The latest season of Netflix’s smash hit series Bridgerton is based on the Julia Quinn romance novel The Viscount Who Loved Me, and while the slightly less steamy Season 2 has satisfied viewers, many have wondered: just what is a viscount? We’ve got the answer.
‘Bridgerton’ Renews Interest In British Royalty
The second season of Bridgerton has delighted viewers with another love story, this time focusing on the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony, and his romance with Kate, played by Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley respectively. While the spice level of the second season has diminished quite a bit, the chemistry between Bailey and Ashley pretty much sizzles off the screen.
There’s no question that audiences resonated with Kate and Anthony’s romance this season. Over the premiere weekend, the Shonda Rhimes-produced series set a record on Netflix after over 193 million viewers tuned in. How many of those people actually know what a viscount is and does in British society?
How Did Viscounts Come About?
It’s time for a bit of a history lesson. Most people are familiar with royal titles like king and queen, prince and princess, but there are even more royal titles in British society. Right under those titles comes dukes and duchesses, then marquesses and earls, which are slightly more well known. In the United Kingdom, a viscount is a fourth-ranked peerage and, until 1440, they often acted as county sheriffs. That all changed when King Henry VI turned the title into a noble, hereditary title.
In accordance with British tradition, the title of a viscount can be either a place name, a surname, or some combination of the two. The very first peerage went to Jean Beaumont, who became Viscount Beaumont. In regular speech, a viscount would be addressed as “Lord” and his wife would be “Lady.” In more formal speech, he would be referred to as “The Right Honourable The Viscount [X].”
Children of a viscount are normally addressed as “The Honourable” except in Scotland, where they’re called “The Honourable Master of X.” We guess the Scots like to set themselves apart a bit from their southern counterparts.