Can You Buy a Royal Title? The Answer Might Surprise You
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank are married, but there’s one wedding gift this famous couple won’t receive: A royal title. While Queen Elizabeth made Prince Harry and Meghan Markle the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they wed earlier this year, the latest royal newlyweds didn’t get the same treatment.
Is the Queen snubbing her granddaughter and her new husband? Hardly. Eugenie might be a princess, but she’s not a working royal, and she’s only ninth in line for the throne. Granting her and her new husband special titles just doesn’t make sense.
Jack also won’t be able to piggyback on his wife’s royal title and become Prince Jack. “There is no precedent” for male commoners who marry princesses to get titles of their own, royal historian Marlene Koenig told Town & Country.
But if Jack did really want a fancy royal title he could get one (sort of), provided he was willing to pay for it.
The business of buying a royal title
First things first: You can’t simply buy your way into the British peerage. True royal titles are either inherited or granted by the Queen. This includes titles like duke, viscount, earl, and baron (and their female equivalents). Selling these titles is actually against the law.
But there’s another class of titles in the U.K. known as manorial titles, and these can be sold. Manorial titles date back to feudal times. The titles are considered property, which means they can be bought, sold, and passed down in a person’s will. A person with this title can style themselves as Joe Smith, Lord of the Manor of ______. Scottish feudal baronies are also sometimes put up for sale.
How much does it cost to become a lord of the manor?
Buying a legitimate manorial title isn’t cheap. Last year, the Lordship of the Manor of Arthuret, which had been held by the same family for more than four centuries, went up for auction and was expected to sell for £6,000 to £7,000. In 2014, the Lordship of the Manor of Whaplode Abbots went on sale for £7,500. The Earl Spencer sold the Lordship of the Manor of Wimbledon for £171,000 in 1996.
In most cases, it’s just the manorial title that is being sold. But occasionally, these titles are sold along with other property, like a manor house that was recently on the market for £750,000. The purchaser would have been able to call themselves Lord or Lady of Horton.
So, who puts these titles up for sale? Sometimes, it’s a family that’s looking to raise some cash by putting a bit of its history up for sale, according to Forbes. Other times, it’s just a person looking to make a quick buck. In other words, buyer beware.
Fake titles for sale?
Plenty of people are willing to spend good money on a title that makes them sound like royalty. But not everyone who is selling a manorial title is legitimate.
Some have complained that most websites advertising lofty titles for sale are basically con artists, selling titles that either don’t exist or which they don’t have the rights to sell. But cries of fraud haven’t stopped celebs like Scott Disick from snapping up these fancy-sounding honors.
British titles aren’t the only ones you can buy online. There are also sites selling French, Spanish, and Italian titles, with prices ranging from as little as $50 to the tens of thousands of dollars. You can even become a Baron or Baroness of Sealand, an unrecognized micronation, for $44.99.
For someone who really wants the bragging rights of a royal title, perhaps that’s a small price to pay.
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