Undoing the Downton Damage

It’s the holidays, so lets keep it light.

Downton Abbey. I don’t care if you watch it or love it or whatever (I will take any excuse to watch Maggie Smith work her magic,) but we all know it’s a thing. One of the central conflicts of Downton Abbey (this is not a spoiler, and if you think it is, you have an overly broad definition of ‘spoiler’) is the fact that in post-Edwardian England, inherited titles (like that of the show’s patriarch, the Earl of Grantham) could only be passed to a male heir. Hence the desperation to marry daughters off as early as possible, to preserve titular legacy.

Turns out that while society has evolved such that the viewing audience generally agrees that’s some sexist bullshit, the law was never changed. So a  bill has been proposed in the House of Lords that would “allow dukes, earls, viscounts and other hereditary peers to pass their titles along a female line of succession.” (The bill left out ‘baronets,’ which apparently are kind of like knights but fancier, so four families have come together to get them included.) And it looks like it will pass. Because who can believe this hasn’t already happened?

So while inherited titles are ridiculous, at least they may soon be ridiculous in a non-sexist way.

Pip pip, cheerio, and happy new year!

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