A strange way of reporting it

The piece is all about Teh Gayers. The law being proposed ain\’t at all:

Tory MP Oliver Colville will this week unveil a 10- minute rule Bill aimed at bringing equality to the system, amid reports the Government is preparing to investigate reform.

The Honours (Equality of Titles for Partners) Bill will be launched in the Commons on Tuesday, asking \”that leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision for husbands and civil partners of those receiving honours to be allowed to use equivalent honorary titles to those available to women\”.

There is a bit of strangeness to the law though. For it is not just equalising the male/female thing of who gets to pick up a title. Wives of those titled get one, husbands of those don\’t.

But civil partnership confers no title at all: partly of course because there are no wives of husbands in civil partnerships, that mode of alliance being reserved for Teh Gayers.

So over and above the equalisation of titles there\’s an element of there being an equalisation of civil partnership with marriage.

Not that that bothers me but I\’m sure there will be backwoodsmen who will protest.

What\’s much more interesting is how will the titles work? For we\’ve a whole plethora of distinctions in the title \”Lady\”. Lady Mary Douglas might be the daughter of a Duke or the like and be Lady Mary, or a Dame in her own right and be Lady Mary. Or the wife of the peer Lord Douglas in which case she is what, Lady Douglas? Or Lady Mary Douglas? But not Lady Mary?

The recent honours list brought be some very minor amusement: Lady Mary Archer has moved to being Lady Mary, hasn\’t she, with her DBE?

So if, say, a peerage brought two Lords in a civil partnership. Lord Douglas as the primary title. Hubbie is Alfred. So does he become Lord Douglas as well? Or Lord Alfred Douglas? And if the latter how do we distinguish between that partnership title and the Lord Alfred Douglas which is the younger son of a Duke or Marquess?

And we can\’t bestow the honorific \”lady\” on them all as that really would create too many jokes about top and bottom.

Hmm, is the Great Redacto around? Can he ask the sub for the Court Pages to comment? For I\’m not sure I\’ve got the above distinctions right.

But my point is that the details of honorifics do distinguish between those earned/awarded personally and those acquired by marriage. Umm, most of the time.

So, how would this distinction carry over into male/male titles and female/female titles? In the latter we\’ve already the template. The partner of a DBE becomes Lady Deborah Knight while the DBE herself becomes Lady Angela. But the male partner of Sir Nicholas becomes what?

Yes, I know, all entirely trivial, but then it is Monday morning and the coffee hasn\’t kicked in yet.

7 thoughts on “A strange way of reporting it”

  1. I think that if the Christian name appears then it’s the son or daughter of a Duke or Marquis. It was always “Lady Helen Windsor” (daughter of duke) but Lady Thatcher (no Christian name, life peer) and Lady Archer (whether by virtue of her husband’s title or, if she is a dame, her own)

  2. The only aristocrat I knew when I was a wee boy solved all such problems by having everyone call him “Teddy”. Except his own domestic staff, I presume. But including his tenants. Perhaps he changed his habits when he visited a city.

  3. Fatty (#2), when Lady Archer was made a dame in her own right she became Dame Mary Archer.

    Lady Thatcher, as a baroness in her own right, is indeed Lady Thatcher, which was the same as she was by virtue of Denis being a baronet (and the same if he were a knight).

    However she has the option of calling herself herself Baroness Thatcher, to distinguish herself from a mere wife.

    But she could also be Lady Margaret Thatcher (which looks like the daughter of a duke) because she is a member of the Order of the Garter. Only applies to the Garter (for other orders, see Dame Mary Archer).

    Since she is the wife (widow) of a baronet, a baroness in her own right and has the Garter, I have no idea which of those takes precedence.

  4. If a Baron’s wife is a Baroness then a Baron’s civil partner could also be called a Baroness. And then that leads to a Lord’s partner being called a Lordess. And a the civil partner of a Lady being called a Ladyess.

    Basically just stick “ess” on the end of the title for partners.


  5. Actually, who cares about all this stuff? Let them call each other what they like, as long as it confers no real power over the rest of us. They can have their Jousting and whack the crap out of each other so long as it’s meaningless to the rest of us.
    Baron Prescott of wherever, etc etc die painfully -and soon -of an excess of pork pies, lampreys or whatever.

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