One evening two summers ago, after reading an article about extinct British titles over a bottle of merlot, I composed a letter to Her Majesty informing her of my interest in rectifying that situation:
Post Office Box ___
Cary, North Carolina 27512 USA
13 June 2011
HM Queen Elizabeth II
London SW1A 1AA England UK
I am a proud Canadian and citizen of the Commonwealth, the son of a proper Englishwoman, currently living to the south in your former rebellious colonies in North America. My ancestral bias aside, no thinking person can doubt that British enlightenment civilized the globe and brought the rule of law to the darkest corners of all continents. Erstwhile rebellions and ill-conceived whimsy of self-governance notwithstanding, as with bell-bottom slacks and men’s wide neckties, I am certain that the pendulum will swing again and those malcontents who have floundered at independence will once more clamor for the stability, prestige, and unrivaled pageantry afforded by the Crown.
I am ready to assist when that happens – nay, I wish to be in the forefront of that movement!
I graduated from the College of William & Mary in Virginia (founded in 1693 by Royal Charter from your second cousin eight times removed!) and additionally I have been granted arms by the Canadian Heraldic Authority. If that were not enough, I consume tea before coffee, stout before beer, gin (with tonic and lemon) before tequila or vodka, scones before biscuits, and fish-n-chips before all other manner of sustenance.
From extensive study of the peerage, I have learned that a number of ancient and venerable titles remain extinct or dormant at present. That trifle misunderstanding at Runnymede and the unpleasantries with Lady Jane Grey, Cromwell, and the dreadful Jacobites aside, the ennobled worthies of the Empire have usually been a trustworthy font of support for your forebears and the Crown. It is a pity, therefore, that your prerogatives as Queen of the Realm and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, and Defender of the Faith are not being fully exercised by letting these honours sit idly when they could instead be filled with those actively doing your royal bidding.
For example, I understand that the Dukedom of Kintyre and Lorne, the Marquisate of Wigton, the Earldom of Carrick, and the Barony of Annandale have all been extinct since 1602. The Dukedom of Montagu has been extinct since 1790. The Dukedom of Ancaster and Kesteven has been extinct since 1809. Those are awfully long periods of inactivity. The castles must need a thorough cleaning by now!
Madam, I can hear you say, “but what does this colonial know of being a peer?!” I have a ready solution for that. Perhaps you would rather allow me a non-peerage ‘starter’ title instead? Given that your 9th great-grandfather, James I, established Baronetcies for the investment of a mere £2000 – a bargain if ever one did exist – I would be happy to contribute to the Exchequer for such an opportunity (after Wills’ and Kate’s nuptials, I suspect the Exchequer would be delighted.) In addition, no one would be burdened to find an extra folding chair for the House of Lords.
The Halkett Baronetcy became extinct in 1705, while the Baronetcies of Halford of Welham and Hales of Woodchurch and Tunstall became extinct in 1720 and 1829 respectively. Dare I note that the Baronetcy of Wolfson of St Marylebone has only been extinct for thirteen months?! That seat is probably still warm!
I know, Your Majesty, that you will make a wise decision. To ease in the process, I have included a recent copy of my curriculum vitae. You will see that I am an accomplished professional and academician. As a germane aside, I have no unseemly legal issues of which to speak – I did run afoul of the constabulary in Bath when I was surreptitiously photographed last year in my rental car in a ‘buses only’ lane, but it was wholly unintentional and has long since been settled to the satisfaction of all.
On your command, the Registrar of the Peerage and Baronetage can easily attend to the above suggestions with minimal paperwork on your part required. For such comparatively little effort, having at the ready a titled and enthusiastic subject, such as myself, sworn to fealty, will be to the benefit of all when the clarion call is heard!
I have the honour to be Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient servant,
Despite the aforementioned consumption of vino, I remembered to spell ‘honour’ as such, and not as ‘honor.’
Before long, a reply:
26th July 2011
The Queen has asked me to thank you for your letter of the 13th of June informing her of your wish to become a British Peer. Her Majesty has taken careful note of your comments. I must inform you, however, that this is not a matter in which the Queen would intervene. I am sorry to send you a disappointing reply. Nevertheless, please accept my best wishes for the future.
Senior Correspondence Officer
I am pleased to report that, despite my billet doux, I have traveled to the U.K. since this exchange without detention by the Border Agency of HM Home Office, and I am therefore not apparently on any ‘watch lists.’ Yet.
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