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    Газета School English #3, 2003

    Grades of Nobility and Honours


    Mr David Wright, M.Sc., kindly agreed to answer our questions.
    School English asks:
    What can you say about the honoured titles ? What is the attitude of the commonpeople ?

        We have many different grades of nobility1. Some are hereditary2 titles and others have been granted by the Queen for special services and are not passed on to descendants3. Twice each year, the Queen awards new titles (always based on and in accordance with the nominations of the PM4 of the day). These are The New Year’s Honours List and the Birthday Honours. The titles awarded vary in degree and have mostly archaic names, such as the OBE (Order of the British Empire); CBE (Commander of the British Empire); Baronet; etc. Some are Knights and entitle the recipient5 to be called Sir (but not Lord). It is very complicated and some titles carry the privilege of having a coat of arms6. They are usually awarded to retired politicians and civil servants, and the lower ones to people who have been recommended as having performed some service to the community. It is only fairly7 recently that they have been awarded to sportsmen and pop stars. Some of the more distinguished holders8 have been so disgusted at what they see as the degrading of the honour9 by the awards to such as the Beatles (Paul McCartney) that they returned their own award. This was accompanied by much controversy at the time as some saw this as an insult to the Queen. Nowadays, ordinary people take little notice of the whole thing10 as it is mostly as select few rewarding each other.
    1 nobility - дворянство;
    2 hereditary - передаваемый по наследству;
    3 descendant - потомок;
    4 PM - Prime Minister;
    5 recipient - получающий;
    6 coat of arms - герб;
    7 fairly - довольно;
    8 holder - обладатель звания;
    9 degrading of the honour – оскорбление чести;
    10 take little notice of the whole thing – придавать мало значения всему этому.


        Peerage titles and Baronetcies are hereditary; the rest are conferred for life. To obtain the title of Baron it is necessary to have an income of at least Ј5000 a year, to possess a country seat, and to own a thousand acres or more of land. Besides these criteria, you should have done something to merit the granting of a title. Distinguished public service as a Member of Parliament, General, Admiral, Governor, judge, or senior civil servant all qualifies. In addition, the donation of large sums of money to either a worthy charitable cause or to a political party will often lead to the awarding of a title. A knighthood in the Order of the Garter is only open to members of the Royal Family, foreign sovereigns, and the most influential Peers. The Orders of the Thistle and St. Patrick are for the leading men of Scotland and Ireland, respectively.

        The order of precedence is as follows: The Sovereign; The Duke of Edinburgh; The Prince of Wales; The Sovereign’s younger sons; The Sovereign’s grandsons; The Sovereign’s cousins; The Archbishop of Canterbury; Lord High Chancellor; Archbishop of York; The Prime Minister; Lord High Treasurer; Lord President of the Council; Speaker of the House of Commons; Lord Privy Seal; Ambassadors and High Commissioners. Dukes; Marquesses; Earls; Viscounts; Barons; Knights of the Garter; Baronets; Knights of the Thistle and other orders; Knights Bachelor; Companions.












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