I haven’t actually seen the cable TV serial “The Tudors” but I can understand heavy marketing for its new season to cash in on the recent theatrical release of the unrelated Boleyn film (which owes much to the work of genealogist Tony Hoskins, a probable Henry VIII descendant via one of Mary Boleyn’s ‘Carey’ children). But at any rate today my eye was caught by a glossy magazine spread —
— promoting “The Tudors,” featuring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Natalie Dormer (as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn) wearing things unlikely to have been designed in the 16th century. But the text was even more interesting: a sweepstakes offer tied into the show, offering $50,000 plus an “authentic English title such as lord or lady” to a lucky entrant. Presumably a lordship of the manor?
In the fine print of the promotion rules there is the following:
Prize: One (1) Grand Prize includes … an authentic English title such as “Lord” or “Lady”. English titles shall be awarded subject to then-current English legislation, and are non-inheritable and for show purposes only. …
What on earth is a ‘title such as lord or lady’ which is ‘non-inheritable and for show purposes only’? This cannot describe a lordship of the manor, which may be freely bought and sold. Unless the promoter can arrange to have some sort of private lease or lifetime grant of such a lordship, while retaining ownership? At any rate, American credulity in the matter of aristocratic titles is profound and endless, but this seems to plumb a new depth.