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  #121  
Old 08-17-2008, 12:19 PM
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In Britain, as already pointed out, a title or an aristocratic or noble background / relation will put you into a upper social class or society with your bank account statement being a trivle. Of course being wealthy is never a disadvantage but if the title or background are missing it is impossible to "buy" yourself into this kind of society, you might be tolerated for your money but never accepted as one of theirs. There are plenty of super-rich people in the UK, especially in London, that make HM almost look poor, who tried to buy their way into society but fail, like Mohammed Al Fayed (long before Diana appeared on the scene), Madonna or Roman Abramovich, and the media loves to ridicule them by pointing out that money can't buy a british passport, taste or success and that buying a Wiltshire estate, go hunting and speaking with a fake british accent will not get you anywhere near you would like to be. The Middletons can be considered as working middle class who make a good living, not more.
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  #122  
Old 08-17-2008, 12:20 PM
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I thought historically; the middle class was the educated class. Anyone for whom it was expected to get a university education. Doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, professors, bankers, rectors, ministers, etc. The aristocracy didn't need the education because they inherited their estates and didn't need to be educated to run them. The lower classes were destined for manual labor or working in small shops where a liberal arts education wasn't seen as necessary either.

It was this class in the middle who actually needed to be educated to perform the functions in society that were in the middle - not aristocratic functions but not manual labor either - these were the people that were called the middle class. They didn't have enough inherited wealth to live off of but they did have enough family and friends in places of influence in the schools and universities and law courts to get them a unversity seat in Cambridge or a seat on a law bench which would then give them a comfortable living for the rest of their lives but not enough for them to accumulate enough wealth so that their children would not have to work. So the parents would have to use their influence to get their children a seat in a prestigious university or position in a firm.

I thought it was the combination of the need for education, the privileged access to universities and good jobs, and the inability to accumulate wealth to provide totally for their heirs that set off the middle class from the working class or aristocracy.
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  #123  
Old 08-17-2008, 01:35 PM
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The Upper Classes tend to consist of people with inherited wealth, and include some of the oldest families, they may not have titles but the parents or ancestors certainly did. They are also defined by their education, normally attending public school, then finishing school or an Oxbridge degree. Failing that the services, as an officer were/are another option. Their pastimes include riding, hunting, shooting and fishing.

The Upper Middle class are generally professionals who have an advanced university education, (doctors, Lawyers, judges, top civil servants and some business managers.

Then of course we have middle class, lower middle class, upper, middle & lower working class, last but not least those on state benefits who are called a variety of names!

So based on all of that - the Middletons are, IMO, Middle class!
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  #124  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:05 PM
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Here is the American definition of Upper Class

American upper class - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And Middle Class

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America...l_middle_class
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  #125  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:20 PM
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I once saw a programme by Clive James, he was in Dallas and was interviewing the Oil rich. It was very interesting and something I noticed was that the lady who was showing him around said that there was a class division, all depending on how the money was made and for how long the people had it. I think this conversation was about the different clubs that people could join.
My definition of the British class system is exactly the same as Skydragons, that was a very good overall picture.
As many people are getting better off the middle class is becoming ever more divided into different categories. ĶMHO Kate Middleton belongs definitely to the second category of middle class.
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  #126  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:22 PM
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Foremost your social class depends on your pedigree.
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  #127  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:28 PM
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All I could find on the British class system on Wiki is this -
Social structure of Britain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Found this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_class

Quote:
entry to the upper class is still considered difficult, if not impossible, to attain unless one is born into it. Marriage into upper-class families rarely results in complete integration, since many factors (to be outlined below) raise a challenging barrier between the upper, upper middle, and middle classes.
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  #128  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:37 PM
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After reading that, I can't help but feel that the social structure in Britain seems a bit ancient.
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  #129  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:46 PM
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If I remember correctly from my high school sociology course, Upper Upper Class is "old money", Lower Upper Class is very wealthy people who've made their money, Upper Middle Class is professionals as Skydragon mentioned who have a couple of university degrees, Middle Middle class are people like business people and managers, lower middle class are trades people who make a very good living (plumbers, electricians, etc.), lower class are people without a trade but who work, and lower-lower class are people who live on state benefits--almost more like what we'd call the underclass.
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  #130  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
I thought historically; the middle class was the educated class. Anyone for whom it was expected to get a university education. Doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, professors, bankers, rectors, ministers, etc. The aristocracy didn't need the education because they inherited their estates and didn't need to be educated to run them.
Hear, hear! I'm much interested in noble women from the middle ages/renaissance era and their job was so important: they knew how to organize an estate so that the next, tough winter did not bring the estate down and they knew how to control the steward, so he could not work in his own interest when all efforts were needed to see to the survival of the whole population of the estate. There has never been a time when taking interest in your own estate was to be neglected on still living happily ever after, even if times got easier!
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  #131  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:50 PM
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In order words, a "Lady" had to be a shrewd businesswoman.
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  #132  
Old 08-17-2008, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
In order words, a "Lady" had to be a shrewd businesswoman.
Yes, and that knowledge was passed from mother to daughter/girl relative- knowledge including using herbs for medicine, buying the exact amount of salt (expensive!) to prepare the neccessary amount of meat to be pickled for winter, which vegetable to grow, how to stock the right amount of hops and barley to brew the right amount of beer (brewing was a way to preserve water from getting stale in summer when the springs drieb out or got muddled) in spring..

So a girl from the village, even if the Lord loved her, could never have led the community through these tough times because she lacked the knowledge how to do it.
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  #133  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:02 PM
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You make an important point, Jo. The aristocracy weren't simply rich people living in big houses. They led the community and provided for it. They had obligations to the people and the people had obligations to them. The much-derided "feudal system" actually had some good things going for it, which I suppose is why it lasted for so long.
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  #134  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:17 PM
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Speaking about the Middle Ages/Renaissance one should not forget that the "Lord" of an estate very often wasn't around (he waged war for his king at other places) so his Lady had to do the job of ruling the estate. Which made it so important that she was knowledgeable, accepted or at least well-connected (so that the neighbors came to help in case there was need). Times changed and so did society but still IMHO a bit of the old ideal of the "deserving" upper class survives.
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  #135  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:22 PM
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Yes, and that knowledge was passed from mother to daughter/girl relative- knowledge including using herbs for medicine, buying the exact amount of salt (expensive!) to prepare the neccessary amount of meat to be pickled for winter, which vegetable to grow, how to stock the right amount of hops and barley to brew the right amount of beer (brewing was a way to preserve water from getting stale in summer when the springs drieb out or got muddled) in spring..

So a girl from the village, even if the Lord loved her, could never have led the community through these tough times because she lacked the knowledge how to do it.
I would think that the lower class farm girl would have more knowledge on herbs and pickling meat to survive the winter than the daughter of a middle class scribe or even some princesses. But the wife of a local and prosperous lord had to know these things of course.

The educated middle class seems the odd man out in this regard.
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  #136  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jo of Palatine View Post
-Snipped-There has never been a time when taking interest in your own estate was to be neglected on still living happily ever after, even if times got easier!
Times are not so different now, much of the education on how to run an estate was learned from my mother, although a great deal was 'picked up' by listening to my father/brothers and other members of the family. Even now it is a necessary chore to work out how much coal/logs/oil might be required to get through or the seemingly never ending menu's. Yes, we have staff who are able to do this but it is always a good idea to know yourself and to let them know you know!

Then there are the requests to be allowed to use this building or that field, all of which we are happy to allow, if we can, ensuring that they are not breaking any H&S rules and/or have the correct insurances. In return we do receive some gorgeous fruit and veg, a beautiful piece of embroidery or a handmade quilt!
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  #137  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
I would think that the lower class farm girl would have more knowledge on herbs and pickling meat to survive the winter than the daughter of a middle class scribe or even some princesses. But the wife of a local and prosperous lord had to know these things of course.

The educated middle class seems the odd man out in this regard.
I do know the variety of herbs, but I think in that I am unusual. I wouldn't have any idea about pickling but I do know what to look for in an employee, capable of doing the job. Many lower class farm girls would have neither the money or goods to trade for salt, that would have been left to the noblewoman, even if she didn't do the work herself.
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  #138  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:38 PM
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Kate Middleton is NOT upper class. She got into St Andrews on educational merit as did all its students. £1million for a house in Surrey/Berkshire/Wiltshire does NOT get some superduper house. The flat she has been living in, in London, is owned by her parents. Actually, Kate has done precious lttle work since leaving uni, I have NO respect for her. Great that William loves her, but I'd rather he loved someone who does lots for charity etc and is a suitable future Queen not nightclubbing freeloader !
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  #139  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Fay View Post
Kate Middleton is NOT upper class. She got into St Andrews on educational merit as did all its students. £1million for a house in Surrey/Berkshire/Wiltshire does NOT get some superduper house. The flat she has been living in, in London, is owned by her parents. Actually, Kate has done precious lttle work since leaving uni, I have NO respect for her. Great that William loves her, but I'd rather he loved someone who does lots for charity etc and is a suitable future Queen not nightclubbing freeloader !
I don't see what she could do for charity, she would be unable to use her shaky royal connection.

As has been shown by the facts kimebear posted, she can hardly be accused of being a regular nightclubber, nor has there been any evidence put forward to support the claim of freeloader.
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  #140  
Old 08-17-2008, 03:46 PM
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Given the current discussion, I wonder what class within the British society super rich foreigners (i.e., Mittal et al.) belong to.
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