Nobility is a social class, normally ranked immediately under royalty, that possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than most other classes in a society, membership thereof typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary (e.g., precedence), and vary from country to country and era to era. Historically, membership in the nobility and the prerogatives thereof have been regulated or acknowledged by the monarch or government, thereby distinguishing it from other sectors of a nation's upper class wherein wealth, lifestyle or affiliation may be the salient markers of membership. Nonetheless, nobility per se has rarely constituted a closed caste; acquisition of sufficient power, wealth, military prowess or royal favour has, with varying frequency, enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility. There is often a variety of ranks within the noble class. Legal recognition of nobility has been...
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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