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I have studied the English/British/Scottish royals for over 30 years now. In the last couple of years I have expanded my study to include the British aristocracy, or nobility. I often like to contrast the British nobility system with the Nobility system in Germany. The British system is more cut and dried , while the German system is more complex. In Britain Royalty and Nobility is more rigidly defined. In Germany the system changed and evolved and often Nobility and Royalty in Germany were on equal social standing…mostly. I do promise at some point to do a complete study on the Nobility system in Germany…and Britain.

Briefly, the hierarchy of the British system, that the peers of the realm, outside of the royal Dukes and Earls, (limited to the members of the Royal Family) follows thusly…Duke, Marquees, Earl, Viscount & Baron. Next in the hierarchy are untitled nobles such as the landed gentry. One of the fascinating families I have been studying is the Gordon-Lennox Family who are also the Dukes of Richmond.

The most recent creation of the title was in 1675 for Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond natural son of HM King Charles II of England and Scotland and his mistress, Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth. The second Duke of Richmond, also named Charles Lennox, was the focus of a 1999 BBC mini-series which followed the lives of the Dukes ambitious daughters, called Aristocrats. One daughter, Lady Caroline, married a prominent politician, Henry Fox, while a younger daughter, Lady Sarah, was a possible bride for the future King George III. Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond is played by Julian Fellowes, none other than the man who created the hot new show Downton Abbey.

So if you like Downton Abbey I highly recommend this BBC mini-series. It is on DVD.