House of Peers

A peer is “a member of any of the five degrees of nobility in Great Britain and Ireland, namely duke, marquis, earl, viscount, and baron” (250). The House of Peers, more usually known as the House of Lords, is one of Britain’s two legislative bodies, the other (and more influential) being the House of Commons. All English peers of age 21 or older are qualified to sit in the House of Lords. In Gilbert’s day only limited numbers of peers from Ireland and Scotland were qualified (245). (At the present time the House finds itself being pushed toward drastic reform.)

Act II