David Matthews, the father of her new husband, financier James Matthews, is the Laird of Glen Affric, a Scottish estate 15 miles from Loch Ness. This means James the heir to said title — and now, Middleton, is the heir to his mother’s corresponding title, Lady of Glen Affric. The Matthews family received the title after purchasing the 10,000-acre estate in the Scottish highlands, complete with a historic castle, in 2008.
Until the day James inherits the official title, he can instead use the courtesy title of “Mr. Matthews of Glen Affric” and Middleton can use “Mrs. Matthews of Glen Affric.” She can use the title not only throughout the United Kingdom, but anywhere in the Commonwealth, which stretches from Australia to Canada.
A “Laird” is a Scottish title that has roots going back centuries. It was a name for property owners back when Scotland was an independent nation (before 1707), which allowed them to go to meetings of the Scottish Parliament. They technically aren’t members of the aristocracy, like a Duke or Earl (think Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey) would be. Because of this, a Laird wouldn’t be called a Lord — so instead of being Lord Glen Affric, James will be James Matthews of Glen Affric.
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However, don’t expect the newlyweds to start using their courtesy titles anytime soon. As it’s more ceremonial than anything, James’s father rarely uses the title. And it wasn’t handed down to him by his father — he bought the estate for commercial use, to develop it into a rental property, making him a non-traditional Laird. (You can rent the entire space for a weekend stay yourself!)
But even though she’ll probably stay “Mrs. Matthews,” it’s nice to know that Kate’s sibling got not only her own fairy tale wedding, but a fancy title of her own!