ROYAL TITLES can be confusing with a long list of various terms used for Britain’s noblemen and noblewomen. Here Express.co.uk explains the royal titles in the UK.
The aristocratic pecking order in the UK may appear confusing, with a long list of different titles. In the Royal Family especially, there is a flurry of complicated titles including Duke, Earl, Marquess and Viscount. Here’s how the royal peerage system works.
In Britain, titles and roles are given to the members of the Royal Family, either by inheritance or by marriage.
Some titles like Prince and Princess are reserved for men or women who are royal by birth, such as Prince William and Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.
Apart from this, for men, there are five possible titles that can either be inherited or given.
Ranked from highest to lowest, these are: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron.
For women it’s Duchess, Marchioness, Countess, Viscountess, and Baroness.
Royal titles The Queen, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge ( Photo (c) GETTY
Royal titles: Kate, Duchess of Cambridge with her daughter Princess Charlotte (Image: GETTY)
Duke and Duchess
A Duchess is a woman who is together with the Duke, and is the highest rank below the monarch.
The title is given after marriage and a Duchess is also addressed as Her Royal Highness.
Dukes and Duchesses are generally addressed as “Your Grace”.
Royal titles: The Earl and Countess of Wessex with their children James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise (Image: GETTY)
Marquess and Marchioness
In the UK, a Marquess is a title of nobility ranking between a Duke and an Earl.
Originating from the Old French marchis the title originally described a nobleman responsible for a defending a frontier territory called a “march”.
A Marchioness is a title given to the wife or widow of a Marquess.
Earl and Countess
An Earl or a Countess is the third rank in the peerage.
An Earl is the nobility ranking that lies between a Marquess and a Viscount.
A feminine form of Earl never developed so instead, Countess is used.
Viscount and Viscountess
The title Viscount ranks between an Earl and a Baron.
Viscounts and Viscountess are generally referred to as “Lord” or “Lady” when they are spoken to.
Originally, the title was handed to people by a member of the monarchy and was seen as similar to being a sheriff.
Later, it began to be handed down in a hereditary manner, with the heir of an Earl or Marquess often given the honorary title Viscount.
Royal titles: Viscountess Emma Weymouth (Image: GETTY)
Baron or Baroness
The lowest rank of the peerage system is Baron and Baroness.
The titles can either be hereditary or given out.
Being styled a Baron or Baroness has origins in the English feudal system and is a rank of nobility and title of honour.
Royal titles listed
Queen or King – As sovereign, the King or Queen outranks everyone
Queen Consort – The Queen Consort is the wife of the King
Apart from the monarch and their spouse, the titles are:
- Duke or Duchess
- Marquess or Marchioness
- Earl or Countess
- Viscount or Viscountess
- Baron or Baroness
Source: EXPRESS CO UK