The King’s Canucks: Canada’s peers

Did you know there are five extant Canadian peerages? The titles belong to the Peerage of the United Kingdom as Canadians were, until the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1947, British in nationality. In total, 11 hereditary peerages were created between 1897 and 1964; eight before the Nickle Resolution presented to the Canadian House of Commons…

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William Astor, 4th Viscount Astor, in top hat

William Astor, 4th Viscount Astor

William Waldorf Astor III is a Conservative hereditary peer and great-grandson of William Waldorf Astor, the American financier and founder of New York’s Waldorf Hotel, which later became the Waldorf Astoria. Viscount Astor’s family connections also make him a relative of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, as Viscountess Astor is mother to Samantha Cameron by her first…

Grand Union Flag stamp

Diamonds in the rough: United States peers

In the 1991 film King Ralph, John Goodman’s character finds himself named heir to the British throne, after the death of the entire Royal Family. But while many Americans may fantasise about finding they are are heirs to royal or noble titles, a number of US citizens have actually found to their surprise that they…

Why have Tories abandoned the hereditaries?

In 1999, during the debate on the House of Lords Bill, Geoff Hoon quoted a passage from the Conservatives’ 1997 campaign guide which read: “It is important to defend the hereditary principle in its own right.” It is a pity the leadership and even former hereditary Leader of the House, Lord Strathclyde, no longer seem to believe this. For those unfamiliar with the thinking behind the hereditary principle – and the reason it arose in the first place via the institution of monarchy – some of these are detailed below. The most common misunderstanding of the hereditary principle is that…

Nicholas Lowther, 2nd Viscount Ullswater (450px)

Nicholas Lowther, 2nd Viscount Ullswater

Lord Ullswater, who sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative, is one of the very few peers to have succeeded their great-grandfather to their title – the 2nd Viscount having succeeded his extraordinarily long-lived ancestor James Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater in 1949 at the tender age of seven. The 1st Viscount outlived both…

John Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton

John Lytton, 5th Earl of Lytton & 18th Baron Wentworth

Lord Lytton is notable for being descended from George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron – better known simply as Lord Byron – via his daughter, the mathematician Ava Lovelace. The connection is one Lord Lytton has very much taken to heart, having contributed to the Newstead Byron Society Review and speaking before the Byron Society…

James Erskine, 14th Earl of Mar (450px)

James Erskine, 14th Earl of Mar

It’s Sitting Peer Sunday and this week we have James Thorne Erskine, 14th Earl of Mar and 16th Earl of Kellie, who sits as a Liberal Democrat. Lord Mar was born on March 10, 1949, and educated at Eton, serving as Page of Honour to the Queen in 1962 and 1963. He proceeded to Moray…