Death of Duke of Norfolk, Britain's 'leading Catholic layman'
The 17th Duke of Norfolk, hereditary earl marshal, chief butler of England and the country's premier earl and duke - among his eight titles - died in his sleep at the age of 86 on Tuesday.
The duke, whose position also made him England's premier lay Roman Catholic, inherited his titles from his cousin in 1975 after a long and distinguished military career.
He never lived at Arundel Castle, the ancestral home, declaring it too expensive - "a vast great thing" - and preferred rural Oxfordshire. The castle, a 19th century mock-medieval pile, was made over to an independent trust.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the church in England and Wales, said: "He was a true Christian gentleman in the real sense of those words. His faith permeated his whole life and he was extremely generous in the time and effort he gave to charitable work.
"The Catholic church in this country was glad to have him as its most distinguished layman and he will be deeply missed."
Major-General Miles Fitzalan-Howard won the Military Cross during a military career culminating in his becoming director of service intelligence.
The titles pass to his son.
Death of the Duke of Norfolk (ICN)
Obituary: The Duke of Norfolk (The Guardian)
Duke of Norfolk Worship Page
27 Jun 2002