Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Duchess Of York

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

DUCHESS OF YORK (S8x32) 3C (4C set) Preston RSCDS Book 27

1- 8 1s cross RH, cast 1 place, 1s+3s set and turn RH
9-16 1s+3s dance Allemande
17-24 1s cast up 1 place, cross LH, cast up to top, 1s+2s set and turn RH
25-32 1s+2s dance Allemande

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Information

It seems likely that the Duchess of York of this dance's title was Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia (1767-1820). She married the second son of King George III, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany in 1791. When she came to England she was given an enthusiastic welcome in London, and seems to have been generally regarded with affection. In a contemporary memoir she was described as "clever and well-informed; she likes society and dislikes all form and ceremony" and "probably no person in such a situation was ever more really liked".

The Duchess of York and the Duke separated after a few years of marriage but without acrimony, and she retired to Oatlands Palace, Weybridge, Surrey where she lived apparently eccentrically, "with an extraordinary fondness for cats and dogs". She died, on 6 August 1820, and is commemorated by a monument, erected by the people of Weybridge, that stands on Monument Green, Weybridge.

This strathspey is from RSCDS Book 25 which cites Preston's collection of dances, New Country Dances (1797) as its source.

John Preston founded the firm, Preston and Son, and published a great quantity of music, including operas and sheet music. Also among his publications was a long series of Country Dances for the violin in oblong octavo, in yearly sets of twenty four, from 1786 to at least 1818. He also published Country Dances in folio and oblong quarto, of which we assume New Country Dances (1797) was one (since the 1797 Twenty Four Country Dances does not include The Duchess of York. (It does however contain amongst others Sleepy Moggy (sic), The Countess of Sutherland's Reel, Dusty Miller, and Davy's Locker)).

Duchess Of York
"Frederica Charlotte Of Prussia (1767-1820), Duchess Of York And Albany" John Hoppner (1758-1810), Oil On Canvas, c. 18th Century

Image copyright John Hoppner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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