Difference Wiki

Duke vs. Earl: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 17, 2023
A duke is a higher rank than an earl in British nobility, with the former often ruling over a larger area.

Key Differences

In British nobility, a duke holds a higher rank than an earl. The title of duke is one of the highest hereditary titles, whereas an earl is ranked below duke but above viscount.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023
Historically, dukes were rulers of large territorial areas, often holding significant political power. Earls, on the other hand, were originally local leaders or governors of a shire.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023
The title of duke was introduced in the United Kingdom by King Edward III, reflecting a status of nobility not just by land but also by bloodline. Earls, however, have a longer history, with their role evolving over time from governance to more ceremonial duties.
Huma Saeed
Dec 17, 2023
In the peerage system, dukes often have national or royal connections, whereas earls are typically associated with specific regions or counties.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023
Both titles carry significant social status and are often inherited, but the prestige and historical significance of a duke is generally greater than that of an earl.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Rank in Nobility

Higher than an earl, below a prince
Below a duke, above a viscount
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Historical Role

Rulers of large areas, significant power
Local leaders or governors of a shire
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Origin of Title

Introduced in 14th century by Edward III
Older title, existed since Anglo-Saxon times
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Land Association

Often extensive lands or entire regions
Associated with specific regions or counties
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Social Status

Extremely high, often with royal ties
High, more regional importance
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023
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Duke and Earl Definitions

Duke

A term used to denote a leader or ruler of a specific area.
The duke governed his lands with fairness and justice.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Earl

A British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess.
The earl hosted lavish parties at his ancestral home.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Duke

A nobleman of the highest hereditary rank below a prince.
The duke presided over the annual charity ball.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Earl

Historically, a governor or ruler of a shire or county.
As an earl, he was responsible for the wellbeing of his shire.
Huma Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

Duke

A title used in various honorary or ceremonial contexts.
The university chancellor was honored with the title of duke.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Earl

A title used for nobility with regional importance.
The earl was well-known throughout the county for his philanthropy.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

Duke

In certain countries, a sovereign or hereditary ruler.
The duke had the final say in all matters of state.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Earl

In historical contexts, a title denoting a high-ranking warrior.
The earl led his troops bravely in battle.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Duke

A title given to members of the royal family.
The Duke of Sussex is a prominent figure in British royalty.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

Earl

A term reflecting a nobleman with significant landholdings.
The earl owned several estates across the countryside.
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

Duke

A nobleman with the highest hereditary rank, especially a man of the highest grade of the peerage in Great Britain.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

Earl

A British nobleman next in rank above a viscount and below a marquis, corresponding to a count in continental Europe.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

Duke

A sovereign prince who rules an independent duchy in some European countries.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

Earl

Used as a title for such a nobleman.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

Earl

(entomology) Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Tanaecia. Other butterflies in this genus are called counts and viscounts.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

Earl

A nobleman of England ranking below a marquis, and above a viscount. The rank of an earl corresponds to that of a count (comte) in France, and graf in Germany. Hence the wife of an earl is still called countess. See Count.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

Earl

The needlefish.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

Earl

A British peer ranking below a Marquess and above a Viscount
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 07, 2023

FAQs

Can the title of duke be inherited?

Yes, the title of duke is often hereditary.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Do earls have specific geographical associations?

Yes, earls are often associated with specific regions or counties.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

What is the historical role of a duke?

Historically, dukes were rulers of large areas with significant power.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Can women inherit the title of duke or earl?

Inheritance rules vary, but in some cases, women can inherit these titles.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Are there female equivalents to dukes and earls?

Yes, the female equivalents are "duchess" for a duke and "countess" for an earl.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Is the title of earl still relevant today?

Yes, it remains a title of nobility, though its role is more ceremonial now.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023

Do earls still have political power?

Today, their role is largely ceremonial without significant political power.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Is "duke" a higher title than "earl"?

Yes, duke is a higher rank than earl in British nobility.
Huma Saeed
Dec 17, 2023

What responsibilities did an earl traditionally have?

Traditionally, earls were local leaders or governors of a shire.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

What is the formal address for an earl?

An earl is addressed as "The Right Honourable Earl of [Name]".
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

How many dukes are there in the UK?

The number varies, but it is a limited and exclusive title.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

How is a duke addressed formally?

A duke is addressed as "Your Grace" or "Duke [Name]".
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Are earls involved in the House of Lords?

Historically, yes, but now only some hereditary earls are members.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

What is the origin of the title "duke"?

The title originated in the UK during the reign of Edward III in the 14th century.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

When was the title of earl first used?

The title has been used since Anglo-Saxon times.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

Can a duke hold other titles?

Yes, a duke can hold multiple titles, including lower-ranked ones.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023

Are dukes part of the royal family?

Some dukes are members of the royal family, but not all.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Does an earl have a coronet?

Yes, an earl's coronet is distinct in design, denoting their rank.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

What is the significance of a duke's coronet?

It symbolizes their rank and is used in ceremonial occasions.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

Are new dukedoms still created?

New dukedoms are rare and usually created for royal family members.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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