Because of that, many historical romance heroes are dukes rather than, say, viscounts or barons. There have only been 500 dukes in Britain since the Conquest, so not every romance hero can be a duke. In fact, it's extremely unrealistic.
I was browsing around and came across this: Ten modern day dukes dining together. In total, there are currently 24 dukes in Great Britain, according to the article, so these ten were a small sampling. The range is interesting. The Duke of Leinster (which is ridiculous; Leinster is in Ireland and Ireland doesn't have peerage anymore) works as a landscape gardener, while others own thousands of acres of land.
|Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington|
And here's a Tudor connection as well. If you've ever watched The Tudors or read anything about Henry VIII, then you've likely come across these titles: Somerset. Norfolk. Northumberland. To those who have watched The Tudors, that's Edward Seymour (Henry's third wife's brother, who made himself a duke when he became Lord Protector of his nephew Edward); Norfolk, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard's uncle; and Northumberland, who didn't figure at all in the show. He figured quite a bit in Iggy's tale (and may still, should I ever be in the mood to go back to it), because Northumberland owned a great deal of the northern England and fought a lot against the Scots. Plus, there was a son of the Earl of the Northumberland (they weren't dukes yet) who fell in love with Anne Boleyn, but couldn't marry her.
So much for the young, fit, rich, handsome duke. I guess a bit chubby and red-faced is more realistic?