The Duchy of Lancaster has a remarkable history.

The inheritance had its beginnings in a grant of land made by King Henry III in 1265 to his son Edmund. Nearly a century later, in 1351, Edmund’s grandson, Henry of Grosmont, received the title Duke of Lancaster, and the estate became known as the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Duchy soon became one of the wealthiest bodies in the kingdom. Its status was confirmed in 1399 with the accession to the throne of Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster. From that time onwards, the inheritance has been enjoyed by all reigning sovereigns, while being separately administered from other royal possessions.

During the course of its existence, the Duchy has been central to events in the history of the monarchy and the nation. It was a springboard to the throne for the house of Lancaster, a power base in the Wars of the Roses, and a vital resource for kings and queens in later periods.

Discover the Duchy’s story in this section.