Britain; (13) lord president of the privy council; (14) lord keeper of the privy seal; 1 (15) lord great chamberlain of England; (16) lord high constable of England; (17) earl marshal; (18) lord high admiral; (19) lord steward of the household; (20) lord chamberlain of the household;2 above peers of their own degree; (21) dukes; 3 (22) marquesses; (23) dukes' eldest sons; 4 (24) earls; (2 5) marquesses' eldest sons; (26) dukes' younger sons; (27) viscounts; (28) earls' eldest sons; (29) marquesses' younger 1 The lord president of the council and the lord privy seal, if they are peers, are placed by 31 Hen. VIII. c. 10 before all dukes except dukes related to the sovereign in one or other of the degrees of consanguinity specified in the act. And, since the holders of these offices have been and are always peers, their proper precedence if they are commoners has never been determined.
2 It is provided by 31 Hen. VIII. c. IO that “ the Great Chamberlain, the Constable, the Marshal, the Lord Admiral, the Grand Master or Lord Steward, and the King's Chamberlain shall sit and be placed after the Lord Privy Seal in manner and form following: that is to say, every one of them shall sit and be placed above all other personages being of the same estates or degrees that they shall happen to be of, that is to say the Great Chamberlain first, the Constable next, the Marshal third, the Lord Admiral the fourth, the Grand Master or Lord Steward the fifth, and the King's Chamberlain the sixth." The office of lord high steward of England, then under attainder, is not mentioned in the act for the placing of the Lords, “ because it was intended, " Lord Chief justice Coke says, “ that when the use of him should be necessary he should not endure longer than has 'vice " (Inst. iv. 77). But it may be noted that, when his office is called out of abeyance for coronations or trials by the House of Lords, the lord high steward is the greatest of all the great officers of state in England. The office of lord great chamberlain of England is hereditary in the coheirs of the last duke of Ancaster, who inherited it from the De Veres, earls of Oxford, in whose line it had descended from the reign of Henry I. The office of lord high constable of England, also under attainder, is called out of abeyance for and pending coronations only. The office of earl marshal is hereditary in the Howards, dukes of Norfolk, premier dukes and, as earls of Arundel, premier earls of England, under a grant in special tail male from Charles II. in 1672. The office of lord high admiral, like the office of lord high treasurer, is practically extinct as a dignity. Since the reign of Queen Anne there has been only one lord high admiral, namely, William, duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV., for a few months in the Canning administration of 1827. The lord steward and the lord chamberlain of the household are always peers, and have seldom been under the degree of earls. We may here remark that both the Scottish and Irish Acts of Union make no reference to the precedence of the great officers of state of Scotland and Ireland. Not to mention the prince of Wales, who is by birth steward of Scotland, the earl of Shrewsbury is hereditary great seneschal of Ireland; the duke of Argyll is hereditary master of the household; the earl of Errol is hereditary lord high constable of Scotland; but what places they are entitled to in the scale of general precedence is altogether doubtful and uncertain. In Ireland the great seneschal ranks after the lord chancellor if he is a commoner, and after the archbishop of Dublin if the lord chancellor is a peer, and in both cases before dukes ( Order of precedence, ” Dublin Gazette, June 3, 1843). Again, on George IV.'s visit to Edinburgh in 1821, the lord high constable had place as the first subject in Scotland immediately after the members of the royal family. At every Coronation from that of George III. to that of Queen Victoria, the lord high constable of Scotland has been placed next to the earl marshal of England, and, although no rank has been assigned on these occasions to the hereditary great seneschal of Ireland, the lord high constable of Ireland appointed for the ceremony has been at all or most of them placed next to the lord high constable of Scotland. It is worthy of notice, however, that Sir George Mackenzie, writing when lord advocate of Scotland in the reign of Charles II., says that “the Constable and Marischal take not place as Officers of the Crown but according to their creation as Earls, ” and he moreover expresses the opinion that 'f it seems very strange that these who ride upon the King's right and left hand when he returns from his Parliaments and who guard the Parliament itself, and the Honours, should have no precedence by their offices " (Observations, &c., p. 25, in Guillim's Display of Heraldry, p. 461 seq.; but see also Wood-Douglas, Peerage of Scotland, i. 557).
3 Both Sir Charles Young and Sir Bernard Burke place “ Dukes of the Blood Royal " before dukes, their eldest sons before marquesses, and their younger sons before marquesses' eldest sons. In the “ Ancient Tables of Precedence, ” which we have already cited, dukes of the blood royal are always ranked before other dukes, and in most of them their eldest sons and in some of them their younger sons are placed in a corresponding order of precedence. But in this connexion the words of the act for the placing of the Lords are perfectly plain and unambiguous: “ All Dukes not aforementioned, " i.e. all except only such as shall happen to be the king's son, the king's brother, the king's uncle, the king's nephew, or the king's brother's or sister's son, “ Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts and Barons, not having any of the offices aforesaid, shall sit and be placed after their ancienty as sons; (30) bishops; (31) barons;5 (32) speaker of the House of Commons; (33) commissioners of the great seal;° (34) treasurer of the household; (3 5) comptroller of the household; (36) master of the horse; (37) vice-chamberlain of the household; (38) secretaries of state; 7 (39) viscounts' eldest sons; (40) earls younger sons; (41) barons' eldest sons; (42) knights of the Garter; 8 (4 3) privy councillors; 9 (44) chancellor of the exchequer; (45) chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster; (46) lord chief it hath been accustomed." As Lord Chief lustice Coke and Mr Justice Blackstone observe, the degrees of consanguinity with the sovereign to which precedence is given by 31 Hen. VIII. c. IO are the same as those within which it was made high treason by 28 Hen. VIII. c. 18 for any man to contract marriage without the consent of the king. Queen Victoria, by letters patent under the great seal in 1865, ordained that, “ besides the children of Sovereigns of these realms, the children of the sons of any of the Sovereigns of Great Britain and Ireland shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style or attribute of ' Royal Highness ' with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names, or with their other titles of honour." But, notwithstanding this, their rank and place are still governed by the act for the placing of the Lords. The duke of Cumberland has no precedence as a cousin of the king, being the grandson of a son of George III. and would not be a “ Royal Highness ” at all if his father had not been, like his grandfather, king of Hanover. In Garter's Roll of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, the official list of the House of Lords, the duke of Cumberland is entered in the precedence of his dukedom after the duke of Northumberland. Under the combined operation of the act for the placing of the Lords and the Acts of Union with Scotland (art. 23) and with Ireland (art. 4), peers of the same degrees, as dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and barons, severally, have precedence according to priority in the creation of their respective peerages. But peerages of England created before 1707 precede peerages of Scotland created before 1707, peerages of Great Britain created between 1707 and 1801 precede peerages of Ireland created before 1801, and peerages of Ireland created before 1801 precede peerages of the United Kingdom and of Ireland created after 1801, which take precedence in common. The relative precedence of the members of the House of Lords, including the representative peers of Scotland and Ireland, is officially set forth in Garler's roll, which is prepared by the Garter king of arms at the commencement of each session of parliament, that of the Scottish peers generally in the Union Roll, and that of the Irish peers generally in Ulster's Roll, a record which is under the charge of and is periodically corrected by the Ulster king of arms. The Union Roll is founded on the “ Decreet of Ranking " pronounced and promulgated by a royal commission in 1606, which, in the words of an eminent authority in such matters, “ was adopted at once as the roll of the peers in Parliament, convention and all public meetings, and continued to be called uninterruptedly with such alterations upon it as judgments of the Court of Session upon appeal in modification of the precedence of certain peers rendered necessary, with the omission of such dignities as became extinct and with the addition from time to time of newly created eerages-down to the last sitting of the Scottish Parliament on the 1st of May 1707 ” (The Earldorn of Mar, &c., by the earl of Crawford (25th) and Balcarres (8th), ii. 16). 4 Eldest sons of peers of any given degree are of the same rank as, but are to be placed immediately after, peers of the first degree under that of their fathers; and the younger sons of peers of any given degree are of the same rank, but are to be placed after peers of the second degree and the eldest sons of peers of the first degree under that of their fathers.
5 Secretaries of state, if they are barons, precede all other barons under 31 Hen. VIII. c. IO. But if they are of any higher degree their rank is not influenced by their official position. 6 Under I Will. and Mary, c. 21, being the only commissioners fptr the execution of any office who have precedence assigned to t em.
7 The officers of the household who, under Henry VIII.'s warrant of 1540, precede the secretaries of state have been for a long time always peers or the sons of peers, with personal rank higher, and usually far higher, than their official rank. The practical result is, seeing also that the great seal is only very rarely indeed in commission, that the secretaries of state, when they are commoners whose personal precedence is below a baron's, have official precedence immediately after the speaker of the House of Commons. The principal secretaries, for so they are all designated, are officially equal to one another in dignity, and are placed among themselves according to seniority of appointment.
9 Durin more than two centuries only one- commoner has been indebted for his precedence to his election into the order, and that was Sir Robert Walpole, the minister, who at the coronation of George II. in 1727 was placed as a knight of the Garter immediately before privy councillors. The proper precedence of both knights of the Thistle and knights of St Patrick is undecided. 9 Privy councillors of Great Britain and of Ireland take precedence in common according to priority of admission. The chancellors of the exchequer and of the duchy of Lancaster, the lord chief justice