To be able to determine whether a citizen of the United States can be eligible to inherit the English peerage, we need to study the hereditary structure of the peers. There are five hereditary peerage orders in the English government; these privileges can be passed on to the children, the estate which is liable to change in case there are no heirs. The orders are; Duke, Marques, Earl, Viscount, and Baron starting from the highest to the lowest (Perkin, 1986). There are two kinds of peerage; life peerage and hereditary one. A life peer is nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the queen. The criteria of their nomination depend on their performance and involvement in matters of the state. Their appointment comes as a way of appreciating them for their good work. These privileges can however not be passed to their children and cease to exist once they die. They are mostly of the baron rank and are appointed by the parliament to serve in the House of Lords, they must not have noble blood and their peerage expires with the recipient. They will remain in their peerage position as long as they live but their judicial salaries are terminated when they attain seventy-five years. Hereditary peers acquire their dignity through writs or letters patent, which continues to exist as long as there are survivors. After assuming a hereditary peerage, one may change a name that will be inscribed in the history books. Hereditary peers enjoy special places like ceremonies where they put on their special robes depending on their positions. Hereditary peers do not all have the privilege of sitting in the house of lords and only a few are chosen by the government and approved by the house membership. In this procedure, when the peer dies, the eldest son will succeed him. In cases where there are only daughters, the privileges will be distributed among them. (Simon, 1981)
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From the two forms of acquiring peerage, it is clear that a citizen of the united states can be a hereditary peer if one of his parents is already a peer. The writs of summons will call the individual to parliament and through traditional procedures; his hereditary dignity will be ascertained and then granted. He will only be granted the privileges if he happens to be the eldest son of the deceased, or if she is among the daughters of the deceased if there was no son in the family. They can also be granted life peerage if they have done enough efforts that will prove to the prime minister of the United Kingdom that they deserve the honor. After being nominated by the prime minister, the queen has to prove their credentials by appointing them. (Powicke, 1954)
With all these procedures in place, it may only be easy for a United States citizen to be a peer, if one of the parents is a peer. Efforts that will guarantee nomination and subsequent appointment may not be easy for him due to the measures involved. Trying to gain the attention of a foreign administration may be fruitless if you don’t understand their policies. One may however penetrate through if they have special diplomatic relations with the English government. (Simon, 1981)
Perkin H. (1986): the peerage of eighteenth-century England: JSTOR pp23-28.
Powicke F. (1954): The complete peerage: JSTOR pp13-19.
Simon W. (1981): Their Lordship: Faber and Faber pp24-29.