So I had one of those nights when I couldn’t sleep much, and found myself muzzily pondering all sorts of strange things. In this case, why isn’t Britain positively infested with nobles?
I mean, apparently those titles go on forever, right? Based on extensive research (aka I’ve watched most of the past seasons of Downton Abbey) once there’s a title it doesn’t go away. If there’s an Earl Whosie, then his son becomes the second Earl Whosie and so on generation after generation. And if he doesn’t have a son, why then you trace your way back up the family tree and back down other branches until you find one, be he some way, way distant guy who is currently a taxi driver in Australia.
On top of that, it seems that monarchs can simply declare titles into existance, either for someone who did some great service or for their ‘extra’ sons. I don’t actually know how long you all have had kings in England, but lets say it’s been at least a thousand years. If we estimate that you go through at least four kings per century, and each king averages at least one ‘extra’ son, that would amount to 100 X4X1 = 400 dukes. Plus the ones who actually won wars or whatever.
But according to Wikipedia there’s actually only about 30 dukes. So what happened?
- Lotsa kings in fact only had one son?
- Maybe there’s an expiration date on those titles? X generations or Y years?
- Maybe some of them merged? I mean, Duke John of K died without a son, and his next in line was already Dube David of F, so now he’s Duke of both F and K, and one title is sort of vestigial?
- Can you get un-Duked? Maybe some of them did something so awful the King took away his title?
Where are all the missing Dukes?
(I know, they all live in Historical Romance novels…)