Primogeniture

W-ReadingLady4MA13757517-0004 Pat here:

So many Regency romances tangle with the laws of primogeniture—the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn male child to inheritthe family estate–that I thought I should expound a little on the topic.

In today’s world, it’s obvious that leaving entire estates and titles to the oldest son is grossly unfair to everyone concerned, including the son who doesn’t want—or is too incompetent to take on—the enormous responsibility of running a sheep farm and sitting in parliament. But the laws were established in medieval times when large expanses of land meant protection and power. The king granted lands in return for service, and his lords expected the same of their sons. To divide the land would be to divide families and the armies serving king and country and weaken defenses.

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