His lordship had no male heir to his title and an entail provided for the estate to pass to another branch of the family. It is not dissimilar to a plot from Downton Abbey in which the Earl of Grantham has three daughters and no son, so the title and estate will pass to a distant cousin. It was also the real-life situation of the 10th Lord Braybrooke, whose Audley End estate, near Saffron Waldon, in Essex, surrounds the finest Jacobean mansion in England.
The issue came to the fore in 2013 when Amanda Murray, the eldest of Lord Braybrooke’s seven surviving daughters, revealed her irritation at being deprived of both the title and the vast inheritance because of her gender. “It boils down to this: if I was a boy, I would be sitting pretty,” complained Murray, who for many years had run the estate for her father. “My poor father had no son, just lots of daughters. In this day and age, with supposed equality, why am I not allowed to inherit my father’s estate? It’s discriminatory.”
Well, yes and no really, Because the title and the land are going in different directions:
Although the law on royal succession was changed in 2013 to allow the firstborn child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to become monarch, regardless of his or her gender, the concept of primogeniture remains for the aristocracy. As a result the 11th Lord Braybrooke will be Richard Neville, a distant kinsman and internet entrepreneur who lives above a hair salon in Battersea, south London. In another twist, because of a special covenant laid down by the 7th Lord Braybrooke in 1941, the estate itself passes to Louise Newman, a landowner from Devon and the seventh baron’s granddaughter.
You ain’t getting the land because grandpappy said so, nothing to do with the law nor primogeniture.