Great Britain: Royal Revelations

For the past 182 years, Britons have engaged in a strange vernal rite. Armed with a strong reading glass and a stronger curiosity, they amble attentively through the scarlet-and-gold-bound thickets of Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage & Companionage, the annual compendium of who's who in the British aristocracy. The sport is more sedentary than bird watching, but the discoveries can be just as fascinating. Take this year's 6-lb., 3,202-page edition, which made its appearance last week.

Not only could Debrett watchers read for the first time the biographies of Scottish clan chiefs,* but in a special introductory article by Editor P. W....

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