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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

27 MAY 2010

Peerage and MP Ledger: Edward Fitzgerald, His Grace the 7th Duke of Leinster - peer, soldier, Wallis Simpson's lover, bankrupt and suicide

Edward Fitzgerald, His Grace the 7th Duke of Leinster (1892-1976) appears in the Peerage and MP Ledger on a number of occasions. The 7th Duke of Leinster, the holder of a ducal seat regarded by the Lord Falconer as equivalent to Irish royalty (being the highest ranking peerage in Ireland as the premier Dukedom in the peerage of Ireland), was born on 6 May 1892. From that date until 1922 he was known as Lord Edward Fitzgerald. He was the son of Gerald FitzGerald, 5th Duke of Leinster and Lady Hermione Wilhelmina Duncombe. He was educated at Eton College. The Duke fought in World War I as a Lieutenant on the 8th Services Battalion, West Riding Regiment and later the Irish Guards. He also fought in the Second World War between 1939 and 1942. The Duke married four times and it has also be suggested that he conducted an affair with Wallis Simpson, later the Duchess of Windsor. The 7th Duke died on 8 March 1976 aged 83. He committed suicide by an overdose of nembutal.

The 4 February 1922 was an important date for Edward as it was on that date that he became:

  • the 4th Baron Kildare of Kildare;
  • the 12th Baron Offaly;
  • the 7th Marquess of Kildare,
  • the 7th Duke of Leinster;
  • the 7th Earl of Offaly;
  • the 26th Earl of Kildare;
  • the 7th Viscount Leinster of Taplow.

The Duke's financial problems lay perhaps in his compulsive gambling. As one commentator has observed, "He squandered a substantial inheritance and became known as the bedsit Duke." The Duke's entries in the ledger state:
"Leinster, Edward Fitzgerald Duke of,

No.953/22
Bankruptcy Notice Issued: 7 June 1922
Petition filed: 1 July 1922
Receiving Order Made: 19 Dec 1922
Adjudication made 16 Jan 1923
Order of Discharge and terms (if any):
Certificate of misfortune:
Notification sent to speak of House of Lords and to clerk of the Crown in Chancery, sec 106(1): 31 Jan 1923
Acko: 1/2/1923."

The second entry notes (at page 21):

"Edward Fitzgerald, Duke of Leinster
1238/1931
Petition filed 12th Dec 1931
...
OR: 19/3/34
The Judge dismissed..."
The third entry notes (at page 32):
"Fitzgerald, Edward, Duke of Leinster
of 82 Portland Place London W

1120/34
Petition filed 11/12/1934
Receiving Order 26/5/36
Adjudication 17/7/1936

Notification sent to the Speaker of the House of Lords and to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery (sec 106(1) 17th July 1936
Acknowledged.

Discharged as from the 1st May 1964 by order of the Court dated 30th April 1964."

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