Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baronets and their ladies

Bridging the gap between the peerage (dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons, along with their families) and commoners (pretty much everybody else) are the baronets.

Like a knight, a baronet is addressed as Sir Firstname Lastname, or more familiarly, Sir Firstname. (He is not called Sir Lastname, and never Lord Lastname). His wife is referred to as Lady Lastname.

Unlike a knighthood, a baronetcy is hereditary, with the eldest son succeeding to the title upon the death of his father. At that time, if the new baronet is married, his wife becomes Lady Lastname, while his mother's form of address changes to Firstname, Lady Lastname.

A very few modern day baronetcies have been created for women, and a small handful of baronetcies can be inherited by women or through the female line. These women are referred to as Dame Firstname Lastname or Dame Firstname (but never Dame Lastname).

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