Earl and Countess of Dumbarton wed at Windsor
The Countess of Dumbarton at her wedding in Windsor.
By Bill Heaney
Prince Harry, who will be married to the actress Meghan Markle in Windsor today, has been made the third Earl of Dumbarton. The American movie star bride has been elevated by Queen Elizabeth to the title of Countess of Dumbarton. The Earl of Dumbarton title has strong military connections. The first to hold the title was George Douglas, a younger son of the first Marquis of Douglas, who was created Earl of Dumbarton in 1675. Scottish nobleman and soldier, George was given the title by Charles II in recognition of his military service. When James VII of Scots (James II of England) came to the throne in 1685, the earl was made military commander in Scotland, and it is thought that when the King was deposed, George accompanied him to his court in exile in France. On George’s death at St German-en-Laye in France, the title passed to his son, also called George, who became the second Earl of Dumbarton. The title became extinct when the second earl died in 1749, meaning it has not been used in more than 260 years. It means that Prince Harry becomes the third to hold the Scottish title, and on marriage, Meghan will become Countess of Dumbarton. Dumbarton was founded in Roman times in the fifth century and was once the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde. It is the site of a volcanic rock which is home to Dumbarton Castle. During its long history, the castle has been both a royal residence and a fortress. Dumbarton was a Royal Burgh for 750 years between 1222 and 1975.
Ancient lore has it that King Arthur was resident here for a time, along with Merlin, and later Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there in the French Prison while she awaited deportation to France.
There are connections too with St Patrick and St Columba and the Earls of Lennox.
King Robert the Bruce also has connections with Dumbarton and is said to have had a residence in the hills above Cardross and Renton.
The Queen was presented with the keys of Dumbarton Castle shortly after her coronation in 1953.
There have been a number of royal visits to Dunbartonshire and Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Edward and Princess Anne have visited the area.
Princess Anne officially opened the Erskine Bridge and the Meadow Centre in Dumbarton.
Prince Andrew and Princess Anne have both been guests at the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane and the Queen went for a sail on the Maid of the Loch with Princess Anne and Prince Philip when she officially opened the Loch Lomond Water Scheme at Ross Priory.
The Keeper of Dumbarton Castle, which is administered by Heritage Scotland, is Brigadier Donald Hardie, formerly Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire.
Queen visits Dumbarton Castle, clockwise, HM the Queen, King Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots.