How did an American pass himself off as a Duke in Britain?

The BBC reported that a “Duke” in Britain was actually an American. Presumbly the accent and everything was fake.

Question: How did the Britishers fall for this? There must have been so many obstacles, just thinking of European style football. The imposter must have either got up to speed really quickly on football, or the people around him must have wondered by a native born English noble had no idea what anything was besides “Manchester U”.

Anyone have further information on this?

Do you have a link to the story? It’s entirely possible to be both an American and a peer at the same time. You just need to inheirit a title from a British relative.

I would not assume that a duke was familiar with the details of association football.

Cite? From a short search it seems there are only 10 dukes in the UK (Wiki) (another site) so an eleventh one would probably raise some eyebrows.

Note to self: When passing as a peer, don’t choose Duke.

That’s in the Peerage of the UK, there’s also a Peerage of Great Britain, Peerage of Ireland, Peerage of England, and Peerage of Scotland. Here’s a fuller list. Not that there are fewer dukes than dukedoms as some hold multiple dukedoms.

As it happens, the current Duke of Manchester lives in America and is married to an American woman.


So is the current Baron of Haden-Guest.

Sorry for the hijack, but his son has the most incredibly long and pretentious name I’ve ever heard: Alexander Michael Charles David Francis George Edward William Kimble Drogo Montagu, Viscount Mandeville

OT: I think the SDMB is the only place I ever see the term Britisher used.

I searched (using key phrases like “false american duke” and the like) and found nothing promising. I’m reminded of a story by G.K. Chesterton (a Father Brown story) “The Purple Wig” in which an American buys an estate, and the associated peerage, and (years later) pretends to be of the original family

Was it difficult? Are you kidding? I had absolutely no trouble whatsoever! :smiley:

I agree, it sounds like the combination of a memory game and a drunken bet.

When is this supposed to have happened?

Could you possibly be thinking of the Tichborne claimant? (Not American, but he did live in south America for a time, then Australia)

Maybe he was from Earl (Alabama) ?

  1. As others have said, you can have American title-holders. Indeed the wonderful American Jamie Lee Curtis was entitled to sit in the House of Lords for the Queen’s speech.

  1. What is this ‘Britishers’ of which you speak? :confused:

  2. Posh people would discuss polo (possibly rowing or cricket). Football is not a popular game for the upper classes.

There’s also His Lordship the Viscount St. Austell-in-the-Moor Biggleswade-Brixham who pretty much did the same thing, but occasionally gets to go over to the other side of the pond and help out the Royal family.

Ahem. He’s the Baron Haden-Guest, not the Baron of Haden-Guest.

Never watched Monty Python?

Mr. Hilter: “Against the wall, you Britisher pigs! You’re going to die!”

I’ve heard it used by speakers of Indian English.