From The Peerage

The Peerage of the United Kingdom, its ranks, its history and its privileges explained through a series of in-depth features on the House of Lords and peers past and present spanning more than 800 years.

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…

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…

James Borwick, 5th Baron Borwick

Geoffrey Robert James Borwick was born in 1955 and succeeded to the barony following the death of his father, the 4th Baron, in 2007. As such he has never sat in the Lords by hereditary right but was elected to the House by his peers in 2013 following the death of Hugh Mackay, 13th Lord Reay, where he sits as a Conservative. Prior to his entry into the House, Lord Borwick had a long career in business, most notably as chief executive of Manganese Bronze Holdings Plc, which manufactures black cabs, between 1987 and 2001. He was also founder and owner of…

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David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley

Since the removal of hereditary peers’ automatic right to sit in the House of Lords, Lord Cholmondeley is the only remaining marquess among the 92 elected hereditary peers. Michael Kerr, 13th Marquess of Lothian, is a sitting peer but only by virtue of a life peerage as Baron Kerr of Monteviot. However, as Lord Great Chamberlain…

David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke

David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke.

Born on September 14th 1938, the only son of John Verney, 20th Baron Willoughby de Broke. Verney was educated at Le Rosey in Switzerland and at New College, Oxford where he studied modern languages. Verney succeeded to his father’s title in 1986 and was elected to remain in the House of Lords as a Conservative Peer.…

Ivon Moore-Brabazon, 3rd Baron Brabazon of Tara (450px)

Ivon Moore-Brabazon, 3rd Baron Brabazon of Tara

Lord Brabazon was born on December 20th 1946 and like his father and grandfather before him, attended Harrow School. After leaving school, Lord Brabazon went on to spend time working in the freight industry. After the death of his father, Lord Brabazon took his seat as a Conservative member of the House of Lords and…

Head and shoulders shot of health minister Earl Howe smiling in dark suit and smart shirt

Frederick Curzon, 7th Earl Howe

Born in 1951, the son of Royal Navy commander and film director George Curzon. Lord Howe was educated at Rugby School and Christ church, Oxford, where he graduated with a degree in Literae Humaniores, winning the Chancellor’s prize for Latin verse in 1973. After Oxford, Howe joined Barclays Bank and served in a number of…

David Douglas-Home, 15th Earl of Home

David Douglas-Home, 15th Earl of Home

Lord Home is the only son of former prime minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who was notable for being the last PM to serve from the House of Lords, albeit only for four days before disclaiming his peerage.The 15th Earl was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Cambridge, before embarking on a career in business, sitting as…

9th Earl & Countess of Arran

Arthur Connolly-Gore, 9th Earl of Arran

It’s the last Sitting Peer Sunday of 2013 and this week we have Arthur Colum Michael Connolly-Gore, 9th Earl of Arran, of the Arran Islands in the County of Galway. Born Viscount Sudley in 1938, Lord Arran was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, before joining the Grenadier Guards, where he attained the rank of…

Margaret of Mar, 31st Countess of Mar, with escutcheon

Margaret Mar, 31st Countess of Mar

Lady Mar is a crossbench peer elected as one of the 92 hereditary peers to remain in the House as a deputy speaker in 1999. She is also the holder of the oldest peerage in the United Kingdom; the Earldom of Mar, or Mormaer, which was first created some time in the 12th Century. Born…

Earl Peel, Lord Chamberlain

William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel

Lord Peel is a crossbench peer and has been Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household since 2006, meaning he organises all Court functions. He is also a great-great grandson of former Conservative prime minister Sir Robert Peel. Educated at Ampleforth College near the family seat of Eelmire House, Ripon, North Yorkshire, he later studied at…

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Merlin Hay, 24th Earl of Erroll

Holding an earldom created in 1453, the year the Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Ottoman Turks, Lord Erroll also holds of the subsidiary titles of Lord Hay and Lord Slains. He is also Lord High Constable of Scotland and Chief of Clan Hay. Following an education at both Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge,…

Lord Rea

John Rea, 3rd Baron Rea

Lord Rea sits as a Labour peer having succeeded to the barony in 1981, aged 53, following the death of his uncle. Spending his childhood in both Britain and the United States, he attended Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a MA in natural sciences. He later became a Doctor of Medicine in 1969.…

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Benjamin Mancroft, 3rd Baron Mancroft

Lord Mancroft is a Conservative peer and succeeded to the barony in 1987, aged 30, following the death of his father. Educated at Eton, he has decades of experience in both business and voluntary organisations. Chairman of Inter Lotto since 1995, Mancroft was chairman of Scratch-n-Win Lotteries from 1995-98 and is non-executive director of St…

Lord Moran

Richard McMoran Wilson, 2nd Baron Moran

Lord Moran sits on the cross-benches and succeeded his father (better known as Churchill’s wartime personal physician) in 1977. He was born on 22 September, 1924. Educated at Eton, he served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, serving on the Lower Deck before attaining commissioned rank as an officer in Royal Naval Volunteer…

House of Lords trial

House of Lords trials

Until 1948, one of the privileges of peerage was the right to be trialled by a jury of their equals as accorded to every British subject, for Lords this meant a literal jury of peers. The last trial of a Lord in the House of Lords was of Edward Southwell Russell, 26th Baron de Cliford…

Lord Lucan in robes of state

John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan

Lucan was born in 1934, as the first son of the 6th Earl of Lucan and studied at Eton before serving in the Coldstream Guards between 1953 and 1955. During his life, the Earl was famous for his love of gambling and often frequented the famous Clermont club. After working at a merchant bank, he…

2nd Viscount Slim

Colonel John Slim, 2nd Viscount Slim

Viscount Slim was born in 1927 as the only son of war hero Field Marshall William Slim, who was ennobled as the 1st Viscount in 1960 after serving as Governor-General of Australia from 1953-59. It was during his father’s service in India that Lord Slim was born. He was educated at Prince of Wales Royal Indian…

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Lords Spiritual

Did you know that 26 bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords? The Lords Spiritual is comprised of the five most senior prelates (the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester). The other 21 Lords Spiritual are the longest serving bishops within the Church of…

6th Earl Grey

Richard Grey, 6th Earl Grey

Did you know the 6th Earl Grey, who died aged 74 on September 10 this year, was chairman of the Cremation Society of Great Britain from 1992 until his death? Richard Grey was second cousin twice removed to Charles Grey, 5th Earl Grey, and succeeded to the earldom in 1963 upon the latter’s death. Upon taking…

Viscount Ridley

Matthew Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley

Matthew Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley, is a journalist and scientist who is known primarily for his libertarianism, his views on climate change, and for being chairman of Northern Rock during the first run on a bank in 150 years. He was born in Northumberland in 1958 and completed BA and DPhil degrees at Magdalene College,…

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John Montagu, 11th Earl of Sandwich

Born in 1943, the eldest son of Victor Montagu, who disclaimed the earldom of Sandwich in 1964, and his first wife Maud Rosemary (née Peto). He succeeded his father in the earldom in 1995. He sits in The House of Lords as a crossbencher and speaks mainly on international development and asylum issues. Perhaps the most…

Titles Deprivation Act 1917

Did you know? The Titles Deprivation Act 1917 authorised enemies of the United Kingdom during the First World War to be deprived of their British peerages and royal titles. Peers deprived of their titles: -HRH Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow -HRH Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, Earl of Armagh -HRH Ernest Augustus (Duke of Brunswick), Prince of Great Britain and Ireland (son and heir of the Duke of Cumberland) -Henry, Viscount Taaffe of Corren and Baron of Ballymote No descendant of the four former ‘peers’ has ever petitioned the Crown for the revival…

Montrose landscape

James Graham, 8th Duke of Montrose

Born in 1935, His Grace was known as Earl of Kincardine until 1954 and Marquess of Graham between 1954 and 1992. He is a Southern Rhodesia-born hereditary peer of the Peerage of Scotland and a British Conservative Party politician. The Duke, who is also Chief of the Clan Graham, took his seat in the House…

Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire

Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire

Did you know, that in 2010, the 12th Duke of Devonshire declared he would renounce his peerage if the remaining hereditaries were removed from the House of Lords? The Duke added that, “the stroke of a pen, or not even that, just a new passport” would relinquish him entirely.

Montagu

Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu

Lord Montagu is a Conservative peer who was born in 1926 and became the 3rd Baron at the age of just two in 1929, when his father was killed in an accident. He took up his seat as soon as he was old enough, in 1947. He is perhaps best known for his conviction and imprisonment…

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and Prince of Waterloo

Prince of Waterloo

Did you know that, as well as being made one of the few non-royal dukes in 1814, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was also made Prince of Waterloo in the Dutch peerage the following year? This a title which continues to be held by his descendants. Waterloo itself is now in the Kingdom of the…

Earl Attlee speaking in the House

John Attlee, 3rd Earl Attlee

John Attlee, 3rd Earl Attlee, is the grandson of heavyweight Labour Prime Minister and 1st Earl Clement Attlee but, unlike the 1st and 2nd Earls, sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative. Born in in 1956, Lord Attlee was styled with the courtesy title Viscount Prestwood from 1967 until his father’s death in…

Red Square Marquesal

Marquess & Marchioness

A marquesal coronet has four strawberry leaves and four pearls, slightly raised on points above the rim. In the British peerage, a marquess ranks above barons, viscounts and earls but below a duke. The title itself originates from the medieval ‘marcher lords’ – trusted nobles appointed by the king of England to guard lands forming…

Queen Anne addressing the House of Lords c.1708-14. There were 168 peers by the end of her reign.

Peers by numbers

The number of peers has varied considerably with time. At the end of the Wars of the Roses, which killed many nobles and degraded or attainted many others, there were only 29 Lords Temporal. The Tudors doubled the number of peers, creating many but executing others and at the death of Elizabeth I there were 59. Thereafter, the…

Avebury

Eric Lubbock, 4th Baron Avebury

After a stint in the Welsh Guards, and as a engineer for Rolls Royce, Lord Avebury entered Parliament as MP for Orpington. With a 22% victory swing, the then Eric Lubbock set about what was seen as a political revival for the Liberal Party. Though he lost his seat in 1970, Lubbock soon gained the title…

Red Square Comital

Earl & Countess

The adjective of earl is ‘comital’ and a comital coronet bears eight strawberry leaves and eight pearls around the rim. The title of earl itself is unique to the British Isles as its continental equivalent is ‘count’ (from which the female title, countess, is derived). It is, however, similar to the Scandinavian ‘jarl’, which means…

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Thomas Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde

Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith was born in Glasgow in 1960 to Unionist MP Sir Tam Galbraith and his Belgian wife Baroness Simone du Roy de Blicquy. Sir Tam died in 1982 and Lord Strathclyde subsequently inherited the barony from his grandfather, a minister under the Secretary of State for Scotland, in 1985.…