Re: @ Sir Runcible Spoon - Sir
"Squinting at esquire, my etymologic senses whisper to me it's a Norman French derivation. Don't the French get a say? Or possibly the descendants of the Normans up North?"
As someone with Norman ancestry I don't think the French should get a say, besides most of these titles have been rendered meaningless by democracy in any case. Going a bit further, it is disrespectful to the memory of people like William Marshal for a Sax-Coburg to be handing out titles to celebs and civil servants. That said, for the Royals it's part of the tradition of pageantry that they have grown up as opposed to part of their heritage, so I wouldn't expect them to view those titles as anything other than an ornament, I'm fairly sure they don't mean any disrespect by it too.
A couple of years ago aunts recounted that there was a frosty silence at a family gathering (~60 years ago) after one of her great aunts observed that one particular branch of the family gathered there had fought with the "opposition" (French) at Crecy.
I have come to believe that short memories are a necessity in our family. :)