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Encyclopedia > Courtesy title

A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used by children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer. These styles may mislead those unacquainted with the system into thinking that they have substantive titles. There are several different kinds of courtesy titles in the British peerage. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Nobility is a traditional hereditary status (see hereditary titles) that exists today in many countries (mainly present or former monarchies). ... Look up Peerage (disambiguation) in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A style of office, or honorific, is a form of address which by tradition or law precedes a reference to a person who holds a title or post, or to the political office itself. ... A substantive title (or substantive peerage) is a title of nobility or royalty held by someone (normally by one person alone), which they gained through either grant or inheritance, as opposed to one given or loaned to them either as a courtesy title, or gained through marriage. ... For other uses, see Peerage (disambiguation). ...

Contents

The children of peers

Courtesy peers

If a peer of one of the top three ranks (a duke, marquess or earl) has more than one title, his eldest son, not himself an actual peer, may use one of his father's lesser titles 'by courtesy'. However, the father continues to be the substantive holder of the peerage title and the son using the peerage by courtesy legally remains a commoner. If the eldest son of a duke or marquess has an eldest son, he may use a still lower title if one exists. This article is about the nobility title. ... This article is about a title of nobility. ... For people, see Earl (given name) and Earl (surname). ... A commoner, in British law, is someone who is neither the Sovereign nor a noble. ...


For example, the Duke of Norfolk is also the Earl of Arundel and the Lord Maltravers. His eldest son is therefore styled Earl of Arundel. Lord Arundel's eldest son (should he sire one during his father's lifetime) will be styled Lord Maltravers. However, only the Duke of Norfolk is actually a peer; his son Lord Arundel and his hypothetical grandson Lord Maltravers remain commoners. Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk holding the baton of the Earl Marshal. ... The oldest extant Earldom (and perhaps the oldest extant title) in the English peerage is the Earldom of Arundel currently held by the Duke of Norfolk, and used as a courtesy title by his heir. ... Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk holding the baton of the Earl Marshal. ...


Courtesy peerages are only used by the peer's eldest son, and the eldest son's eldest son, and so forth. Other descendants are not permitted to use the peer's subsidiary titles. Only the Heir Apparent (and Heir Apparent to the Heir Apparent and so on) can use the titles. An Heir Presumptive (e.g. a brother, nephew, or cousin) does not use a courtesy title, since there is no absolute certainty that he will ever actually inherit the substantive title. However, Scottish practice allows the style 'Master/Mistress of X' to an heir presumptive as well as to an heir apparent. Contrasting with heir presumptive, an heir apparent is one who cannot be prevented from inheriting by the birth of any other person. ... An Heir Presumptive (capitalised) is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honor, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an Heir Apparent or of a new Heir Presumptive with a better claim to the throne. ... The heir-apparent or heir presumptive to a Scottish peerage is known as a Master, or Mistress if the heir is female. ...


The wives of courtesy peers are also entitled to courtesy titles, which are the female equivalents of their husbands' titles. Thus, the wife of Earl of Arundel is styled Countess of Arundel. For the British peerage, written references to holders of courtesy peerages are supposed to be in the form "Marquess of Blandford", "Earl of Arundel", etc., i.e. without the preceding definite article ("The"); substantive peers are named with the article, e.g. "The Marquess of Winchester", "The Earl of Derby". The coat of arms of the Dukes of Marlborough The Dukedom of Marlborough (pronounced Maulbruh) is an hereditary title of British nobility in the Peerage of England. ... The title Marquess of Winchester was created in 1551 in the Peerage of England, making it the oldest English (and British) Marquessate still in existence. ... The Earl of Derby is a title in the peerage of England. ...


Choosing a courtesy peer's title

The actual title used is a matter of family tradition. For instance, the eldest son of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry is styled Earl of Dalkeith, even though the Duke is also the Marquess of Dumfriesshire, a title which outranks the Earldom. Similarly, the eldest son of the Marquess of Londonderry is styled Viscount Castlereagh, even though the Marquess is also the Earl Vane. The title of Duke of Buccleuch (pronounced Bucloo) was created in the Peerage of Scotland on 20 April 1663 for the Duke of Monmouth, eldest illegitimate son of Charles II of England, who had married Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch. ... The title of Duke of Buccleuch (pronounced Bucloo) was created in the Peerage of Scotland on 20 April 1663 for the Duke of Monmouth, eldest illegitimate son of Charles II of England, who had married Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch. ... The title Duke of Queensberry was created in the Peerage of Scotland in 1684. ... The title of Marquess of Londonderry (pronounced Lundundry) is a title in the Peerage of Ireland created in 1816 for Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Londonderry, father of Lord Castlereagh, the Foreign Secretary at the time. ... Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, (June 18, 1769 - August 12, 1822), known until 1821 by his courtesy title of Viscount Castlereagh, was an Anglo-Irish politician born in Dublin who represented the United Kingdom at the Congress of Vienna. ... The title of Marquess of Londonderry (pronounced Lundundry) is a title in the Peerage of Ireland created in 1816 for Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Londonderry, father of Lord Castlereagh, the Foreign Secretary at the time. ...


Titles with the same name as a peer's main title are also not used as courtesy titles. For instance, the Duke of Westminster is also the Marquess of Westminster and the Earl Grosvenor (amongst other titles). The Duke's eldest son is not styled Marquess of Westminster (which would cause confusion between the son and the father), and so is styled Earl Grosvenor instead. The title used does not have to be exactly equivalent to the actual peerage: the eldest son of the current Duke of Wellington is styled Marquess of Douro, even though the actual peerage possessed by his father is Marquess Douro. Arms of the Dukes of Westminster (since 1825) The title of Duke of Westminster was created by Queen Victoria in 1874 and bestowed upon Richard Grosvenor, the 3rd Marquess of Westminster. ... The title of Duke of Westminster was created by Queen Victoria in 1874 and bestowed upon Richard Grosvenor, the 3rd Marquess of Westminster. ... The title of Duke of Westminster was created by Queen Victoria in 1874 and bestowed upon Richard Grosvenor, the 3rd Marquess of Westminster. ... The Dukedom of Wellington, derived from Wellington in Somerset, is a hereditary title and the senior Dukedom in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. ... Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, Marquess of Douro OBE, (born August 19, 1945) is the son and heir of Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington and his wife, Diana McConnel. ...


If a peer of the rank of Earl or above does not have any subsidiary titles of a name different from his main title, his eldest son usually uses an invented courtesy title of "Lord Surname". For instance, the eldest son of the Earl of Devon is styled Lord Courtenay, even though the Earl has no barony of that name, and similarly the eldest son of the Earl of Guilford is styled Lord North. The eldest son of the Earl of Huntingdon, who has no subsidiary titles, is styled Viscount Hastings to avoid confusion with the substantive peer Lord Hastings. The Earl Castle Stewart's heir uses the style Viscount Stewart in order to avoid confusion with the Lord Stewart, eldest son of the Viscount Castlereagh, eldest son of the Marquess of Londonderry. The Earl and the Marquess are both scions of the House of Stewart. The title of Earl of Devon was created several times in the Peerage of England, and was possessed first by the de Redvers (de Reviers) family, and later for the Courtenay. ... The title of Earl of Devon was created several times in the Peerage of England, and was possessed first by the de Redvers (de Reviers) family, and later for the Courtenay. ... Various rulers or governments of Europe, of Japan bestow or recognise the title of baron. ... Earl of Guilford is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain created in 1752. ... Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford (April 13, 1732–August 5, 1792), more often known by his earlier title, Lord North, was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782, and a major actor in the American Revolution. ... Earl of Huntingdon is a title which has been created several times in the Peerage of England. ... The title Baron Hastings is an ancient one in the Peerage of England. ... The Earldom of Castle Stewart is under investigation for Gustoff D Freedricko. ... The title of Marquess of Londonderry (pronounced Lundundry) is a title in the Peerage of Ireland created in 1816 for Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Londonderry, father of Lord Castlereagh, the Foreign Secretary at the time. ...


Courtesy prefix of "Lord"

Another form of courtesy title, is the addition of the honorific prefix of "Lord" before the name. This is granted to younger sons of Dukes and Marquesses. The courtesy title is added before the person's name, as in the example of Lord Randolph Churchill. The title persists after the death of the holder's father, but it may not be inherited by his children. The wife of the holder is entitled to her own courtesy title, which takes the form of "Lady", followed by her husband's name, as in the example of Lady Randolph Churchill. The holder is addressed as "Lord Randolph" and his wife as "Lady Randolph". An honorific is a word or expression that conveys esteem or respect and is used in addressing or referring to a person. ... Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill (13 February 1849 – 24 January 1895) was a British statesman. ... Jennie Jerome in 1874 Lady Randolph Churchill CI DStJ (Jeanette Jennie Jerome) (January 9, 1854 – June 9, 1921) was an American society beauty, best known to history as the mother of British prime minister Winston Churchill. ...


Courtesy prefix of "Lady"

The addition of the honorific prefix of "The Lady" is granted to the daughters of Dukes, Marquesses and Earls. The courtesy title is added before the person's name, as in the example The Lady Diana Spencer. The title persists after the death of the holder's father but it may not be inherited by her children. The husband of the holder is not entitled to a courtesy title. The holder is addressed as "The Lady Diana". An honorific is a word or expression that conveys esteem or respect and is used in addressing or referring to a person. ... Lady Diana Spencer is a name shared by several members of the Spencer family, an aristocratic English family related to the Churchills of Blenheim Palace. ...


Courtesy prefix of "The Honourable"

The younger sons of earls, along with the sons and daughters of Viscounts and Barons are granted the courtesy title of "The Honourable" before their name. This is usually abbreviated to "The Hon." The title persists after the death of the holder's father, but it may not be inherited by the holder's children. A viscount is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl (in Britain) or a count (his continental equivalent). ... For other uses, see Baron (disambiguation). ... The prefix The Honourable or The Honorable ( or formerly The Honble) is a title of quality attached to the names of certain classes of persons. ...


Married daughters

The daughter of a duke, marquess, or earl who marries a commoner becomes "The Lady first name husband's last name". The daughter of a viscount or baron who marries a commoner becomes "The Honourable Mrs. husband's last name". If she marries a peer, she gains the courtesy title as that peer's wife.


If a woman marries an Honourable, and holds no higher title, she will become "The Honourable Mrs. husband's first name husband's last name." If a woman marries a Lord, she will become "The Lady husband's first name husband's last name." In case of a divorce, she will keep the same style as during her marriage, or she may choose to assume the style "Mrs. first name husband's last name." Regardless of what she chooses, she loses all precedence she attained from marriage. Because of the former option, there can be multiple Lady John Smiths.


Adopted children

Until 2004 adopted children of peers had no right to any courtesy title. However as a result of a Royal Warrant dated 30 April 2004 adopted children are now automatically entitled to such styles and courtesy titles as their siblings. However, as with illegitimate children where legitimised, such children have no rights to inheritance of peerages. [Note - Scottish peerages rules of descent differ.] is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Peer Wife Eldest Son Younger Son Unmarried Daughter
Duke Duchess Father's Subsidiary Title Lord Firstname Lastname Lady Firstname Lastname
Marquess Marchioness Father's Subsidiary Title Lord Firstname Lastname Lady Firstname Lastname
Earl Countess Father's Subsidiary Title The Honourable Firstname Lastname Lady Firstname Lastname
Viscount Viscountess The Honourable Firstname Lastname The Honourable Firstname Lastname The Honourable Firstname Lastname
Baron Baroness The Honourable Firstname Lastname The Honourable Firstname Lastname The Honourable Firstname Lastname

Indirect inheritance

Occasionally a peer has inherited the title upon the death of a relative who is not one of his parents. (Some say it is incorrect in this case to say the title is inherited from the relative, merely on the death of the relative - since when a peer has no direct descendants, the peerage moves to the second heir of the previous holder (or his heirs), failing that to the second heir of the holder before that (or his heirs), and so in a recursive fashion). When this happens, the relatives in the direct line to the new peer may be allowed to use courtesy titles appropriate to their relationship to that peer or prior heirs. For instance, Rupert Charles Ponsonby, 7th Baron de Mauley inherited the Barony of de Mauley from his uncle in 2002. His brother Ashley had no title, as their father was only an Honourable and was never actually Baron de Mauley. However, in 2003, Ashley was granted by Warrant of Precedence from Queen Elizabeth II the style and precedence that would have been his had his father survived to inherit the barony, becoming The Honourable Ashley Ponsonby. Precedence in such circumstances is usually granted but is not automatic. This article is about the concept of recursion. ... Rupert Charles Ponsonby (born June 30, 1957) succeeded his uncle Gerald John Ponsonby, 6th Baron de Mauley as the 7th Baron de Mauley in October 2002. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of sixteen sovereign states, holding each crown and title equally. ...


The wives of peers

The wives of courtesy peers hold their titles on the same basis as their husbands, i.e. by courtesy. Thus the wife of Marquess Douro is known as Marchioness Douro.


In contrast, the wife of a substantive peer is legally entitled to the privileges of peerage: she is said to have a "life estate" in her husband's dignity. Thus a duke's wife is titled a "duchess", a marquess's wife a "marchioness", an earl's wife a "countess", a viscount's wife a "viscountess" and a baron's wife a "baroness". Despite being referred to as a "peeress", she is not a peer "in her own right": this is a 'style' and not a substantive title. However, this is considered a legal title, unlike the social titles of a peer's children. The term duke is a title of nobility which refers to the sovereign male ruler of a Continental European duchy, to a nobleman of the highest grade of the British peerage, or to the highest rank of nobility in various other European countries, including Spain and France (in Italy, principe... A Marquess is a nobleman of hereditary rank in Europe and Japan. ... Look up Count in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A count is a nobleman in most European countries, equivalent in rank to a British earl, whose wife is still a countess (for lack of an Anglo-Saxon term). ... A viscount is a member of the European nobility, especially of France, and of the British peerage, where a viscount ranks above a baron, below an earl (a count in France), and corresponds in Britain to the Anglo-Saxon shire reeve. ... Baroness could refer to: Female equivalent of Baron. ...


It is also possible for a woman to be a substantive peer in her own right, by succession or by first creation (i.e. ennoblement, most commonly in recent times under the Life Peerages Act 1958). Her children use courtesy titles according to her rank, as with the children of male peers, but her husband receives no special distinction. Thus the husband of Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone is called Peter Bottomley and has no courtesy title. The Life Peerages Act 1958 established the modern standards for the creation of Life Peers by the monarch of the United Kingdom, and granted them non-hereditary voting status in the House of Lords. ... Virginia Hilda Brunette Maxwell Bottomley, Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone PC DL, née Virginia Garnett (born 12 March 1948 in Dunoon, Scotland), is a British Conservative Party politician. ... Peter James Bottomley (born July 30, 1944) is a British politician. ...


Divorced wives

A peeress loses her legal right to the peerage style following divorce. A convention has developed whereby her Christian name is added in front of her former title to distinguish her from subsequent wives of her husband. Hence, "Her Grace The Duchess of London" becomes "Mary, Duchess of London". She is not entitled to the use of the address "Your Grace" (now virtually obsolete) but again by convention, she may be addressed as "Duchess" or "Your Grace". "The Rt Hon. The Lady London" becomes "Mary, Lady London" and may be addressed as "Lady London," or "My Lady". It is a matter of courtesy, and of convention.


Divorced wives who remarry

A divorced peeress's right to the title and dignities of peerage does not end if she subsequently marries a commoner. She may retain the title by courtesy.[1]


It is customary for women with higher titles from one marriage to retain them even on subsequent remarriage. As Lord Macnaughten put it in the case of Earl Cowley v Countess Cowley [1901] AC 450: "...everybody knows that it is a very common practice for peeresses (not being peeresses in their own right) after marrying commoners to retain the title lost by such marriage. It is not a matter of right. It is merely a matter of courtesy, and allowed by the usages of society." The divorce court, in the above case, granted the earl an injunction preventing his wife from using his title; however this was overturned by the Court of Appeal, whose decision was confirmed by the House of Lords, on the grounds that ordinary courts of law lacked any jurisdiction in matters of honour. Her Majestys Court of Appeal is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords above it. ... This article is about the British House of Lords. ...


The same practice was followed by widows who remarried. A prominent example was Catherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, who continued to be known as Queen even after her marriage to Lord Seymour of Sudeley (and, indeed, she disputed precedence with the wife of her brother-in-law the Duke of Somerset on this basis). Catherine Parr or Jane Grey Catherine Parr (c. ... Henry VIII redirects here. ...


This usage died out later in the twentieth century, and women who remarry now ordinarily take a new married name and do not retain their former title. However, they may choose to continue use of the courtesy title per Cowley v. Cowley.


Widows

If a peer dies, his wife's style does not change unless the new peer is married. If he is married, traditionally the widowed peeress puts "Dowager" in her style, i.e. "The Most Hon. The Marchioness of London" becomes "The Most Hon. The Dowager Marchioness of London." A dowager is a widow who holds a title or property, or Dower, derived from her deceased husband. ...


If a widowed peeress's son predeceases her, her daughter-in-law may not use the title of Dowager and must be styled, e.g. "The Most Hon. Mary, Marchioness of London", until her mother-in-law dies, at which point she may use the title of Dowager. In more recent times, due to negative connotations of the word "Dowager," many widows choose to be styled with their Christian names, instead of as Dowager.


Civil partners

If a peer or knight enters into a civil partnership, his or her partner is not entitled to a courtesy title. [2] Metropolitan Community Church vicar Debbie Gaston (right) with partner Elaine celebrating their Civil Partnership outside Brighton Town Hall on 21 December 2005 As unregistered cohabitation Recognised in some regions Recognised prior to legalisation of same-sex marriage Netherlands (nationwide) (1998) Spain (12 of 17 communities) (1998) South Africa (nationwide) (1999...


Precedence status of courtesy titles

The courtesy titles of children of peers are social, not legal. For this reason, in official documents, Lord John Smith is often referred to as John Smith, Esq., commonly called Lord John Smith; The Hon. Mrs. Smith would be called Mary Jane, Mrs. Smith, commonly called The Hon. Mary Jane Smith. However, there is legal precedence that results from being the wife or child of a peer, even though the styles of the latter are merely social. The wives of peers are peeresses and rank exactly the same as peeresses in their own right. The Order of precedence in the United Kingdom is different for each region. ...


Children of peers can outrank certain actual peers. For instance, the daughter of a Duke outranks a Countess. However, if the daughter of a Duke marries an Earl, she actually drops to the rank of Countess. But, if that same daughter marries a commoner, she retains her rank. If that daughter marries the eldest son of an Earl, though he may be a courtesy peer, she may keep her rank until the son inherits the Earldom, when she must drop to the rank of Countess.


Notes

  1. ^ Earl of Cowley v. Countess of Cowley [1901] A.C. 450
  2. ^ "The Queen herself knighted Sir Elton John, so his new bride would normally be called a lady. Would David Furnish be called Laddie? No chance, says the palace. It called the question "interesting," but passed the buck to the government."- http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0512/20/sbt.01.html

References

  • Montague-Smith, P. (editor). (1979). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage

See also

This is a list of courtesy titles used for the heirs of currently extant titles in the Peerages of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. ... Forms of address used in the United Kingdom are given below. ...

External links

  • Glossary of Burke's Peerage and Baronetage - Courtesy title
  • Royal Warrants of Precedence

  Results from FactBites:
 
Courtesy title - Facts, Information, and Encyclopedia Reference article (1460 words)
A courtesy title is a form of address in the British peerage system used for wives, children, and other close relatives of a peer.
The title used does not have to be exactly equivalent to the actual peerage: the eldest son of the current Duke of Wellington uses the title "Marquess of Douro", even though the actual peerage possessed by his father is "Marquess Douro".
Another form of courtesy title, in the form of an honorific prefix, is granted to younger sons, and all daughters of peers.
Courtesy Titles (3714 words)
A peer's wife and children are granted the use of certain titles, depending upon the rank of the peer.
His subordinate titles are distributed by courtesy only to his direct heirs, that is, his eldest son, and his eldest son's eldest son, etc. The Duke of Devonshire's eldest son bears by courtesy the title the Marquess of Hartington, and Lord Hartington's eldest son (b.
And her husband, the earl, did not become Duke of Marlborough by courtesy; he remained a mere earl (much like the husband of a queen is not a king by courtesy).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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