In Valyria, the conferring of courtesy titles can distinguish a character who is not a holder of a title in their own right, or to honor a character in a leadership position that does not involve feudal tenure of land. Courtesy titles are only hereditary when they refer to a title of land tenure that is now defunct or has been lost; otherwise, they only pertain for as long as a character holds a certain political office or is in a familial relationship with a substantive title holder of magnate or equites rank. The following are examples of courtesy titles and of circumstances in which they are awarded:
Relatives of Title Holders
When an individual has claim to a title or lordship over a tract of land, often their close relations are given a special style or even a title by courtesy. In the case of spouses and consorts of title holders of the magnate and domini minores classes, the spouse is also titled with the same title. The wife of a duke is a duchess, a count a countess, a baron a baroness, and even the Lord Mayor of a city may call his wife the Lady Mayoress. The spouses receiving the titles do not wield any authority, however, and this is specified. Taking the case of queens, for example, a queen who rules in her own right is considered “queen regnant”, whereas a queen who is the spouse of a reigning king is called “queen consort.” Queen consort is a courtesy title and not a substantive title. In a similar vein, the titles of prince and princess also are not substantive, although they are unique to children of the monarch.
There is a whole listing of provisions for both the heirs apparent and the heirs presumptive (read: the younger children) of peers to also be granted the special title of “lord”, though not lord “of” anything. Likewise for the spouses of gentlemen, though the application can be unique. The complexity makes the usage of courtesy titles a matter of particular attention from heralds, and constitutes an entire elaboration on the standard study of forms of address. The specifics and particularities of forms of address for courtesy titles for family relations can be found here.
The circumstances that allow the ascension of lords mayor usually see them as landed gentry of their town or city, possessing a title of knighthood or at the very least, a squirage, and very likely holding the largest estate in their given settlement. They are not truly “lords,” else they would be barons with oaths of fealty and liegemenn. Because they are instead the appointed leaders of chartered boroughs or cities, they serve at the pleasure of their populations rather than of a suzerain. While it’s likely that as long as the situation wherein they are the greatest estate holders of their settlement obtains, they will continue to serve as lords mayor ipso facto, the fact is that their lordship is not intrinsic, meaning not from a feudal tenure. It is instead dependent on the external condition of their appointment to the office. Though a mayor certainly wields actual power and authority, which a mere relative to a peer does not, their appointed circumstance classes their lordship as a title held by courtesy. (Their gentle status as esquire landholders is likely substantive, however.)
The style for a lord mayor runs, “The Right Worshipful, the Lord Mayor of <Settlement Name>.” Spouses of lords mayor are “lady mayoresses.”
The officers holding appointments in the Royal Cabinet occupy positions of such importance that if they are not lords in their own right already, the office itself confers the style of “Lord.” Of course, as with lords mayor, the appointment to the position does not also confer feudal land tenure, so the lordship is a courtesy.
The style runs, “The Right Honorable, the Lord <Name>, Lord Chancellor of Valyria, PC.” PC refers to membership on the Privy Council.
Holders of Defunct Titles
As a courtesy, those whose titles have been lost are still referred to by their original title names when they hail from foreign lands. By contrast, Valyrian nobles whose lands may have been conquered are still considered to have their original titles inherently and not by courtesy, and will still have their rights and privileges, including the right to vote in Parliament, so long as the Crown endorses them as the legitimate claimants. Valyrian title holders who have been , of course, are no longer referred to by their title names.
There is also a certain class of player who has achieved title or was appointed to important positions in prior games, and these individuals are referred to by their former titles as a courtesy, such as “Governor-General of Nave“.
Titles at Court
Sometimes the King may issue letters patent and a person in a title but will not also bestow a fief of land. In this situation, the title bestowed is still real and substantive, and often comes with the rights and privileges associated with it, such as, for example, the right to sit in Parliament. These titles are given as great honors for meritorious service, bravery, or to endorse foreign magnates who have been dispossessed of their native territories.
If the title is a baronetcy, for instance, the style would read, “Sir Percival Blakeney, Baronet-at-court.”