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  #21  
Old 01-30-2014, 12:06 PM
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Hi everyone, first time poster

I hope this is the correct place to discuss this. I've been reading a lot about French peerages and titles and I came across the Ducal title of Polignac, which is of course now associated with Monaco. At some point, I see that it went from Duke de Polignac to Count de Poliganc. Was it demoted, so to speak, or was there both a Duke and Count de Poliganc? Can there be a Duke and Count of the same place?
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  #22  
Old 02-17-2014, 07:02 PM
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Natascha O'Neill, the sister of Christopher O'Neill {the husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden} is the wife of Graf Ernst von Abensberg und Traun.
Graf is a title of Nobility.
Graf means Count.
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  #23  
Old 02-18-2014, 05:41 PM
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Hi everyone, first time poster

I hope this is the correct place to discuss this. I've been reading a lot about French peerages and titles and I came across the Ducal title of Polignac, which is of course now associated with Monaco. At some point, I see that it went from Duke de Polignac to Count de Poliganc. Was it demoted, so to speak, or was there both a Duke and Count de Poliganc? Can there be a Duke and Count of the same place?
The title was made heritable in 1783. The Duke's sons would have the title Comte/Count de Polignac. Upon the Dukes's death his first born son would inherit the title. There can only be one Duke at a time.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:58 PM
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Descendants of the first Duc de Polignac bear the title of Comte de Polignac. Comte Pierre de Polignac, a great-great-grandson of the first duke, was the father of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.

The third Duc de Polignac was created a Prince of the Papal States in 1820. The title passed to his male-line descendants as Prince(s) de Polignac. The current head of the ducal and princely branch is Charles-Armand, 8th Duc de Polignac and 6th Prince et Vicomte de Polignac, born in 1946. Other members of this branch are titled Prince or Princess [first name] de Polignac.

The head of another comital branch of the family is the Marquis de Polignac.
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  #25  
Old 03-20-2014, 06:53 PM
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In the past particularly and now, I was wondering if being the monarch's in-law's, are they given any title just because your related? Is this how a commoner becomes upper class/entitled/Royal? When William becomes King, could he bestow a title on his in-laws just because? What about when King Henry VIII married he had lots of in-laws. Did he bestow titles to them? One wife was made his sister? Was that a great honor back then? What did she get as a sister that as an ex wife she would not have gotten? What about other Royal Families?
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  #26  
Old 03-21-2014, 06:58 AM
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I love this question. I'm going to break it down a bit.

Is being the monarch's in-law's, are they given any title just because your related? Is this how a commoner becomes upper class/entitled/Royal?

This just depends on the monarch, really. There's never really been established rules of who gets a peerage and who doesn't, at least when it extends to people who themselves aren't royals.

This isn't necessarily how someone, or a family, became aristocratic/noble, and certainly wasn't (in the British system at least) how they became royal. For the most part, until rather recently people who married into the English/British royal families have always been from at least upper class, if not aristocratic or royal backgrounds, prior to their marriages. In a few cases, women whose fathers, or families, didn't hold any titles married into the family, sometimes resulting in their families being given titles. It just depended on the monarch.

How commoners became nobles wasn't simply that they married into the royal family. Typically, honours were bestowed on people who had done a service to the monarch, monarchy, or government. Often it seems like these were granted in succession - typically, for awhile a number of fathers and sons would be knighted, then later one might be created a baronet, later on a descendant might be created an earl, then later another might become a duke.... It didn't always follow a set order and it seems like when the younger sons or grandsons of men who were peers were created peers themselves they didn't start back at zero.

So, consider the Spencer family. The first John Spencer was created a knight during the reign of Henry VIII, and a few generations of sons and grandsons were similarly knighted, before one such was created Baron Spencer of Wormleighton. Later a Baron Spencer was created Earl of Sunderland. When the grandson of an Earl of Sunderland was given a peerage it reflected the fact that he was descended from peers - first he was created Viscount Spencer, then later Earl Spencer (as well as secondary titles with both peerages).

When William becomes King, could he bestow a title on his in-laws just because?

This is a subject that can be debated a bit. As King, William will be the fount of all honours. Technically speaking, he could bestow a title on his father-in-law, or even brother-in-law, if he so wished (he could give his mother- or sister-in-law a title as well, but titles for women are considerably less common), but it would be going against the trend towards titles of the day (assuming that this continues). Currently, the only people to be granted hereditary peerages are royals, and life peerages are only granted on the advice of the government, typically after achieving something noteworthy. As such, I would debate whether or not William could create a peerage for any of the Middletons "just because." Even if he could, I think it would risk seriously offending some of his subjects.

What about when King Henry VIII married he had lots of in-laws. Did he bestow titles to them? One wife was made his sister? Was that a great honor back then? What did she get as a sister that as an ex wife she would not have gotten?

Henry VIII married six times. His first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was a princess in her own right and came from a family with their own titles. Henry didn't, to the best of my knowledge, bestow any English titles upon them.

His second wife was Anne Boleyn. Anne's father didn't inherit titles and it's very likely that the titles that he received were largely related to his daughter's relationship, but Thomas Boleyn was also involved in politics so at least some of the honours he received may have been because of his own merits. Anne's brother wasn't given his own peerage, being expected to inherit his father's titles, but he did use the title Viscount Rochford by courtesy, but his titles were forfeited when he was executed. Anne was also granted her own peerage, a Marquessate, prior to, but because of, her marriage.

His third wife was Jane Seymour. Jane's father, John, was knighted by Henry VII, initially for his involvement in the Cornish Rebellion of 1497. John died within a year of Jane's marriage and was never granted a peerage. Two of Jane's brothers, Edward and Thomas, were created peers, but I believe this was more because they were the uncles (and regents) of the King than because they were the brothers-in-law of the King - in the case of Edward, he was created Duke of Somerset in 1547, 10 years after his sister's death and the year his nephew became king. I believe Thomas became a Baron around the same time. Around the same time, Jane's youngest brother, Henry, was created a knight, but he never received any further titles (and unlike his elder brothers, was never executed when his ambition backfired, so he didn't necessarily lose out).

His fourth wife was Anne of Cleves. Anne was from a Continental Ruling family, and as such her family had no need of English titles. Anne was the wife who was created an honourary member of the family after the annulment of her marriage, and it did make a difference. Henry had only divorced one other wife at this point - Catherine - and she didn't exactly have a great post-marriage situation. His two other wives, at this point, didn't survive their marriages. In saying that she was to be treated as the King's sister, Henry basically assured that Anne was to be treated well during his reign, and even afterwards. She was essentially taken care of and remained connected to the court.

Wife five was Catherine Howard, whose father died in the year before she got married. Both of her brothers were courtiers during her marriage, but neither were created peers. Catherine's youngest brother was eventually knighted because of his services on the battle field, after Henry's death. Interestingly, this knighthood was granted by the Duke of Somerset, the eldest brother of wife number 3.

The last wife was Catherine Parr. Catherine's father was knighted in 1509 and died in 1517, well before his daughter's marriage to the King. Catherine's brother, William, was first created a Baron a few years before her marriage, then created an Earl after the marriage, then finally created a Marquess after Henry's death. I would assume that the initial peerage had nothing to do with Catherine, the second one was because of his position as the brother-in-law of the king, and the third one was because he was the King's uncle (in a round-about way). At the same time, though, William Parr was also involved in politics and the court.

What about other Royal Families?

I honestly don't know about other Royal Families, but I can comment a bit more on other British monarchs. Henry VIII may be the most famous in terms of his marriages, but he's not the only one to marry women from more common means.

Edward IV's wife, Elizabeth Woodville, was born to a commoner, Richard Woodville, later 1st Earl Rivers. Richard's peerage was very likely due to his daughter's marriage, as it was granted during Edward's reign and after the wedding.

James II's first wife, Anne Hyde, was also born to a commoner-turned-peer, Edward Hyde. Edward's rise to the peerage, however, wasn't really connected to his daughter's royal marriage so much as it was to Edward's continued support of the King through the Civil War, Exile, and later Restoration. All of Edward's peerages were granted to him by Charles II with a year of both the restoration and Anne's marriage, at a time when it was still considered likely that Charles would father legitimate children (Charles wasn't yet married at the time).

As for the Scots, David II married a woman whose father was just a knight, but I couldn't tell you why he wasn't granted further peerages (be it a deliberate omission on the part of David, or owing to the father's death, although I suspect the latter as it wasn't either's first marriage). Robert II's first father-in-law was only a knight, but Robert's first wife died before he became king. Mary of Scots' second husband, Henry Stuart, only held his titles by courtesy, but he predeceased his father, who did have his own, pre-existing peerage. All other Scottish monarchs married women whose fathers had titles of their own.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:13 PM
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Very thorough and enjoyable reading Ish.

A present-day example of ennoblement (or raise in status) due to marital proximity is the family of the current Queen of the Belgians.
Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz was born into an untitled noble family of baronial descent. Her father bore the honorific of Jonkheer, which in English translates to somewhere between "The Honourable" and "Lord". Mathilde bore the honorific of Jonkvrouw.

When she married the Duke of Brabant (ie Crown Prince) in 1999, King Albert elevated the family of d'Udekem d'Acoz from the baronial to the comital rank, hereditary in the male line. Her father and brother thus gained a title, that of count, and her surviving sisters that of countess (her mother was uneffected, already being a countess in her own right).

Thus the daughter's marriage into the upper level of the Belgian Royal House directly led to her own family's rise in title, rank and status.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:35 AM
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I What about other Royal Families?
This bit will be about the Danish Royal family.
Through history most Danish Kings' spouses have come from royal or princely houses of Europe. The in-laws had titles of their own.
In recent years 3 commoners have married into the DRF; Miss Alexandra Manley, Miss Mary Donaldson and Miss Marie Cavallier. Their fathers were all awarded the Grand Cross of the order of the Dannebrog. This order has 6 classes; the Grand Cross os the second highest and the higest class for non-royals.
So there is no precedence for bestowing titles to the in-laws of the DRF and it would be problematic to do so. Most titles (if not all) I can think of are in some way connected to a geographical area, and it would be a problem to bestow titles connected to a Danish area upon people who are not Danish citizens and who do not live in denmark.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:35 AM
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Wasn't it the case that when Princess Louise, daughter of King Edward VII married, her husband was created Duke of Fife. However as he was the eldest on of the Earl of Fife, this was more an upgrade of a noble rather than the creation of a noble.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:06 PM
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Wasn't it the case that when Princess Louise, daughter of King Edward VII married, her husband was created Duke of Fife. However as he was the eldest on of the Earl of Fife, this was more an upgrade of a noble rather than the creation of a noble.
I was going to tackle this side of the equation next, but didn't have time when I posted my last one.

I didn't look at the families of the wives of younger sons of the monarch, as the wives themselves would have taken their husbands' titles and thus I don't think it likely that their fathers would have been given titles if they didn't have any already, particularly if they weren't politically engaged. I also haven't really looked at the illegitimate children of monarchs, although I know that in many cases the sons were given peerages of their own, and the daughters often made good marriages. I believe that at least one of the husbands of one of William IV's illegitimate daughters was given a peerage during his father-in-law's reign, which I would assume was at least semi-connected to his royal relation.

Prior to the Hanovers, there were few occassions when royal daughters married men who hadn't inherited their peerages, but I'm finding that most of them seem to have been created a peer prior to their marriage (or prior to the connection that their marriage created having been established) and generally for different reasons. For example, one of the (full blood) sisters of Henry IV married the First Duke of Exeter, but he was also the half-brother of Richard II, and was granted his peerage during his brother's reign. Another example is Charles Brandon, who was created the 1st Duke of Suffolk some 10 years before he married the sister of the then-reigning Henry VIII. It seems that Henry's sisters liked making "lesser" marriages after their first, royal husbands died. Margaret Tudor married first James IV of Scotland, secondly the 6th Earl of Angus, and thirdly a man named Henry Stewart. Henry was the younger son of a Scottish lord who was created a Lord himself after his marriage, by his new stepson, James V.

Alexander Duff was, at the time of his marriage, the 6th Earl of Fife, and his new bride was the daughter of the then-Prince of Wales. His wife's grandmother, Queen Victoria, decided to create him the Duke of Fife, as she saw the title Duke to be more fitting for the son-in-law of a future King than the title Earl. Later, his title would be recreated for him, with a special remainder to allow his daughter and her heirs male to inherit the title, as he had no surviving sons. Further, when his father-in-law created his wife the Princess Royal his daughters were also created Princesses of Great Britain and Ireland, this being before the 1917 LPs.

Duff's brother-in-law, George V, didn't seem to share Victoria's concerns. When George's daughter, Mary, married the then Viscount Lascelles he didn't create any titles to elevate his son-in-law, who was the heir-apparent to the Earl of Harewood. George didn't see it a problem that the daughter of the King be married to a man who was "just" an Earl.

George VI did see fit to create the husband of his eldest daughter and heir presumptive a Duke, but he didn't think it necessary to make the DoE a Prince of the United Kingdom, that didn't happen until during HM's reign. And when Princess Margaret married, the Queen thought that an Earldom was enough for her new brother-in-law, Antony Armstrong-Jones - who I believe was at that point the only man to marry the child or sister of an English/British monarch without any familial connections to the nobility. This was followed by the husbands of Princess Anne, neither of whom received any titles at all.

Back on the issue of other royal families, I do think it is important to note that in many Continental European houses it was practice until very recently that individuals who didn't make dynastic marriages would lose whatever inheritence rights they had. Often, the eldest son of a king couldn't marry a woman who came from nothing because then he would lose out on getting the throne. This is a big reason why it was so common for royal men to make dynastic, love-less marriages then take on mistresses.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:32 PM
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Got asked a question to which I bow to those with far great knowledge than I in the hope it can be answered.

From my daughter "Can a prince give up being a prince and decide to be non royal?"

The reason for her asking this is that at school they have been covering the Abdication Crisis (very loosely from what I've heard from her).

I know peers can surrender their peerage because that is what the late Tony Benn did so he could sit in the House of Commons rather than the House of Lords.

So could someone of Royal birth walk away from what they are, without having to "abdicate"

Hope folks can help, so I can at least give her something to think over and surprise her teacher with next week.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:56 PM
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So could someone of Royal birth walk away from what they are, without having to "abdicate"
.
Interesting question. I realize that you are probably looking for answer that covers the British Royal family. But I guess the conditions for the BRF compares to those of the Danish RF. The titles of the RF are given at the dicretion of the sovereign. So I don't think a prince can give up being a prince.
The only way would be to marry without the concent of the sovereign and the state council - then he would loose his title of Prince.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:42 PM
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On the Continent, the most common way to "stop" being royal would be to marry without permission of the monarch, or in contravention of the House's marriage laws/rules. In some cases, as in Denmark, doing so means the individual forfeits their title and place in the succession, while in others I think it just means that the children aren't in the succession and they and the wife don't get any titles. In others, it's a combination effect.

This isn't the case in Britain. Britain has never had any laws regarding dynastic marriages, and the current law regarding royal marriage in general stipulates just that those in the line of succession (other than those whose place comes from a woman who married into another royal family) have to have permission to marry for the marriage to be valid. If they don't have permission then the marriage isn't valid. This is why the long-term partners of the sons of George III were all mistresses and not wives of men who used to be Princes.

People can cease to be British Prince(sse)s though, but they always need either the monarch or parliament to help.

The monarch can issue LPs creating, or uncreating, princely titles. When the 1917 LPs were issued, George V stripped people who did not meet the requirements set out by his LPs of their titles, with the exception of those who had had LPs issued specifically granting them princely titles. If the Queen wished to, she could issue new LPs stating that the only people who have princely titles are the children of the monarch - stripping all her cousins and grandchildren of their royal titles. This would not apply to the DoE, who was created a Prince by LPs specific to him, nor do I believe it would apply to George, for similar reasons.

The monarch can also say that it is his/her will that a set group of people not use princely titles. This is what's happened with Edward's children - they're entitled to princely titles under the 1917, but don't use them by the Queen's will. It's debated whether or not they have them and chose not to use them (similar to Camilla and Princess of Wales) or if they don't have them at all, but the point remains that they don't use them and aren't ever recognized by them.

As such, it seems to be generally assumed that the Queen has the power to issue LPs that would specifically strip a group of people of their royal titles - it is assumed that the Queen could issue LPs regarding the Wessex children, but chose not to. I would think that if she does have that power, then she also has the power to issue LPs specifically stripping someone of their royal titles, provided other LPs had not been issued specifically granting them. So, she couldn't issue LPs stripping the DoE of his princely titles anymore than she could stripping him of his dukedom, but I do believe she could issue LPs stripping Edward of his princely titles.

At the same time, in as much as the monarch is the fount of all honours, Parliament has the power to take away titles granted by LPs. For example, during the First World War Parliament anyone who fought against Britain forfeited any British titles they held. It then stands to reason that they could remove princely titles from individuals or groups if Parliament so wished.

On that note, it was Parliament who had to allow Edward VIII to abdicate. Similarly, it was Parliament who decided that James II had abdicated. Later, after he claimed his father's throne, Parliament attained James Stuart, the Old Pretender, for treason, stripping him of his titles.

In a less certain route, it is possible for people to simply stop using their titles, or to renounce them. The DoE was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark, but leading up to his marriage to the then Princess Elizabeth he stopped using his foreign titles. While it's debated whether or not he still holds them in any sense, he has not been recognized as a Prince of Greece and Denmark for some 60+ years. Nor have his children been recognized as such. During her reign, one of the sons of Queen Victoria became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. While he continued to hold his many British titles, including that of Prince, he didn't continue to use them. He and his nephew and eventual heir, Charles Edward, are the only examples of British princes ceasing to use their titles that I can think of. In Charles' case, he supported Germany during the War and was consequently stripped of all his British titles.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:27 PM
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Just a note about George - the LPs issued by The Queen that included George weren't specific to him but simply widened those issued by George V in 1917.

Under the 1917 LPs George would have been a prince in any event as the first born son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales but had he been Georgina she would have been Lady Georgina Mountbatten-Windsor. Following the decision of the Commonwealth realms to allow the first born child to inherit regardless of gender so it made sense to allow a first born girl to be born as HRH Princess Georgina just as a first born boy was going to be HRH Prince George.

The other extension under the 2012 LPs was to give HRH to all of William's children - remembering that they would automatically gain that style on her death anyway. It is the same thing as when George VI issued new LPs in 1948 to give HRH to any children of Elizabeth herself - as again on his death they would automatically be HRH Prince/Princess so he gave it to them from birth.

Regarding the removal of HRH by LPs - The Queen stripped both Diana and Sarah of their HRHs by LPs in 1996 - after Diana's divorce - so she can issue LPs to strip HRH's as she did so then. Of course these ladies weren't born with it but they gained it under the 1917 LPs as the wives of HRH Prince's of the Realm.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:43 PM
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I was kind of struggling to say what I meant regarding George.

If I'm correct, when the 1917 LPs were issued they didn't strip the children of Princess Louise of their Princess titles, as they had been created Princesses by their grandfather, Edward VII. If Edward VII had the ability to grant princely status to the children of his daughter that wasn't then reversed by the 1917 LPs, then it stands to reason that if the Queen were to now issue new LPs altering princely titles, George wouldn't be affected because of the previous LPs granting princely titles to the children of the Duke of Cambridge.

That's just the conclusion I'm making on the issue, but I admit that I haven't read the actual LPs regarding the Duffs, so they could be worded in a way granting them their titles by name, instead of in a more roundabout way as the children of Louise.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:46 PM
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This isn't the case in Britain. Britain has never had any laws regarding dynastic marriages, and the current law regarding royal marriage in general stipulates just that those in the line of succession (other than those whose place comes from a woman who married into another royal family) have to have permission to marry for the marriage to be valid. If they don't have permission then the marriage isn't valid. .
That will change though when the new Successiion to the Crown Act 2013 comes into force and repeals the Royal Marriages Act. The first six persons in the British line of succession will still have to seek the monarch's consent to marry, but, in contrast to the current law, if they marry without consent, their marriage will still be legally valid, The person who married without consent and the future issue of that marriage will, however, be excluded from the line of succession. Those provisions will basically draw British law regarding royal marriages closer to the corresponding law in other European monarchies (Spain, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc.),

In the end, it might look old-fashioned, but one might understand a royal marriage is not simply a private affair, but also a matter of state in the sense that children from those marriages may potentially become king/queen (i.e the HoS). It is reasonable then that royal marriages should be vetted by the monarch and the government and/or parliament, as is the case in all European kingdoms.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:11 PM
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What is the oldest title of nobility in Spain?
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:53 AM
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What is the oldest title of nobility in Spain?
Here's a link on the Spanish Nobility

Spanish nobility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:06 PM
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Here's a link on the Spanish Nobility

Spanish nobility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It was informative to learn that succession to Spanish noble titles is hereditary, but not automatic.
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:44 PM
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I'm having trouble understanding the history and etymology of various titles, such as earl, count, duke, marquis, etc. I seem to have a jumble of English and French titles in my mind.

I'm back to 1066 and the Norman conquest, and I can't tell (yet) what titles William the Conqueror bestowed upon the Norman overlords when he carved up England. Did he import the term "duke" or was it already in use in Anglo-Saxon England? Were there dukes at that time? When I read about the 1100's and 1200's, I see mostly Earls in England (and duchies seem to be in France - Kings Richard and John are Dukes of Normandy, etc.)

I guess I'm asking several questions. When did the title "duke" (from the Latin) appear in England and which dukedoms were earliest? Where does the word "earl" come from, is it Saxon? Are there counts in England or no (ever)? I know marquis is mainly in France, but Italy and Spain have cognate terms - so I'm guessing that's from days when Latin was prevelant - and that term never made it to England.

The word that the Welsh use for their highest lords is translated into English as Prince (anyone know what the etymology of Prince is?) I think I understand why, although any illumination on that point would be welcome.

As I lay awake pondering all this, I decided that it would be silly not to avail myself of the venerable expertise that is The Royal Forums. Some of you will understand what I'm trying to get at (a history of royal terminology in England, I guess) and I just know that some of you already know this, extensively.

Thanks in advance for your help. I figure I'm not the only one who could use a refresher in these matters. I also feel like I'm leaving out some titles altogether. (Squire?) I know "knight" is at the bottom of the titles, right?

The current British peerage is comprised of an amalgamation of titles that rulers gave as awards to their supporters, which became hereditary. The hereditary principle was important because, in the wake of the fall of the (Western) Roman Empire, the family unit represented a degree of stability and continuity. The form of the title in today's peerage is mostly influenced by the culture which predominated at the time the title was introduced into the peerage.


King / Earl

Following the withdrawal of Rome from Britain and the subsequent migrations, colonization and conquest by Anglo-Saxons, forming Englaland; the title Cyning (from proto-Germanic kuningaz, "tribal leader") emerged as the primary ruler of the various petty kingdoms which emerged during the Early Middle Ages. Cyning emerged as King in early English.

Following Norse / Viking cultural and political influence over the British and Irish Isles during the Early Middle Ages, the title jarll (Old Norse for "leader") emerged as the most prestigious title a king bestowed on a follower. In the Welsh language, the title earl was adopted and rendered as iarll (fem: iarlles).

There is no title "count" in the English, Scottish, Irish, or British peerages. The title earl is of comital, that is equal to, count rank. The wife of an earl is known as a countess. The first recorded viscount was in the 15th century.

The Welsh were influenced from a revival in Gaelic and Norse Gaelic with many place-names originating from a Gaelic origin for tribal settlements within what would become Wales. This influence extended into language, as the Welsh adopted and adapted titles originating in Gaelic and Norse. Welsh for king is brenin (queen: brenhines), originating from rŪ, both cognate with Latin rex and Sanskrit raja. The many earliest Welsh petty kinglets of Wales coalesced around four primary leaders just before the Norman Conquest. During this period, ardalydd emerged as the primary title for the king's supporter. In Welsh, the Norse jarl was adapted and adopted as iarll.

In the Welsh context, an ardalydd would emerge as more powerful then a iarll, and later ardalydd would be the Welsh translation for marquess. Ardalydd initially had the meaning of 'lord'.

Duke / Marquess

The Norman Conquest and subsequent Norman and Angevin monarchy reintroduced continental titles into the peerages. In France, count was the title for a feudal lord, but the nobility began to differentiate between "greater counts" and "lesser counts"

The greater counts began to adopt the more lofty title 'duc', itself rooted in the Latin military office of dux, of their own accord and independently from the French monarchy, claiming a degree of regional autonomy by the implication, as early as the 12th century. It would become a hallmark of the French monarchy to marry into these self-proclaimed dukedoms and unite them into the French monarchy.

Edward III created the first English ducal title, the Duke of Lancaster, in 1351. The first marquess title was the Marquess of Dublin (recognizing the frontier nature the English view of Ireland at the time.) But the title was recalled a year. The second title didnt fair better, Marquess of Dorset, recalled in 1399. It wasn't until 1442 that the title was more fully accepted.

As the title duke was introduced in England in the latter High Middle Ages, within an English context the title does not connote the authority that ducal counterparts on the continent did. That is to say the Duke of Lancaster or York never conveyed the strong sence of local particularism and native independence from the French crown, that the Dukes of Brittany or Aquitaine did.

Volatile frontiers were known as 'the march', and powerful counts there became known as marqius in French (and marquess in the emerging English language).

In the British and Irish Isles in the early High Middle Ages, the absence of a duke and marquess title left a void for those nearly autonomous communities which were more or less independent, but lacked a title to reflect their position. Scotland claimed a kingship title, yet the King of England demanded that Scotland was a vassal and a petty kingship. Welsh rulers claimed the same degree of independence, yet their territorial claims were not as extensive and was more complicated then their Scottish counterparts, and chose the title prince for their rulers. In the context of the High Middle Ages and from an English or Angivin perspective, both the native Welsh, Scottish, and Irish rulers owed fealty to the English crown.

In Wales, the four primary petty kinglets coalesced around one or two ruling families, the Aberffraw for Gwynedd and their dynastically junior agnate Dinefwr for Deheubarth. With the reorientation of the British and Irish isles towards France and the Carolinian feudal model, Welsh (and Irish and Scottish) rulers re-evaluated their own rankings as it became clear among the Welsh rulers that their brenin (king), within a Welsh context, was not as powerful as a king. France or king of England, for instance. This goes far to explain why the title of prince ranks higher in Britain, but on the continent the title of duke often ranks higher then prince.

The rulers of Gwynedd and Deheubarth choose tywysog (leader, from 'to lead', and cognate to Gaelic taoiseach, the title of the Republic of Ireland's president). In Latin, the Welsh rulers of Gwynedd and Deheubarth rendered tywysog as princeps. Princeps is Latin for "first in line", for example the Roman Emperors were officially "First Citizens," thus prince. The implication was that the ruler of Gwynedd was the 'first citizen' and 'leader' of Gwynedd. ('Princep Norwalia for Prince of Gwynedd, and Princep Walia for Prince of Wales.) The Princes of Wales never created a duke title, rendered into Welsh as duc or dug. Although in the Jacobite peerage there is the Duke of Powis. The English title Duke of Monmouth (a place in Wales) was created for an English lord.

The English Crown only ever acknowledged the rulers of Gwynedd as equal in rank to sovereign, albeit subject, prince. Had Wales survived the Edwardian Conquest in the 13th century, no doubt that the native Welsh monarchy and peerage would adopt, adapt, and truncate, titles as society evolved. The Edwardian Conquest eliminated the native Welsh peerage, but some vestiges of native titles survived and were adopted into the English peerage, and became increasingly obscure.

Also, had the Norman Conquest failed, England would undoubtedly have maintained closer cultural and linguistic ties with Denmark and Germany, and titles may have been rendered closer to those languages then the Romance languages.


Welsh and English titles


Brenin / Brenhines King / Queen Post-Roman Empire
Tywysog / Tywysoges Prince / Princess Latin, post-Roman Empire
Duc / Duces Duke / Duchess (14th century)
Ardalydd / Ardalyddes Marquess / Marchioness (15th century)
Iarll / Iarlles Earl / Countess (8th century)
Isiarll / Isiarlles Viscount / Viscountess (15th century)
Barwn / Barwnes Baron / Baroness (c. 13th century)
Barwnig / Barwniges Baronet / Baronetess
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