Maid (title)

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Maid is a title granted to the eldest daughter of a laird. The title is not often used today but can still be used. The title is customary and not automatically given.

Laird Scottish gentry title

Laird is a generic name for the owner of a large, long-established Scottish estate, roughly equivalent to an esquire in England, yet ranking above the same in Scotland. In the Scottish order of precedence, a laird ranks below a baron and above a gentleman. This rank is only held by those lairds holding official recognition in a territorial designation by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. They are usually styled [name] [surname] of [lairdship], and are traditionally entitled to place The Much Honoured before their name.

The eldest daughter of a laird is entitled to place the title at the end of her name along with the lairdship therefore becoming "Miss [Firstname] [Lastname], Maid of [Lairdship]". Only placing the word "maid" at the end of the name is incorrect as the lairdship must be included.

As the title is customary and not automatic, it means that the eldest daughter can choose if they wish to take on this title, if they choose not to they are simply addressed as "Miss [Firstname] [Lastname] of [Lairdship]".

If the eldest daughter is the heir apparent to a lairdship, she has the choice to either take on the title "younger" (see Younger (title)) or to remain titled as "Maid of [x]". Once they take on the lairdship in their own right they will then become styled as "lady" and the title of "Maid of [x]" will pass onto their eldest daughter.

An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.

Younger is a Scottish convention, style of address, or description traditionally used by the heir apparent to:

  1. A current laird
  2. Someone whose name includes a territorial designation
  3. A Scottish chieftainship
  4. A clan chief.
  5. A Scottish baron, only if also a laird and recognised by the Lord Lyon as such.

The title "Maid of [x]" is held for life, unless the eldest daughter becomes a "lady" in her own right. No one else can be given this title during the lifetime of another maid. If a laird has a son who is the heir apparent but still has an elder daughter, she is still entitled to become styled as "maid".

Lady term for a woman

The word lady is a term of respect for a woman, the equivalent of gentleman. Once used to describe only women of a high social class or status, now it may refer to any adult woman. Informal use of this word is sometimes euphemistic or, in American slang, condescending.

Forms of address

If the eldest daughter of a laird chooses to accept the title it would be styled as "Miss [Forename] [Surname], Maid of [Lairdship]" (e.g. Miss Jane Smith, Maid of Edinburgh). If the eldest daughter should marry she will still hold the title.

If a laird has any younger daughters they are styled as "Miss [Forename] [Surname] of [Lairdship]"

See also

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Princess Royal is a substantive title customarily awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. There have been seven Princesses Royal. Princess Anne is the current Princess Royal. Queen Elizabeth II never held the title as her aunt, Princess Mary, was in possession of the title.

Forms of address used in the United Kingdom are given below. For further information on Courtesy Titles see Courtesy titles in the United Kingdom.

A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used for children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer, as well as certain officials such as some judges and members of the Scottish gentry. These styles are used 'by courtesy' in the sense that the relatives, officials and others do not themselves hold substantive titles. There are several different kinds of courtesy titles in the British peerage.

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