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The Isle of Man; A brief history

All About "Gazetting" by the Queen

All the Recent

News & Events

Moving Forward, Recent Events and the Next Generation.

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A brief history of the Kingdom of Mann & the Isles -- From Crovan to the Present.  >>> more

Lords, Ladies, Knights & even Kings; what it means to be "Gazetted" by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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The Prince of Mann Story

Knights & Dames of The Order of the Well

On 16, January 2007, David Drew Howe was Gazetted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's paper of record, The London Gazette, making him the legal heir and de jure King, of the ancient independent Kingdom of Mann.  >>> more

Regular American Family to Suddenly Royals -- The Howe family; A story so good they had to make a critically acclaimed TV show about them. >>> more

It started out as just a couple of friends helping a few people in need and has continued to grow. A little about the Royal Order of the Well.  >>> more


The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is an ancient island Kingdom rich with history and tradition.  The Kingdom was originally founded by the Vikings and boasts the oldest existing parliament known as the Tynwald created in the early 9th century AD.


Some Quick Facts: 

  • Capital: Douglas

  • Population: 80,058 (2006 Census)

  • Land Area: 572 sq. km/ 227 square miles

  • Location: The centre of the Irish Sea - 50 km (31 miles) from Ireland and 50 km (31 miles) from the U.K. 

  • Head of State: Her Majesty the Queen

  • Lieutenant Governor: Sir Richard Gozney

  • Chief Minister: Hon Howard Quayle, MHK

Stained glass representation of Godred Crovan

Tynwald Chambers, Douglas

The earliest days of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles is marked by upheaval, invasions and battles.  Some of the details have been lost in antiquity.  However, what is known is that the creator of the Kingdom was the Norse-Gael warrior Godred Crovan.  Godred founded the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles after his victory over the Earl of Orkney at the Battle of Skyhill in 1079.  Shortly thereafter, Godred conquered and became King of Dublin as well as Mann.


The Kingdom of Mann continued to be ruled by the sons of Godred and their descendants until the annexation by Alexander III of Scotland in 1265.   

From 1265 to 1333 the Isle of Man lost it's independence and entered a confusing period.  It was sometimes part of Scotland and sometimes part of England.


Finally, in 1333, staking a claim to the Kingdom as a descendant in the female line to King Olaf II of Mann, and under the control of England, William de Montacute, 1st Earl of Salisbury received a grant from Edward III of England.  The Island was recognized as a fully independent Kingdom under King William's rule and, according to the grant, reunified the Island with a direct descendant of Godred Crovan.

Castletown, Isle of Man

Shortly after King William II, 2nd Earl of Salisbury succeeded his father, he sold his rights to the Isle of Man to William le Scrope, 1st Earl of Wiltshire.  However, le Scrope was later executed by Henry IV of England.  Henry later granted the Island and it's royal title to Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland.  This too proved to be short-lived as Henry IV once again found it necessary to take the Isle of Man back after Percy's rebellion against him.

Sir John Stanley,

first House of Stanley King

King Thomas II,

1st Earl of Derby  

In 1405, the Isle of Man began it's most stable period with Henry IV granting the Kingdom of Mann to Sir John Stanley.


Roughly one hundred years later Prince George Stanley, the son and heir apparent to King Thomas II,  once again brought about the reunification of the island with the House of Crovan as  George was also a direct descendant of King William I, 1st Earl of Salisbury.  Unfortunately, Prince George died before his father and the throne passed to his son Thomas III.

After succeeding his grandfather, Thomas III renounced the title King in favour of the title of Lord of Mann.  It isn't completely clear what motivated Lord Thomas' actions however, he was a member of his step-uncle's, Henry VII of England, court and it is believed that Thomas considered it politic to adopt the title of Lord.  


In the eyes of supporters of the Kingdom, Thomas' actions reduced the Island from a Kingdom to that of a barony or even less.  It continued to be the contention of many historians that the Isle of Man remained a Kingdom.  Lt. Governor Sir James Gell, in the early part of the twentieth century, wrote and maintained that the Island never ceased being a Kingdom and the proper title of the sovereign has always been that of King or Queen.  Nevertheless, the title remained Lord and has been used by succeeding Lords ever since.

The Lords of Mann, Earls of Derby, continued in an unbroken line until 1736 with the death of James Stanley, 10 Earl of Derby.  James left no heirs and so both the Earldom and the Lordship of Mann were temporarily left vacant.


The Earldom of Derby, an English / British peerage,  entitled the successor to a seat in the House of Lords.  It was therefore necessary for it to pass to a male line descendant.  As a result, the peerage was succeeded by a distant relative, Edward Stanley, as a male line descendant of Sir James Stanley the younger brother of Thomas III, 2nd Earl of Derby (some 240 years later).  From this point on, the Earls of Derby gave up any claim to the Isle of Man.

James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby

James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl

As the succeeding Earl of Derby made no claim to the Isle of Man, it was granted to the only claimant, James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl.  James was a descendant in the female line to William Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby.  His claim passing free of any contending claimants, James was granted the Isle of Man becoming the Lord of Mann.


During James' reign as the Lord of Mann, several attempts were made by England to purchase the Island and James refused all offers.  In 1764, James died and the Island passed to his nephew and son-in-law, John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl.  Perhaps seeing an opportunity to capitalize from the newly appointed Lord of Mann, England increased it's pressure.  Trade was blocked around the Island and goods coming into the Isle of Man were seized.  Left with little choice, and under great duress, Lord John agreed to the sale of the Island to the British crown.

In 1765 George III of the United Kingdom became the Lord of Mann  His take over of the Isle of Man brought great fear to the Manx and created civil unrest.  Many historians consider George III's seizure of the Island not dissimilar to much of his reign, as he is remembered for a number of military and economic conflicts; chief among them is the American Revolutionary War.


Since the reign of George III all succeeding monarchs in the United Kingdom have also succeeded as the Lords of Mann.  Today, HM Queen Elizabeth II is also known as the Lord of Mann in her role as the de facto sovereign of the Isle of Man.

George III of the United Kingdom


The Prince of Mann Story

In 2006, David Drew Howe, just "Drew" to his friends and family, began extensive research on his family's ancestry.  Initially Drew began looking into his American Civil War ancestors.  Shortly after, remembering the stories he heard growing up, he started research on his deButts / Dulany family ancestors.  One of the earliest colonial families in Virginia and Maryland, he discovered the family's close ties to several of the founding fathers, including the first American president George Washington.  

NOTE: Drew's great, great.. grandmother, Elizabeth French Dulany, lived with the Washington's at Mount Vernon during her teen years. George Washington gave her away at her wedding to Col. Benjamin Tasker Dulany in 1773.  Blueskin, one of two horses used by Washington during the American Revolutionary War, belonged to Elizabeth. Washington returned the horse to her at the end of the war. Her letters to and from George Washington are held at the U.S. National Archives.

Washington Receiving a Salute on the Field of Trenton by John Faed, featuring Blueskin

As he progressed, Drew's research led him back hundreds of years and to many historically significant ancestors, including most of the royal and noble families throughout Europe.  In late 2006, Drew started a blog for his family to follow.  As he found new information he frequently updated his blog with new posts.  His blog post eventually caught the attention of a genealogist and historian located in England who reached out to Drew.  Due to several historical ambiguities and ancient laws never abolished or amended, the genealogist believed Drew had a claim to the abeyant titles and de jure kingship of the ancient Kingdom of Mann.

It goes without saying that this news came as a bit of shock to Drew and his family; wife Pam and their daughter Grace.  Up to that point in 2006, the Howes had been a pretty average American family.  Drew and Pam owned and operated a small business together in their town of Frederick, Maryland.  They were just starting to make plans for Grace to attend school.  Growing up in the sub-burbs of Washington, DC, in average middle class families, Drew and Pam knew very little about the world of Kings and Queens.  That all soon changed.

Drew's new genealogist friend assembled several colleagues to assist him with forming an early group of supporters.  Their intention was to formulate a basis for a claim to present to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Drew's cousin, as it turns out), in hopes of receiving formal recognition and, hopefully, a Gazetting of his claim officially making him the de jure King.


The Gazetting

Outside, and even inside, of the United Kingdom, there are probably few things as misunderstood as to the nature of The London Gazette.  For starters, it's not a regular newspaper.  It is the Queen's official paper of record.  The Gazette is published by TSO (The Stationery Office) under the superintendence of Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO), part of The National Archives. And, in the days before the internet and social media, even before the advent of television and radio, The London Gazette served as the main form of official legal notices to an exclusive subscriber list.  More widely available today, The London Gazette still remains the primary publication for notices such as:

Granting of royal assent to bills of the Parliament of the United Kingdom or of the Scottish Parliament. The issuance of writs of election when a vacancy occurs in the House of Commons.  Appointments to certain public offices.  Commissions in the Armed Forces and subsequent promotion of officers.  Corporate and personal insolvency.  Granting of awards of honours and military medals. Changes of names or of coats of arms, and Royal Proclamations and other Declarations.

Three other important details regarding The London Gazette found on the official website at https://www.thegazette.co.uk/about 

1) As an official public record, notices can only be placed in The Gazette by registered and verified persons acting in an official capacity, who have the authority to create an official record of fact. 

2) Notices printed in The Gazette are afforded legal standing.

3) The granting of a peerage, royal title or honour is official on it's publication date in The Gazette.

A British Crown Dependency, matters regarding the regalities of the Isle of Man legally requires assent of the Crown.  It has been widely reported that David Drew Howe's claim to the Kingship of Mann was officially Gazetted on 16, January 2007, making him the de jure King of the Isle of Man.  This is the only notice of its kind regarding a Crown dependency ever gazetted by the Queen's paper of record.


Suddenly Royal

Drew Howe's story made international headlines beginning in 2008.  Having kept his story mostly quite for a year, the news eventually broke that his de jure (by right of law) claim to the ancient throne of the Kingdom of the Isle of Man had officially been gazetted in the London Gazette - The Official Paper of Record for the British Crown.  Up until that time, Drew had been just your average American family man.  "Nothing particularly special," as he would say, Drew became officially known as HRH Prince David Drew Howe, the de jure King of Mann.


Drew, and his small group of supporters in London, kept his gazetting (official act of publishing royal proclamations by the British Crown) a bit of an inside secret.  Drew wasn’t sure how an American heir-general to his ancestral kingdom would be received.  When the story finally broke a year after his gazetting, the news and Drew were met with mixed results.  The American-born Prince was ill prepared for the “welcoming,” and the advice he was receiving from his early London based supporters only helped to fuel the controversy.


Despite his rocky initiation, Drew and his family remained positive about the prospect that one day they would get the chance to travel to the Isle of Man.  From the beginning they wanted to learn more about his ancestors, and get the opportunity to meet people and learn about the Island’s culture that is so rich in history and tradition.  


The Howe family finally got their opportunity with their first visit in the Spring / Summer of 2015.  With a full film crew and production company in tow, courtesy of  the Discovery / TLC network, the Howe family's inaugural 8 week visit to the Isle of Man was captured up close and personal for viewers.

Suddenly Royal, as it was titled in the United States / Canada / United Kingdom, tells the story of the Howe's visit and their reception over 7 one hour episodes.  Labeled as a docu-series, Suddenly Royal captured the light-hearted personalities of Drew, his wife Pam and their daughter Grace.  The show aimed to answer the question, "So, just how does a regular American family cope with becoming royalty?"  

First airing on September 9, 2015 on the TLC network in the United States, the critically acclaimed Suddenly Royal has since been broadcast worldwide with a total reach of 431 million homes in 170 countries.  In 2019, Screen Rant named Suddenly Royal #7 in it's 10 Best TLC Shows Of All Time.


The Isle of Man government announced in April of 2017 the the Island had experienced record cruise ship bookings; more than doubling since Suddenly Royal began airing worldwide. 

Suddenly Royal is available for viewing on the popular streaming services iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.


News & Events


  • November 4, 2019, David Drew Howe received a commission as a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Matt Bevin, in recognition for his outstanding global contributions and achievements.  As is customary for all Colonels, Colonel Drew Howe serves as an honorary aide-de-camp and member of the Governor's staff. 

  • On March 13, 2018, Grace Howe issued letters patent to her father and appointment as the grand master of the Orders Well and the Sword.

  • On July 4, 2017, The Howe family announced that Grace Howe, in keeping with the 2007 gazetting, had succeeded her father's roll as the de jure sovereign head of the Royal Order of the Well and Royal Order of the Sword.

  • On July 4, 2017, The Howe family announced that Drew will serve as Regent to Grace until 2027 when she has reached age of 25.


The Royal Order of the Well

The Order of the Well was established in 2009 in an effort to unify supporters and provide a purpose for giving.  Since the inception, Knights and Dames of "The Well" have provided assistance with a number of giving projects globally.

Some of the assistance provided by The Well include:

  • Assistance with medical expenses for an individual receiving treatment for a brain tumor.

  • Supplies for victims of severe weather events; hurricane and flood relief.

  • Assistance for a refugee family.

  • Participated in The Water Project's water well funding now serving a community of 200 at the Yams Farms community located in Sierra Leone.

  • 2012 Haiti earthquake relief trip providing clothing and supplies.

The Order of the Well continues to grow and will continue to provide assistance.  The Well's membership is open to all adult individuals with impeccable character and the highest of ethical standards.  If you'd like more information on how you can become a candidate, we invite you to contact us below.

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