Posted by: Jack Henry | December 26, 2013

Editor’s Corner: 10 Lords A-Leaping

Christmas is over, but as I explained at the beginning of these 12 days (see we are really talking about the 12 days between Christmas and January 6.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 10 lords a-leaping…and I said, “It’s about time! Finally, something for those of us who don’t really appreciate the birds, milkmaids, or dancing ladies!”

Today, I thought I’d take a look at royal titles. It is tough to narrow down the topic because the empires and kingdoms of the past are either extinct or have evolved into something new. My guess is that we are most familiar with the mix of titles that come from Europe. Here are the titles and ranks of various European nobles (with male and female equivalents) from various Wikipedia articles on nobility. I have edited the daylights out of the details to prevent this from becoming 50 pages long.

Title (male) Title (female) Details Area of Administration
Emperor Empress · An Emperor (through Old French empereor from Latin imperator) is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm.

· An Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate:

o An emperor’s wife (empress consort)

o An emperor’s mother (empress dowager)

o A woman who rules in her own right (empress regnant)

· Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honor and rank than kings.

· The Emperor of Japan is the only remaining reigning monarch in the world reigning under the title of Emperor.

King Queen · A monarch is a supreme or absolute head of a state government, either in reality or symbolically.

· A monarch typically inherits sovereignty by birth, or is elected

· A monarch typically rules for life or until abdication

kingdom, realm
Archduke Archduchess · Rank within the Holy Roman Empire archduchy
Grand Duke Grand Duchess · Used in Western Europe, particularly in Germanic countries for lesser sovereigns

· Grand duke ranks in order of precedence below a king but higher than a Sovereign Duke

· Grand duke is also the usual and established translation of “Grand Prince” in languages that do not differentiate between princes who are children of a monarch (e.g. German Prinz) and ruling princes (e.g. German Fürst).

grand duchy
Grand Prince KC – Didn’t see any references to Grand Princesses · The title “Grand Prince” or “Great Prince” (Latin: Magnus Princeps) ranked in honor below emperor and tsar and above a sovereign prince (or Fürst).

· The last titular grand principalities vanished in 1917 and 1918

o This included the grand principalities of Lithuania, Transylvania, and Finland.

grand principality
Prince Princess · Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch, or member of a monarch’s or former monarch’s family

· A hereditary title

· The English word derives, via the French word prince, from the Latin noun princeps, from primus (first) + capio (to seize), meaning "the chief, most distinguished, ruler, prince"

kingdom (inherited)
Infante Infanta · Title and rank given in the Iberian kingdoms of Spain (including the predecessor kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, Navarre and León), and Portugal, to the sons and daughters of the king kingdom (inherited)
Duke Duchess · Can either be a monarch ruling over a duchy or a member of the nobility

· The title comes from French duc, itself from the Latin dux (leader), a term used in republican Rome to refer to a military commander without an official rank

· During the Middle Ages, dukes were the rulers of the provinces and the superiors of the counts in the cities

· Later, in the feudal monarchies, the highest-ranking peers of the king

· During the 19th century, many smaller German and Italian states were ruled by dukes or grand dukes

· Presently, with the exception of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, there are no ruling dukes

· A woman who holds in her own right the title to such duchy or dukedom, or is the wife of a duke, is normally styled duchess

· Queen Elizabeth II, an exception to the rules above, is known by tradition as Duke of Normandy in the Channel Islands and Duke of Lancaster in Lancashire

duchy, dukedom
Sovereign Prince
Sovereign Princess


· Fürst (from Old High German furisto, "first", a translation of the Latin princeps; plural: Fürsten) is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as prince

· The term refers to the head of a principality or the head of a high-ranking noble family; distinguished from the son of a monarch, who is referred to as Prinz



· Noble person of hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those of some of their former colonies

· Trusted to defend and fortify against potentially hostile neighbors (and thus more important and ranked higher than a count)

· Ranked below duke, which was often restricted to the royal family and those that were held in high enough esteem to be granted such a title

· Relatively late introduction to the British peerage

march (land on a country’s border)
· Title in European countries for a noble of varying status

· The title “Count” came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor"

· British and Irish equivalent is an earl (whose wife is a "countess", for lack of an English term)

· Alternative names for the "Count" rank in the nobility structure are used in other countries, such as Graf in Germany and Hakushaku during the Japanese Imperial era.

county (land inside a country’s border, not on the border itself)
Viscount Viscountess · A member of the European nobility

· There are approximately 270 viscountships currently extant in the peerages of the British Isles

viscountship, viscounty, or viscountcy
Baron Baroness · Title of honor, often hereditary

· Depending on the country, some baronies were bought and sold

· One of the lowest titles in the various nobiliary systems of Europe

Hereditary Knight
Baronetess · The holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown

· A baronetcy is the only hereditary honor which is not a peerage; baronets are not members of the nobility

· The practice of awarding baronetcies was originally introduced in England in the 1300s to raise funds

· A baronet is styled "Sir" like a knight (or "Dame" for a baronetess), but ranks above most knighthoods and damehoods

· The baronetage, as a class, are considered members of the gentry


(salutation: Sir)

(salutation: Dame) · Person granted honorary title of knighthood by a monarch or other political leader for service to the monarch or country, especially in a military capacity

· Historically, in Europe, knighthood has been conferred upon mounted warriors

· During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility

· By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior

· Since the Early Modern period, the title of knight is purely honorific, usually bestowed by a monarch, often for non-military service to the country

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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