Baronetage of Guelphia
The Baronetage of Guelphia is a hereditary title that forms part of the honours system.
On first impressions, a baronetcy appears similar to a knighthood. However, knighthoods are applied only to an individual, whereas in all cases, a baronetcy is hereditary. Furthermore, the recipient of a baronetcy does not receive the accolade of being dubbed with a sword, which is a central part of being conferred with an order of knighthood. Instead, a baronet receives his title by Letters Patent, issued by the King, and affixed with the Great Seal of Guelphia. As of 2016[update], there are 76 baronetcies in Guelphia, all of which are presently extant.
Within the honours system, holders of a baronetcy rank higher than knights (except knights of the Order of Guelphia), and lower than peers. The baronetage was established in Guelphia in 1836 at the same time as the founding of the peerage. A male holder of a baronetage is known as a baronet (abbreviation Bart), whilst the female equivalent is a baronetess (abbreviation Btss).
Style and Titles
Like knights, baronets use the style "Sir" before their Christian name. Baronetesses likewise use "Dame", while wives of baronets use "Lady" by longstanding courtesy. The husbands of baronetesses receive no courtesy style, unless they have a title of their own.
The title of a baronetcy is always Baronet(ess) <surname> of <place>. This form is taken in order to avoid confusion with common surnames, and so baronetcies are easily distinguished from one another by having a territorial designation after the surname of the recipient, e.g. Carter of Earnestvale, or Sommerfeld of Ellford Junction.
As with the peerage, all Letters Patent creating baronetcies in Guelphia are created with equal primogeniture. The eldest child of a baronet who is born in wedlock succeeds to the baronetcy upon the death of the previous holder, but he will not be officially recognised until his name is on the Roll. With a few exceptions granted at creation by special remainder in the Letters Patent, baronetcies can be inherited only by or through males. Wives of baronets are not baronetesses; only females holding baronetcies in their own right are baronetesses.
Where there a no remaining heirs of the body for a particular baronetcy, the title is deemed to be extinct. A baronetcy is not forfeit if the recipient is found guilty of murder, rape, or treason; but the rights and privileges of the baronetcy may be stripped for life if the recipient is convicted of such offences. Assuming they receive a custodial sentence and not hanged, a baronet may petition the Sovereign to restore the dignity once his sentence is served, although it is up to the Sovereign (on the advice of the relevant Minister of State) to determine if such a restoration takes place. Descendants of baronets who have been convicted of a serious offence may freely inherit the styles and titles in the usual fashion. Finally, if a baronetcy merges with a peerage, the former becomes dormant until such time as the two titles are separated.