The Norman baron Sir William d'Aubigny was created Earl of Arundel in 1138 by King STEPHEN. It is the most ancient earldom in the peerage. It is currently held by His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, and is used (along with the earldom of Surrey) by his heir apparent as a courtesy title.For several centuries, earldoms have been created by letters patent, and the descent of the honour regulated accordingly.
The ancient ceremony of investiture, as in other dignities, has been discontinued; and the custom of deriving the title from some county or town was extended, in consequence of the number of earls, to villages, private estates, and family surnames.
The style of an earl is Right Honourable, and he is officially addressed by the Crown, "Our right trusty and right well beloved Cousin".
The last non-royal earldom to be conferred was in 1984, when the Rt Hon Maurice Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister and statesman, was created Earl of Stockton.
THE coronation robes of an earl are similar to those of a duke and marquess, with the exception that there are three guards of ermine and gold lace.
His lordship's cap is of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, having a gold tassel at top; the coronet has pearls raised upon points, with strawberry leaves low between them.