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28 December, 2011

Ten Lords-a-Leaping -- 2011

As we dim the lights on the holiday season and the year also draws to a close, let us take time to briefly celebrate our top Ten Lords-a-Leaping – peers who have all leapt into the realms of engagement, marriage, divorce, or fatherhood in 2011.

This year, we have several repeat honorees – how could we ignore them?  They have been very busy gentlemen, indeed…

# 1 HRH Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, 29, second in the line of succession to the throne of the United Kingdom and 15 other independent states.  He topped our 2010 list for his long-awaited engagement to the former Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton, also 29 (until next month), now HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.  The elder son of The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, tops our list yet again for his internationally celebrated marriage.  Just before the wedding on 29 April, 2011, Prince William was created Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus.

# 2 The Duke of Hamilton (16th) and Brandon (13th), Alexander Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 33.  This Scottish double-duke and the Premier Peer of Scotland was profiled previously for his engagement.  On 7 May, 2011, His Grace was married to Sophie Ann Rutherford, 35.

# 3 The Duke of Grafton (12th), Henry Oliver Charles Fitzroy, 33.  His Grace succeeded his 92-year-old grandfather to the dukedom on 7 April, 2011, since his father, The Earl of Euston, predeceased his grandfather in 2009.  His Grace, formerly known as Viscount Ipswich, was honoured in our listing last year for his engagement and marriage to Olivia Margaret M. Sladen, now The Duchess of Grafton, 33.

# 4 The Duke of Norfolk (18th), Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 55.  His Grace, England’s Premier Duke (and Earl), is our first new addition to the Ten Lords-a-Leaping list.  He and his wife announced their separation in April 2011, after 24 years of marriage and five children.  Their separation is rumoured to be permanent, with their Catholic faith serving as an impediment to divorce.  There are purportedly no significant others impatiently pressing them towards a church annulment and/or action in the courts.  While we extend our condolences to them both during this difficult time, as a separated man, His Grace is now eligible and a “Single Peer.”

# 5 The Marquess of Bowmont & Cessford, Charles Robert George Innes-Ker, 30, heir to the 10th Duke of Roxburghe.  Lord Bowmont, listed previously for his 2010 engagement, was married on 22 July, 2011 to The Hon. Charlotte Susanna Aitken, 29, the elder daughter of Lord Beaverbrook.  The Marchioness of Bowmont & Cessford is the second of the 1st Baron Beaverbrook’s descendants to be slated as a future duchess, as Lady Bowmont’s cousin, The Countess of Mornington, should one day be The Duchess of Wellington.  She is married to the present duke’s grandson (heir of the heir).

# 6 The Earl of Cardigan, David Michael James Brudenell-Bruce, 59, heir to the 8th Marquess of Ailesbury.  Profiled in 2010 for his divorce from his wife of 25 years, Lord Cardigan remarried in May 2011.  Lady Cardigan, an American real estate developer, was the former Ms. Joanne Hill, 46, whom he met in therapy in Arizona.  She has a son from her previous marriage, and the earl has two from his, including his heir, Viscount Savernake (b. 11 February, 1982, single).  Lord Cardigan’s famous kinsman led the Charge of the Light Brigade, which would certainly have gotten him on our Ten Lords-a-Leaping List in 1854, had we been publishing at that time.

# 7 The Earl Spencer, Charles Edward Maurice Spencer, 47.  The 9th Earl Spencer made our list in 2010 for his engagement to Lady Bianca Eliot and for breaking off that same engagement later in the year.  This year, we celebrate Lord Spencer’s marriage to Canadian philanthropist, Karen Gordon, on 18 June 2011 at Althorp House.  The Countess Spencer, 39, is the earl’s third wife, and he is her second husband.

# 8 The Earl of Pembroke (18th) and Earl of Montgomery (15th), William Alexander Sidney Herbert, 33.  Lord Pembroke was celebrated last year for his marriage to his long-time girlfriend, Victoria "Tori" Bullough, 26.  On 3 April, 2011, he and The Countess of Pembroke welcomed their first child, Lady Alexandra Eloise Ekaterina Herbert.  As they have only the one daughter at present, Lord Pembroke’s heir presumptive remains The Earl of Carnarvon, who colourfully is the inheritor of “King Tut’s Curse,” uncle to royal insider Jakie James “Jake” Warren, and the real-life owner of the estate we know as Downton Abbey.

# 9 The Viscount Raynham, Thomas Charles Townshend, 34, heir to the 8th Marquess Townshend.  Lord Raynham, listed in 2010 for succeeding to his courtesy title and becoming engaged, married interior designer Octavia Legge, 31, of Kingsclere, Hampshire at St. Mary’s Church on 4 September, 2011.  Lord Raynham is reported to work for Knight Frank.

#10 The Viscount Lascelles, Alexander Edgar Lascelles, 31, heir apparent of the 8th Earl of Harewood.  On 11 July, 2011, Lord Lascelles succeeded to his courtesy title, his father having succeeded his paternal grandfather as the 8th Earl of Harewood.  The 7th Earl of Harewood was a son of Princess Mary, Princess Royal, and a first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II.  Lord Lascelles is approximately 52nd in line to the British throne, as a result of the family connection.

The Earl and Countess of Pembroke

The Viscount and Viscountess Raynham