Posted by The Mysterious H.C. on June 27, 1997 at 16:38:28:
In reply to Re:Noble women posted by Mark on June 27, 1997 at 13:03:28
] ] In England, the five degrees of the Peerage are, in ascending order: baron, viscount, earl, marquis, and duke. A baronet is not a peer
] What happens when the crown wishes to honor (honour?) the achievements of a woman? For example, I believe I read somewhere that Maggie Thatcher is now "Lady Thatcher". Does her husband have to be elevated in order for her to receive the title? And if it is inherited peerage, does the daughter get the title or the son?
Mark, a woman can be created a "peeress in her own right" or can inherit an existing noble title in default of male heirs (though only certain titles, usually the lower ranking ones, can be inherited in this way). In either case, she holds the honour in her own right, independent of her huband, and does not in fact convey any rank to her husband (unlike wives of nobleman, who do receive rank from their husbands). Titles descend through women in the normal way, with the eldest son having precedence. Women peeresses in their own right couldn't sit in the House of Lords until the early '60's.
Back in the middle ages, it could happen that a man who was not a nobleman could sit in the House of Lords because his wife was a peeress in her own right, but this didn't happen in Jane Austen's time, and doesn't happen today.
Lady Thatcher is a life peer -- the title of baron/baroness was created for her own lifetime only, so it won't descend to her children...
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