PHOENIX NEW TIMES
By Katie Johnson Mon., Dec. 30 2013 at 6:00 AM
Golden Globes are nice, and Emmys are swell, but Julian Fellowes' British period drama Downtown Abbey is making its mark beyond pop culture. It's headed to parliament.
The Downton Law is a new bill working its way through the U.K.'s House of Lords. Its mission is to modernize one of Britain's most archaic methods of aristocracy: giving women the short end of things -- or rather, no things at all.
Just like Downton's Lady Mary who, despite being the eldest child, is unable to inherit her family's estate, women in the U.K. have had to sit and watch the title of baronet be passed down from father to son for the last 400-plus years.
When the bill was originally introduced, it included "dukes, earls, viscounts, and other hereditary peers to pass their titles along a female line of succession," according to the Telegraph, but much to the dismay of four prominent British families it left out baronets.
The bill has since been amended, thanks to a campaign spearheaded by the head of one of those aforementioned families, Sir Nicholas Stuart Taylor Baronet, who has two daughters but no son and would prefer that his daughter Virginia Stuart Taylor inherit the family title so as not to let it go extinct.
To give you an idea of how outdated this system is, Virginia Stuart Taylor's mother reportedly cried upon discovering that she had given birth to a girl, which has to feel great on the self-esteem, and also: ultrasounds, anyone?
READ MORE HERE: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/jackalope/2013/12/downton_abbey_law_inheritance.php