2017-01-29 12:30:45 UTC
Apart from Sovereign (from whom precedence flows as far as her grandsons, granddaughters and wives of grandsons), hereditary peers are founts of precedence.
From hereditary peers, precedence flows as far as eldest sons of younger sons (below companions of orders, above eldest sons of baronets) and wives of such eldest sons of sons and daughters of sons.
But a number of nonhereditary positions also make the recipient a fount of precedence. Sons of life barons rank after younger sons of hereditary barons and before baronets. And even wives of younger sons of knights receive precedence.
By contrast, many most elevated positions are not founts of precedence at all. Prime Minister´s wife is a common woman possessing no precedence, and therefore has to go behind the wife of a younger son of a knight. Bishops have been allowed to marry since Reformation and should, like judges, be life positions once elected. Even a retired bishop ranks above hereditary or life baron - yet unlike sons of a life baron, sons of a bishop hold no precedence and neither do wives of bishops.
Also: precedence seems to flow from husband to wife and children - but never from wife to husband. The precedence of Duke of Edinburgh is a special grant - he is not entitled to any from the fact of being husband of Sovereign. Nor does an appointment or creation give any precedence whatsoever to parents or siblings of the recipient.
How are the public embarrassments of Prime Minister´s wife´s lack of precedence handled?