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Old 08-29-2014, 11:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Columbus, United States
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Who makes up a royal court and what are their jobs?

In old times before monarchies were abolished/throne out or what ever Kings and Queens had a royal court I'm curious what titles made up the hierarchy and what was the function of each title?

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Old 08-30-2014, 03:44 AM
Duc_et_Pair's Avatar
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Location: Lapalisse, France
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In short: in modern times a Royal Court is just the organization which keeps the monarchy running. In essence it is very the same as any ministerial department serving a minister (read: the King) which is lead by the Secretary-General (read: the Lord Chamberlain, the Court Marshall, the Grandmaster), which has a Secretary, often divided into a private and an official one, which has a financial controller (read: the Treasurer), etc.

In the novel A Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse, the story focuses on Charles de Valois, Duc d'Orléans (1394-1465) the shy nephew of the mad king Charles VI of France. Here the situation is told in the 15th C. The Duke would marry three times, with Isabella de Valois, daughter of his nephew the King. Then with Bonne d'Armagnac and finally with Marie de Cleves. In the novel the a so-called Hofstaat (Dutch/German) which maybe is best translated as Court Estate, is often mentioned and described. It was very important and was even part of a dowry. The prestige of a lord or lady became visible in his or her Court Estate. A person like the Duchess d'Orléans had younger Duchesses, Marchionesses, Countesses etc. in her Court Estate, completed with a governor, a treasurer, a surgeon, a confessor, a comedian, artists, etc. In those times they were not part of a castle or palace (as the Court was always and ever on the move) but formed a part of the personal entourage. Not only the money, the jewels, the artworks, but also the exact Court Estate which was given to a lady was an important part of the negotations about a dowry.

This is still visible in the Swedish court organization. Where most monarchies have one court organization working for the whole Royal House, in Sweden some functionaries still belong to a Hofstaat, the Court Estate of a specific person. In Sweden there is the Konungens Hovstat med Kansli (the King's Court Estate with Chancellery), the Dronningens Hovstat (the Queen's Court Estate) and the Kronprinsessans Hovstat (the Crown Princess' Court Estate). In the Queen's Hovstat there are (female) advisers (Statsfru), secretaries, Hovdams (ladies-in-waiting). led by the Överhovmästarinna (Mastress of the Court). This organization model still shows how today's court organizations, much more efficient, leaner and meaner than ever before, were once the products of personal Court Estates which formed part of a person's entourage.

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Old 08-30-2014, 01:46 PM
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A 21st Century Royal Court is pretty different from a 18th, 19th and Early 20th Century Royal Court Obviously I know that for sure

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Long Live the Queen!! The Real Queen of Hearts!
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Old 08-30-2014, 02:10 PM
Duc_et_Pair's Avatar
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Originally Posted by BritishRoyalist View Post
A 21st Century Royal Court is pretty different from a 18th, 19th and Early 20th Century Royal Court Obviously I know that for sure

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Of course it is, like I also stated in my post (very similar to ministerial departments). I only wanted to make clear how today's Courts are the product personal entourages which were assigned to royals.

In the Netherlands around 450 people are indirectly, and around 350 people directly, working for the Royal House it is divided in the Military Household and the Civil Household. There are also around 100 persons working in the Honorary Household, mostly functionaries whom have left the Court organization but are "stand by" when their services are needed.

The total Court organization is lead by the Grandmaster. Under him there are several bureaus:
- the Bureau of the Grandmaster
- the King's Treasury
- the Bureau of the Master of the Ceremonies
- the Department of the Court Marshall
- the Intendance of the Royal Palaces
- the Royal Mews
- the Royal Forestry
- the Bureau of the Grandmastress and the Hofdames
- etc.
- etc.

Every monarchy does it differently
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