 'Royal Wills Sealed up by Order in Somerset House', listing those sealed up between 1911 and 1974, and then (pages 64-71), 'Some Royal Wills', taken from various published sources, and including those mentioned by John Nichols in A Collection of all the Wills known to be extant of the Kings and Queens of England, Princes and Princesses of Wales and every Branch of the Blood Royal, from the reign of William the Conqueror, to that of Henry the Seventh, with Explanatory Notes, and a Glossary, printed by J. Nichols, Printer to the Society of Antiquaries (1780), referenced below as Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), and sometimes referenced and abstracted in English in Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Testamenta Vetusta: being illustrations from wills, of manners, customs, &c (London, 1826).

A list of the sealed wills unavailable in 2021 was published in the Guardian newspaper, on Wednesday, 24 November 2021, and again on 18 July 2022. The names have been added to the following list, but these Wills remain 'Sealed up'.

These lists have been placed in one chronological sequence by date of death below, where I have included some additional references noted by the late Alice Stanley, M.B.E. (died 1993), when keeper of the pre-1858 records at Somerset House, and myself at various times. References to Rymer's Foedera are to T. Rymer and R. Sanderson, Foedera, etc. (2nd ed., London, 1727).



Some Royal Wills.

1083 Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, and wife of William the Conqueror, died at Caen, 2 November 1083. See Orderic Vitalis, vol 4, 44.11

1087 William I, the Conqueror, died at the priory of St Gervais, Rouen, Normandy, 9 September 1087, report of nuncupative Will in Orderic Vitalis, vol. 3, pages 228, 245. 248, 251.

1100 William II, killed in the New Forest, 2 August 1100, intestate, see John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), page 4.

1135 Henry I, died at St Denis le Fermont, near Rouen, Normandy, 1 December 1135. No will but testamentary dispositions, see John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), page 5, and Orderic Vitalis, vol 1, vii, page 901.

1154 Stephen, died intestate at Dover, 25 October 1154 [D.N.B.].

1189 Henry II, died at Chinon, in Normandy, 6 July 1189. Will (in Latin) printed in Madox, Formulare Anglicanum, page 421, and in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 7-10; the latter notes 'Since this Will was printed, we have discovered a close Translation of it in old English, in Peter Langtofts Rhyming Chronicle, published by Hearne, vol. 1, pages 135-137; this John  Nichols reprints as extra pages 10-12.  An abstract of the will in English is provided by Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 2-4. E 164/12 folio 1, Little Black Book of Exchequer. Copy (Latin) TS 48/23.

1199 Richard I, died at Gizors, 6 April  1199. See John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 11-12. Comments in TS 18/249.

1202. Eleanor, Queen of Henry II, died at Mirabel, in Anjou, 26 June 1202. Had licence to make a Will, see John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 11-12.

1216 John, died at Newark, 19 October 1216. Will (ib Latin) printed in Thomas's Survey of the Cathedral of Worcester, Appendix No. 33, and in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), page 13.

1272 Henry III, died at Westminster, 16 November 1272. Will (in Latin) printed in Hearne, Liber Niger Scaccarii, vol 2, page 532, and John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 15-17. MS in College of Arms, Chron Divers N48.

1275 Eleanor, Countess of Leicester, wife of Simon de Montfort, daughter of King John, died 1675. Letter concerning her Will in Rymer's Foedera, vol. 1, part 1, page 576.

1307 Edward I, died at Burgh-on-Sands,Northumberland, 7 July 1307. Extant will (in French) made at Acre when Prince of Wales (TS 18/249). E 36/274 (Liber A). Printed in Rymer I, 885, and .John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 18-20. John Nichols adds, 'See also Sir Joseph Ayloffe's account of his body, as it appeared on opening his tomb in the year 1774. Archaeologia. vol. 4, page 376'. Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 7-10 provides an English translation of the will and commentary on its dating.

1318 Margaret of France, daughter of Philip III, King of France, second wife of Edward I, died 1318. Letter re her Will, Rymer, Foedera, vol. 2, part 1, page 360, from Patent Roll for 11 Edward II, page 2 m.17, Calendar of Patent Rolls 1317-1321, page 139.

1327 Edward II, murdered, 21 September 1327, intestate (TS 18/249).

1360 Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady Clare, 3rd daughter of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hereford, by Joan of Acres, daughter of Edward I. She died 4 November 1360 and was buried at Ware, Hertfordshire. Her will (in French) dated at Clare, proved PCC 3 December 1360 (Register Islip, folio 164), transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 21-42.

1361 Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster, died 24 March 1360/1, only son of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, 2nd son of Henry III. His will in French, dated at Leicester, 15 March 1360/1, proved there 30 March, and at London, 9 May 1361 (PCC, Register Islip folio 172), transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 83-87.

1361 Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford,  and Essex, died unmarried at Pleshey, 15 October 1561. His Will (in French) dated at Pleshey, Essex, Sunday after St Denis, October 1361, proved PCC (Register Islip, folio 178), 20 October 1361, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 44-56.

1368 Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, died at Alba in Piedmont, 17 October 1368, son of Edward III. His will in Latin dated at Alba, 3 October 1368 proved at Lambeth, 8 June 1369, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 88-91. Lambeth Palace Library, Register Witlesey, folio 100.

1371 Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, died 16 January 1372/3. He was nephew of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Essex (died 1361), and married Joan, daughter of Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arndel. His daughter Mary married Henry, Duke of Lancaster, afterwards Henry IV. His will (in French) dated at Pleshey, 12 December 1372, proved at Lambeth, 15 May 1373, register Witlesey, folio 127, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 57-58.

1375 John (de Hastings), Earl of Pembroke. died in Picardy, 16 April 1375. He had married 1stly in 1359, Margaret, fourth daughter of Edward III. She died without issue, 1361, and he married 2ndly, 1368, Anne, daughter of Walter, Lord Mauny, by Margaret. daughter of Thomas de Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, son of Edward I. He died going towards Calais, 16 April 1375.  He had made two wills dated 5 May 1372 and 26 March 1374, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 90-96, and detailed in Complete Peerage, vol.10 (1945) page 394, note (a).

1376 Edward, 'The Black Prince', Prince of Wales, died 8 July 1376, son of Edward III. His Will (in French)  proved at Lambeth, Register Sudbury, folio 90. Printed in Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 66-77; there is a partial abstract in English in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 12-13.

1377 Edward III, died at Shene, Surrey, 21 June 1377. Will (in Latin) proved at Lambeth, Register Sudbury, folios 97-98 and transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 59-65. Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 10-12, provides a translation of the will.

1380/1 Philippe or Philippa, Countess of March, daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, suo jure Countess of Ulster, wife of Edmund de Mortimer, Earl of March; she died 1380/1 before him. Her will dated 21 November 1378 proved PCC, 9 February 1380/1 (PCC , 189-190 Courtenay), transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) 98-103.

1381 Edmund de Mortimer, Earl of March, died at Cork, 27 December 1381, aged 29. He married, 1368,  Philippe or Philippa (died 1382), daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence (died 1368), son of Edward III. His will (in French) dated 1 May 1380 proved PCC, 22 January 1382 (PCC, Register Courteney, folio 189), printed in Testamenta Vetusta and in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 104-117.

1385 Joan, Princess of Wales, 'Fair Maid of Kent', only daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent, son of Edward I. and wife of Edward, the Black Prince, She died at Wallingford Castle, 8 July 1385. Her will in Latin proved at Lambeth, Register Courteney, folio 213-4, 9 December 1385, is transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 78-81, with translation in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 13-15..

1397 Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, died 25 April 1397. He was born 1350, son of Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent by Joan who later married the Black Prince. He married 1364, Alice (died 1415/16), daughter of Richard, Earl of Arundel, by Eleanor, daughter of Heny, Earl of Lancaster. His will, dated 'the day of the Resurrection of our Lord' 1397, proved 10 May 1397 (Lambeth, Register Arundell, i, folio 157) transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 118-119.

1397 Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel and Earl of Surrey, beheaded 21 September 1397. Son of Richard, Earl of Arundel, by Eleanor his second wife, daughter of Henry, Earl of Lancaster.  Will (in French) transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 120-143.

1399 Richard II, died (? 14) February 1399. Will (in Latin) transcribed from the original then in the Chapter House, Westminster, by George Rose  in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 192-201, also (very incorrectly, according to Nichols) in  Rymer's Foedera, vol. 8. page 75, E 23/1. It is transated in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 15-17.

1399 John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III, died 3 or 4 February 1398/9. Will and Codicil (in French) transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 145-275. Original in Lincoln Record Office, Register of Henry Beaufort, folios 13-18.

1399 Eleanor Bohun, Dichess of Gloucester, died 3 October 1399. She was Eleanor, eldest daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, Essex and Northampton, and married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (murdered in 1397), seventh son of Edward III. Her will (in French, as Alianore), transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 177-185.

1402 Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, fifth son of Edward III, died 1 August 1402. He died at Langley, Hertfordshire,  1 August 1402. His will (in French), proved 6 October 1402, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 187-9. Lambeth Palace Library, Register Arundell, folio 194.

1410 John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, son of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford. Died 16 March 1409/10. Nuncupative will dated 16 March 1410, proved 5 April 1410, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 208-11.

1411  Elizabeth of Juliers, died 1411. She married, 1348, John, Earl of Kent and Lord of Woodstock, son of Edmund of Woodstock (executed 19 March 1329/30), 6th son of Edward I. He was born at Arundel, 7 April 1330, and died in the night 26-27 December 1352, aged 22. She married 2ndly, at Wingham, Kent, 29 September 1360, Sir Eustace d'Aubrecicourt, who died soon after 1 Dedember 1372, Her will (in Latin) as of Bedhampton, near Portsmouth, proved 29 June 1411. Transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 212-215, but makes no mention of her second husband or their son. Lambeth, Register Arundel, page 2, folios 154-155.

1413 Henry IV, died 20 March 1413. Will dated 21 January 1408 printed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 203-206, from copy printed by John Weever in Funeral Monuments, page 208, from copy by Sir Simon D'Ewes, and examined with the original. Abstract in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 17-18.

1415 Edward, Duke of York, killed at Agincourt, 25 October 1415. Son of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, (died 1402) the son of  Edward III. Will (in French) dated 22 August 1415, proved 30 November 1415. Transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 217-222. Register Chichele folio 284.

1421 Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence, died 1421, second son of Henry IV. Born 29 September 1389. Created Earl of Albemarle and Duke of Clarence, 9 July 1412. Killed without legitimate issue at Battle of Bauge in Anjou, 22 March 1420/1. Will in Latin and French, dated 10 July 1417, proved 23 November 1423, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 230-5. Lambeth Palace Library, Register Chichele, folio 376-8.

1422 Henry V, 'Conqueror of France', died 29 August 1422. Born 1388. Died at Bois de Vincenne, France, 29 August 1422. aged 34. Will in English transcribed from original in Chapter House at Westminster, by Abraham Farley, in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 236-43; also printed in Rymer's Foedera, vol. 4, part 2, 138.  C 65/87m3 and E23/2. Abstract in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 19-21.

1426 Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, died 31 December 1426, Third son of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swinford.He died at Greenwich, Kent, 29 December 1426. His will (in Latin) dated at Greenwich, 29 December 1426, proved 11 January 1426/7, Lambeth Register Chichele, i, folios 397-9, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 246-264, who notes (page 265) the claimed discovery of his body in 1772.

1431 Philippa de Mohun, Duchess of York, died 17 Juy 1431. Daughter of John, Lord, Mohun. Widow of Edward, Duke of York. killled at Agincourt, 25 October 1415. She died 17 July 1431, her will dated at Carisbrooke Castle, 12 March 1430/1, proved 13 November 1431, Register Chichele, folio 428; transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 224-9.

1432 John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, died 19 October 1432, He married Katherine, daughter of Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, by his second wife Joan Beaufort, legitimated daughter of John of Gaunt. He died at Epworth, 19 October 1432. His incomplete Will dated that day is transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 266-69.

1435 John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, third son of Henry IV, died 15 September 1435, Crowned his nephew King of France at Paris, 7 September 1432. He died at Rouen, France, 15 September 1436, aged 46. Will (in Latin) dated 10 September 1435 proved 7 October 1441, Lambeth, Register Chichele, i, folio 475, ttranscribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 270-76, and in Testamenta Vetusta. 

1437 Queen Katherine of Valois, widow of Henry V, died at Bermondsey, 3 January 1437. Original Will lost, but John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 244-9, transcribed the Commission for its execution (in Latin) from, Rot. Parl. 14 Henry VI, n 32, vol. 4, page 505.

1438 Anne, Countess of Stafford, died October 1438.She was Anne, daughter and eventually sole heiress of Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, 6th son of Edward III. She married 1stly, Thomas, Earl of Stafford, who died 1392. She married 2ndly, his brother, Edmund, Earl of Stafford (1377-killed at Battle of Shrewsbury, 1403), and 3rdly, William Bourgchier, Count of Eu, in Normandy. She died 16 October, 1438. Her will dated that day [CP vol. 5 (1926) 178], transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 278-280, from Lambeth, Register Chichele, i, folio 479.

1447 Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, son of Henry IV. died intestate 23  February 1447 [DNB].

1447 Henry Beaufort, second son of John of Gaunt, died 11 April 1447. He was Bishop of Lincoln, 1398; Bishop of Winchester/Winton, 1404; Cardinal, 1426; died at Winchester, 11 April 1447. His will dated 20 January 1446, with two codicils, proved 11 September 1447, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 321-341.

1447 John Holland, Duke of Exeter, died 5 August 1447. Created Duke of Exeter. Will dated 16 July 1447 proved at Lambeth, 16 February 1447/8. Will Lambeth, Register Stafford, folios 160-161, transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) 282-289.

1471 Henry VI, died 1471, Will dated 12 March 1447. Will transcribed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), pages 291-319, from Harleian MS 7032, no. 11, pages 289-304, Abstract in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 21-24.

1483 Edward IV, died 1483. Rymer's transcript (probably from Statute Roll now lost) of will, British Library Add. MS 4615, folios 1-22, printed in S. Bentley, Excerpta Historica (1831) 366-379.

1485 Richard III, died 1485, intestate [DNB].

1485 John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, died 1485. Will printed in Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780), page 270. Lambeth Palace Library Register Chichele, folio 475.

1492 Queen Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, died 8 June 1492. Will dated 10 April 1492, proved PCC, 1492, Register Doggett, folio 10 (PROB 11/9 folio 74), printed in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 350-351. Abstract in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 24-26.

1509 Henry VII, died 21 April 1509. E 23/3 T 48/23. Report on TS 18/249. Transcribed in- The Will of King Henry VII, ed. Thomas Astle (printed for the editor & sold by T. Payne and B. White, London, 1775). Noted (but not transcribed) in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) page 355. Full abstract in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 26-36.

1509 Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, wife of Edmund Tudor and mother of Henry VII, died 29 June 1509. Will dated 6 June 1508, proved PCC, 17 October 1509, Register Bennett, folio 31 (PROB 11/16 folio 31; transcribed in full in John Nichols, Collection of Wills (1780) pages 356-388. Proxy in PROB 55. 

1536 Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII. Will (not proved) British Library Cotton Otho CX216. Printed in Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol. 1, part II, 2523. See also letter in Letters & Papers of Henry VIII, vol. 10, page 40. Will also printed in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 36-37,

1537 Jane Seymour, wife of Henry VIII, died 1537. Catalogue of belongings. British Library, Royal MS C xvi, 18-32 & 7F xiv 78. See also Letters & Papers of Henry VIII, vol. 12, pt. 2, pages 340-1.

1547 Henry VIII, died 1547. PROB11/31 folio 32, No Probate clause E 315/469, copy; E 23/4; SP 1/227 folios 217-229 drafts; T 48/23, copy. Will printed in Nicholas Harris Nicolas (1826) pages 37-44. See J.J. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII (1964) pages 488-494; also Journal of British Studies, vol. 2 (1962) page 20,. Historian (1964) page 481.

1547 Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, son of Henry IV, died 1447. Intestate (D.N.B.).

1548 Queen Katherine Parr, wife of Henry VIII, died 1548, Probate PCC, 1548, Register Populwell, folio 19 (PR0B 11/32 folio 19. No orirginal will in PCC.

1553 Edward VI, died 1553. Draft will in Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol. 2, ii, 120. See also document relating to devise of the Succession in Harl. 35 folio 384.

1557 Queen Ann of Cleves, wife of Henry VIII.  Probate PCC, 1557, Register Wrastley, folio 35 (PROB11/39 folio 35. No original will in PCC.

1558 Queen Mary I, died 1558. British Library, Harleian MS 6949 folio 29 (copy), original apparently lost. Printed in F. Madden, Privy Purse Expenses of Princess Mary (1831), App. IV.

1537 Jane Seymour, wife of Henry VIII, died 1537. Catalogue of belongings, British Library, Royal MS C xvi, 18-32 & 7F xiv 78. See also Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vol. 12, part 2, pages 340-341.

1612 Henry, Prince of Wales, son of James I, died 1612. Account and quietus for administration in PROB 16/1 folio 210.

1637 Prince Henry of Wales, Administration PCC, November 1637, page 128.

1660 Princess Marie of Great Britain, Dowager Princess of Orange, eldest daughter of Charles I. Probate 1661, Register Nabbs, folio 306. PROB11/302 folio 305. Cop SP 84/163 folios 136-157. Letter about her finances SP 84/163 folio 116. Enrolment of sign manual authorising her executors to act, PROB 16/13 folio 109. No original will extant.

1662 Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, daughter of James I, died 1662 Probate PCC, 1662, Register Laud, folio 44.; PROB 1/41; PROB 11/307 folio 44; inventory of her jewels  SP 81/56 folios 28-29.

1669 Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, died in France 1669. Died Intestate (T 27/2 page 116). Grant of Administration 19 October 1669, PROB 6/44 folio 114. For discussion of her estate see William Wynne, Life of Sir Leoline Jenkins (1724) vol 2, pages 663-670, and Calendar of Treasury Books, vol. 3, Part 1, page 278 and Part 2 passim.

1669 James La Cloche, known as Prince James Stuart, supposed eldest son of Charles II, died 1669. Will in SP 85/10.

1682  Prince Rupert, Count  Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Cumberland (cr. 1644), died 29 November 1682.  Will dated 27 November 1682  Probate PCC, 1 December 1682.

1701 James II, died 1701. Coy of the Will in Royal Archives (Stuart MSS; microfilm Cambridge University Library and London University Library).

1702 William III, King, died 1702. Reference tp Will, Luttrell, A brief relation of state affairs (1857), vol. V, page 150, and Typescript 18/249.

1705 Queen Catherine Henrietta (of Braganza), wife of Charles II, died at Lisbon, 30 November or 1 December 1705. Probate PCC, April 1706 [?1706], (PROB 1/56; PROB 11/487 folio 80).

1708, Prince George of Denmark, Consort of Queen Anne, died 1708. Administration PCC, PROB 6/85 folios 89-90; papers re distribution of his estate in PROB 36 and PROB 16/6 folios 133-148

1714 Anne, Queen of England, died 1714. Draft Will PC 1/2/260. T 48/23. SP 44/116.

1718 Mary of Modena, wife of James II, died 1718. Copy Will, Royal Archives (Microfilm, London University Library and Cambridge University Library).

1727 George I, died 1727. ? add notes in Hatton.

1760 George II, died 1760. Royal Archives: German Will 1732, English Will 1751, codicils 1757 and 1759. TS 18/249 extracts and comments.

1765 HRH Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, died 31 October 1765. Special Administration PCC (after Royal Warrant), granted to George, Earl of Albemarle, 22 November 1765 (PROB 6/141 folio 221-2). Further Grant January 1797.

1767 HRH Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, died at Monaco, 17 September 1767, Probate PCC, Pts October 1767 (PROB 11/933 folio 398).

1772 HRH Augusta, Princess of Wales, died 8 February 1772. Special Administration, PCC, Middlesex April 1772.

1786 HRH Princess Amelia Sophia Eleonora of England (daughter of King George II), died 31 October 1786. Probate PCC, Middlesex, November 1786, folio 550 (PROB 11/1147 folio 550).

1790 HRH Prince Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathern, died 18 September 1790, Probate PCC, Middlesex, 13 October 1790, to HRH Anne Duchess Dowager of Cumberland and Strathern and Countess Dowager of Dublin, sole legatee and executrix (PROB 11/1196 folio 457).

1805 HRH Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, died 25 August 1805. Will dated 8 July 1791, Probate PCC, 12 November 1805, to son William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester, and daughter Princess Sophia Matilda (PROB 11/1433, folio 771).

1807 HRH Maria, Duchess of Gloucester, widow of William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, she died 22 August 1807. Will dated 18 April 1807 with codicil 2 July 1807, Probate PCC, 9 September 1807, to daughter Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester, sole executrix (PROB 11/1467 folio 736).

1808 Anne, Duchess of Cumberland, born Anne Luttrell, widow of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, their marriage not recognised by King George III, she died at Gorizia, near Trieste, 28 December 1808. Will (as 'Anne. Duchess of Cumberland, Dowager of his late Royal Highness Prince Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland' and signed 'Anne') signed at Trieste and 'sealed with the Arms of the Empire of Great Britain', 15 February 1808, with codicil at Gorizia, 4 October 1808, Probate PCC, 18 April 1809, to Sarah Bettina Lawley, spinster, sole executrix, limited until original will and codicil shall be brought in (PROB 11/1495 folio 264). Limited Probate PROB 9/9. Original Will PROB 10/Box 3888.

1810 HRH Princess Amelia, died 2 November 1810. Her will dated 28 July 1810 with codicil dated 5 October 1810,  named her brothers George, Prince of Wales, and Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, as executors, in Royal Archives, Windsor, was not submitted for Probate. It is printed in full in The correspondence of George, Prince of Wales 1770-1812, vol.7 (1970) pages 49-50.

1818 Queen Charlotte Sophia, Consort of HM George III, died 17 November 1818, Probate PCC, January 1819. PROB 1/97. PROB 11/1612 folio 37.

1820 Edward, Duke of Kent, son of George III. Will in Royal Archives. Copy in Pierpoint Morgan Library, New York. PROB 11/1627 folio 151; PROB 1/101.

1820 George III, died 1820. Royal Archives, will of Hanoverian possession 1765, will of English possession 1776, unsigned draft 1808. See also TS 18/249 for extracts and comments and PROB 31/118661 (1822) for spurious Will produced by Olive, alleged daughter of Duke of Cumberland.

1821 Queen Caroline Amelia Elizabeth, Consort of HM George IV, died 7 August 1821, Probate PCC, February 1822 (PROB 11/653 folio 97, PROB 1/98).

1827 Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of Albany and York, son of George III, died 1827. Copy Will in Royal Archives. PROB 1/102. PROB 11/1722 folio 127.

1828 Charlotte Augusta Matilda, Queen of Wurtemburg, daughter of George III. Copy Will (German) Royal Archives.

1830 George IV, died 1830. Will 1824, Royal Archives. See also Lord Eldon's memorandum of 1 April 1923 in Arthur Aspinall, Correspondence of George, Prince of Wales, vol 8, no. 3480. Comments in TS 18/249.

1834 HRH Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, died 30 November 1834. Will dated 12 September 1831, Probate with 6 Codicils, Probate, PCC, 21 February 1835 (PROB 11/1843 folio 101).

1837 William IV, King. Original Will in Royal Archives.

1844 HRH Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester, died 29 November 1844.Will dated 29 July 1843 with 14 codicils, Probate PCC, 15 January 1845, folio 72 (PROB 11/2011).

1848 HRH Princess Sophia Matilda, died 27 May1848. Administration July 1848, PCC PROB 6/224 folio 286, Further Grant de bonis October 1850, PCC 6/226 folio 385.

1849 HM Queen Adelaide (of Saxe-Coburg-Meiningen), widow of King William IV, died 2 December 1849. Probate PCC 1850, folio 549. PROB1/99. PROB 31/1526/1482-5.

1857 HRH Mary, Duchess of  Gloucester and Edinburgh, widow, daughter of George III, died 30 April 1857. Will dated 29 January 1857,  Probate PCC, 5 June 1857 (PROB 11/2253 folio 459), PROB 10/7308, filed under 'Mary'.

1861 HRH Albert, Prince Consort. Will in Royal Archives, Windsor.

1901 Queen Victoria, died 1901. Privy Purse. Buckingham Palace.

1910 HSH Prince Francis Joseph Leopold Frederick of Teck, Probate & Will Sealed up 17 February 1911 to Adolphus, Duke of Teck, and Prince Alexander of Teck, £23,154-3-1.

1912 Alexander William George, Duke of Fife. Probate & Will sealed up, 24 May 1912, to HRH Princess Louise, Princess Royal, and Horace, Baron Farquhar, £1,000.000.. On President's authority, 12 November 1915, envelope opened and will unsealed.

1917 Prince Maurice Victor Donald of Battenberg. Probate & Will Sealed up, 1 May 1917, to Victor Seymour Corkran, £3,146-17-3.

1914 John (Campbell), 9th Duke of Argyll, died 2 May 1914. Probate & Will  sealedup,  9 December 1914.

1920 Dowager Grand Duchess of Mecklenburgh-Strelitz. Administration (with Will sealed up) 13 December 1920 to the Public Trustee.

1922 Lord Leopold Louis Mountbatten, Probate & will sealed up 15 June 1922, to HRH Princess Beatrice and HH Princess Marie Louise, £4,049-5-8.

1922 HRH Helen Frederica Augusta, Duchess of Albany. Probate & will sealed up, 29 December 1922, to Alexader, Earl of Athlone, and Edward Seymour, £183,053-3-9.

1924 HRH Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, Princess Christian. Will sealed up 15 January 1924 pursuant to order of the President dated 14 January 1924. No record of Grant appears in Calendar or Act Book.

1927 Princess Frederica Sophia Maria Henrietta Amelia Theresa of Great Britain, Probate & will sealed up, 25 May1927, to Edward Clement Atherton Byran and Sir Bernard Edward Hulsey Bircham, £85-16-4.

1931 HRH Princess Royal, Princess Louise Victroia Alexandra Dagmar, Duchess Dowager of Fife, Probate (save and except settled land) & will sealed up, 13 April 1931, £46,383-1-5, to James Ulick Francis Canning Alexander. Further grant of Probate (limited to settled land), 5 June 1934, £750, to Sir Francis Reginald Wingate and Victor Alexander John, Marquess of Linlithgow.

1936 HRH Princess Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary, Probate & will sealed up, 11 March 1936, £237,455-18-9, to Sir Edward Seymour and John, Baron Glendye.

1939 HM Queen of Norway, Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria, Limited Administration (with Will), sealed up, 16 February 1939, £7,941-13-8, to George Arthur Pousarby, secretary and comptroller attorney of HM King Haakon VII of Norway.

1939 HRH Prince Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert of Connaught and Strathearn, Probate & Will sealed up, 1 March 1939, £109,418-9-1. to Thomas Ansan Thornton and Sir Russell Facey Wilkinson.

1939 HRH Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Duchess of Argyll, died 3 December 1939, Probate (save and except settled land), 7 February 1940. Her will proved and sealed  up, 7 February 1940, £247,671-10s, to Oswald Herbert Campbell Balfour, Sir Edward James Reid baronet, and John Arthur Gallop.

1942 HRH Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, K.G.,Probate Llandudno & Will Sealed Up, 10 March 1942, £150,677-4-11, to Henry John Wasbrough and Charles Stafford Price-Davies, M.C.

1943 HRH Prince George, Edward Alexander Edmund, Duke of Kent, Probate Llandudno & Will Sealed Up, 27 January 1943, £157,735-4-11, to Baring Brothers & Co Ltd, Sir James Ulick Francis Canning Alexander, KCVO, CMG, OBE, and Albert George Allen, DSO, MC.

1945 HRH Princess Henry of Battenburg, Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore, GCVO,, Probate Llandudno  & Will Sealed Up, 14 May 1945, £19,822-10-10, to Albert Alexander, Marquis of Carisbrooke, GCB, GCVO, and Oliver Dayrell Paget Paget-Cooke, MVO.

1946 The Rt Hon Maud Alexandra Victoria Georgina Bertha, Countess of Southesk, Probate Llandudno & Will Sealed Up, 22 March 1946, £44,008-6-10, to Robert William Blissett Maurice and William Gosselin Trower.

 1948 H.H. Princess Victoria Sophia Augusta Amelia Helena otherwise Princess Helena Victoria, Probate,  20 May 1948, £52,435-12-9, to Coutts & Co and H.H. Franzisca Josepha Louise Augusta Marie Christiana Helena. No order made for Will to be sealed up - all records as normal.

1953 H.M. Queen Mary, Probate & Will Sealed Up, 5 August 1953 to Hon. LordClaud Nigel Hamilton, GCVO, CMG, DSO, and Rt Hon Charles George Vivian, Baron Tryon, KCVO, D.S.O.

1957 H.H. Princess Fransziska Josepha Louise Augusta Maria Christiane Helena otherwise Marie Louise, Probate & Will Sealed Up, 12 March 1957, £107,644-11s to Coutts & Co and Augustus Charles Sinden.

1959 HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught, Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise, Duchess of Fife, Probate & Will Sealed Up, 23 April 1959, £86,217-4-8, to Westminster Bank Ltd.

1965 HRH Princess Royal, Princess Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary, CI, GCVO, CBE, RRC, TD, CD, Probate & Will Sealed Up, London, 22 December 1965, £347,626, to Rt Hon Alexander David Frederick, Baron Lloyd of Doldran, MBE, and Seymour John Louis Egerton.

1968 HRH Orincess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Probate & Will Sealed Up, London, 11 October 1968, £76,186-13, to HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, GC, MG, GCVO, A.D.C. Seymour, John Louis Egerton and John Pendrill Charles.

1972 HRH Prince William Henry Andrew Frederick of Gloucester, Probate & Will Sealed Up, London, 24 October 1972, £416,001-61.

1972 HRH Prince Edward Albert Chrisian George Andrew Patrick David, Duke of Windsor, KG, KT, KP, etc. Administration (with Will) Sealed Up, London, 27 November 1972, £7,845-17 in England and Wales, to Sir Godfrey William Rowland Moreley, OBE, TD (in England and Jacques Rosselli C.B.E., and Ronald Edgar Plummer Wales).

1974 Lady Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth Ramsay, Probate Sealed Up, London, 17 April 1974, £917,199-80s.

1974 HRH Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester, KG, KT, KP, etc, Probate Sealed Up, London, 9 September 1974,£734,262-19,  to H.R.H. Alice Christabel, Duchess of Gloucester and Arthur James Robert Collins, C.V.O.

1979 Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas (Mountbatten), 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, assassinated by an IRA bomb, 27 August 1979. Probate & Will Sealed Up, London, 27 February 1980, £2,196,494.

1981 HRH Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline, Countess of Athlone, died 3 January 1981, daughter of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, and widow of Alexander (Cambridge), 1st Earl of Athlome (died 1957); Probate & Will Sealed Up, 30 June 1981, £182,185.

1986 Prince George Valdemar Carl Axel of Denmark, eldest son of Prince Axel of Denmark, born 16 April 1920, died at Copenhagen, 29 September 1986. Probate & Will sealed Up, London, 20 May 1987, £785,236. He had married in 1950, Anne (died 1980), daughter of The Hon John Bowes-Lyon, brother of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and divorced wife of Thomas, Viscount Anson.

1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, killed in Paris, France, 31 August 1997. Will dated 1 June 1993, not sealed up.

2002 HRH Prince Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, died 9 February 2002. daughter of King George VI, and formerly wife of Antony (Armstrong-Jones), 1st Earl of Snowdon (died 13 January 2017). Probate & Will Sealed Up, 24 June 2002, £7,700,176.

2002 HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen-Mother, died 15 April 2002. Probate & Will Sealed Up, 15 April 2002.

2021 HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died at Windsor Castle, 9 April 2021. Probate  & Will Sealed Up for 90 years, by order of Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division of the High Court, London, 16 September 2021..

2022 Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, HM The Queen,.born 21 April 1926, died 8 September 2022.