Quote Originally Posted by benbenberi View Post
I think it's more a thing for baronies because there are very few other English peerages still around that date back to before heir male became a common limitation. All the duchies and marquisates, and most of the earldoms, are of much more recent creation, and follow the more restrictive rules.

Lady Abbott can certainly be friends with a viscountess or a duchess or a princess, or with Miss Smith or Mrs Campbell or anyone else who belongs to her general social circle, unless they're all horrible snobs.
Even very old earldoms can be male only - look at the Earl of Oxford. The title was created in the 12th century and it was male-only which is why it became dormant in 1703 when the last earl only left a daughter (Diana, who did not inherit the title, and who married the Duke of St Albans, son of Charles II and Nell Gwyn). And then there's a difference between England and Scotland - I seem to recall they have a larger portion of heirs only titles (including earldoms), and they also do not have the concept of abeyance.