On being offered a peerage in the Outlands.

from Maistre Louis-Philippe Mitouard, Gimlet Herald for ceremonies

First and foremost, congratulations on being offered a peerage. This is a great honor and is rendered only after long and thorough consideration by the peerage circle and Their Majesties. This article is to guide you through the process of giving your answer to their Majesties and other details of your ceremony.

The Offer of Peerage

Their Majesties have offered you admission into a peerage, either the Chivalry, the Laurel or the Pelican. The peerages are co-equal, with none outranking the other. In the case of an offer of Chivalry, you will choose to join either as a Knight or, rarely, as a Master of Arms. The offer is not contingent upon which branch you choose, but generally it will be helpful if you make your choice before proceeding with planning your ceremony.

As well, this is an offer. It may not be withdrawn by the Crown, but you may, after consideration, refuse (although, to be clear, refusing an offer of peerage, for obvious reasons, is vanishingly rare). These may not seem like ceremonial matters but the ceremony may need to include provisions for these possible decisions. This brings me to the philosophy...

What is a peerage ceremony?

A peerage ceremony is a balancing act. Although a ceremony is a set of scripted speeches and actions, do not forget that it is also at its core a public ritual. That is, the oaths and forms should be both beautiful and meaningful. Their Majesties wish their people to put on a great show - to look their best and so be duly celebrated in court for their achievements, but equally, the speeches and oaths are 'for real' and so must be meaningful, valid and true, to yourself, to the witnesses and to the Crown who bind you to them. Which brings us to the first rule of ceremonials...

Do not surprise the Crown.

A ceremony is a scripted affair. Although things that go on may seem spontaneous and unrehearsed, they are agreed upon well in advance. As a rule of thumb, the more your ceremony deviates from the customary, the more you must make sure the Crown understands and approves of what is being planned.

The anatomy of a peerage ceremony

Again, perhaps a digression for those who have seen many Outlands ceremonies, but let us discuss the 'moving parts' of a standard Outlands peerage ritual.

1. The herald introduces the history of the order.

2. Peers of the order are called into court.

3. The candidate is called into court.

4. The candidate marches in, heralded in by his processional herald. He enters along with his entourage and spokesmen.

4. The candidate kneels.

5. The crown asks whether the candidate will accept the offer of peerage.

6. The peerage chain/medallion is circulated among the order.

7. Spokesmen for the peerages are prompted for salutations about the candidate.

8. The peerage and its tokens are bestowed by the Crown.

9. The candidate and crown swear their Fealty oath.

10 The candidate and crown swear their peerage oath.

11. The scroll is read.

12. The new peer and the assembled peers are dismissed from court.

What does the candidate need to decide?

1.       Who is the processional herald and who will march in the entourage? Generally the choice of who and how many is up to the candidate. Obviously, the requirements of the hall and of time prohibit this from being a marching band parade, but certainly include those close to you, your household, decorated with their finest, your banners, signs of office, works of art, etc.

2.       Who will the spokesmen be and how many? Again, generally up to the candidate but here tradition dictates that there be a representative of each peerage, including your own. Some choose to include a Royal Peer. Further variations are possible but should be discussed with the Crown before doing so.

3.       Who is providing the signs of office (For Knights this is the chain/belt/spurs, for Laurels the medallion and sometimes a wreath of laurel, for Pelicans this is the medallion). Sometimes there is a peerage cloak or cope and other items of meaning. For peerages, the kingdom does not provide the medallion, chain, belt or spurs. This is left up to the candidate. Often it is a ‘family’ or heirloom medallion or medallions – one/s special to the candidate.

4.       Who is producing the ‘scroll’? The kingdom scribe will have gotten notice that there is a peerage offer but quite often the scroll is commissioned by the candidate (or a scribe has offered to do the scroll). Again, the text and form of the scroll should be discussed with the scribe (and they should communicate with the Crown if the form of scroll is not a standard – the Outlands Scribe’s Handbook gives guidelines and standards for peerage scrolls).

5.       Are there any changes to the ceremony? Generally these are to the oath texts or to the preamble, but there may be other items. Candidates have personalized both for their persona and for their preferences. These changes must be approved by the Crown.

To do before the ceremony

1.       Correspond with the Crown regarding when and where the ceremony will be performed.

2.       Contact the Gimlet Herald or go to the Gimlet website and get a default copy of the peerage ceremony.

3.       Contact the Kingdom Scribe; let the Kingdom Scribe know whether you have a scribe to do your peerage scroll.

4.       Correspond with the Kingdom Scribe and the Gimlet Herald regarding changes to the scroll text or peerage ceremony respectively. When this process is done, submit these changes to the KS/Gimlet for approval of the Crown.

5.       Once the texts are approved, give copies of the final ceremony to the Crown, the Blue Iris herald, the spokesmen and the processional herald.

6.       Make sure the tokens of office are given to the Crown’s chatelaine to be awarded at the ceremony.

7.       Make sure the scribe can have the scroll delivered to the Blue Iris herald to be awarded at the ceremony.

Of course, these are simply guidelines. If you have any questions you may contact the Gimlet office at any time.


Contacts and Resources:

crown@outlands.org     King and Queen of the Outlands. They will be bestowing the peerage and must approve changes to the standard ceremonies.

whitestag@outlandsheralds.org               Has ultimate responsibility for all heraldic activity in the kingdom.

blueiris@outlandsheralds.org    The Blue Iris herald is the Crown’s court herald and so will likely be performing the ceremony and if not has delegated that responsibility and can put the candidate in contact with that delegate.

gimlet@outlandsheralds.org      Assists in writing the ceremony and advises the Crown on ceremony form.

http://gimlet.outlandsheralds.org           has the ‘standard’ ceremonies of the Outlands, including the peerage ceremonies

wimble@outlandsheralds.org    Wimble Herald is in charge of precedence and can answer questions if your records appear to be incorrect.

http://wimble.outlandsheralds.org         Has records of your ‘precedence’ - existing awards and registered arms.

scribe@outlandsheralds.org       The Kingdom Scribe gives scroll assignments and can advise on scroll content and timing.

http://scribes.outlands.org/       has the scribe’s handbook, which will give details on the form your award scroll can take.