Viscounts: simple and not-so-simple

Viscounts, a term I heard from my friend Chris, rank fourth class in the British peerage (after duke, marquess, and earl, but before baron). And, apparently, make perfectly dreamy characters for teen historical romance fiction.

The British Peerage, not to be confused with honours, is kind of complex for this outsider. It was just within the last year that I realized that peer titles can be handed down, or not. The Duke of York, for example, is a title given typically to the second son of the Monarch. And, since there are only 8 of them in history, I can sort of understand that it is a title that comes and goes. The peerage in government also gets complicated, and just looking at the current makeup of The House of Lords, there are Life Peers under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act of 1876, Life Peers under the Life Peerages Act of 1958 and Peers under House of Lords Act of 1999.


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