So You Think You Want to Be a Nobleman?

Peers and Peeresses Assemble in Anteroom before the Coronation of King George V

Contrary to common belief, it wasn’t easy or painless to be elevated to the peerage. In fact, there were many hidden costs associated with the King and Prime Minister bestowing a title on a man of means or reputation. A journalist in The Lady’s Realm details these costs!

The Procedure

  1. The King notifies the Secretary of State for the Home Department of his intention to raise Mr. Smith to the peerage
  2. The Home Secretary shares the King’s command with the Clerk of the Crown, who prepares the warrant for the new peerage with His Majesty’s signature
  3. The warrant is signed by His Majesty and the Home Secretary, and is then sent to the Lord Chancellor, who also signs the document
  4. The Letters Patent of the Peerage is prepared by the Stationery Office

The Costs

  • The Letters Patent: £5 (~£550 in 2017)
  • Barony: £360 17s (~£39,000)
  • Viscountcy: £467 4s 6d (~£50,000)
  • Earldom: £574 12s (~£62,000)
  • Marquessate: £691 12s (~£75,000)
  • Dukedom: £809 12s (~£88,000)
  • Special limitation in special remainder (if new peer has no sons and wants title to be passed through female line): varies by each remainder and the title–Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts paid over £1750 for his earldom to allow his title to be passed through his daughters)
  • Robe, designed for each step of the peerage, necessary when introduced to the House of Lords: £40-50
  • Coronet, designed for each step of the peerage: up to £450
  • Three-cornered beaver hat, worn during introduction to House of Lords: £10-15

(current values compared to 1910 calculated using Stephen Morley’s calculator)


More from Evangeline Holland
English Court Dress
I wrote about Court Presentations nearly five years ago, and back then...
Read More
One reply on “So You Think You Want to Be a Nobleman?”
  1. says: hels

    I would want to be an earl. Earls had the time and responsibility to be creative and community-minded, without having the pomposity and almost royal values of dukes.

    But I had no idea that there was a specific monetary cost attached to each title and to each ceremonial outfit.

Comments are closed.