Courtesy titles in the United Kingdom

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A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used for children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer. These styles are used 'by courtesy' in the sense that the relatives do not themselves hold substantive titles. There are several different kinds of courtesy titles in the British peerage.


The children of peers

Courtesy peers

If a peer of one of the top three ranks (a duke, marquess or earl) has more than one title, his eldest son, not himself an actual peer, may use one of his father's lesser titles 'by courtesy'. However, the father continues to be the substantive holder of the peerage title and the son using the peerage by courtesy legally remains a commoner. If the eldest son of a duke or marquess has an eldest son, he may use a still lower title if one exists.

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