I am currently crafting a feudal system for my world, based off Kings, Dukes, Counts, Barons and Lords. I wanted to create some sort of family tree to create some inheritances and find out what families are currently ruling the Kingdoms, Duchies and Counties.

The question I had was, if a man marries another ruling Family's daughter, can that man inherit the title if no other inheritances are found?

For example: The young Count Advar marries the daughter of Duke Bamblebry. The wedding goes ahead and the daughter and Count Advar live a good marriage. Suddenly, there is a war and Duke Bamblebry and his only living son are killed, leaving only his daughter. Would Count Advar then be able to inherit the Dukedom?

Thank you!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why not? You could decide to go either way, which ever you want. $\endgroup$
    – bowlturner
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ It really depends. It could be the law that Count Advar inherits the dead Duke's land and titles through his wife. It could also be the law that her younger brother is actually the one to inherit, or barring his existence, a cousin. However, even with such a law existing, if Count Advar has some connections at court the king might rule in his favor. It really is you who decides. $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ An entertaining look into the wild world of inheritance: youtu.be/jNgP6d9HraI $\endgroup$
    – PipperChip
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 19:52

3 Answers 3


"Feudal" is a really modern word for the government system that was used on times of old. Feudal is not a model of government, per se, but instead is an umbrella term for several similar government systems.

This means that your people could use whatever rule for inheritance you would like them to use.

A relatively common rule was one of blood - once you die, the title you have must go to one of your blood relatives. The exception was regarding female spouses - once a woman married a duke, a baron, or any noble higher-ranked than her, she would get the same title as him. The reverse was not true. A man that marries a higher-ranked female stays with his lower title, even if she eventually dies. Her offspring or family would then inherit the title, then.

Of course, this is really dependent on how your culture works. When we are dealing with Medieval ages, we are not talking about absolute laws as we understand them today. Almost everything was based on traditions and customs, and those rules changed all the time and changed fast.

In the end, anything that you devise for your kingdom goes. Just keep clear why someone is getting a title (be it because of a bloodline, a favor for the king, a marriage, or even self-proclamation or outright murder), and you'll be fine!


It depends. In a culture that requires inheritance down the male line, if there are no surviving sons the title might pass to a younger brother or nephew. In a culture that allows women to inherit, a title could pass to the daughter.

In either case, you can also decide whether titles are personal or can be married into. Maybe your Count Advar is married to the Duchess Bamblebry; that doesn't need to make him a duke.


It depends whether the laws in the country allow women (and their children) to inherit or not.

  • If women cannot inherit, then it's passed to another male of the dynasty or whatever the succession law is (there are a lot of possibilities). The count cannot gain the duchy.
  • If she can inherit, she will gain the title but the husband does not.

In the latter scenario, it is likely that both places have very similar laws, allowing women to inherit. Therefore, the two titles are separated and the king cannot become Duke, unless he inherit it from his wife somehow. The heir of the count and the countess/duchess will logically inherit both titles.

If they have different laws, it's more problematic. Each side of the border could end up with a different legitimate heir and it might end with a conflict.


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