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A dowager is a widow who holds a title or property derived from her deceased husband. It is usually associated with monarchical and aristocratic titles.

In the United Kingdom, the title of "dowager" is applied to women who fit two qualifications:

Generally speaking, dowager peeresses may be known by one of three styles, the forms being: "Duchess (or Marchioness, Countess, Viscountess, or Baroness, as appropriate) of X," "Dowager Duchess of X," and "N, Duchess of X". As long as the present title-holder is not married, a dowager is known by the title she used when her husband was the peer: "Duchess of X." However, the title "Duchess of X" will be used by the woman who marries the present peer. Thus, when the present peer marries, the dowager must choose whether she wants to use the form "Dowager Duchess of X" or the form "N, Duchess of X," where N is the forename.


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