Order of precedence in England and Wales

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The following is the order of precedence in England and Wales as of July 2016. Separate orders exist for gentlemen and ladies.

Names in italics indicate that these people rank elsewhere—either higher in that table of precedence or in the table for the other sex. Titles in italics indicate the same thing for their holders, or that they are vacant.

Peers and their families make up a large part of these tables. It is possible for a peer to hold more than one title of nobility, and these may belong to different ranks and peerages. A peer derives his precedence from his highest-ranking title; peeresses derive their precedence in the same way, whether they hold their highest-ranking title in their own right or by marriage. The ranks in the tables refer to peers rather than titles: if exceptions are named for a rank, these do not include peers of a higher rank (or any peers at all, in the case of baronets). No exceptions are named for most categories, owing to their large size.

Gentlemen

Royalty, archbishops, et al.

Royal Family

Precedence is accorded to spouses, children and grandchildren of the reigning sovereign, as well as children and grandchildren of former sovereigns.[nb 1]

Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom (men)

Archbishops, High Officers of State, et al.

Nobility, bishops, et al.

Dukes, et al.

Marquesses, et al.

Earls, et al.

Viscounts, et al.

Bishops

Barons

Gentry, et al.

Master of the Rolls and Supreme Court Justices

Royal Household officials

Cabinet, et al.

Knights of the Garter and Knights of the Thistle

Privy Counsellors, et al.

Senior judges, et al.

Baronets

  • Baronets (Bt) (ordered according to date of creation),[nb 17] excepting:
    • William Gladstone, who ranks higher as a Knight of the Garter

Knights

Lower level judges, et al.

Other lower ranks, including Esquires and Gentlemen

Companions, commanders, lieutenants and officers of various orders

Eldest sons of various grades

  • Eldest sons of younger sons of hereditary peers or hereditary peeresses in their own right (ordered according to the precedence of the peerage holders)
  • Eldest sons of baronets (ordered according to the precedence of the baronets)
  • Eldest sons of knights (ordered according to the precedence of the knights)

Members of orders

Younger sons of various grades

  • Younger sons of baronets (ordered according to the precedence of the baronets)
  • Younger sons of knights (ordered according to the precedence of the knights)

Ladies

Royalty

The order of precedence accorded to women of the royal family differs depending on whether or not they are accompanied by a husband who is accorded higher precedence. When unaccompanied, blood relations of the sovereign are always accorded higher precedence. For example, when not accompanied by Prince Charles, Camilla ranks after Princess Alexandra; when with her husband, Camilla ranks above all women other than the reigning sovereign and any queens dowager.[18]

  • The Queen, Elizabeth II
  • Queens dowager (none surviving; most recently widowed first)
  • Daughters-in-law of the sovereign (if accompanying their husbands)
  • Daughters of the sovereign
  • Granddaughters-in-law of the sovereign (if accompanying their husbands; ordered according to their husbands' precedence)
  • Granddaughters of the sovereign (ordered according to the rules of primogeniture)
  • Sisters-in-law of the sovereign (if accompanying their husbands; none)
  • Sisters of the sovereign (none surviving)
  • Aunts (by marriage) of the sovereign (if accompanying their husbands; none surviving)
  • Aunts (by blood) of the sovereign (none surviving)
  • Nieces (by marriage) of the sovereign (if accompanying their husbands)
  • Nieces (by blood) of the sovereign
  • Granddaughters-in-law of former sovereigns (whose husbands are dukes; if accompanying their husbands)
  • Granddaughters-in-law of former sovereigns (whose husbands aren't dukes; if accompanying their husbands)
  • Granddaughters of former sovereigns
  • Daughters-in-law of the sovereign (if not accompanying their husbands)
    • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
    • Sophie, Countess of Wessex
  • Granddaughters-in-law of the sovereign (if not accompanying their husbands; ordered according to their husbands' precedence)
    • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
  • Sisters-in-law of the sovereign (if not accompanying their husbands; none)
  • Aunts (by marriage) of the sovereign (if not accompanying their husbands; none surviving)
  • Nieces (by marriage) of the sovereign (if not accompanying their husbands)
    • Serena Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon
  • Granddaughters-in-law of former sovereigns (whose husbands are dukes; if not accompanying their husbands)
    • Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
    • Katharine, Duchess of Kent
  • Granddaughters-in-law of former sovereigns (whose husbands aren't dukes; if not accompanying their husbands)
    • Princess Michael of Kent
    • Patricia Lascelles, Dowager Countess of Harewood

nb: since there is no specific place in the order for a great-grandchild of the Sovereign (no matter how directly in line), Princess Charlotte of Cambridge must presumably take precedence as the daughter of a Duke of the Blood Royal (see below).


High Officers of State, et al.

Nobility, et al.

Gentry, et al.

Other lower ranks

  • Wives of viscounts' eldest sons
  • Viscounts' daughters not married to peers
  • Wives of younger sons of earls or of countesses in their own right
  • Wives of eldest sons of barons or baronesses
  • Daughters of barons or baronesses not married to peers

Ladies and Dames, et al.

Members of orders, et al.

  • Companions of orders
    • Companions of the Order of the Bath
    • Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George
    • Commanders of the Royal Victorian Order
    • Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
  • Wives of members of orders
    • Wives of Companions of the Order of the Bath
    • Wives of Companions of the Order of the Star of India
    • Wives of Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George
    • Wives of Companions of the Order of the Indian Empire
    • Wives of Commanders of the Royal Victorian Order
    • Wives of Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
    • Wives of Companions of the Distinguished Service Order
  • Lieutenants of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Officers of the Order of the British Empire
  • Wives of Lieutenants of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Wives of Officers of the Order of the British Empire
  • Companions of the Imperial Service Order
  • Wives of Companions of the Imperial Service Order

Wives and daughters of peers, baronets, and knights, et al.

  • Wives of the eldest sons of sons of peers or peeresses
  • Daughters of sons of peers or peeresses
  • Wives of the eldest sons of baronets
  • Daughters of baronets
  • Wives of eldest sons of knights
    • Wives of eldest sons of Knights of the Garter
    • Wives of eldest sons of Knights of the Thistle
    • Wives of eldest sons of Knights of St Patrick
    • Wives of eldest sons of Knights Grand Cross or Grand Commander
    • Wives of eldest sons of Knights Commander
  • Daughters of knights:
    • Daughters of Knights of the Garter
    • Daughters of Knights of the Thistle
    • Daughters of Knights Grand Cross or Grand Commander
    • Daughters of Knights Commander
  • Members of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Members of the Order of the British Empire
  • Wives of members of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Wives of members of the Order of the British Empire

Wives of younger sons

  • Wives of younger sons of baronets
  • Wives of younger sons of knights
    • Wives of younger sons of Knights of the Garter
    • Wives of younger sons of Knights of the Thistle
    • Wives of younger sons of Knights of St Patrick
    • Wives of younger sons of Knights Grand Cross or Knights Grand Commander
    • Wives of younger sons of Knights Commander

Local precedence

  • The Lord Lieutenant of the County
  • The High Sheriff of the County
  • The Lord Mayor
  • The (elected) mayor
  • The chairman of the county council
  • The deputy mayor
  • Aldermen
  • Councillors
  • Justices of the Peace
  • The clerk of the County Council
  • The town clerk
  • The chief constable
  • The county engineer or borough engineer

Notes

  1. ^ a b c There is no specific place in the order for a great-grandchild of the Sovereign, no matter how senior in the order of succession. Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge are entitled to precedence as the eldest son and a daughter respectively of a Duke of the Blood Royal, pursuant to the unrevoked Lord Chamberlain's Order of 1520 as amended in 1595.[1]
  2. ^ The Duke of Edinburgh was accorded precedence immediately after his wife's "except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament" by Royal Warrant dated 18 September 1952.[2]
  3. ^ a b The title of Prime Minister was used unofficially in the 18th and 19th centuries for the First Lord of the Treasury; it first received official recognition with a Royal Warrant of 2 December 1905, which assigned the Prime Minister precedence immediately after that of the Archbishop of York.[3][4]
  4. ^ The speakership of the House of Lords was historically vested in the Lord Chancellor; following the creation of a separate office of Lord Speaker, its rank and precedence was established by Royal Warrant dated 4 July 2006 as being immediately after that of the Speaker of the House of Commons.[5][6]
  5. ^ When visiting the United Kingdom, cabinet ministers of foreign countries are given precedence immediately above that of their country's High Commissioner (if in the Commonwealth) or Ambassador (if not).
  6. ^ a b If the Lord Steward of the Household and the Lord Chamberlain are dukes, they rank between the Great Officers of State and the remaining dukes; if not, they are placed at the head of their rank.
  7. ^ If the Master of the Horse holds a rank lower than a duke in the peerage, then by Royal Warrant dated 6 May 1907, he ranks next after the Lord Chamberlain.[10]
  8. ^ The number of these bishops has been fixed at 21 since the 16th century; they were all male until 2015, when women who are bishops began to be introduced to the House of Lords under the terms of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015.
  9. ^ Barons and baronesses for life created under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 and the Life Peerages Act 1958.
  10. ^ Lord Chalfont is the only life peer who outranks hereditary barons in seniority of creation.
  11. ^ Justices of the Supreme Court who are not peers have the right to the courtesy title of "Lord" or "Lady" for life by authority of Royal Warrant issued 10 December 2010.[11][12]
  12. ^ The Prime Minister determines the order of precedence for Secretaries of State. If she is absent from a Cabinet meeting, the chair is assumed by the highest-ranking Secretary of State present; the same rule is followed in Cabinet committees when both their chair and deputy chair are absent.[13] The current order of precedence can be found in the website of the Prime Minister's Office.[14]
  13. ^ The last Knight, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, died in 1974.
  14. ^ a b Privy Counsellors who do not already rank higher are mostly current or former politicians, civil servants, royal household staff, clergy and judiciary.
  15. ^ This office was historically held jointly with that of Lord Chief Justice; following their separation, a Royal Warrant dated 30 September 2005 declared that "the rank and precedence of the President of the Queen's Bench Division shall be so placed as to be in order immediately before the President of the Family Division".[15]
  16. ^ Rank and precedence set by Royal Warrant, dated 21 July 1958.[16]
  17. ^ Baronetcies belong to either of five baronetages, namely the Baronetages of England (1611–1705), Nova Scotia (1625–1706), Ireland (1620–1799), Great Britain (1707–1800) and the United Kingdom (1801–present); this does not affect their precedence in relation to each other.
  18. ^ a b The last Knight Grand Commander, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, Maharaja of Travancore, died in 1991.
  19. ^ The last Knight Commander, Tej Singh Prabhakar, Maharaja of Alwar, died in 2009.
  20. ^ The last Knight Commander, Meghrajji III, Maharaja of Dhrangadhra-Halvad, died in 2010.
  21. ^ In formal documents the word Knight or the abbreviation Kt. may be added. This style is often adopted by Knights Bachelor who are also peers, baronets or knights of the various statutory orders.[17]
  22. ^ The last Companion, Ronald Brockman, died in 1999.
  23. ^ The last Companion, Ian Dixon Scott, died in 2002.
  24. ^ The most recent, Anne Maxwell Macdonald, died in 2011.

References

  1. ^ Squibb, G.D. (1981). "The Lord Chamberlain's Order of 1520, as amended in 1595". Order of Precedence in England and Wales. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. pp. 99–101. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 39657. p. 5147. 30 September 1952.
  3. ^ Brazier, Rodney (1997). Ministers of the Crown. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-19-825988-3. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27860. p. 8735. 5 December 1905.
  5. ^ "The College of Arms Newsletter, No. 11". College of Arms. December 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 58050. p. 9986. 21 July 2006.
  7. ^ a b c d e The London Gazette: no. 59201. p. 16957. 1 October 2009.
  8. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 58529. p. 17439. 30 November 2007.
  9. ^ a b c "Order of Precedence in England and Wales". Heraldica. 2001. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28019. pp. 3080–3081. 7 May 1907.
  11. ^ "Press Notice – Courtesy titles for Justices of the Supreme Court" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59746. pp. 6177–6178. 1 April 2011.
  13. ^ Cabinet Office (2011). The Cabinet Manual (PDF). p. 35. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Ministers". Prime Minister's Office. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 57794. p. 13701. 24 October 2005.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41454. pp. 4641–4642. 22 July 1958.
  17. ^ "General information". Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "Precedence Amongst Ladies in England and Wales". Debrett's. n.d. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
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