|Dukedom of Beaufort|
Quarterly, 1st and 4th, azure three fleurs-de-lys or (for France); 2nd and 3rd, gules three lions passant guardant in pale or (for England), all within a bordure compony argent and azure
|Creation date||2 December 1682|
|Peerage||Peerage of England|
|First holder||Henry Somerset|
|Present holder||Henry John FitzRoy Somerset, 12th Duke of Beaufort|
|Heir apparent||Henry Robert FitzRoy Somerset, Marquess of Worcester|
|Remainder to||The 1st Duke's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten|
|Subsidiary titles||Marquess of Worcester|
Earl of Worcester
Earl of Glamorgan (courtesy)
Viscount Grosmont (courtesy)
|Seat(s)||Badminton House (since 17th Century)|
|Former seat(s)||Raglan Castle (until 1646)|
|Motto||Mutare vel timere sperno ("I scorn to change or to fear")|
Duke of Beaufort, a title in the Peerage of England, was created by Charles II in 1682 for Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester, a descendant of Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, legitimized son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, a Lancastrian leader in the Wars of the Roses. The name Beaufort refers to a castle in Champagne, France (now Montmorency-Beaufort). It is the only current dukedom to take its name from a place outside the British Isles.
The Dukes of Beaufort descend in the male line from the House of Plantagenet through John of Gaunt, son of Edward III. This statement was challenged after the analysis of the Y chromosomal DNA of the remains of Richard III. Most living male heirs of the 5th Duke of Beaufort were found to carry a relatively common Y chromosome type, which is different from the rare lineage found in Richard III's remains. The instance of false paternity could have occurred anywhere in the numerous generations separating Richard III from the 5th Duke of Beaufort .
The Beaufort Castle was in possession of John of Gaunt, and the surname Beaufort was given to Gaunt's four legitimised children by his mistress and third wife, Katherine Swynford. This was the foundation of the House of Beaufort, Dukes of Somerset. A descendant of the Beauforts through his mother was Henry VII of England. Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, KG (c. 1460 - 15 March 1526), was the bastard son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset by his mistress Joan Hill.
The Duke of Beaufort holds two subsidiary titles: Marquess of Worcester (created 1642) and Earl of Worcester (1514). The title Marquess of Worcester is used as a courtesy title by the duke's eldest son and heir. The title Earl of Glamorgan is used by the eldest son of the heir apparent to the dukedom. The Earl of Glamorgan's eldest son is known as Viscount Grosmont. The Earldom of Glamorgan and Viscountcy of Grosmont derive from an irregular creation by Charles I in 1644 in favour of Edward Somerset, who later succeeded his father as 2nd Marquess of Worcester.
Although the Earldom of Glamorgan and Viscountcy of Grosmont were not recognised as substantive titles at the restoration of Charles II, because of irregularities in the patent of creation, they have nevertheless continued to be used as convenient courtesy titles in order to distinguish the bearer from the Marquess of Worcester as heir apparent, the Earldom of Worcester not being distinctive enough for this purpose. All subsidiary titles are in the Peerage of England.
The family seat was once Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire, but as of 2017 was Badminton House near Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire. The principal burial place of the Dukes and Duchesses of Beaufort is St Michael and All Angels' Church, Badminton.
Following the creation of the dukedom, each successive duke has served as Master of the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt, a foxhound pack kenneled on the Badminton Estate.
The line of succession to the Dukedom is as follows:
The heraldic blazon for the coat of arms of the dukedom is: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, azure three fleurs-de-lys or (for France); 2nd and 3rd, gules three lions passant guardant in pale or (for England), all within a bordure compony argent and azure.
This can be translated as: a shield divided into quarters, the top left and bottom right quarters are blue with three golden fleurs-de-lys (for France), and the top right and bottom left quarters are red with three golden lions passant with their faces toward the viewer, one above the other (for England); the foregoing quarters are within a border around the shield with segments alternating white and blue.
In heraldry, a bordure compony is traditionally used to designate illegitimacy. Since the original Beaufort siblings' father was of the English royal family, the English royal arms are used. At that time, the king of England also claimed the French crown, hence the inclusion of the French royal arms.
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|Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, K.G.||1460 - 1526||Quarterly, 1st and 4th, France ancien, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure (Beaufort)with argent baton sinister, with escutcheon of pretence of per pale azure and gules, three lions rampant argent, 2 and 1 Herbert.||An illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset by his mistress Joan Hill. He was invested as a Knight of the Garter in about 1496. On 1 February 1514 he was created Earl of Worcester and was at some time appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household to King Henry VIII. As Lord Chamberlain, Somerset was largely responsible for the preparations for the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. He was a favourite of Henry VII and Henry VIII|
|William Somerset, 3rd Earl of Worcester, K.G.||1526/7 - 1589||Quarterly, 1st and 4th, or a fess on which is France moderne, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure (Beaufort), 2nd, per pale azure and gules, three lions rampant argent, 2 and 1 Herbert, argent a fess gules, with a canton gueules.||Eldest son of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester and his second wife Elizabeth Browne.|
|Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester, K.G.||1550 - 1628||Grand quarters, 1st and 4th, quarterly, 1st and 4th, France moderne, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure (Beaufort), 2nd, per pale azure and gules, three lions rampant argent, 2 and 1 Herbert, argent a fess gules, with a canton gueules.||Eldest son of William Somerset, 3rd Earl of Worcester. He was an important advisor to King James I (James VI of Scots), serving as Lord Privy Seal.|
|Henry Somerset, 1st Duke of Beaufort, K.G., PC||1629-1700||Quarterly, 1st and 4th, France moderne, 2nd and 3rd England, within a bordure componée Argent and Azure (Beaufort).||Eldest son of Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester. He was a Welsh politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1654 and 1667, when he succeeded his father as 3rd Marquess of Worcester. He was styled Lord Herbert from 1644 until 3 April 1667. The Dukedom of Beaufort was bestowed upon him by King Charles II in 1682. He is the ancestor of the current Somersets, and so the Dukes of Beaufort and the Barons Raglan. The current head of the house is Henry Somerset, 12th Duke of Beaufort.|
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