From Ranks of the Peerage

There are five ranks to the peerages of the British Isles; baron, viscount, earl, marquess and duke, each in ascending seniority. In Scotland, the equivalent of a baron is called a Lord of Parliament and, while most peers are referred as ‘Lord X’ whatever their rank, dukes are afforded the special dignity of being referred to only by their title and addressed as ‘Your Grace’. The 26 bishops and archbishops which constitute the Lords Spiritual are considered peers by some authorities and are also addressed as Your Grace.

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…

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…