When a wife dies leaving a husband of whom there has been issue born alive, he has by the courtesy a life interest in all her real estate and all her personal estate; if the wife die intestate and leave no other heirs the husband is entitled to all her real estate in fee simple.
In 1802 he entered parliament through the duke of Norfolk's nomination as member for Thetford, and married a widow with six children, Mrs Ord, who had a life interest in a comfortable income.
By releasing his or her right of dower or courtesy together with the homestead right, if any, the surviving widower or widow is also entitled, in fee, to one-half the real estate, if said deceased leaves no issue surviving; if the husband leaves issue by the widow surviving, she is entitled in fee to one-third of his real estate; if the wife leaves issue by him surviving, the husband also is entitled in fee to one-third of her estate; but if the wife leaves issue not by him, he is entitled only to a life interest in one-third of her real estate.
A man might make his wife a settlement by deed of gift, which gave her a life interest in part of his property, and he might reserve to her the right to bequeath it to a favourite child, but she could in no case leave it to her family.
All other daughters had only a life interest in their dowry, which reverted to their family, if childless, or went to their children if they had any.
In Africa, a villa at Ostend, and some land at Laeken, were kept by the king, who further retained a life interest in property on the Riviera and elsewhere.
He had one daughter, Anne, who married John Damer, son of Lord Milton, and who inherited a life interest in Strawberry Hill under the will of Horace Walpole.
But Philip Howard, the son and heir, succeeded to the ancient earldom of Arundel in 1580, on the death of his maternal grandfather, while the Lord Lumley, his uncle by marriage, surrendered to him his life interest in the castle and honour of Arundel.
It became David's policy to secure his own life interest on Scotland, while the crown, on his decease, should go to one of the English royal family.
A widower is entitled by courtesy to a life interest in all his wife's real estate; if she dies intestate, he is entitled to all her personal estate; if she dies intestate, leaving no descendants and no paternal or maternal kindred, he is entitled to her whole estate absolutely.