Royal and noble ranks

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Traditional rank amongst European royalty, peers, and nobility is rooted in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Although they vary over time and between geographic regions (for example, one region's prince might be equal to another's grand duke), the following is a reasonably comprehensive list that provides information on both general ranks and specific differences.

Ranks and titles[edit]

Sovereign[edit]

Main articles: Monarch and Sovereign
Common titles for European and Near Eastern monarchs

Note that many titles listed may also be used by lesser nobles - non-sovereigns - depending on the historical period and state. The sovereign titles listed below are grouped together into categories roughly according to their degree of dignity; these being: imperial, high royal, royal, others (princely, ducal, more), and religious.

Imperial titles

High royal titles

Royal titles

Princely, ducal, and other sovereign titles

Religious titles

Other sovereigns, royals, peerage, and major nobility[edit]

Several ranks were widely used (for more than a thousand years in Europe alone) for both sovereign rulers and non-sovereigns. Additional knowledge about the territory and historic period is required to know whether the rank holder was a sovereign or non-sovereign. However, joint precedence among rank holders often greatly depended on whether a rank holder was sovereign, whether of the same rank or not. This situation was most widely exemplified by the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) in Europe. Almost all of the following ranks were commonly both sovereign and non-sovereign within the HRE. Outside of the HRE, the most common sovereign rank of these below was that of Prince. Within the HRE, those holding the following ranks who were also sovereigns had (enjoyed) what was known as an immediate relationship with the Emperor. Those holding non-sovereign ranks held only a mediate relationship (meaning that the civil hierarchy upwards was mediated by one or more intermediaries between the rank holder and the Emperor).

Titles

Regarding the titles of duke and prince: in Germany, a sovereign duke (Herzog) outranks a sovereign prince (Fürst). A cadet prince (Prinz) who belongs to an imperial or royal dynasty, however, may outrank a duke who is the cadet of a reigning house e.g. Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Mecklenburg or Oldenburg. The children of a ruling grand duke might be titled duke (Mecklenburg, Oldenburg) or prince (Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Saxe-Weimar) in accordance with the customs of the dynasty.

Children of ruling dukes and of ruling princes (Fürst) were, however, all titled prince (Prinz). The heir apparent to a ruling or mediatised title would usually prepend the prefix Erb- (hereditary) to his or her title, e.g. Erbherzog, Erbprinz, Erbgraf, to distinguish their status from that of their junior siblings. Children of a mediatised Fürst were either Prinzen or Grafen, depending upon whether the princely title was limited to descent by masculine primogeniture or not. In the German non-sovereign nobility, a duke (Herzog) still ranked higher than a prince (Fürst).

Minor nobility, gentry, and other aristocracy[edit]

Main articles: Aristocracy (class) and Gentry

The distinction between the ranks of the major nobility (listed above) and the minor nobility, listed here, was not always a sharp one in all nations. But the precedence of the ranks of a Baronet or a Knight is quite generally accepted for where this distinction exists for most nations. Here the rank of Baronet (ranking above a Knight) is taken as the highest rank among the ranks of the minor nobility or gentry that are listed below.

Titles

In Germany, the constitution of the Weimar Republic in 1919 ceased to accord privileges to members of dynastic and noble families. Their titles henceforth became legal parts of the family name, and traditional forms of address (e.g., "Hoheit" or "Durchlaucht") ceased to be accorded to them by governmental entities. The last title was conferred on 12 November 1918 to Kurt von Klefeld. The actual rank of a title-holder in Germany depended not only on the nominal rank of the title, but also the degree of sovereignty exercised, the rank of the title-holder's suzerain, and the length of time the family possessed its status within the nobility (Uradel, Briefadel, altfürstliche, neufürstliche, see: German nobility). Thus, any reigning sovereign ranks higher than any deposed or mediatized sovereign (e.g., the Fürst of Waldeck, sovereign until 1918, was higher than the Duke of Arenberg, head of a mediatized family, although Herzog is nominally a higher title than Fürst). However, former holders of higher titles in extant monarchies retained their relative rank, i.e., a queen dowager of Belgium outranks the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein. Members of a formerly sovereign or mediatized house rank higher than the nobility. Among the nobility, those whose titles derive from the Holy Roman Empire rank higher than the holder of an equivalent title granted by one of the German monarchs after 1806.

In Austria, nobility titles may no longer be used since 1918.[8]

In Switzerland, nobility titles are prohibited and are not recognized as part of the family name.

Corresponding titles between languages[edit]

Below is a comparative table of corresponding royal and noble titles in various European countries. Quite often, a Latin 3rd declension noun formed a distinctive feminine title by adding -issa to its base, but usually the 3rd declension noun was used for both male and female nobles, except for Imperator and Rex. 3rd declension nouns are italicized in this chart. See Royal and noble styles to learn how to address holders of these titles properly.

 Emperor,
Empress
King,
Queen
Grand Duke/
Grand Prince,
Grand Duchess/
Grand Princess
Archduke,
Archduchess
Duke,
Duchess
(Prince)-Elector,
Electress
Prince,[9]
Princess
Viceroy,
Vicereine
Marquess/
Margrave,
Marchioness/
Margravine
Earl / Count,
Countess
Viscount,
Viscountess
Baron,
Baroness
Baronet[10]
Baronetess
Knight[11] / DameEsquire, Gentleman
Latin[12]Imperator/
Caesar,
Imperatrix/
Caesarina
Rex,
Regina
Magnus Dux/
Magnus Princeps,
Magna Ducissa,
Magna Principissa
Archidux,
Archiducissa
Dux,
Ducissa
Princeps ElectorPrinceps,
Principissa
Prorex,
Proregina
Marchio,
Marchionissa
Comes,
Comitissa
Vicecomes,
Vicecomitissa
Baro,
Baronissa
 EquesNobilis Homo (N.H.)
BosnianCar,
Carica
Kralj,
Kraljica
Veliki vojvoda,
Velika vojvodkinja
Nadvojvoda/
Herceg,
Nadvojvodkinja/
Hercoginja
Vojvoda,
Vojvodkinja
Princ,
Princeza
Knez,
Kneginja
Ban,
Vicereine
Markiz,
Markiza
Grof,
Grofica
Vikont,
Vikontica
Baron,
Baronica/
Baronesa
Barunet,
Baruneta
VitezGospodin
CroatianCar,
Carica
Kralj,
Kraljica
Veliki vojvoda,
Velika vojvodkinja
Nadvojvoda,
Nadvojvodkinja
Vojvoda,
Vojvodkinja
Princ,
Princeza
Knez,
Kneginja
Ban,
Vicereine
Markiz,
Markiza
Grof,
Grofica
Vikont,
Vikontica
Barun,
Barunica
Barunet,
Baruneta
VitezGospodin
CzechCísař,
Císařovna
Král,
Královna
Velkovévoda,
Velkovévodkyně
Arcivévoda,
Arcivévodkyně
Vévoda,
Vévodkyně
Kurfiřt,
Kurfiřtka
Kníže,
Kněžna10
Místokrál/Vicekrál
Místokrálovna/Vicekrálovna
Markýz/Markrabě[13]
Markýza/Markraběnka
Hrabě,
Hraběnka
Vikomt,
Vikomtka/Vikomtesa
Baron,
Baronka
BaronetRytířPán,
Paní
DanishKejser,
Kejserinde
Konge
Dronning
Storhertug,
Storhertuginde
Ærkehertug,
Ærkehertuginde
Hertug,
Hertuginde
Kurfyrste,
Kurfystinde
Prins/Fyrste
Prinsesse/Fyrstinde
Vicekonge,
Vicedronning
Markis,
Markise
Greve
Grevinde, Komtesse
Vicegreve,
Vicegrevinde/
Vicekomtesse
Baron, Friherre,
Baronesse, Friherreinde
Baronet,
Baronetesse
RidderJunker
DutchKeizer,
Keizerin
Koning,
Koningin
Groothertog,
Groothertogin
Aartshertog,
Aartshertogin 
Hertog,
Hertogin
Keurvorst,
Keurvorstin
Prins/Vorst,
Prinses/Vorstin
Onderkoning,
Onderkoningin
Markies/Markgraaf,
Markiezin/Markgravin
Graaf,
Gravin
Burggraaf,
Burggravin
Baron,
Barones(se)
ErfridderRidderJonkheer
Finnish[14]Keisari,
Keisarinna (or Keisaritar, obsolete)
Kuningas,
Kuningatar
Suurherttua/Suuriruhtinas,
Suurherttuatar/Suuriruhtinatar
Arkkiherttua,
Arkkiherttuatar
Herttua,
Herttuatar
Vaaliruhtinas,
Vaaliruhtinatar
Prinssi/Ruhtinas,
Prinsessa/Ruhtinatar[15]
Varakuningas,
Varakuningatar
Markiisi/Rajakreivi,
Markiisitar/Rajakreivitär
Jaarli/Kreivi,
Kreivitär[15]
Varakreivi,
Varakreivitär
Paroni, Vapaaherra,
Paronitar, Rouva/ Vapaaherratar[15]
Baronetti, "Herra" (=fiefholder),
Herratar
Aatelinen/Ritari[15]
style of wife: Rouva
 
FrenchEmpereur,
Impératrice
Roi,
Reine
Grand Duc,
Grande Duchesse
Archiduc, ArchiduchesseDuc,
Duchesse
Prince-électeur,
Princesse-électrice
Prince,[9]
Princesse
Viceroi,
Vicereine
Marquis,
Marquise
Comte,
Comtesse
Vicomte,
Vicomtesse
Baron,
Baronne
BaronnetChevalierEcuyer,
Gentilhomme
GermanKaiser,
Kaiserin
König,
Königin
Großherzog/
Großfürst,
Großherzogin/
Großfürstin
Erzherzog,
Erzherzogin
Herzog,
Herzogin
Kurfürst,
Kurfürstin
Prinz/Fürst,
Prinzessin/Fürstin[16]
Vizekönig,
Vizekönigin
Markgraf,[17]
Markgräfin
Graf,
Gräfin
Vizegraf, Burggraf
Vizegräfin, Burggräfin
Baron, Herr, Freiherr
Baronin, Frau, Freifrau, Freiin
 RitterJunker (Prussia), Edler (Austria),
Junkerin, Edle
Greek domesticΑυτοκράτωρ,
Αυτοκράτειρα
Βασιλεύς,
Βασίλισσα
Δεσπότης,
Δέσποινα
Σεβαστοκράτωρ,
Σεβαστοκράτειρα
Καίσαρ,
Καισάρισσα
Νωβελίσσιμος,
Νωβελίσσιμα;
HungarianCsászár,
császárnő
Király,
királynő
Nagyherceg, fejedelem, vajda
nagyhercegnő, fejedelemasszony, -
Főherceg,
főhercegnő
Herceg,
hercegnő
Választófejedelem,
(választófejedelemnő)
Királyi herceg,
királyi hercegnő
Alkirály,
alkirálynő
Márki, őrgróf
márkinő, őrgrófnő
Gróf
grófnő
Várgróf, vikomt
Várgrófnő (vikomtnő)
Báró,
bárónő
Baronet,
baronetnő
Lovag (vitéz[18])Nemes,
nemesasszony
IcelandicKeisari,
keisarynja
Konungur, kóngur,
drottning
Stórhertogi,
stórhertogaynja
Hertogi,
hertogaynja
Fursti,
furstynja
Prins,
prinsessa
Vísikonungur,
vísidrottning
Markgreifi,
markgreifynja
Greifi, jarl
greifynja, jarlkona
Vísigreifi,
vísigreifynja
Barón, fríherra,
barónessa
RiddariAðalsmaður,
aðalskona
ItalianImperatore,
Imperatrice
Re,
Regina
Granduca,
Granduchessa
Arciduca,
Arciduchessa
Duca,
Duchessa
Principe Elettore,
Principessa Elettrice
Principe,[9]
Principessa
Viceré,
Viceregina
Marchese,
Marchesa
Conte,
Contessa
Visconte,
Viscontessa
Barone,
Baronessa
BaronettoCavaliereNobile, Nobiluomo
MalteseImperatur,
Imperatriċi
Re/Sultan,
Reġina/Sultana
Gran Duka,
Gran Dukessa
Arċiduka,
Arċidukessa
Duka,
Dukessa
Prinċep Elettur,
Prinċipessa Elettriċi
Prinċep,
Prinċipessa
Viċirè,
Viċireġina
Markiż,
Markiża
Konti,
Kontessa
Viskonti,
Viskontessa
Baruni,
Barunessa
BarunettKavallier 
NorwegianKeiser,
Keiserinne
Konge,
Dronning
Storhertug,
Storhertuginne
Erkehertug,
Erkehertuginne
Hertug,
Hertuginne
Kurfyrste,
Kurfyrstinne
Prins/Fyrste,
Prinsesse/Fyrstinne
Visekonge,
Visedronning
Marki,
Markise
Jarl / Greve,
Grevinne
Vikomte/Visegreve,
Visegrevinne
Baron, Friherre,
Baronesse, Friherreinde
 Ridder 
Polish[19]Cesarz,
Cesarzowa
Król,
Królowa
Wielki Książę,
Wielka Księżna
Arcyksiążę
Arcyksiężna
Diuk (Książę),
(Księżna)
Książę Elektor,
Księżna Elektorowa
Książę,
Księżna
Wicekról,
Wicekrólowa
Markiz/Margrabia,
Markiza/Margrabina
Hrabia,
Hrabina
Wicehrabia,
Wicehrabina
Baron,
Baronowa
BaronetRycerz/ Kawaler 
PortugueseImperador,
Imperatriz
Rei,
Rainha
Grão-Duque,
Grã-Duquesa
Arquiduque,
Arquiduquesa;
Duque,
Duquesa
Príncipe-Eleitor,
Princesa-Eleitora;
Príncipe,
Princesa
Vice-rei,
Vice-rainha
Marquês,
Marquesa
Conde,
Condessa[20]
Visconde,
Viscondessa
Barão,
Baronesa
Baronete,
Baronetesa;
CavaleiroFidalgo
RussianImperator/Tsar,
Imperatritsa/Tsaritsa
Koról/Tsar,
Koroléva/Tsaritsa
Velikiy Knyaz,
Velikaya Kniagina
Ertsgertsog,
Ertsgertsoginya
Gertsog,
Gertsoginya
Kurfyurst,
Kurfyurstina
Kniaz,
Kniagina[21]
Vitse-koról,
Vitse-koroléva
Markiz,
Markiza,
Boyar,
Boyarina[21]
Graf,
Grafinya[21]
Vikont,
Vikontessa
Baron,
Baronessa
BaronetRytsar 
SpanishEmperador,
Emperatriz
Rey,
Reina
Gran Duque,
Gran Duquesa
Archiduque,
Archiduquesa
Duque,
Duquesa
Príncipe Elector,
Princesa Electora;
Príncipe,[9]
Princesa
Virrey,
Virreina
Marqués,
Marquesa
Conde,
Condesa
Vizconde,
Vizcondesa
Barón,
Baronesa
BaronetCaballeroEscudero, Hidalgo
SlovakCisár,
Cisárovná
Kráľ,
Kráľovná
Veľkovojvoda,
Veľkovojvodkyňa
Arcivojvoda,
Arcivojvodkyňa
Vojovda,
Vojvodkyňa
Kurfirst/
Knieža voliteľ/
Knieža volič
Knieža,
Kňažná
Miestokráľ/VicekráľMarkíz,
Markíza
Gróf,
Grófka
Vikomt,
Vikontesa
Barón,
Barónka
BaronetRytier 
SloveneCesar,
Cesarica
Kralj,
Kraljica
Veliki vojvoda,
Velika vojvodinja
Nadvojvoda,
Nadvojvodinja
Vojvoda,
Vojvodinja
Volilni knez,
Volilna kneginja
Knez,
Kneginja
Podkralj,
Podkraljica
Markiz,
Markiza
Grof,
Grofica
Vikont,
Vikontinja
Baron,
Baronica
Baronet,
Baronetinja
VitezOproda
SwedishKejsare,
Kejsarinna
Kung,
Drottning
Storhertig/Storfurste,
Storhertiginna/Storfurstinna
Ärkehertig,
ärkehertiginna
Hertig,
hertiginna
Kurfurste
Kurfurstinna
Prins/Furste,
Prinsessa/Furstinna[15]
Vicekung,
Vicedrottning
Markis/markgreve,
markisinna/markgrevinna[15]
Greve,
Grevinna
Vicomte,
Vicomtessa
Baron, Herre, Friherre,
Baronessa, Fru, Friherreinde
 Riddare/Frälseman,
Fru[15]
 
Turkishİmparator,
İmparatoriçe
Kral,
Kraliçe
Grandük,
Grandüşes
Arşidük,
Arşidüşes
Dük,
Düşes
Veliaht Prens,
Veliaht Prenses
Prens,
Prenses
Vezir;Marki,
Markiz
Kont,
Kontes
Vikont,
Vikontes
Baron,
Barones
Baronet,
Baronetes
ŞövalyeBey, Efendi
WelshYmerawdwr,
Ymerodres
Brenin,
Brenhines
Archddug,
Archdduges
Archddug,
Archdduges
Dug,
Duges
 Tywysog,
Tywysoges
Marcwis/Ardalydd,
Ardalyddes
Iarll/Cownt,
Iarlles/Cowntes
Iarll,
Iarlles
Barwn,
Barwnes
Barwnig,
Barwniges
Marchog 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Loss of sovereignty or fief does not necessarily lead to loss of title. The position in the ranking table is however accordingly adjusted. The occurrence of fiefs has changed from time to time, and from country to country. For instance, dukes in England rarely had a duchy to rule.
  2. ^ A duke who is not actually or formerly sovereign, or a member of a reigning or formerly reigning dynasty, such as British, French, Portuguese, Spanish and most Italian dukes, is a non-dynastic noble ranking above a marquis.
  3. ^ Ruling of the Court of the Lord Lyon (26/2/1948, Vol. IV, page 26): "With regard to the words 'untitled nobility' employed in certain recent birthbrieves in relation to the (Minor) Baronage of Scotland, Finds and Declares that the (Minor) Barons of Scotland are, and have been both in this nobiliary Court and in the Court of Session recognised as a ‘titled nobility’ and that the estait of the Baronage (i.e. Barones Minores) are of the ancient Feudal Nobility of Scotland".
  4. ^ There are actually three Scottish dignities that are types of a Scottish Baron; these are (in descending order of rank): Scottish feudal Earl, Scottish Feudal Lord, and Scottish feudal Baron (the general name for the dignity listed above among the ranks of aristocratic gentry).
  5. ^ The meaning of the title Esquire became (and remains) quite diffuse, and may indicate anything from no aristocratic status, to some official government civil appointment, or (more historically) the son of a knight or noble who had no other title above just Gentleman.
  6. ^ In the United States, where there is no nobility, the title esquire is sometimes arrogated (without any governmental authorization) by lawyers admitted to the state bar.
  7. ^ Larence, Sir James Henry (1827) [first published 1824]. The nobility of the British Gentry or the political ranks and dignities of the British Empire compared with those on the continent (2nd ed.). London: T.Hookham -- Simpkin and Marshall. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  8. ^ Austrian law on noble titles
  9. ^ a b c d "Prince" (Prinz in German, Prins in Swedish, Prinssi in Finnish, "Principe" in Spanish) can also be a title of junior members of royal houses. In the British system, for example, prince is not a rank of nobility but a title held exclusively by members of the royal family.
  10. ^ Does not confer nobility in the British system.
  11. ^ Non-hereditary. Does not confer nobility in the British system. See also squire and esquire.
  12. ^ Latin titles are for etymological comparisons. They do not accurately reflect their medieval counterparts.
  13. ^ The title Markýz was not used in Bohemia and thus referred only to foreign nobility, while the title Markrabě (the same as the German Markgraf) is connected only to a few historical territories (including the former marches on the borders of the Holy Roman Empire, or Moravia).
  14. ^ Finland accorded the noble ranks of Ruhtinas, Kreivi, Vapaaherra and Aatelinen. The titles Suurherttua, Arkkiherttua, Vaaliruhtinas, Prinssi, Markiisi, Jaarli, Varakreivi, Paroni, and Baronetti were not granted in Finland, though they are used of foreign titleholders. Keisari, Kuningas, Suuriruhtinas, Prinssi, and Herttua have been used as official titles of members of the dynasties that ruled Finland, though not granted as titles of nobility. Some feudally-based privileges in landowning, connected to nobily related lordship, existed into the nineteenth century; and fiefs were common in the late medieval and early modern eras. The title Ritari was not commonly used except in the context of knightly orders. The lowest, untitled level of hereditary nobility was that of the "Aatelinen" (i.e. "noble").
  15. ^ a b c d e f g No noble titles were granted after 1906 when the unicameral legislatures (Eduskunta) were established, removing the constitutional status of the so-called First Estate. However, noble ranks were granted in Finland until 1917 (there, the lowest, untitled level of hereditary nobility was "Aatelinen", or "noble"; it was in essence a rank, not a title).
  16. ^ In central Europe, the title of Fürst or kníže (e.g. Fürst von Liechtenstein) ranks below the title of a duke (e.g. Duke of Brunswick). The title of Vizegraf was not used in German-speaking countries, and the titles of Ritter and Edler were not commonly used.
  17. ^ In the German system by rank approximately equal to Landgraf and Pfalzgraf.
  18. ^ The "vitéz" title was introduced in Hungary after 1920. In preceding ages simply meant a warrior or a courageous man.
  19. ^ In keeping with the principle of equality among noblemen, no noble titles (with few exceptions) below that of prince were allowed in Poland. The titles in italics are simply Polish translations of western titles which were granted to some Polish nobles by foreign monarchs, especially after the partitions. Instead of hereditary titles, the Polish nobility developed and used a set of titles based on offices held. See "szlachta" for more info on Polish nobility.
  20. ^ In Portugal, a baron or viscount who was a "grandee of the kingdom" (Portuguese: Grandes do Reino) was called a "baron with grandness" (Portuguese: Barão com Grandeza) or "viscount with grandness" (Portuguese: Visconde com Grandeza); each of these grandees was ranked as equal to a count.
  21. ^ a b c For domestic Russian nobility, only the titles Kniaz and Boyar were used before the 18th century, when Graf was added.

External links[edit]