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  #81  
Old 04-23-2022, 06:06 PM
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I think the issue is Camilla not using her title as Princess of Wales, in which case one would ask if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or Earl and Countess of Wessex are also considered "nobility".
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  #82  
Old 04-23-2022, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Alison H View Post
There's a distinction between the aristocracy, who are titled, and the gentry, who are upper class but not titled. Both are distinct from the middle classes. Jane Austen's characters are nearly all gentry, for example: they are upper class but not titled. Someone like Mr Darcy, who is gentry, is below the aristocracy but is in a very different social class to someone like Mr Gardiner, who is in trade, or Mr Collins, who is a clergyman.

Camilla is gentry. Diana was aristocracy. The Mountbattens, even if not classed as royal, are aristocracy. It's not the same thing.

Mr Collins was a clergyman, and Mr Philips (Mrs Bennet's brother-in-law) was a lawyer, so they belonged to the professional middle classes. So they were above Mr Gardiner, who was in trade. A skilled working class person was above an unskilled working class person. A lady's maid was above a kitchen maid. There were/are a lot of hierarchies!

But there still is a definite distinction between aristocracy and gentry. Princess Marina, the Dowager Duchess of Kent, opposed her son, the Duke of Kent's, marriage, because Katharine Worsley's family were gentry, not aristocracy. Her father was a baronet and they lived in a stately home, but they were not aristocracy. If she'd been Lady Katharine Worsley instead of Miss Katharine Worsley, Princess Marina presumably wouldn't have minded.



Thank you Alison H. this is an excellent explanation of Camilla's social standing in the UK prior to her marriage to the Prince of Wales.
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  #83  
Old 04-23-2022, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Alison H View Post
There's a distinction between the aristocracy, who are titled, and the gentry, who are upper class but not titled. Both are distinct from the middle classes. Jane Austen's characters are nearly all gentry, for example: they are upper class but not titled. Someone like Mr Darcy, who is gentry, is below the aristocracy but is in a very different social class to someone like Mr Gardiner, who is in trade, or Mr Collins, who is a clergyman.

Camilla is gentry. Diana was aristocracy. The Mountbattens, even if not classed as royal, are aristocracy. It's not the same thing.

Mr Collins was a clergyman, and Mr Philips (Mrs Bennet's brother-in-law) was a lawyer, so they belonged to the professional middle classes. So they were above Mr Gardiner, who was in trade. A skilled working class person was above an unskilled working class person. A lady's maid was above a kitchen maid. There were/are a lot of hierarchies!

But there still is a definite distinction between aristocracy and gentry. Princess Marina, the Dowager Duchess of Kent, opposed her son, the Duke of Kent's, marriage, because Katharine Worsley's family were gentry, not aristocracy. Her father was a baronet and they lived in a stately home, but they were not aristocracy. If she'd been Lady Katharine Worsley instead of Miss Katharine Worsley, Princess Marina presumably wouldn't have minded.
What is the precise definition of gentry though? Can middle-class turn into "gentry" if they become landowners who live almost exclusively from rental income and are granted personal arms, or does one have to be also a baronet, or an untitled descendant (in male line?) of a peer or a baronet to qualify as gentry?

Camilla's mother was the daughter of a Baron and had a more distinguished ancestry, including an Earl. Camilla's father was armigerous, but not a landowner himself, and did not descend from a peer. In fact, her most notorious ancestors in paternal line were distant landowners (Lairds) in Scotland. Is that enough to meet the criteria for gentry?
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  #84  
Old 04-23-2022, 10:53 PM
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Sarah Ferguson had/has titled ancestors and is a descendant of Charles II through one of his many mistresses(Lucy Fitzwalter?) but she was not considered an aristocrat.

At the time of her engagement to Prince Andrew, I remember the Fergusons being described as "upper class gentry" but despite their excellent connections, never aristocratic.

The line between aristocrat and gentry can be very confusing, I agree.
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  #85  
Old 04-23-2022, 11:08 PM
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The term country gentry isn’t used much any more. However, Country gentry, at least in the 19th and early 20th century in England, were generally untitled (though there were knighted men amongst them) who often had aristocratic connections and ancestry, sometimes on the distaff side. These families had quite often held land in that same area for centuries, even back to Norman times. I’ve never heard of the Scottish equivalent being named as ‘gentry’. They were often called lairds.
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  #86  
Old 04-24-2022, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
I think the issue is Camilla not using her title as Princess of Wales, in which case one would ask if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or Earl and Countess of Wessex are also considered "nobility".
? Camilla doesn't use her title of Princess of Wales because of the Diana situation. she IS princess of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and many ohter titles besides.
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  #87  
Old 04-24-2022, 05:37 AM
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? Camilla doesn't use her title of Princess of Wales because of the Diana situation. she IS princess of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and many ohter titles besides.
Indeed:
Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Chester, Countess of Carrick, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness of Renfrew, Baroness Greenwich, Lady of the Isles, Princess and Great Steward of Scotland, Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Dame Grand-Cross in the Royal Victorian Order, Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council.
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  #88  
Old 04-24-2022, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Moonmaiden23 View Post
Sarah Ferguson had/has titled ancestors and is a descendant of Charles II through one of his many mistresses(Lucy Fitzwalter?) but she was not considered an aristocrat.

At the time of her engagement to Prince Andrew, I remember the Fergusons being described as "upper class gentry" but despite their excellent connections, never aristocratic.

The line between aristocrat and gentry can be very confusing, I agree.
There isnt a clear line. But upper class generally meant having land, having a coat of arms, having a reasonably long descent from "genteel" people.. and if you had a profession, one of the genteel professions - law the military or the church. The Fergusons were landed gentry but they did not have much land, just a farm and were not that flush with cash wealth. Diana's family were titled, had a large house and an estate and a good deal of liquid wealth
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  #89  
Old 04-24-2022, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
What is the precise definition of gentry though? Can middle-class turn into "gentry" if they become landowners who live almost exclusively from rental income and are granted personal arms, or does one have to be also a baronet, or an untitled descendant (in male line?) of a peer or a baronet to qualify as gentry?

Camilla's mother was the daughter of a Baron and had a more distinguished ancestry, including an Earl. Camilla's father was armigerous, but not a landowner himself, and did not descend from a peer. In fact, her most notorious ancestors in paternal line were distant landowners (Lairds) in Scotland. Is that enough to meet the criteria for gentry?
Members of the middle-class could become gentry if they stopped making a living from trade, bought land and assumed the lifestyle of the gentry. This is what Mr Bingley from Pride & Prejudice aspired to do. Mr Darcy, the Bennets etc were all equal members of the gentry by birth, inspite of their different financial status. Lady Catherine de Burgh on the other hand had both wealth and belonged to the aristocracy by birth, but had married into the gentry like her sister who was the mother of Mr Darcy.

If you'd like to know more on the issue here's an excellent talk on class in Regency Britain.

https://youtu.be/EVtwlg1uvA4
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  #90  
Old 04-24-2022, 07:40 AM
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or adopted a genteel profession. Mr Elton is from trade but he has become a clergyman and got a good living, and now is considered a gentleman...
Usually people who had made a fortuen in trade and had social ambitions, tended to retire from trade, buy some land and try to marry into the gentry
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  #91  
Old 04-24-2022, 08:21 AM
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There isnt a clear line. But upper class generally meant having land, having a coat of arms, having a reasonably long descent from "genteel" people.. and if you had a profession, one of the genteel professions - law the military or the church. The Fergusons were landed gentry but they did not have much land, just a farm and were not that flush with cash wealth. Diana's family were titled, had a large house and an estate and a good deal of liquid wealth
In addition to their lavish, Grade I country seat and rural estate, the Spencers also own a large townhouse in London which, I believe, is let out on a long-term lease that provides a significant annual income.

Diana's father was an 8th Earl with a title created in the 18th century for a cadet great-grandson of a Duke. The family itself dates back to the 15th century and is associated with one dukedom and two earldoms, not counting lower titles. Many family members have been courtiers or in the service of the Crown for centuries. So maybe they are not quite as the Cecils or the Howards, but I would say the Spencers are probably in the upper echelon of British aristocracy and, although they are not the richest aristocrats either, they are a fairly wealthy family compared to other peers. In objective terms then, Lady Diana had a much higher social standing than Fergie or Camilla.

Still, the Spencers are "subjects" to use Lady Mountbatten's choice of words. Compared to a time when princes would only marry daughters of kings or sovereign dukes/ grand dukes, Diana was a downgrade then. But, as other posters have mentioned, the legal definition of a "dynastic marriage" is simply one whose descendants retain dynastic rights, i.e. a position in the line of succession to the Crown, and, in the United Kingdom, any marriage of a person in the line of succession that was consented to by the Sovereign was legally dynastic. There was no legal requirement of "equal marriages" as in some continental European monarchies.
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  #92  
Old 04-24-2022, 09:04 AM
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So Charles did his duty and married an higher-level aristocratic girl, since aristocrats “knew the rules” — that marriages at that level were more about marrying the “right” person from a public perspective. There would be a public marriage and private pleasure, as that had been common in those circles for a very long time.

When Charles and Camilla reconnected, they were still operating under those unspoken rules. Since they could not have married each other, Charles had the public marriage as expected, and saw Camilla for private pleasure. There are many examples of this in royal and aristocratic circles throughout history.

Had Camilla Shand been considered suitable at the start, things may have looked startlingly different.

I agree with what you wrote about Camilla as a young lady, though I believe the queen would have allowed Charles to marry her if he really wanted because he loved her.


But I don't think Camilla wanted to marry Charles back then. From what I gathered from several biographies I read about him, when he was in his 20ties, he was a strange mix of being a Royal who watched out for the distance he held to others and a really insecure man in private. Not really what a young lady wanted to marry, especially knowing what marriage to the heir meant: service and no privacy for the rest of her life. Andrew PB OTOH was charming (he had princess Anne as a"friend") and well-off, so Camilla knew exactly what an easy and pleasurable life he would offer her compared to Charles. (Just remember Lady Jane Wellesly saying: I don't need to marry Charles, I already have a title! She, too, chose the easier life compared to that of any future queen.)



But I think what both Charles and her wanted was to stay real friends as in some sort of soul-mates. When Charles married Diana, they ended their close friendship but when he needed Camilla after his marriage did not work out, Camilla was there to offer him security and her friendship (which slowly developped into a deep love, but that's not the point).


Charles and Camilla had the kind of soul-deep friendship, they shared his free time with each other, comforted each other in bed and mingled in his circle of friends and people he was interested in. All that was something common in their circles, but nothing Diana was ready to accept. Diana wanted all of Charles, not only the public position of his princess.In a way, this was a much more "common" way to look at marriage and it was the way the media (who writes for the real commoners, not the aristocracy) followed the story.



I could imagine Charles and Camilla hoped after the divorce that the media interest would follow Diana's love live and (hopefully) Charles good deeds but when Diana died, that changed and working slowly but determinedly twowards marriage was the best way. I really admire Camilla that at her age, as a grandmother herself, she was willing to take over that public role (including all those comparisons with Diana) and she did spendidly. She really must love Charles!
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  #93  
Old 04-24-2022, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
In addition to their big, Grade I country seat and rural estate, the Spencers also own a large townhouse in London which, I believe, is let out on a long-term lease that provides a significant annual income.

Compared to a time when princes would only marry daughters of kings or sovereign dukes/ grand dukes, Diana was a downgrade then. But, as other posters have mentioned, the legal definition of a "dynastic marriage" is simply one whose descendants retain dynastic rights, i.e. a position in the line of succession to the Crown, and, in the United Kingdom, any marriage of a person in the line of succession that was consented to by the Sovereign was legally dynastic. There was no legal requirement of "equal marriages" as in some continental European monarchies.
it was the last quarter of the 20th century wehn Charles married Diana, I think that the idea that it was infra dig for a royal to marry an upper class woman had long since gone. George V's sons had married 2 peer's daughters, 1 american, and 1 exiled Greek princess. In short Lady Mountbatten was way out of date...
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  #94  
Old 01-24-2023, 05:47 AM
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Princess Olga Romanov expressed she was once considered a possible bride for Charles, Prince of Wales
http://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/1434208
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  #95  
Old 01-24-2023, 07:04 AM
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who is she exactly?
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