I suspect that I ought to say "elevation", rather than promotion, but I think that the question is clear.

According to Debrett's :

The five titles of the peerage, in descending order of precedence, or rank, are: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron.

When was the last time that someone holding one (or more) of these titles was raised/elevated/promoted to a higher title?

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    It has not happened yet for obvious reasons, but there is a belief that the Earl of Wessex may be made Duke of Edinburgh at some stage.
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 12:26
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    @Henry: "Royal titles" really shouldn't be included here, as being royal rather than noble titles. Promotion of royals is routine and happens most generations, while elevation of noble families is much rarer. Commented Jun 17, 2023 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


On 7 December 1964, when the former Lord High Chancellor Reginald Manningham-Buller was created Viscount Dilhorne, of Greens Norton in the County of Northampton. He had originally been elevated to the peerage two years prior, as Baron Dilhorne, of Towcester in the County of Northampton, for his appointment to the Lord Chancellorship. This was also one of the last times a hereditary peerage was created.

This seems excluded by the wording of the question, but there are more recent examples of peers advancing to a higher rank by inheritance.

Among the hereditary peerage, Francis Grosvenor originally became a peer in 1957 when he succeeded his father as Baron Ebury, of Ebury Manor in the County of Middlesex. Then in 1999, he became also Earl of Wilton when the previous earl, a distant cousin, died childless. The 1st Baron Ebury was the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Wilton; the 1st Earl being their maternal grandfather.

Life peerages are all created at the rank of barons, but some has been given to heirs of higher ranked hereditary peerages. The latest example seems to be Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, a former Conservative Leader of the House of Lords. He was created Baron Gascoyne-Cecil, of Essendon in the County of Rutland, in 1999. Then on 11 July 2003, he succeeded his father as Marquess of Salisbury.

Note this is distinct from inheritances by heirs who bore courtesy titles: the practice where children of high ranking peers with subsidiary titles, uses one of the lesser titles "by courtesy". This carries no legal validity - the parent retains the actual title - and thus do not confer membership in the peerage. However, there used to be a rare legal device called the writ in acceleration, which "accelerates" the heir of a peer to the House of Lords under one of the peer's lesser titles.

I'm unable to determine whether the writ qualifies them as a member of the peerage. In any case, the last time it was used was in 1992, when the aforementioned Robert Gascoyne-Cecil was accelerated to the House of Lords as Baron Cecil.

Side note, the businessman Robert Renwick was created Baron Renwick, of Coombe in the County of Surrey, on 23 December 1964. He had previously succeeded his father to the title of Baronet Renwick back in 1932. Though of course, baronetcies are not part of the peerage.

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    Not only are baronetcies not part of the peerage, they are not called "Baronet Renwick" either. That's not a title. He was Sir Robert Renwick Bt. (You could say he succeeded his father to the Renwick baronetcy, however.) Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 9:07
  • @AndrewLeach Really? AFAIK this is a common way to describe a baronet title; see for example "Baronet Bacon" and "Baronet Finch" on this page of the Edinburgh Gazette. I'm not disputing that he would've been styled with Sir and the post-nominal Bt., but that's separate from the title.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 9:42
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    I think there's a difference between describing someone as 12th Baronet Bacon of Mildenhall and saying that indicates a title of "Baronet Bacon". It may be a subtle distinction. Someone can succeed as 12th Baronet Bacon, but they succeed to the Bacon baronetcy, because not being a peer they don't have a title; they have a rank within the ranks of commoner. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 9:51
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    Because it's one of the subtleties. When you have an ordinal number, you need a way of using it. But you can't generalise from that specific usage. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 10:05
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    @ShawnV.Wilson Well, the UK has effectively ceased creating hereditary peerages; and Life Peerages are always created at the rank of Baron, the lowest.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 18:07

Alexander Duff, 6th Earl of Fife, was made the First Duke of Fife on 24 April 1900:

On 24 April 1900, Queen Victoria issued another Letters Patent by which she created for The 1st Duke of Fife the further dignities of Duke of Fife and Earl of Macduff, both in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and both with a special remainder that allowed these titles to pass to his daughters, in default of a son, and then to the male heirs of those daughters.

In 2015 David Carnegie, Earl of Southesk, became the 4th Duke of Fife upon the death of his father.

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