Author Topic: Question about peerage and step-children/adoption....  (Read 4173 times)

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Offline Katya23

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Question about peerage and step-children/adoption....
« on: September 15, 2007, 03:19:27 AM »
I have always been facsinated by the british peerage and I felt that this might be a good forum to get a few questions answered, since everyone seems to really know what they are talking about.

Here we go:

Let's say a woman of no rank marries a man of no rank and they have 2 children (a girl and a boy).  The man dies and the woman manages to snag a titled peer (the first husband was wealthy, but not titled...).  Would her children take the precedence of their biological father or their new step-father?

Also, what about adoption?  I assume that it did happen on occasion, when a titled peer would adopt a child.  Would that child be elevated with a curtesy title?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer my question or point me in the right direction!!

Offline dmitri

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Re: Question about peerage and step-children/adoption....
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2007, 07:33:17 AM »
adopted children and stepchildren do not inheirit titles from their adoptive or stepfathers

Offline CHRISinUSA

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Re: Question about peerage and step-children/adoption....
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2007, 09:44:39 AM »
A related - but not directly - topic that I've always found interesting is how letter patent are routinely issued to extend courtesy titles to certain members of a noble family when the title shifts from one direct line of descend to another, as if the title had descended in a direct fashion.

For example, let's say Charles Smith is the 3rd Earl of Smiley.  Charles has 2 sons - George and William.  George (the elder) is styled with a courtesy title (let's say Viscount Smith). 

William, as younger son, is The Hon. William Smith (younger sons of an earl are not Lords).  His son Edward and daughter Elizabeth are plan old Mr. Edward Smith and Miss Elizabeth Smith (as grandchildren of an earl in a younger line).

Charles dies, so George becomes the 4th Earl.  The style of William, Edward and Elizabeth do not change by the death of William's father.  They are still the younger son, and grandchildren of an earl.

Now, let's say William dies first, then George dies without a male heir.  The earldom then passes to Edward as the next senior male descendent of the 3rd Earl.   Edward is now 5th Earl, but his sister is still plain old Miss Elizabeth Smith. 

In these situations (which occur regularly), the Monarch may issue Letters Patent extending a courtesy title to Elizabeth - as if William had actually held the earldom for a brief time.  Miss Elizabeth Smith would become Lady Elizabeth Smith (as if she had been the daughter of an earl), so that it doesn't seem "odd" that the sister of an earl isn't a Lady.

« Last Edit: September 16, 2007, 09:47:34 AM by CHRISinUSA »

Offline joan_d

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Re: Question about peerage and step-children/adoption....
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2007, 01:27:49 PM »
You said it, Chris - ODD !!!   I can think of other words to describe the whole circus.   Deference is definitely dead in the water and in the time the whole wretched hierarchical system will be too.

Offline CHRISinUSA

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Re: Question about peerage and step-children/adoption....
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2007, 12:58:32 PM »
Well Joan, personally I find the whole idea of nobility to be fascinating.   Now that the hereditaries have been removed from the House of Lords, the nobility is now purely honorific - as it should be.  So what harm does it do?

I frankly wish we had one here in the States.  Well, actually we do - just without the fancy titles and customs.  Every country - actually every society - has its social hierarchy.  Not even the societies who liked to pretend everyone was equal truly are.  In fact, they are the worst offenders.

Britain's social leaders have always been built on land ownership and titles, America's is - and has always been - built on wealth and celebrity.
The difference is - at least Britain's version results in generations of well-bred, well-educated, and (mostly) disciplined leaders.  In our version, any bozo with a few bucks or a camera can be considered "American" nobility.  We're much more vulgar about it than our cousins across the pond.
 

Offline dmitri

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Re: Question about peerage and step-children/adoption....
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2007, 02:28:17 PM »
any title should be only given for services of some kind to the country .. I guess that is why apart from the monarchy, hereditary titles have been done away with in the political sphere