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viscounts are the fourth highest grade in the peerage, taking precedence over barons. This was the last of the five grades to be created: in 1440 Henry VI made John, Lord Beaumont, a viscount. The title was never particularly popular. In 1838, when Melbourne was educating the young Queen Victoria, she remarked that there had been very few viscounts at her coronation: ‘there are very few viscounts,’ he replied, ‘they are a foreign title and not really English.’

J. A. Cannon

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