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Cousin

Blackstone says that Henry IV., being related or allied to every earl in the kingdom, artfully and constantly acknowledged the connection in all public acts. The usage has descended to his successors, though the reason has long ago failed. (Commentaries, i. 398.)

Cousin

All peers above the rank of baron are officially addressed by the Crown as cousin. A viscount or earl is “Our right trusty and well-beloved cousin.”

A marquis is “Our right trusty and entirely-beloved cousin.”

A duke is “Our right trusty and right-entirely-beloved cousin.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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