How it all works

Ranks of British nobility


The British honours system is basically just a way of rewarding an individual in the UK. Traditionally, and to this day, the ranks of nobility are as follows:

  • Duke,
  • Marquess,
  • Earl,
  • Viscount,
  • Baron.

There are also easily identifiable female equivalents:

  • Duchess,
  • Marchioness,
  • Countess,
  • Viscountess,
  • Baroness.

While years ago everyone knew the pecking order of such titles this information is no longer common knowledge.



The holder of any peerage in the UK is referred to as a “Peer”.

While the main reward of been gifted peerage is the title there are also other additional benefits that come with each title, these will be explored later in another post as this is really just an introduction to the concept of titles. When you buy a title you will not be gifted the additional benefits that come with granted peerage as you are effectively just renaming yourself rather than becoming an authentic noble person but no one else will know that unless you tell them!

Honorific titles are not the opposite of noble titles and the two types of title exist in harmony, however, in 2012 honorific titles have become far more common than titles of nobility. In the same way you can buy a noble title you can also buy an honorary title such as Sir.

This works, in principle, in the same way as buying any other title, you are effectively just changing your name to the new name which include a different title which is acceptable under UK law. This means you are not restricted to just UK based titles when choosing what you want to be known as, you are not restricted to just UK titles and you could bring in anything you like the sound of like the infamous French title of “Count”.

On its most simple level, when buying a title, you are basically just making use (or some may say exploiting) an old English law to call yourself something other than what you have been know as. By this logic you could call yourself a professor or doctor and have this title included on all of your legal documents!

If you are thinking of buying yourself a title or even buying one for someone else then there is no need to worry about a life long commitment either as it is as quick and easy to change a title (or if for some reason you would want to, revert back to your current name) to something else as it was to apply it in the first place. Also – you can just call up any establishment who had added your title to your account or documents and just ask them to remove it!



If you are really hesitating why not just go for, what sounds like “the big one” in most peoples opinion “Lord” as that is available too!

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