Baronet - Conventions


Like knights, baronets use the style "Sir" before their Christian name. Baronetesses in their own right use "Dame", also before their Christian name, while wives of baronets use "Lady" followed by the husband's surname, this by longstanding courtesy. Wives of baronets are not baronetesses; only women holding baronetcies in their own right are named as such.

Unlike knighthoods - which apply to an individual only - a baronetcy is hereditary. The eldest son of a baronet who is born in wedlock succeeds to the baronetcy upon his father's death, but he will not be officially recognised until his name is on the Roll. With a few exceptions granted at creation by special remainder in the Letters Patent, baronetcies can be inherited only by or through males.

A full list of extant baronets appears in Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, which also covers some extinct baronetcies.

A baronetcy is not a peerage, so baronets, like knights, are commoners as opposed to noblemen. According to the Home Office there is a tangible benefit to the honour. According to law, a baronet is entitled to have "a pall supported by two men, a principal mourner and four others" assisting at his funeral. Originally baronets also had other rights, including the right to have the eldest son knighted on his 21st birthday. However, in the beginning of George IV's reign, these rights have gradually been revoked by Order in Privy Council on the grounds that sovereigns should not be bound by acts made by their predecessors.

Baronets of Scotland or Nova Scotia were granted the Arms of Nova Scotia in their armorial bearings and the right to wear about the neck the badge of Nova Scotia, suspended by an orange-tawny ribbon. This consists of an escutcheon argent with a saltire azure, an inescutcheon of the arms of Scotland, with an Imperial Crown above the escutcheon, and encircled with the motto Fax mentis Honestae Gloria. This badge may be shown suspended by the ribbon below the shield of arms.

Baronets of England and Ireland applied to King Charles I for permission to wear a badge. Although a badge was worn in the 17th century, it was not until 1929 that King George V granted permission for all baronets (other than those of Scotland) to wear badges.

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