Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference between Duchess and Countess

Dynasties have been ruled differently all over the world, with some comprising of kings, queens and the royal families. The hierarchy of ruling may be different. There are, however, titles and roles given to the members of the royal families. Some titles like prince and princess are reserved for men or women who are royal by birth. Other titles such as Baron, Duke, Baron, Viscount, and Earl may either be bestowed by marriage or by inheritance.

For instance, in England the rank is as below:

  • Queen
  • Duke/Duchess
  • Marquess / Marchioness
  • Earl/ Countess
  • Viscount/ Viscountess
  • Baron/ Baroness


Who is a Duchess?

A duchess, together with the duke is the highest rank below the monarch. It refers to a widow or wife of a duke or a woman, in her own right, who holds a rank that is equal to a duke. This title is given after marriage. It is also important to note that if the duchess does not hold any other title and is not in line to the throne. Duchesses are also addressed as Your Grace. 


Who are Countess?

This is a woman who has equal rank with the count or earl. A woman can also be ranked as a Countess if she is married to a count. This is the third rank in the peerage. The countess is addressed as Lady. 


Similarities between Duchess and Countess

  • Both have ranks in the peerage
  • Both have names by which they are addressed


Differences between Duchess and Countess

  1. Definition of Duchess and Countess

A duchess is a widow or wife of a duke or a woman, in her own right, who holds a rank that is equal to a duke. On the other hand, a countess is a woman who has equal rank with the count.

  1. Rank

The Duchess is the highest rank below the monarch. However, the countess is the third rank in the peerage.

  1. Address

Duchesses should be addressed as Your Grace while countess should be addressed as Lady.

Duchess vs. Countess: Comparison Table


Summary of Duchess vs. Countess

Both Duchess and Countess are one of the noblest titles below the queen. Both play a huge role in charity work and community development despite the differences. 


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  1. Not very informative.

  2. Please edit this article for clarity. Seems to be missing half a sentence.

    “It is also important to note that if the duchess does not hold any other title and is not in line to the throne.”

  3. thought this was an incredibly informative article upon the largely unknown distinctions between both a Duchess and a Countess. The Author of this article, Ms. Njogu, composed a structurally simplistic and strong piece that provided me with every bit of information that I had desperately been seeking after coming here from watching the new Netflix series called, ‘The Empress.’ Now that I’m up to speed on the 2 titles, I can finally resume watching one of my favorite shows! Thank you for writing this!

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References :

[0]Cannons Helen. Royal Family. Raintree Publishers, 2019.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=0-p3DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA3&dq=royal+family&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjGs4mb8ePfAhVFyRoKHWFkBYo4ChDoAQhRMAg#v=onepage&q=royal%20family&f=false

[1]Olechnowicz Andrzej. The Monarchy and the British Nation, 1780 to the Present. Cambridge University Press Publishers, 2007. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=WNI_cx0J5qIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=hierarchy+in+the+royal+family&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjtj_jh8uPfAhUlyoUKHar-AE4Q6AEIWzAJ#v=onepage&q=hierarchy%20in%20the%20royal%20family&f=false

[2]Bragg B. The Royal Family Described, Or the Character of King James I. King Charles I. King Charles II. King James II: With the Pedegree of Queen Anne. B. Bragg Publishers, 1702.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=_iBZAAAAcAAJ&pg=PP5&dq=royal+family&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjG0fzO8ePfAhWt4IUKHZvBC504FBDoAQhcMAk#v=onepage&q=royal%20family&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Leveson-Gower,_Duchess_of_Sutherland#/media/File:%27Elizabeth,_Duchess-Countess_of_Sutherland%27_by_George_Romney,_Cincinnati_Art_Museum.JPG

[4]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/Kauffmann%2C_Angelica_-_Portrait_of_Eleanor%2C_Countess_of_Lauderdale_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

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