Many people are curious about how to become a Lord, as it is one of the most accessible noble titles within the traditional hierarchy of aristocracy that emerged from the social structures of the Middle Ages.
Some of the grander aristocratic titles such as Count, Duke or Marquis, also continue to fascinate and intrigue people from all walks of life, even centuries after the heyday of the aristocracy during medieval and Renaissance times.
Yet these loftier ranks are increasingly rare in modern society, and the chances of becoming a Count, Duke or Marquis, for example, are open to very few, namely those born into the right families, those able to marry into such noble lines, or, in extremely rare cases, those with the means to purchase a genuine noble title of such esteem and elevated stature.
Lordships, on the other hand, are a little more accessible, while still retaining the exclusivity of a respected and historic example of the ancient aristocrats of old. So, if you desire to join the ranks of the world’s noble Lords and Ladies, you may have some questions about the ways in which you can become a Lord in modern society, and the criteria for acquiring this uniquely impressive status symbol.
A common query about acquiring a Lordship is how old you would need to be in order to become a 21st century Lord. The answer to that question varies in relation to the way in which you acquire your noble title.
Here are the four most common ways you can become a Lord today, along with any age restrictions or requirements.
Becoming a Lord at Birth
While the very first aristocrats of ancient times were granted their new noble status and titles from a reigning sovereign, usually for valued services or valiant military performance, for many centuries the majority of Lordships were those inherited as hereditary titles, or granted at birth to the offspring of high-ranking nobles.
On many occasions, a hereditary Lord title would simply be passed along the family line, commonly from the father to the eldest son, and possibly subsequent sons as well. (Daughters would often inherit the female equivalent, ie Lady.)
On another occasion, though less commonly, a Lordship would be what’s known as a courtesy title, granted by default to the son of a member of the higher aristocratic order, such as a Duke or Count, or even a member of the royal family.
In both of these cases, the title of Lord would be granted at birth, meaning the child would be known and officially titled and styled as Lord from their infancy. There would be no age restriction and the young Lord would acquire the title as soon as he was born and retain it for life, or until he inherited a superior title, for example upon the death of his father when he would assume the higher ranking noble status.
Inheriting a Lord Title
In cases where a Lord title is inherited later in life, there are a couple of scenarios relating to the age at which you can become a Lord.
Firstly, it would depend on the type of hereditary title. For example, if you are next in line for the noble title within a family, you would usually only acquire that title upon the death of the current holder. In many cases, this would be a father or possibly a grandfather, though Lordships, like many noble titles, have been known to be passed along to nephews or cousins, or even a separate branch of the family line altogether. In such a scenario, there would likely be no age requirement, only the stipulation that your Lordship status is dependent on the demise of the current Lord.
Secondly, there may, in individual cases, be additional regulations within the will or legal documents that a child be ‘of age’ before receiving the Lordship, which may mean 16, 18 or 21 years old, depending on the laws within the relevant country.
Acquiring a Lordship Through Marriage
Marriage has long been one of the most popular access routes into the aristocracy. Admittedly, this is less common today than it was during centuries past, particularly with the decreasing numbers of surviving noble titles, and fewer new titles being granted by modern monarchs.
However, it may still be possible to marry into the right family whereby your new status would entitle you to the rank of Lord. For this option, the only age restriction would be that of the legal age at which citizens are allowed to marry, which is usually 16 or 18, again depending on the country in question.
Additionally, some titles to be included within a marriage contract may be subject to particular age restrictions. For example, the parents of a Lady may stipulate that certain ranks and privileges only become effective after a certain time frame or upon reaching a certain age, for example, age 21 or 25.
Purchasing a Genuine Lord Title
Perhaps one of the most accessible ways to become a Lord in today’s world is the age-old practice of purchasing a noble title. This can be done in a couple of ways.
One way to acquire a Lordship as a financial transaction might be to purchase a property that includes the title of Lord, and possibly some local rights and privileges, as part of the property deeds and encumbrances. For such a transaction, you would obviously need to be of an age whereby you can legally purchase a property, or alternatively, have a legal guardian qualified to manage your finances and purchase on your behalf.
The last and possibly the most simple and straightforward way to become a Lord is to purchase the Lordship as a standalone title of nobility. These are rare finds in the modern world, but they are still available to purchase from reputable agents. Because there are still official documents and legal status changes involved, it’s likely that these agents would stipulate the legal age of consent for such purchases, which may vary from country to country.
So, there is a range of ways to become a Lord and the ages at which you can acquire the title also vary – from the courtesy or heredity titles that may be granted at birth, to the inherited titles that may require a lifetime’s wait. While, for those of legal age, who also have the means to take the more commercial route to become a Lord, the options and age requirements may be much more flexible.