The title Duke of York is a title of nobility usually given to the second son of the British monarch, unless the title is already held by a male descendant of an earlier Duke of York.
The title was first created in the Peerage of England for Edmund of Langley, the fourth surviving son of King Edward III, and an important character in Shakespeare's Richard II. His son Edward was convicted of treason, and his titles forefited, in 1415. Edward's son Richard managed to obtain a restoration of the title, however. His eldest son, Edward, was the last to hold the title, as when he became King, his titles merged into the Crown.
The title was next created for Richard, second son of King Edward IV. Richard was one of the Princes in the Tower, and as he died without heirs, the title became extinct at his death.
The next creation was for Henry Tudor, second son of King Henry VII. When his older brother Arthur, Prince of Wales, died in 1502, Henry became heir to the throne, and ultimately King Henry VIII, when the titles merged into the crown.
The title was for the fourth time created for Charles Stuart, second son of King James I. When his older brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, died in 1612, Charles became heir, and, eventually King Charles I]].
The fifth creation was in favour of James Stuart, second son of King Charles I. Named for this particular Duke of York are the city and state of New York in what is now the United States of America. When his older brother, Charles II, died without heirs, James succeeded to the throne as King James II, and the title once again merged into the Crown.
The next creations (the title changing to "York and Albany") were in the Peerage of Great Britain. The title was first held by Duke Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Bishop of Osnabrück, the youngest brother of King George I. He died without heirs.
The second creation of the dukedom of York and Albany was for Prince Edward Augustus, younger brother of King George III, who also died without heirs, having never married.
The third and last creation of the York and Albany title was for Prince Frederick Augustus]], the second son of King George III. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army for many years, and was the original "grand old Duke of York" in the popular rhyme. He too died without heirs.
The sixth creation of the dukedom of York was for Prince George of Wales, second son of Bertie, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII. He was created Duke of York following the death of his older brother, Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. The title merged with the crown when George succeeded his father as King.
The seventh creation was for Prince Albert, second son of King George V, and younger brother of King Edward VIII. Albert came unexpectedly to the throne when his brother was forced to abdicate, and took the name George VI, the dukedom merging into the crown.
The most recent creation was for Prince Andrew]], second son of Queen Elizabeth II. As of the present day, he has only 2 daughters. Thus, if he has no sons, the title will become extinct at his death.
As one may have noticed, aside from the first creation, every time the Dukedom of York has been created it has had only one occupant, that person either inheriting the throne or dying without male heirs. This gives rise to the idea that there is a curse of some sort on the title.
Dukes of York, first creation (1384)
Dukes of York, second Creation (1474)
Dukes of York, third Creation (1494)
Dukes of York, fourth creation (1604)
Dukes of York, fifth Creation (1644)
Dukes of York and Albany, first Creation (1716)
Dukes of York and Albany, second Creation (1760)
Dukes of York and Albany, third Creation (1784)
Dukes of York, sixth Creation - (1892)
Dukes of York, seventh Creation (1920)
Dukes of York, eighth Creation (1986)