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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} The peerage is a legal system historically comprising hereditary titles in the United Kingdom (as elsewhere in Europe), comprising various noble ranks, and forms a constituent part of the British honours system.

The term peerage can be used both collectively to refer to the entire body of nobles (or a subdivision thereof), and individually to refer to a specific title (modern English language-style using an initial capital in the former case but not the latter). British peerage title holders are termed peers of the Realm.

Under present custom, only members of the Royal Family are nowadays created hereditary peers; the last non-royal creations of hereditary titles being in the Thatcher era, since when HMG (whether Conservative or Labour) has refrained from such recommendations. New Labour, elected to power in 1997, sought to eject all hereditary peers from Parliament but PM Tony Blair relented by allowing only 92 members to remain by legislation enacted in 1999.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The House of Lords's purpose is now that of a revising legislative chamber, scrutinising and improving proposed Parliamentary Bills before their enactment. Its membership for the most part comprises Life Peers, created under the Life Peerages Act 1958, which includes those who can add value in specific areas of expertise in parliamentary debates, as well as former MPs and other political appointees from respective political parties.

Peerages are created by the British monarch, like all Crown honours, being affirmed by Letters Patent affixed with the Great Seal of the Realm. Her Majesty's Government recommends to the Sovereign who to be elevated to the peerage, after external vetting by the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

The Sovereign, traditionally the fount of honour, has been as such "the fountain and source of all dignities cannot hold a dignity from him/herself",<ref>Opinion of the House of Lords in the Buckhurst Peerage Case</ref> cannot hold a peerage (although the British Sovereign, whether male or female, is accorded the style of "Duke of Lancaster"). All British subjects who were neither Royal nor Peers of the Realm were previously termed Commoners, regardless of wealth or other social factors, thus all members of a peer's family are (technically) commoners too; the British system thus differs fundamentally from continental European versions, where entire families, rather than individuals, were ennobled. Nobility in Britain is based on title rather than bloodline, and correspondingly HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) who enjoys Royal status as daughter of The Queen, opted for her children to be Commoners by refusing offers of titles, despite their being grandchildren of the Sovereign (qv. Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall).

Certain personal privileges are afforded to all peers and peeresses, but the main distinction of a peerage nowadays, apart from access to the House of Lords, is the title and style thereby accorded. Succession claims to existing hereditary peerages are regulated by the House of Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct and administered by The Crown Office.


Peerages in the United Kingdom sections
Intro   Baronage evolution    Peerages    Ranks    Geographic association    Hereditary peers    Representative peers    Life peers    Styles and titles    Privilege of peerage    History    Counterparts    See also    References    Sources    External links   

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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} The peerage is a legal system historically comprising hereditary titles in the United Kingdom (as elsewhere in Europe), comprising various noble ranks, and forms a constituent part of the British honours system.

The term peerage can be used both collectively to refer to the entire body of nobles (or a subdivision thereof), and individually to refer to a specific title (modern English language-style using an initial capital in the former case but not the latter). British peerage title holders are termed peers of the Realm.

Under present custom, only members of the Royal Family are nowadays created hereditary peers; the last non-royal creations of hereditary titles being in the Thatcher era, since when HMG (whether Conservative or Labour) has refrained from such recommendations. New Labour, elected to power in 1997, sought to eject all hereditary peers from Parliament but PM Tony Blair relented by allowing only 92 members to remain by legislation enacted in 1999.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The House of Lords's purpose is now that of a revising legislative chamber, scrutinising and improving proposed Parliamentary Bills before their enactment. Its membership for the most part comprises Life Peers, created under the Life Peerages Act 1958, which includes those who can add value in specific areas of expertise in parliamentary debates, as well as former MPs and other political appointees from respective political parties.

Peerages are created by the British monarch, like all Crown honours, being affirmed by Letters Patent affixed with the Great Seal of the Realm. Her Majesty's Government recommends to the Sovereign who to be elevated to the peerage, after external vetting by the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

The Sovereign, traditionally the fount of honour, has been as such "the fountain and source of all dignities cannot hold a dignity from him/herself",<ref>Opinion of the House of Lords in the Buckhurst Peerage Case</ref> cannot hold a peerage (although the British Sovereign, whether male or female, is accorded the style of "Duke of Lancaster"). All British subjects who were neither Royal nor Peers of the Realm were previously termed Commoners, regardless of wealth or other social factors, thus all members of a peer's family are (technically) commoners too; the British system thus differs fundamentally from continental European versions, where entire families, rather than individuals, were ennobled. Nobility in Britain is based on title rather than bloodline, and correspondingly HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) who enjoys Royal status as daughter of The Queen, opted for her children to be Commoners by refusing offers of titles, despite their being grandchildren of the Sovereign (qv. Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall).

Certain personal privileges are afforded to all peers and peeresses, but the main distinction of a peerage nowadays, apart from access to the House of Lords, is the title and style thereby accorded. Succession claims to existing hereditary peerages are regulated by the House of Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct and administered by The Crown Office.


Peerages in the United Kingdom sections
Intro   Baronage evolution    Peerages    Ranks    Geographic association    Hereditary peers    Representative peers    Life peers    Styles and titles    Privilege of peerage    History    Counterparts    See also    References    Sources    External links   

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Baronage evolution
<<>>