As deposed dynasties do not form part of a state any more, it might appear that holders of their nobiliary titles do not belong to the nobility of the region over which the dynasty once ruled. This article examines if this assumption is correct. I will first examine a case where the monarch is the Head of State and subsequently examine three cases where the dynasty is deposed.
All modern British honours, including peerage dignities, are created by the Crown (analogous to all intents and purposes to the reigning Sovereign, currently HM Queen Elizabeth II). Therefore, the Crown is the fons honorum for all British honours. The final list of those nominated for honours is prepared by the Main Honours Committee at 10 Downing Street. The list incudes life peerages and knighthoods. When approved by the Committee, it is submitted, through the Prime Minister, to The Queen. The creations take effect when letters patent are issued, affixed with the Great Seal of the Realm, the chief seal of the Crown as a symbol of the Sovereign’s approval. In today’s constitutional monarchy, the Sovereign acts on the advice of the Government, but the Great Seal of the Realm remains an important symbol of the Sovereign’s role as Head of State:
The Queen is as much the Queen of New South Wales (In re Bateman’s Trust (1873) 15 Eq 355, 361) and Mauritius (R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex p Bhurosah  1 QB 266, 284) and other territories acknowledging her as head of state as she is of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom. Thus the Secretary of State as a servant of the Crown exercises executive power on behalf of the Crown in whatever is, for purposes of that exercise of executive power, the relevant capacity of the Crown.
Along with the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Crown is an integral part of the institution of Parliament. The Queen plays a constitutional role in opening and dissolving Parliament and approving Bills before they become law. When a bill has been approved by a majority in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, it is formally agreed to by the Crown. This is known as the Royal Assent. It transforms a Bill into an Act of Parliament, allowing it to become law in the United Kingdom.
Because in Britain, the State and its sovereign are entwined, the peers created by the sovereign belong to the peerage of the state. The peerage of the United Kingdom is the legal system comprising both hereditary and lifetime titles, composed of various noble ranks, and forming a constituent part of the British honours system. Therefore, a person who is granted a peerage by The Queen belongs to the British peerage.
Sovereign rights after the monarch is deposed
This situation is different when a monarch is involuntarily deposed: the monarch and the state are not entwined any more, but the two are separated. It is in line with international legal principles that (ex-)rulers continue to possess their sovereign rights (see Hugo Grotius’ De iure belli ac pacis; English: On the Law of War and Peace. Paris 1625), and therefore still hold the fons honorum to create nobiliary titles:
That is called Supreme, whose Acts are not subject to another’s Power, so that they cannot be made void by any other human Will. When I say, by any other, I exclude the Sovereign himself, who may change his own Will, as also his Successor, who enjoys the same Right, Cacheranus Decis Pedem. 139. n. 6. and consequently, has the same Power, and no other.
It has been stated by some individuals that the last King of Rwanda, King Kigeli V (1936-2016), did not enjoy sovereign powers under the Belgium suppression and that therefore he did not have the competence to create a Western-style nobiliary framework after being deposed.
Rwanda existed long before European colonization. The population coalesced first into clans and then into kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-eighteenth century, with the Tutsi kings conquering other monarchs militarily, thus centralising power. It had its own political and socio-economic organization, its culture and customs. The Kingdom of Rwanda was a sovereign nation. In the pre-colonial era the King of Rwanda held the supreme authority over a very complex administrative structure of interdependence of political, administration, military, social, economic and religion, based on the clan and lineage which appears behind each ruling structure:
During the suppression by the Belgians (1916-1962), the King of Rwanda’s executive power were limited. The colonizer institutionalized “chefferies” and “sous-chefferies” by regrouping ancient royal political – administrative entities but removed the chiefs of the land, the chiefs of pastures and the chiefs of the army. In the same occasion, the Mortehan Reform of 1926-1931 by the Belgians changed the ethnic power distribution in the new commands by removing average Hutu, Twa and Tutsi and replacing them by people from the major Tutsi lineages (matridynastic or dynastic and princes). Also, the king could no longer choose his chiefs, and he could not dismiss them. His power was weakened while that of the colonizer was reinforced. The King of the Belgian usurped the King of Rwanda’s sovereignty. During the Mortehan Reform, Rwanda was transformed inside out on political, administrative, social and culture levels. In five years time, Belgium destroyed Rwanda’s centuries old civilization.
In view of the forementioned, it is perfectly legitimate for the former King Kigeli V of Rwanda to issue Western-style nobiliary titles. His dynastic rights as a sovereign should be considered the same as in the pre-colonial era, when he had supreme authority. In my opinion, titleholders can state legitimately that they belong to the Rwandan peerage as it is perfectly clear who is the sole legitimate issuer of the title.
The case of Prince Francesco and Prince Thorbjorn Paternó Castello
Paternò Castello is a Sicilian noble family that was very powerful and influential in eastern Sicily, especially in Catania. Between the 17th and 18th centuries, the family acquired numerous possession and titles. The family can be divided into six branches: two princely (Biscari and Valsavoia), two ducal (Carcaci and Paternò Castello Guttadauro), one marquisate (San Giuliano), and two baronial (Bicocca and Sant’Alessio).
Paternò Castello descends from the Royal House of the Counts of Barcelona, later Kings of Aragon. The House of Barcelona was a medieval dynasty that ruled the County of Barcelona continuously from 878 and the Crown of Aragon from 1137 (as kings from 1162) until 1410. They inherited most of the Catalan counties by the thirteenth century and established a territorial Principality of Catalonia. This principality was united with the Kingdom of Aragon through marriage and conquering numerous other lands and kingdoms. In 1410, the last legitimate male of the main branch, Martin the Humanist, died but cadet branches of the house continued to rule Provence from 1112 to 1245, and Sicily from 1282 to 1409. By the Compromise of Caspe of 1412 the Crown of Aragon passed to a branch of the House of Trastámara, descended from the infanta Eleanor of the house of Barcelona.
The Crown of Aragon continued to exist until 1713 when its separate constitutional systems (Catalan Constitutions, Aragon Charters, and Charters of Valencia) were disbanded by the Nueva Planta decrees at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. The decrees effectively created a Spanish citizenship or nationality, which judicially no longer distinguished between Castilian and Aragonese with respect to both rights and law. Since then, independent Aragonese monarchs seized to exist. Nonetheless, Spanish monarchs up to Felipe VI (1968), continue to use titles that were affiliated to the defunct Crown of Aragon.
The House of Paternò is originally a cadet branch of the House of Barcelona-Aragona. This genealogical relationship is the basis for the dynastic claims of two brothers; prince Francesco Paternò Castello (*1964) and prince Thorbjorn Paternò Castello (*1976).
I have examined the legitimacy of both claims earlier in a 2016 article. At least two individuals are of the opinion that prince Thorbjorn’s claims are not legitimate:
The fons honorum of the House of Paternò is heavily challenged by Guy Stair Sainty, stating that as a junior member of a junior branch of the family don Roberto has no right to claim any prerogative pertaining to its chief, whether or not such prerogative actually exists (Guy Stair Sainty and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, World Orders of Knighthood and Merit 2006).
In 1973 Lt Col Robert Gayre published a booklet in which he states that “certain observations should be made which, in our opinion, destroy completely these historical claims. The Papal legitimation which is brought forward to allow the desired descent was, in itself, insufficient to transfer any title to the Crown of Aragon. Furthermore, as Aragon did not have the Salic law, the descent of the crown could pass through a female line. Consequently, even if the legitimization had put Don Pedro Sancho into the line of succession, that succession would have gone through a female line on the extinction of the male descent – and so to the house of Paternò would have been out of succession in any case.”. (…) It is clear that no matter how distinguished is the house Paternò, it cannot claim to be the heirs of the Kingdom of the Balearic Isles or of Aragon.” (Lt Col R. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg, A Glimpse of the Chivalric and Nobiliary Underworld, Lochore Enterprises (Malta) Ltd. Valetta, Malta, pp. 27-28).
R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast, Legal Opinion: The Fons Honorum of the House of Paternò Castello, 2016
The forementioned opinions are false. On 12 December 2017, the judicial court of Reggio Emilia in Italy confirmed the legitimacy and legality of prince Thorbjorn to grant titles and honours (his fons honorum). In response to the accusation of the public prosecutor that prince Thorborn was not a descendent of the House of Aragon, the court ruled very clearly:
There is no evidence that the crucial document for the claim, a statement issued by King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies (1810-1859), in whose realm the family resided, is false (as had been stated by the public prosecutor):
In ancient Sicily, titles could not only be inherited by the firstborn child, but also by other sons and daughters (the public prosecutor stated that succession could only take place through the male line):
The forementioned Paternò Castello-case is fascinating: it is the only case where the fons honorum of a royal claimant is sanctioned by an authoritative legal judgment in a case against the state. The consequence of the judgment is that the legitimacy and legality of the claimed dynastic rights of prince Thorbjorn Paternò Castello are definite.
In my opinion, holders of titles from both brothers should specify clearly that their titles originate from the house of Paternò Castello in the capacity of claimant to the dynastic rights of Aragon and Valencia because otherwise, confusion can arise about their origin as the King of Spain also claims these rights. In addition, Aragon and Valencia do not longer exist as independent regions, which also adds to the confusion. It is more practical to just refer to the House Paternò Castello, for example: Barone di Montichelvo (Princely House of Paternò Castello).
The case of King Peter of Yugoslavia
Petar Karađorđevič (1923, Belgrade – 1970, Los Angeles, California), was the last king of Yugoslavia. and ruled the country under the regnal name of Peter II.
Peter II was the son of Alexander I, who was assassinated during a visit to France on 9 October 1934. He became titular king at age 11, but the actual rule was in the hands of a regent, his uncle Prince Paul. After Paul was deposed by a coup of officers led by General Dušan Simović on 27 March 1941, Peter ruled for a few weeks until Fascist troops invaded Yugoslavia. Peter II then fled into exile in London, where he led an émigré government. In 1944, he married Princess Alexandra of Greece, and, after the Yugoslav monarchy was abolished by general Tito in 1945, he settled in the United States. He wrote A King’s Heritage: The Memoirs of King Peter II of Yugoslavia (1955) and worked in the public relations sector in New York (source: Encyclopaedia Britannica).
It was not the first time that the king visited the United States. His first visit to America started on 24 June 1942 with his reception at the White House where he was accorded warm hospitality by President Roosevelt. He was welcomed with full honours that even exceeded the official protocol (source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia).
Addressing King Peter in a very moving speech, President Roosevelt said that as a young man, he read about the 500-year-long Serbian struggle for national liberation and the establishment of its sovereignty, with great interest and deep emotions. Following this honourable tradition of your ancestors, you and your people have, at a critical point, chosen a path you have always followed, the path of justice and the defence of freedom. And thus you took the side of those who fight for the same ultimate goals, and at a time when that side was in a difficult position, forced to withdraw. In response to such a welcome, King Peter thanked President Roosevelt and the American people for the understanding and moral support showed for the struggle and suffering of his people (source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia).
On 22 January 2013, King Peter’s remains were returned to Belgrade. The former King was buried in the Royal Family Mausoleum at Oplenac on 26 May 2013 along with his wife, Queen Alexandra. The Serbian Royal Regalia were placed over the King’s coffin. Present at the ceremonies were: the First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, Ivica Dačić; King Peter’s son Alexander with his family; and Serbian Patriarch Irinej, an advocate for the restoration of the Serbian monarchy.
The acts of Peter II during his period in exile (1945 – 1970) are the acts of a sovereign, who was forced by the Communist Josip Broz Tito to give up his position. According to Hugo Grotius’ principles of international law, Peter II still enjoyed sovereignty after he had been deposed. Do recipients of noble titles, issued by King Peter II belong to the Yugoslav nobility?
I will answer this question on the basis of the complicated case of Thomas Shannon Foran (1925, New London, Connecticut, United States – 2005, Neuilly-Sur-Seine, Hauts-De-Seine, Île-De-France, France; as Thomas Foran de Saint Bar; France Death Index, 1970-2020). The New York times reported his orbituary:
FORAN–Thomas. Thomas Shannon, Baron Foran, duc de Saint Bar, died October 15, at home in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France, after a long illness. Baron Foran was born in New Haven, CT. In 1943, he volunteered as a paratrooper and joined the 82nd Airborne division, serving in the African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns, and parachuted behind German lines at Draguignan, France. He was wounded in France and in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. His medals include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart with two palms, and the Yugoslav War Cross. He was aide-de-camp to King Peter II of Yugoslavia and thereafter championed and published several books on the Yugoslav Karageorges Royal Family. After the war he lived in Paris, where he represented European wines and spirits in the US. He was a Knight Grand-Cross with sash of the Sovereign Order of Malta, an order he served in many capacities for 45 years. In recent years, his commentaries in European journals provided insights on European royalty and the breakup of Yugoslavia. He will be remembered gratefully by family and friends for his unconditional love, loyalty, and friendship; values that shaped his life. He is survived by a sister, Theodora Jones, his niece and adopted daughter, Valerie Knox Carter, their families, and by Marc Gantzer de Saint Bar. A Memorial Mass will be held at 10 am, Friday, November 4th, 2005, at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, 213 Broadway, Norwich, CT. Entombment in the Shannon mausoleum at St. Mary’s Cemetery, 815 Boswell Ave, will follow the Mass.
Foran was the son of John Kennedy Foran and Madeleine Valerie. King Peter II issued a diploma, dated 30 March 1941, issuing to him the title of duc de Saint Bar. Obviously, the diploma has been backdated to a period when Peter II ruled over Yugoslavia as a monarch. Is the backdating of the diploma acceptable from a legal perspective?
Clearly, Peter II wanted to explicitly backdate the effects of the diploma in his capacity as ruling monarch of Yugoslavia. The diploma could factually have been issued later in the Common Law jurisdictions of England or the United States (the King’s subsequent main residences after the war), or in France, where the King lived in the 1950’s.
In Common Law, if backdating a document misleads a third party or gives a false impression about when an action was taken, it may be fraudulent. Where both parties consent to the backdating of the document, normally the courts in common law jurisdictions will disregard the backdating of that document, and treat the rights as accruing from the date when the document was actually executed. In exceptional cases – where third party rights are not affected – the courts might treat the stated date as being the effective date. The parties’ intentions are essential when evaluating whether backdating is legal (source: Kwall, Jeffrey L. and Duhl, Stuart, Backdating. Business Lawyer, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1112845). In this case, the purpose and effect was not to mislead a third party, but to underline the sovereign powers of Peter II, and to oppose the usurpation of his throne by the Communists, by attributing legal effect of the diploma since 1943. When the diploma was factually created in France, which has a Civil Law jurisdiction, the conclusion is the same, based on the théorie de l’autonomie de la volonté (the principle of party autonomy and will). Therefore, Foran’s diploma is legal and legitimate, from a Common and Civil Law perspective as well as from an international law perspective.
On 4 December 1918, after the end of World War I and the defeat of Austria-Hungary, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed. In 1921, the so-called Vidovdan constitution was introduced. Under this new Constitution, the territory of the state was centralized, church authorities did not have the status of state authority, and the Church was only acknowledged the status of an autonomous organization. The Vidovdan Constitution established a constitutional monarchy. It further envisaged that the King did not have any authorities outside the Constitution, and that there were no authorities that could not be taken away from him under the Constitution. The Vidovdan Constitution followed the agreement between the Muslim party and the Serbian radicals to keep Bosnia and Herzegovina a separate administrative unit in this new kingdom. However, this constitution was not legitimate, because the provisions it rested on were not approved by the parliamentary majority of each nation separately but by the parliamentary majority of all nations together, where the three nations had unequal number of representative (source: Aksic, Sava: 2016). The Vidovdan constitution was annulled by King Alexander in 1929 and replaced by a new constitution in 1931. The name of the country was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The 1931-constitution defined the state as a hereditary and constitutional monarchy. Ministers and other high officials were dependent on the king. In 1946, after World War II, a Communist constitution was adopted (source: Constitutionnet.org).
Chapter II, Article 4 of the 1931 Constitution stipulated:
Држављанство је у читавој Краљевини једно. Сви су грађани пред законом једнаки. Сви уживају једнаку заштиту власти. Не признаје се племство ни титуле, нити икаква преимућства по рођењу.
There is but one single nationality in the whole Kingdom. All citizens are equal before the law. All enjoy equal protection from the authorities. Nobility, titles or other hereditary privileges are not recognized.
Did this article prevent King Peter from issuing nobiliary diplomas, after he left the country because it was occupied by Axis powers (since 6 April 1941)?
Art. 29. The King is the guardian of national unity and State integrity. He is the protector of their interests at all times. The King sanctions and promulgates the laws, appoints civil servants, and confers military rank, in accordance with the provisions of the law. The King is the supreme commander of all the military forces. He confers decorations and other distinctions.
Art 29, Chapter V, The Constitution of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1931)
Art. 29 allows the King to confer decorations and other distinctions. Therefore, although nobiliary titles did not carry privileges, they could still be conferred. The sovereign powers King Peter II had as a monarch were still valid after he was deposed, including his right to confer decorations and other distinctions. In my opinion, this included the right to confer titles of honour, like duc de Saint-Bar.
Considering the date of the diploma, it was King Peter’s intention to issue the title in his capacity as sovereign monarch of Yugoslavia with legal effect from 1943 onwards. It can therefore be said that the recipient of the title and his successors belong to the nobility of Yugoslavia. In this case, there is no confusion, since Yugoslavia ceased to exist as a state in 1992 and it therefore should be understood, that the title has a historical character.
In dynastic matters, it is inappropriate to follow the legal system of the usurper. Applying the Belgian colonial laws in the Kigali-case would be like applying the Soviet laws as criteria for judging the dynastic rights of the Russian imperial pretenders.
Recognition by a court is rarely achieved. SMOM obviously never expected the outcome of the Paternò Castello-case.
When a title is obtained from a deposed dynasty, I recommend being fully transparent by specifying the dynasty that issued the title; for example: Comte de Saint-Anselm (Royal House of Rwanda). Although, based on the principle of sovereignty, it is not incorrect to state that a person belongs to the Rwandan nobility, it can cause confusion regarding the issuer’s capacity. The same is true for other titles, issued by dynastic claimants.
Blagojević A., Radonić, B. On the Constitution of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia of 1931, in: Journal of law and social sciencesof the Law Faculty of University J.J. Strossmayer in Osijek = Zeitschrift für Rechts-und Sozialwissenschaften der Fakultät für Rehtswissenschaften der Universität J.J. Strossmayer in Osijek = Journal des sciences juridiq, Vol. 28 No. 1, 2012.
Ranouil, V. L’Autonomie de la volonté: Naissance et évolution d’un concept, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, coll. « Travaux et recherches de l’Université de droit, d’économie et de sciences sociales de Paris », 1980.
Aksic, Sava. (2016). Legitimacy of the Vidovdan Constitution and relationships established thereby. Zbornik radova Pravnog fakulteta, Nis. 55. 105-116. 10.5937/zrpfni1673105A.
Saint-Bar, T. F. (1999). Les Karageorges rois de Serbie et de Yougoslavie: De l’assassinat de la monarchie et de la démocratie en Yougoslavie par Tito, avec l’aide de Staline, jusqu’à la guerre du Kosovo. Paris: Christian.
Saint-Bar, T. F. (2004). Ordres et décorations du royaume de Yougoslavie: Pierre II, le dernier souverain. Paris: Christian.
Saint-Bar, T. F. (2006). Orders and decorations of the kingdom of Yugoslavia: Peter II, the last king. Paris: Christian.
Foran, T. D. (1973). Portrait d’un roi: Pierre II de Yougoslavie. Ivry sur Seine: Ed. SERG Société d’études et de réalisations graphiques.
Mallet, G. (1994). Étude des titres nobiliaires Baron de Luis XIV, Duc de Saint Bar, portés par le citoyen americain Thomas Foran. París: S.n.
Chrétien, J. (1986). Roi, religion, lignages en Afrique Orientale précoloniale – royautés sans Etat et monarchies absolues. Paris: P.U.F.
Gahama, J. (1983). Le Burundi sous l’administration belge: La période du mandat, 1919-1939. Paris: C.R.A.
Heusch, L. D. (1966). Le Rwanda et la civilisation interlacustre. Université libre de Bruxelles: Institut de sociologie.
Maquet, J. J. (1954). Le système des relations sociales dans le Ruanda ancien. Tervuren, Belgique: Musée Royal du Congo Belge.
Grimm D.: Cooper B. (2015). Sovereignty: The Origin and Future of a Political and Legal Concept, New York: Columbia University Press.
Hoegen Dijkhof, H.J. (2006). The legitimacy of orders of St. John: A historical and legal analysis and case study of a para-religious phenomenon.
Persian Envoys before the King of Ethiopia by Franciszek Smuglewicz. Franciszek Smuglewicz was a Polish-Lithuanian draughtsman and painter. Smuglewicz is considered a progenitor of Lithuanian art in the modern era. He was precursor of historicism in Polish painting. He was also a founder of Vilnius school of art, his most prominent students were Jan Rustem, Jan Krzysztof Damel, Gaspar Borowski and Józef Oleszkiewicz. His father Łukasz Smuglewicz and brother Antoni were also painters;
Franciszek Smuglewicz is one of the most famous Lithuanian Classicism painters, the first professor and the head of the Drawing and Painting Department established in late 18th century in Vilnius University. His artworks and educational activities made significant impact for the development of professional Lithuanian art. His ancient subject paintings were inspired by works of Antique authors, such as Herodotus, Plutarch, Homer, and Vergilius. Depicted scenes were given philosophic and moralising subtext, corresponding with the spirit of the Enlightened Classicism. Painting “Persian Envoys before the King of Ethiopia“ portrays the episode described in “The History” by Herodotus, when the messengers of Persian king Cambyses (d. 522 BC), who plots an attack on Ethiopia, visits the Ethiopian king. Envoys brought gifts: a purple robe, a gold chain and a pin, an alabaster box containing balsam, and amphorae of wine. The king of Ethiopia realizes their cunning advances. He presents Persians with a bow and orders it to be given to their king, suggesting him to march upon the Ethiopians only when his forces are capable of drawing such mighty bows. Until they are able to do so, the Persians should thank their gods that the thought of marching to foreign lands did not cross the minds of Ethiopian sons. In the painting the bow is already in the hands of Persian envoy. Ethiopian king ignoring gifts piled at his feet drives his guests away with a thrust of his hand. Both “Persian Envoys before the King of Ethiopia” and “Scythian Messengers Meet the Persian King Darius I“ promote the right of nations to be independent and to fight for their freedom. As the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ceased to exist in the late 18th century after its territory was partitioned among Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and the Russian Empire these ideas were very important at the time Franciszek Smuglewicz lived in and during the following years.
Salzburg is also known as the German Rome because of its fine ecclesiastical architecture. The city is of post-Roman origin and started developing with the founding of the Abbey of Saint Peter by Saint Rupert of Worms in 696 and with the cathedral by Saint Virgil in 774. In the eighth century, the Pope elevated the bishopric of Salzburg to an archdiocese and the Archbishop of Salzburg was appointed papal legate. This church official, also known as apostolic legate, was the personal representative of the Pope. As papal legate, he was empowered on matters of Catholic faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters.
In 1278, in his capacity of Roman-German King, Rudolf von Habsburg (1218 – 1291), attributed the title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire to the archbishop of Salzburg and his successors. During centuries of relative peace, except for the Peasants’ War of 1525–6, the power and prestige of Salzburg increased. It became the most important and influential archdiocese and sacred state in German-speaking Europe. In 1700, about 55 years before the birth of Mozart, Salzburg’s boundaries stretched north and west into what is today Bavaria and east and south as far as Wiener Neustadt and Graz. Salzburg was a profoundly conservative state, predicated on a severe Catholic orthodoxy: the Jews were expelled from Salzburg in 1498 and the Protestants in 1731–2 (Eisen: 1989).
However, in the 17th century, the pious archdiocese of Salzburg was the scene of a Romeo and Juliet-like tragedy.
Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg
Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (1559 – 1617) was Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg from 1587 to 1612. He was born at Hofen Castle in Lochau, Austria, near Lake Constance, at the border to Germany. He was the son of colonel Hans Werner von Raitenau and his wife Helene von Hohenems. The latter was a niece of Pope Pius IV and sister of Mark Sittich von Hohenems Altemps, consecrated Bishop of Constance in 1561. She was also sister-in-law of Cardinal Charles Borromeo.
At a wedding party at the Alte Stadttrinkstube, Raitenau spotted the beautiful Salome Alt (1568 – 1633), the daughter of high-profile and wealthy textile merchant and city councillor Wilhelm Alt and the granddaughter of Ludwig Alt, former mayor of Salzburg. The family was of the Lutheran faith. Contemporary sources describe Salome Alt as a tall grown woman and belle of the city. She became Raitenau’s mistress from about 1593 until 1617. Despite the forbidden nature of their love, they were determined to be together. Raitenau petitioned the Pope for permission to marry several times, as it was not unheard of in those times, but the prospect of Salome and the family of 15 inheriting church property prevented that from happening. Raitenau could give up his role as Archbishop, so they could be together, but that would throw away all his plans to modernize Salzburg.
He was facing a choice between his life’s work and his life’s love. Unlike many people facing two unpleasant choices, Dietrich refused to accept the situation and carved out a third way. He built the beautiful palace of Altenau for Salome Alt, which is now called Mirabell (made famous in recent times as a setting in the movie The Sound of Music). They “lived together” in an era when it was scandalous to do so. But Raitenau knew his position was powerful enough and his talents were needed enough to let him continue his irregular private lifestyle. The couple had 15 children together over 20 years and by all accounts had a loving partnership. Because Salome and their children had no privileges or standing without an official marriage, in 1600 Raitenau conferred the noble status in the form of von Altenau on her as a form of economic protection. On 28 August 1609 Alt was ennobled by Emperor Rudolf II. in Prague with the predicate von. Since then, she belonged to the nobility of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
The same elevation took place regarding her children, who were “born out of the relation with a leading member of the clergy” (“bei einer fürnemben geistlichen Person“) with cleansing of the consequences of being born out of wedlock “aller Makel und Gebrechen ihrer unehelichen Geburt enthoben“.
Sadly, Raitenau’s rule was brought down after, in 1612, he lost a fierce dispute with his mighty neighbour, Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria. Raitenau was captured, deposed and imprisoned for life by his nephew and successor, Mark Sittich von Hohenems, first at Hohenwerfen Castle and later in Hohensalzburg. From this fort-like structure overlooking the city, he was able to see his beloved Salzburg and the former home Mirabell of his love, Salome Alt. He died five years later, never seeing Salome or their children again. He wrote on the wall of one of his rooms at the fort: “Love is suffering in the end“.
Salome rushed her children to safety, and with the money and status conferred upon her by Raitenau, she was able to secure them a safe life in Northern Austria. She died in 1631, never marrying.
Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau and Salome Alt had fifteen children. Five children died young, six children reached adulthood and the names of only eleven children are known. The book Hundert Salzburger Familien (1946) contains a well-documented genealogy of the Alt-family:
Adam Anton Grundemann von Falkenberg ∞ Susanna Katharina Grüber von Grübegg,
Franz Fortunat Grundemann von Falkenberg (Benedictine monk in Kremsmünster),
Johann Erasmus Grundemann von Falkenberg († unmarried in military service),
Ferdinand Wilhelm Grundemann von Falkenberg, drowned near Linz at the age of 13.
Ferdinand Adam Rudolf Grundemann von Falkenberg († as a child).
Anton von Altenau,
Wolf Dietrich von Altenau,
Viktor von Altenau (* 1604, † 1638 in the Hoffmannsches Freihaus in Wels (also known as Haus der Salome Alt ∞ in 1634 in the Salzburg Cathedral with Katharina Götz, daughter of the kurbayerischer Kanzler in Burghausen, Dr. Johann Götz).
Johann Georg Eberhard von Altenau (* 1605,† 1675) became a Benedictine monk under the name of ‘Ägidius’ in the monestary of Kremsmünster,
Susanna von Altenau.
Apart from its highly romantic aspects, the story of Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau and Salome Alt, illustrates the power of sovereignty in the form of supreme authority. Raitenau’s sovereignty, combined with his willpower to take care of his beloved ones, overruled the traditional laws of succession of nobiliary titles. He refused to accept the laws of clerical celibacy and the prohibition of cohabitation. Raitenau was ahead of his time.
Nobiliary succession rules, for example regarding unmarried couples like Raitenau-Alt, have changed over time due to ever evolving legal principles. They adapted to new realities and to changing cultural and social norms. Exceptions that once proved the rule, have often become the rule in modern times:
Ancient Salic law excluded females from dynastic succession. It is still applied in modern times when succession of nobiliary titles is discussed. In contrast, gender equality is a fundamental human right that for the first time was enshrined by the United Nations in the UN Charter in 1945. Based on the principle of gender equality, Prince Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro (who has no sons), broke with tradition by implementing dynastic succession to his eldest daughter. In 2010, Prince Eduard of Anhalt modified the House of Anhalt-Ascania laws by abolishing the Salic laws and recognising his eldest daughter as his dynastic heir. In addition, Prince Eduard stipulated that gender would be irrelevant in determining the line of descent in the future. In these cases, preserving tradition can only be achieved by adapting modern legal principles.
In the United Kingdom, most hereditary peerages descend the male line (known as male primogeniture), which means that the peerage can only be inherited by a male relative. There are some exceptions that enable a woman to inherit. These are: (1) Women may inherit a title which is a barony by writ (rather than the more common letters patent); (2) in Scotland most peerages may pass to a woman in families with daughters but no sons; (3) a ‘special remainder’ may be granted by the Crown to allow a woman to inherit a title; (4) a woman can be given a hereditary peerage by the Crown. The Equality (Titles) Bill, also known as “Downton Law” would end gender discrimination and allow for equal succession of female heirs to hereditary titles and peerages. The law was rejected at committee stage in the Lords and progressed no further. In this case, the exception did not yet become the rule. However, the issue is still under debate.
As in most of Europe, Spanish nobility descends to all legitimate descendants, male and female, in the male line (see e.g.: Ms. Munoz-Vargas y Sainz de Vicuna, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 7/2005, U.N. Doc. A/62/38, at 474, 2007). The Spanish law on equality between men and women on succession to titles of nobility (Law 33/2006 of 30 October 2016) has been published in the official bulletin on 31 October 2006 and entered into force on 20 November 2006. Until 2006, hereditary titles descended by male-preference primogeniture. A woman was eligible to inherit only if she had no brother or if her brothers also inherited titles. Therefore, most of the Spanish nobility is untitled. However, since 2006, all hereditary titles descend by absolute primogeniture. Gender is no longer a criterion.
In The Netherlands, children born to unmarried parents still inherit a Dutch nobiliary title (Article 3, Wet op de Adeldom). An example is the illegitimate son of Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, who has taken his father’s name, the title ‘prince’ and even the predicate ‘Royal Highness’.
Therefore, questions regarding the legitimacy of nobiliary titles cannot be judged by traditional rules only. Modern principles of law, as well as political and practical aspects, have to be taken into account.
Dopsch H.; Robert Hoffmann (2008): Salzburg. Die Geschichte einer Stadt (2. Auflage). Universitätsverlag Anton Pustet, Salzburg, ISBN978-3-7025-0598-1.
Aufmüpfig & Angepaßt. Frauenleben in Österreich. Katalog der Niederösterreichischen Landesausstellung 1998 im Schloß Kirchstetten. Redigiert von Elisabeth Vavra. Katalog des Niederösterreichischen Landesmuseums. N.F. 419. – Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau 1998. 389. 4°. Objekt-Nr.: 8.1.2, S. 209.
Götz F. (1987): Die Familie von Raitenau im Bodenseeraum und die Herrschaft Langenstein. In Salzburger Landesregierung Kulturabteilung (Hrsg.), 4. Salzburger Landesausstellung – Fürsterzbischof Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau – Gründer des barocken Salzburgs, S. 12–25. Salzburg.
Beck A. (1987): Die Familie von Raitenau in den Inventaren von Welsberg. In Salzburger Landesregierung, Kulturabteilung (Hrsg.), 4. Salzburger Landesausstellung – Fürsterzbischof Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau – Gründer des barocken Salzburgs, S. 26–31. Salzburg.
Siebmacher J. (1979): Johann Siebmachers Wappen-Buch. Band 28. Die Wappen des Adels in Salzburg, Steiermark und Tirol. Faksimile-Nachdruck der Ausgabe Nürnberg 1701–1806. München: Battenberg. Bauer & Raspe: Neustadt an der Aisch.
Stahl-Botstiber A. (1987): Salome Alt und das Frauenbild ihrer Zeit. In Salzburger Landesregierung Kulturabteilung (Hrsg.), „4. Salzburger Landesausstellung – Fürsterzbischof Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau – Gründer des barocken Salzburgs“, S. 55–58. Salzburg.
The Mirabell Palace dates back to 1606. Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau built it to impress his beloved mistress Salome Alt. The daughter of a Jewish merchant is said to have had 15 kids with the Prince-Archbishop. However, the happy family days came to a sudden end when Wolf Dietrich was overthrown and imprisoned. He died behind bars in 1617. Photograph by Andrew Bossi.
This article investigates the legal status, under EU-law, of nobiliary titles that have been granted during a monarchy, which was replaced by a republic. It shows that the current use of a title that is not embedded in public law, like Fürst zu Mindelheim, originally issued in Germany to General John Churchill in 1705, can be perfectly in harmony with modern, fundamental legal principles. On the other hand, there are examples of ancient titles, like Fürst von Sayn-Wittgenstein, that are currently well-embedded in public law, but sometimes lack regularity. Based on these two cases, I will derive conclusions regarding the current legal status of ancient titles that are no longer embedded in public law.
Fürst zu Mindelheim
On 28 August 1704, Emperor Leopold I created General John Churchill des heiligen römischen Reichsfürst (roughly translated: Prince of the Holy Roman Empire). Churchill subsequently was created Prince of Mindelheim on 18 November 1705 by Emperor Joseph I. His only son, John Churchill, had died in 1703 and the imperial titles became extinct after the death of his daughters. His descendent trough the female line was the 11th duke of Marlborough, John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill (1926-2014), duke of Marlborough (England 1702), marquess of Blandford (England 1702), earl of Sunderland (England 1643), earl of Marlborough (England 1689), baron Spencer (of Eyemouth, England 1603), and baron Churchill (of Sandridge, England 1685). In addition, Burke’s Peerage describes him as “Prince of Mellenburg“. Noel Cox’ excellent paper “Property law and imperial and British titles: The Dukes of Marlborough and the Principality of Mindelheim“, addresses whether this is correct:
The title of prince of the Holy Roman Empire was conferred in 1704 upon all the children heirs and lawful descendants, male and female, of John Churchill, the first duke of Marlborough. The title of prince of Mindelheim was granted in 1705 to all male descendants and daughters of the first duke. But following the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714 the principality passed to Bavaria. The right of the dukes of Marlborough to use the style and title was thus lost, and any residual rights would have expired in 1722 on the death of the duke, as they could not pass to a daughter (unlike his British titles). Despite this it is still common practice to describe the Duke of Marlborough as a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and Prince of Mindelheim. This paper considers the differences in the treatment of the descent of the British and imperial titles
The present duke of Marlborough enjoys his British titles, not because of any special remainders in the patents of creation, but because of an Act of Parliament. This Act had no bearing upon the imperial titles conferred upon the first duke, which thus descended in accordance with their original instruments of creation.
The title of prince of the Holy Roman Empire, conferred in 1704 upon all his children heirs and lawful descendants, male and female, expired in 1751 with the death of his younger daughter, Lady Mary Churchill, duchess of Montagu (who was this also entitled to be known as Princess Mary Churchill). The imperial titular principality was not what would be called in English law an estate in tail general. It is rather a titular honour held by grant which contained a limitation to all male descendants and daughters, or what might be called an estate in tail male general.
Similarly, the title (and principality) of prince of Mindelheim, granted in 1705 to all male descendants and daughters, would have reverted to the emperor in 1722, as it could not pass to a daughter without a special remainder. However, the principality had already passed to Bavaria. The right of the duke of Marlborough to use the style and title was thereupon lost. Even the title of prince of Mellenburg would have expired in 1722.
As recipients of unprecedented imperial honours, it is fitting that the greatest monument to the great duke in England, Blenheim Palace, should be entailed to the dukes of Marlborough for all time. But it is a pity that the imperial honours were not subject to special remainders, so that the current duke might enjoy them too.
Cox, N. (2009). Property law and Imperial and British titles: The Dukes of Marlborough and the Principality of Mindelheim, pp. 1 and 25.
After the Treaty of Utrecht (1713-1714) led to the loss of his Principality of Mindelheim, it was discussed between England and Germany to create the 1st Duke of Marlborough, Fürst of Nellenburg (not ‘Mellenburg’, see Coxe 1822). Nellenburg was originally a county or landgraviate (German: Landgrafschaft) in southwestern Germany. It passed to Austria in 1465, when the Counts of Nellenburg (House of Tengen) sold the county to the Habsburg’s. Austrian law did not allow for the elevation into a sovereign jurisdiction though, and the plan to compensate Churchill with Nellenburg was dropped in or after 1717. Nellenburg, therefore, never became a sovereign part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Cox thinks that the imperial honour is lost forever: “it is a pity that the imperial honours were not subject to special remainders, so that the current duke might enjoy them too.”. I think, however, that it would be very easy for the family to obtain a ‘declaration of no-objection’ (German: Nichtbeanstandung) from the German Association of Nobiliary Law (German: Deutscher Adelsrechtsausschuß) of the regional German nobility associations. The extinction of a branch, like in the Churchill-case, is a classic occasion for granting such a declaration. This would lead to inclusion of the family with their imperial titles in the German nobiliary handbooks (German: Gothaisches genealogisches Handbuch). I cannot explain why Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, KG, PC (1706-1758), the second son of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland and Lady Anne Churchill, the second daughter of forementioned John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his wife Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, is mentioned on page 401 in the Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels (GHdA), Fürstliche Häuser Band III (1955) as Fürst of the Holy Roman Empire and Fürst von Mindelheim. On the same page, the GHdA correctly states that the diploma does not provide in a succession of the title in the female line.
The foregoing leads me back to the Cox’ initial question: ‘is it correct to describe the Duke of Marlborough as a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and Prince of Mindelheim?‘. As mentioned earlier, the extinction of a family branch under German pre-1919 law was a classic example of allowing another branch of the family to continue the use of the title. This is in accordance with the intention of the issuer to create a hereditary title. The Deutscher Adelsrechtsausschuß does not confirm the use of a nobiliary title, but only issues declarations of no-objection. It is therefore perfectly in line with nobiliary traditions (see Heiner Baron v. Hoyningen gen. Huene, Der Deutsche Adelsrechtsausschuss) to continue using – with or without the forementioned declaration – the imperial titles of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and Prince of Mindelheim. I do not see any objections, especially because the fact that the monarchy was abolished and nobiliary privileges are no longer recognised, are unforeseen circumstances, which are of such a nature that the involved parties, according to criteria of reasonableness and equity, are entitled to use the title in a modified form. They were – and should remain – very closely attached to the family.
A subsequent question is what, according to EU law, the current legal status of such title is. I will therefore examine a second case.
Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein
The Counts of Sayn were first mentioned in the 10th century. Assumedly, they were minor Counts to the Pfaltzgraves (Counts Palatine) in the Auelgau. The proven genealogy of the family starts with the brothers Eberhard and Heinrich, Counts of Sayn in 1139. Currently, four dynastic branches of the House of Sayn have survived. Alexander Konrad Friedrich Heinrich Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (1943 in Salzburg, Austria), a German businessman, MBA (Harvard Business School 1968), is head of the House Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. Prince Alexander is the vice-president of Europa Nostra, an NGO focussing on the preservation of Europe’s cultural and natural heritage, and the president of the Deutsche Burgenvereinigung (source: sayn.de).
In 1979, one member of the family, Elisabeth Gertrud Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein (* 1927) married Bruno Lothar Koch, who subsequently started a business selling the name ‘Fürst von Sayn-Wittgenstein‘ through adult-adoption. Currently, through a chain of adoptions, the name has been transferred more than 50 times among unrelated people. The chain started with a morganatic marriage:
Hermann Eugen Adolf Bernhard Franz Ferdinand August Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein–Hohenstein (1845 – 1921), renounced his membership of the House Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein on 23 January 1905, because of his morganatic marriage, but was granted the title Fürst von Sayn-Wittgenstein for himself and his issue on 30 January 1905. He married 25 January 1875 Gertrude Katharina Westenberger (1851 – 1921). Son:
Alexander Fürst von Sayn-Wittgenstein (1876 – 1947); married 1926 Albertina Schmalix (1894 – 19–). Daughter:
Elisabeth Gertrud Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein (1927), married in 1979 Bruno Lothar Koch, through mediation of the notorious title broker and former window dresser Hans Hermann Weyer.
One of the adoptees in the chain was Ilona Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein, an Austrian national, residing in Germany. After adoption by another German adoptee, Fürst von Sayn-Wittgenstein, her surname became “Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein”. Ilona had lived for almost 15 years under the surname “Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein” in Germany which had left numerous traces of a formal nature in both the public and private sphere, such as driving licences, social security records et cetera. Though in the beginning the Austrian authorities acknowledged her new surname “Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein”, they later amended it as “Sayn-Wittgenstein”, notwithstanding the objection of Ilona Sayn-Wittgenstein). The lawsuit that followed is known as the Sayn-Wittgenstein v Landeshauptmann von Wien case; a landmark case before the European Court of Justice concerning the attribution of nobiliary names in case of adoption.
The Austrian law on the abolition of the nobility has constitutional status according to Art 149(1) of the Austrian Constitution. The legislation on the abolition of the nobility provides that both the use of the nobiliary particle “von” and designations of noble status, such as prince / “Fürst” should be abolished. Ilona Sayn-Wittgenstein argued that the discrepancy in her names is such as to hinder the exercise of the rights enshrined in Art 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, since she would be under an obligation to dispel doubts regularly. To force a person to use a surname which differs from the one he/she acquired in a Member State is liable to hamper the exercise of the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.
However, the EU is committed to respect the national identities of its Member States, which include the status of the State as a Republic. The European Court of Justice ruled that it is not disproportionate for Austria to protect the principle of equal treatment by prohibiting any acquisition, possession or use, by its nationals, of titles of nobility or noble elements, which may create the impression that the bearer of the name is the holder of such a rank. In such circumstances, a refusal cannot be regarded as a measure unjustifiably undermining the freedom to move and reside enjoyed by citizens of the Union.
The sale of titles as a form of business as described above, is an example of irregular use of the laws of adoption, because they breach the traditional family values, normally present between parents and their adopted child. When adoption becomes a cold business operation, the principle of family life is neglected. This form of adoption hurts the family members, because they are confronted by non-related persons, who create the appearance of belonging to their family. However, such titles are perfectly embedded within public law, contrary to the previous example. This means that whether ancient titles are embedded within public law cannot be the sole criterium for historical regularity of legitimacy.
In some situations, like in the Mindelheim-case, ancient nobiliary titles cannot regain an official, regulated status, because the monarchy has been replaced by a republic and revival is impossible. The Sayn-Wittgenstein-case shows that even an official status is not always an optimal situation, when it comes to protecting a family’s cultural heritage. The legal concept of ‘private life’ could provide a solution in situations where it becomes necessary to embed an unregulated nobiliary title within the law, for example in cases where others could try to usurp a title.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) can be accessible in cases where an individual files a complaint against a contracting state. An example could be the prohibition to use a nobiliary title. The ECHR cannot judge cases between individuals. The Court has established that personal choices as to an individual’s desired appearance, whether in public or in private, relate to the expression of his or her personality and thus fall within the notion of private life, protected by art. 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention). The ECHR has defined the scope of art. 8 broadly, even when a specific right is not set out in the article. However, its scope is not limitless. The applicability of article 8 has been determined, in some contexts, by a severity test (Denisov v. Ukraine [GC], §§ 111-112 and 115-117 with further references). Once a legal act is found to have seriously affected a person’s private life, his complaint will be admissible and an issue of the “right to respect for private life” will arise.
These insights seem purely academic, but they are not. In 2011, the cantonal judge in Maastricht, The Netherlands, falsely sentenced the legitimate son of Countess Marion Wolff Metternich to a fine of E 300,– for using his mother’s nobiliary title. The mother was the last heiress of the family and the son had obtained a change of name by Royal Decree into Wolff Metternich. The matter was a disgusting example of abuse of power by the Dutch High Council of Nobility (Dutch: Hoge Raad van Adel). I have discussed the case earlier in detail. Another example of infringement of private life was committed by the Austrian government, in 2019, when Archduke Karl von Habsburg was found guilty of illegally using the ‘von’ predicate in the internet domain name karlvonhabsburg.at. The Austrian Constitutional Court rejectedthe Archduke’s complaints. It is a pity, that the complaint was not based on infringement of private life.
Under certain circumstances, Convention rights may also generate horizontal direct effect, that is, rights and obligations between private parties. This can be of interest when an ancient nobiliary title is usurped or when a person falsely uses another family’s title. In such cases the national courts are competent to deal with the matter and art. 8 of the Convention can be used to substantiate the legal position of the victim. A bizarre example of identity theft by falsely using noble titles can be found here.
Use ancient titles on a regular basis, even when – due to unforeseen circumstances – the rules of succession, as stated in the diploma, need to be modified according to criteria of reasonableness and equity. This tightens the connection between the title and the family and therefore, makes it more plausible that the title is part of a person’s or family’s private life.
Register the title as an internet domain name and explain on the webpage how the title is connected to the family. This way, the private use of the title is made public and it becomes hard for a person with bad intentions to defend himself by stating he did not know about the infringement of private life.
Publishing a declaration stipulating the title transfer in a government gazette is a good instrument for ruling out discussions about the specific date and content of the declaration. Publication is usually considered sufficient to comply with legal requirements for public notice. A list of government gazettes can be found here. An example of a declaration recorded in the London Gazette can be found here.
Clarity regarding the transfer of unregulated titles can also be achieved by making provisions in a will. It lets a person determine how (s)he would like the title to be used upon her/his death.
Even the German association for nobiliary law does not issue judgements disapproving the transfer of ancient titles within a family, because the association does not consider itself to be the final authority is these matters. Although everybody is entitled to an opinion, in the end, third parties do not have any authority in such matters. It is for the family itself to decide how to transfer its nobiliary titles when there are no regulations present. This also is a matter of private life.
I recommend forming a family association, which regulates the transfer in order to avoid arbitrariness and to create a legal substitute for the former, monarchical regulations. It is not strange at all that the use and transfer of titles evolves. There is no reason to stick with the defunct regulations that once applied with respect to the original diploma, when this would lead to extinction of the cultural heritage, embodied by the title. Extinction of the title is certainly not what the issuer would have wanted.
Cox, N. (2009). Property law and Imperial and British titles: The Dukes of Marlborough and the Principality of Mindelheim. Tijdschrift Voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue D’Histoire Du Droit / The Legal History Review,77(1-2), 191-210. doi:10.1163/004075809×403433.
Coxe, W., Marlborough, J. C., & Hauer, F. A. (1822). Herzogs Johann von Marlborough Leben und Denkwürdigkeiten: Nebst dessen Original-Briefwechsel aus dem Familien-Archive zu Blenheim und andern ächten Quellen gezogen. Wien: Schaumberg.
Gerhard Köbler: Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder. Die deutschen Territorien vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. 7., vollständig überarbeitete Auflage. C.H. Beck, München 2007.
Barber, Peter. “Marlborough as Imperial Prince, 1704-1717.” The British Library Journal, vol. 8, no. 1, 1982, pp. 46–79. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/42554468. Accessed 1 Aug. 2020.
Case C-208/09 Ilonka Sayn–Wittgenstein v. Landeshauptmann von Wien, Court of Justice of the European Union (Second Chamber), 22 December 2010.
Gerards, J. (2019). Vertical and Horizontal Effect. In General Principles of the European Convention on Human Rights (pp. 136-159). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108652926.006.
Phillipson, Gavin. “The Human Rights Act, ‘Horizontal Effect’ and the Common Law: A Bang or a Whimper?” The Modern Law Review, vol. 62, no. 6, 1999, pp. 824–849. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1097159. Accessed 1 Aug. 2020.
On his famous webpage Herladica.org, François Velde develops some interesting thoughts regarding the question: “When one encounters an association which calls itself an order of knighthood, how can one tell if it is legitimate or not?”. What triggered me to investigate the matter further, was Velde’s subsequent rhetorical question:
Should the Red Cross call its executive president “Grand-Master” and have its employees wear badges around their necks, would that make it ipso facto an “order of knighthood”?
Intuitively, the answer is ‘no’. However, it is interesting to research this issue more thoroughly.
Velde suggests a framework for determining if an Order can be called a legitimate ‘Order of Knighthood’.
I will argue the following. Starting from the dictionary definition of “legitimate”, I conclude that an order of knighthood can be “legitimate” in two ways:
1. it is what it claims to be, either:
1.1 a specific, historical order of knighthood: this means that it satisfies some notion of identity with or continuity with some well-defined, commonly recognized historical institution. Few organizations can make such a claims (e.g., Malta)
1.2. an order of knighthood, in the historical but generic sense. Few can make such a claim because orders of knighthood have occurred in specific historical contexts, ait is legally defined to be an order of knighthood. In this case, the legitimacy of an order is strictly a matter of national law, and various countries have, or do not have, laws regulating orders (most do not). The best one can say in such a case is that an order is recognized by a legal government.
1.2.1. as medieval military-monastic orders: but the context has completely disappeared
1.2.2. as knightly/nobiliary associations: but knighthood as a social class has disappeared
1.2.3. as monarchical or princely associations: but they must then have been created by a monarch or prince
2. it is legally defined to be an order of knighthood. In this case, the legitimacy of an order is strictly a matter of national law, and various countries have, or do not have, laws regulating orders (most do not). The best one can say in such a case is that an order is recognized by a legal government.
I think this framework is too complicated and is not well-suited to derive unambiguous conclusions. In my opinion, legitimately of a Knightly Order should simply be based on its ability to truthfully communicate information to the public. This is a more legal perspective. In order to learn if a self-proclaimed Order of Knighthood is what it claims to be, I will study two cases. The first case study concerns the fictional ‘Knightly Order of the Red Cross’, inspired by Velde’s forementioned question. The second case study concerns seven traditional Orders of Knighthood.
Case study: the ‘Knightly Order of the Red Cross’
Suppose, the president of the Red Cross would be called ‘Grandmaster’, its members ‘knights’, and the organization would reinvent itself as the ‘Knightly Order of the Red Cross’ (KORC). Also, imagine the organization would have membership grades, specials membership categories for persons with a nobiliary background, uniforms and medals. Would that make the KORC an Order of Knighthood? The name sounds very intriguing and the organization surely brings an incredibly high added value to society. Suppose we would add the impressive Red Cross history to the concept:
The Red Cross idea was born in 1859, when Henry Dunant, a young Swiss man, came upon the scene of a bloody battle in Solferino, Italy, between the armies of imperial Austria and the Franco-Sardinian alliance. Some 40,000 men lay dead or dying on the battlefield and the wounded were lacking medical attention. (…)
The Red Cross was born in 1863 when five Geneva men, including Dunant, set up the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, later to become the International Committee of the Red Cross. (…)
The Federation now numbers 192 National Societies worldwide, operating through some 166,000 branches, and nearly 14 million volunteers. Its sole purpose is to help people in need, without fear or favour. It responds to and prepares for disaster, it brings health services to local communities, it lobbies for best humanitarian practice, it ensures the dignity of people on the move.
Website International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
The KORC does not have a historical knightly heritage. But is this heritage crucial for designating its members as ‘knights’? I do not think so, since knights in the original sense of mounted warriors, ceased to exist half a millennium ago. Knighthood lost its martial purpose and, by the 16th century, had been reduced to an honorific status. Modern British Royal Orders of Knighthood, for example, are a means of rewarding individuals’ personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories. The word ‘knight’ currently has several meanings, one of them being “a member of an order or society” (Merriam-Webster).
If KORC represents itself as an Order, formed as a society in 1863 and operating in the spirit of the modern idea of knighthood, there is no historical or legal misrepresentation and therefore, the Order could legitimately claim to be an Order of Knighthood. Calling the KORC “fake”, “pseudo”, “illegitimate” et cetera could legally be labelled as defamation, because no misrepresentation takes place.
Case study: classic Orders of Knighthood
How does the KORC compare with, for example, the SMOM, the Constantinian Order or the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre? The latter claim to be a continuation of medieval Knightly Orders, although these claims are often incorrect:
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre completely ceased to exist as an Order after the defeat of Acre in 1291. Its website incorrectly states: “Alexander VI declared himself the supreme moderator of the Order in 1496, and delegated to the Franciscans the power to bestow a knighthood upon nobles and gentlemen pilgrims on pilgrimage to the Holy Land (power of investiture). “. After 1342, to be enrolled among the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, it was necessary to apply to the Franciscans, and from this period the itineraries of pilgrims mention frequent receptions into this confraternity. The confraternity is improperly called an ‘Order’, because it had no monastic rule, regular organization, or community of goods (source: NewAdvent). After almost 600 years, the fraternity was transformed into an Order again when it was re-founded and modernized by Pope Pius IX in 1847. These facts are not described truly, correctly and completely on the website of the Order.
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta lacks a continuous line of succession from the 12th century Order, with a very questionable period between 1798-1801 (see: Velde), followed by a period where there was no Grand Master between 1805 and 1879. On its website, the SMOM incorrectly claims: “The Sovereign Order of Malta is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. A lay religious order of the Catholic Church since 1113 (…).“.
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem is a 19th century example of a private revival, that managed to be turned into an official Order in Britain in 1888 (see: Velde). On its website, the Order incorrectly claims: “The Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem originated in a hospice founded around 1070 to care for pilgrims, which was dedicated to St John the Baptist. The brothers and sisters of the Hospital, which was recognised as a religious Order by the Pope in 1113, nursed the poor and sick of any faith.”.
The Constantinian Order was formed around 1545 and has a continuous line of succession since its foundation. On its website, the Constantinian Order (Hispano-Neapolitan branch) correctly states : “Reliable documentation regarding the Constantinian Order begins in the 16th century.¨. [Note: in this example, I mention the Hispano-Neapolitan branch only, although there are three claimants to the headship of the Constantinian Orders.]
The formation history of the Order of the Saints Maurice and Lazarus is somewhat complex. After the grand mastership of the Order of Saint Lazarus (founded circa 1119) became vacant in 1572 by the death of Giovanni de Castiglione, Pope Gregory XIII united the Order in perpetuity with the Crown of Savoy. On its website, the Order of the Saints Maurice and Lazarus correctly states: “The Order of the Saints Maurice and Lazarus was officially established by the Papal Bulls “Christiani Populi” and “Pro Commissa Nobis” signed by Pope Gregory XIII on respectively 16 September and 13 November 1572; by which the Religious Military Order of Saint Maurice was placed under the Rule of St Benedict of the Cistercian Congregation first and then the one Saint Augustine. I was then merged de jure with the Hospitaller Order of Jerusalem of Saint Lazarus (…).“.
The Spanish branch of the Order of Saint Lazarus has a different view on the forementioned 1572 merger: “The French Lazarite knights continued to resist the amalgamation of the Order with the House of Savoy and maintained their own organization supported by the King Henri III. In 1608, King Henri IV combined the administration and holdings of the Order of Saint Lazarus with the newly established Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, both being placed under one Grand Master – Philibert, Marquis de Nérestang de Saint-Didier.“. I do not claim authority to judge which one of the versions is correct: both views could be true. Important is the fact that, on their website, the Order describes itself correctly: “The Order of Saint Lazarus is an ecumenical organization of Christian hospitallers whose spirit goes back to the Holy Land and the Crusades.”. [Note: in this example, I mention the Spanish branch only, although there are two main branches; see Versélewel de Witt Hamer, 2017.]
The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (OSMTH) correctly describes itself as a Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). On its website, OSMTH also narrates its history correctly: “OSMTH (Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem) is a successor organization to the nineteenth century Order of the Temple. This Order was established in Paris in 1804 under the patronage of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Like its nineteenth century predecessor, OSMTH takes inspiration from the traditions and highest ideals of the medieval Christian military and monastic order, the Knights Templar, who were founded by Hugh de Payens around 1118, to protect and support pilgrims, and dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312. OSMTH does not, however, claim any direct organizational descent from the medieval Templars; nor is OSMTH part of Freemasonry. OSMTH was restructured in its present form pursuant to a decision adopted by its Member Grand Priories in 1995 at a meeting in Salzburg. Today, OSMTH is an international, chivalric, confraternal and inter-denominational/ecumenical Christian Order”.
The foregoing examples show that not all the traditional ‘Orders of Knighthood’ are entirely honest about their history.
States, private entities (authoritative or not) or other Royal Families can choose to recognise or not, but that does nothing to the inherent quality of an order so-designated. This insight calls into question the purpose of international bodies, focussing on the recognition of Orders of Knighthood. In a broader perspective, the breakdown of Christendom and particularly the monarchies in Europe, have gone hand in hand with the decline of supreme authority and with the upswing of human rights, focussing on the individual.
In this context, legitimacy has another meaning, focussing more on the rights of the individual and the public interest. The economic interests of the public as well as its right to information are important principles in EU-consumer protection law (Articles 4(2)(f), 12, 114 and 169 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 38 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union). It is therefore essential, that the information communicated by Orders (nowadays charitable organizations) to the public is true, correct and complete. If this is not the case, these Orders are not ‘legitimate’, because in almost any legal system it is unlawful to solicit money in a deceptive manner. Willingly misrepresenting the historical facts or incorrectly claim state-recognition, in order to artificially create more prestige, could be seen as such deception, making such Orders illegitimate.
Almost none of the organizations that call themselves ‘Orders of Knighthood’ today, even if they are recognised or designated as such by states, by law or private bodies, can honestly claim a continuous line of succession from a genuine medieval Order of Knighthood. Perhaps the only exceptions are the (Spanish) Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of the Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
Without exception, the current ‘Orders of Knighthood’ are NGO’s, more or less mimicking the Red Cross. There is no material connection with the ancient military Orders of Knighthood. Therefore, I do not see why there are such fierce discussions about who does and who does not have a line of succession from an ancient Order of Chivalry. In my view, they are all modern remakes, although a connection with antiquity gives more prestige. Velde tells it like it is:
The name [of an order of knighthood] has remained, and the badge, but the purpose and function is clearly very different. In a literal sense, ITT (International Telegraph and Telephone) is still the same US company it was 30 years ago, but today it doesn’t sell phone services, it runs hotels, until recently still under the name (ITT-Sheraton). Likewise, Westinghouse used to make nuclear plants, now it makes prime-time broadcasts (CBS). Is it the same company? If Coca-Cola moved to Taiwan and became a car manufacturer, would we think of it has being the same company?
Self-fabricated standards are interesting, but not objective, and therefore unsuitable for determining the legitimacy of privately-run Orders of Knighthood. However, there are alternatives. Both EU consumer protection rules and national civil law offer objective standards to address this issue. National Orders of Knighthood are almost always highly regulated and state-supervised Orders of Merit. They do not charge passage fee to enter. As such, there will be no issues concerning misinformation or questions about their legitimacy.
If a National competent authorities for consumer protection has established a violation of the EU consumer protection rules, implemented in national law, it can decide to impose a fine. The authority imposes a fine on the offender and, if necessary, on the individual(s) giving the instructions for the violation or on those who played a leading role in it. Under the relevant EU-consumer protection rules [note 1], ‘consumer’ means any natural person who is acting for purposes which are outside her/his trade, business or profession; ‘seller or supplier’ means any natural or legal person who is acting for purposes relating to his trade, business or profession [note 2]. The person who applies for becoming a member of an Order of Knighthood might be seen as a consumer and the Order that subsequently accepts the application, might be seen as a seller or supplier: applicants are charged a passage fee in return for their membership, for obtaining IP-rights to wear their regalia, for obtaining the regalia itself, the uniform and/or mantle, the diploma, the right to attend meetings and for participating in a ceremony. Additionally, the Order operates in an organized manner; has the relevant expertise and is therefore placed in a more advantageous position; has a legal status which enables it to engage in commercial activities; receives money; engages in a regular, frequent and/or simultaneous activity in comparison with its usual activity; and finally, the awards are all of the same type and more or less of the same value.
In accordance with consumer protection laws, these Orders of Knighthood, must give their applicants enough accurate information to enable them to make an informed decision, whether to join. If they fail to provide this information, either through action (giving false information, for example about state-recognition or antiquity) or omission (leaving out important information, for example that the historical headship of the Order is disputed), this may be considered an unfair practice. Victims of such unfair practices can file a complaint with the National competent authorities for consumer protection. In the United States a variety of laws at both the federal and state levels regulate consumer affairs.
EU consumer protection rules may not apply, and therefore National competent authorities for consumer protection are not competent, when, for example, the transaction purely concerns a donation and no profit making is intended. In such cases, civil contract law provides an alternative (but also an additional remedy) to filing a complaint. Apart from filing a complaint relating to (allegedly) violating consumer protection rules, under national civil contract law misrepresentation may give rise to a number of remedies. In such cases the Order fails in the performance of its obligation, and is in breach of contract. This can be the case when, for example, someone is misled by thinking she/he becomes part of an antique Order of Knighthood that enjoys state recognition. In Private International Law, an organization, domiciled in a EU-State may be sued in another EU-State, in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur. These should be understood as the place where the damage (for example, reputational of financial) occurs and the place where the event that caused the damage occurred. Therefore, Orders of Knighthood risk to be sued before courts in other jurisdictions than their country of origin, when they make dishonest representations. Using solid membership agreements, made by a professional, is crucial for reducing such risks.
In light of the foregoing, consumer protection laws and civil contract law are the standard for determining the legitimacy of Orders of Knighthood. This comes down to making correct representations about the Order. When Orders fail to do so, they risk administrative fines and/or civil legal actions. The answer to Velde’s question therefore is: ‘An Order of Knighthood is legitimate when the organization is what it claims to be‘. Essentially, this is the way legitimate organizations distinguish themselves from illegitimate organizations. Financial and historical honesty are essential indicators to be examined. The term ‘knight’ is too broad to be claimed only by the Orders, listed by the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry and, on closer examination, it could well be that some Orders, mentioned on the ICOC-list, are not entirely legitimate.
Heated discussions about the legitimacy of other Orders and personal attacks on the people running them, are not uncommon. Wikipedia’s definition of illegitimate Orders fuels such discussions. It states: “A self-styled order or pseudo-chivalric order is an organisation which claims to be a chivalric order, but is not recognised as legitimate by countries or international bodies.“. This definition is erroneous. Recognition is not a constitutive legal act, but a declaratory legal act. A lack of ‘recognition’ does not mean anything. Even without any recognition, an Order of Knighthood can be perfectly legitimate. Orders become illegitimate when they knowingly make misrepresentations. Recognition is irrelevant in this respect.
Orders of Knighthood should send a signal to donors that they are credible recipients of funding, instead of triggering the image of being a medal mill. Modern aid work is technical and complex and needs to be resourced accordingly. There are challenges to fraud prevention and detection to address. Financial reporting practices should make a clear distinction between ‘operations’ and ‘overheads’. Such transparent financial reporting should be a major focus of legitimate Orders of Knighthood. In addition, branches of legitimate Orders of Knighthood should combine forces and work together. Who the ‘legitimate grandmaster’ is, should be less important than saving lives.
As mentioned, Orders of Knighthood should be perfectly honest and transparent about their history. In general, the sources of historical knowledge can be separated into three categories: what is written, what is said, and what is physically preserved. Sometimes, the only evidence relating to a historical event or person was written or copied decades or centuries later. Generally, historians remain cautious when working with evidence recorded years, or even decades or centuries, after the event has taken place. This category of evidence reduces the reliability of historical accounts. Therefore, hardly any historical evidence can be seen as objective. It is always a product of particular individuals, times, and dominant ideas. It is therefore important to find as many records of an event as possible. Subsequently, these documents should be cited and the relevance to the event should be clearly mentioned. Like in legal matters, it is not unusual to find contra-evidence during the investigation. It is important to specify this, instead of camouflaging the truth. In light of the foregoing, I advise Orders of Knighthood to be more honest in their internet presentations about their history and to point out the weaknesses in their historic evidence. This makes them more legitimate and shields them from legal claims.
In its judgment of 4 October 2018, Case C-105/17, the European Court of Justice provides a set of criteria to determine whether a person falls within the concept of a “trader” under the Consumer Rights Directive (Directive 2011/83/EU) and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (Directive 2005/29/EC).
Schueller, B. (2012) The definition of consumers in EU consumer law. In: Devenney J, Kenny M (eds) European consumer protection: theory and practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 123–142
Parks, Thomas. “The Rise and Fall of Donor Funding for Advocacy NGOs: Understanding the Impact.” Development in Practice, vol. 18, no. 2, 2008, pp. 213–222. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27751904. Accessed 24 July 2020.
Kaestle, Carl F. “Standards of Evidence in Historical Research: How Do We Know When We Know?” History of Education Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 3, 1992, pp. 361–366. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/368550. Accessed 24 July 2020.
King, E. J., & Luke, H. (1967). The Knights of St. John in the British realm: Being the official history of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. St. John’s Gate, London: Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
Quaresmio, F. (1639). Historica theologica et moralis Terrae Sanctae elucidatio: In qua pleraque ad veterem & praesentem eiusdem terrae statum spectantia accuratè explicantur, varij errores refelluntur, veritas fideliter exacteque discutitur ac comprobatur. … Auctore Fr. Francisco Quaresmio Laudensi, ordinis Minorum theologo … Tomus 1. Antuerpiae: Ex officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti.
Teyssier, F. D. (1985). L’Ordre du Saint Sépulcure de Jérusalem. Versailles: Ordre du St. Sépulcre.
Alias, J. (2008). L’ordre de Saint-Lazare la chevalerie au service des lépreux. Turquant: Cheminements.
The sovereign military and hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem: A short history of the most ancient order of chivalry, past and present. (1941). Los Angeles, CA: Grand priory of the western United States of America.
Archduke Ferdinand II (1529–1595) systematically collected armour from famous personalities of his time. He presented this armour “to the eternal memory” of these – mostly military commanders – in the “Heldenrüstkammer” (Heroes’ Armoury). Some pieces still are on display in their original 16th century showcases. His “Rüstkammern” (Armouries) contain very rare examples of arms and armour from the 15th century which originally came from the collections of Emperor Maximilian I and Archduke Sigismund. Armour for tournaments like the German joust or the German course, and the armour of the court’s Italian giant Bartlmä Bon, who took part in the tournament in Vienna in 1560, are part of the collection. The “Leibrüstkammer” (Court Armoury) includes the archduke’s private armour and the armour of the court of Innsbruck. Ferdinand’s collection of armour is one of the most important of its kind, not only because of the collection idea, but also because of the quality and quantity of his objects. Selected objects are exhibited at the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer (Imperial Armoury) of the Kusthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Source: Wikipedia).
In February 2007, a conversation on a Google platform devoted to heraldry developed into a discussion about the titles that were awarded by former King Kigeli of Rwanda (1936-2016). The eminent Dr. Pier Felice degli Uberti, president of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry, a private academic body, asked the attendees on 19 February 2007 to form an opinion regarding the idea of King Kigeli to grant “honours” using “European nobiliary titles”. I have addressed this issue in the past, but I wish to elaborate on the mater by giving examples of the opposite; exotic nobiliary titles (mostly victory titles), issued by European monarchs. Its purpose is to determine whether the issuance of European titles to by non-European monarchs, is acceptable or not. The examples below are selected because of their exotic character. There are many more examples, but for the purpose of this article, these six cases are sufficient.
The title Viscount Montgomery of Alamein commemorates Montgomery’s crucial victory in the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October–3 November 1942). The Allied victory was the beginning of the end of the Western Desert Campaign, eliminating the Axis threat to Egypt, the Suez Canal and the Middle Eastern and Persian oil fields.
During the Second World War, Mountbatten was Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command (1943–1946). He successfully conducted the campaign against Japan that led to the recapture of Burma (Myanmar). Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India (1947). He proved to be a nimble negotiator, extracting agreements from Hindus and Muslims to form an interim joint government pending partition of the subcontinent into the states of Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Mountbatten thus administered the transfer of power from Britain to the newly independent nations of India and Pakistan at the partition of the subcontinent that took effect at midnight 14–15 August 1947.
Both Lord and Lady Mountbatten cultivated the friendship of Muslims and Hindus, a new pattern of social behaviour for a viceroy and his wife. Indians who had once languished in the viceroy’s jails were invited to parties at Government House.
In 1946, Mountbatten was made a Knight of the Garter and created Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, of Romsey in the County of Southampton. The title of Earl Mountbatten of Burma was created in 1947 to supersede that of Viscount Mountbatten of Burma.
His obituary in the New York Times sums up the achievements of this great man:
Few people of royal lineage played more versatile and colourful role than Lord Mountbatten, who refused to live the idle life of the royal and the rich. Instead, he became a daring sailor and military strategist, a suave political negotiator, a trusted adviser to prime ministers. He was a major planner for the invasion of occupied Europe in World War II, later the Supreme Allied Commander for Southeast Asia, the Viceroy to India who ended British rule there, First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, Admiral of the Fleet and chief architect of the overhaul of Britain’s defense system
José Malcampo, 3rd Marquess of San Rafael, Prime Minister of Spain in 1871, during the reign of King Amadeo I, was granted the titles of Count of Jolo and Viscount of Mindanao after he victoriously took the city of Jolo from the Sultanate of Sulu during his governorship-general (1874-1877) of the Philippines.
As newly appointed Governor General of the Philippines, a critical situation awaited him. The peninsulars and the native-born, Indios (indigenous Filipino population of the Philippines) and Criollos (Latin Americans who are of sole or of mostly Spanish descent), eyed each other with hostility. The latter complaining that high government positions were reserved to the former, who suspected the latter of seeking separation from Spain. Two years into his term as governor-general, Malcampo led the famous and daring campaign of Joló, causing the sultan of Sulu to submit to the authority of the Spanish monarchy, for which he received the titles Count of Jolo, (after the city of Joló) and Viscount of Mindanao (nowadays, commonly known as Southern Philippines).
With another naval officer, Casto Mendez Nuñez, he founded the first Masonic Lodge in the Philippines, “La Luz Primera de Filipinas,” in Kawit, Cavite. However, only Spanish military and naval officers, as well as government officials were admitted as members. Not much later, a Lodge for Filipinos was organized in Pandacan, Manila.
Pietro Badoglio (1871 – 1956), was a Field marshal and unconvicted war criminal during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini (1922–43). In 1940 he differed with Mussolini over Italy’s preparations for entering World War II. On 4 December 1940, in the midst of Italy’s disastrous campaign in Greece, he resigned as chief of staff. Badoglio governed Libya from 1928 to 1934 and was given the title of marquis of Sabotino.
In 1935, Badoglio assumed command of the Italian forces in Ethiopia. He asked for and was given permission to apply chemical warfare. He employed mustard gas to destroy the Ethiopian armies confronting him on the northern front. “This isn’t war,” one Red Cross worker remarked, “it isn’t even slaughter. It’s the torture of tens of thousands of defenseless men, women and children with bombs and poison gas.”. In September 1943 he extricated Italy from World War II by arranging an armistice with the Allies. Badoglio was never tried for the war crimes committed in Ethiopia, but instead became the first viceroy of Italian East Africa.
Between 1930 and 1934, Graziani was the fascist commander of the Italian forces in Lybia and suppressed the Senussi rebellion. Italy committed multiple war crimes during the conflict, including the use of chemical weapons, episodes of executing surrendering combatants, and the mass killing of civilians. Italian authorities forcibly expelled 100,000 Bedouin Cyrenaicans, half the population of Cyrenaica, from their settlements. Many of their properties were then given to Italian settlers. In this conflict, called “pacificationof Libya” by the Italians, Graziani was responsible for the construction of several concentration camps and labor camps, where thousands of Libyan prisoners died. Some prisoners were publicly hanged, such as Omar Mukhtar, the rebel leader, or shot. Most prisoners died of starvation or disease. His deeds earned him the nickname “the Butcher of Fezzan“.
Before WWII, the League of Nations did not prosecute Graziani nor the Italian authorities for war crimes in Ethiopia. During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War in 1935 and 1936, Graziani was the commander of the southern front. In one case, Graziani had ordered his troops to use chemical weapons against Nasibu Zeamanuel’s troops in Gorrahei on 10 October 1935. Although the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs gave the League of Nations irrefutable evidence of what the Italian military had done from within a few hours of its invasion on 3 October 1935 to 10 April of the following year, no action was taken. Incidents included the use of poison gas and the bombing of Red Cross hospitals and ambulances.
Graziani suffered a humiliating defeat in Libya in 1940-41, when a small British force destroyed the vast Italian army in Libya.
After the war, Graziani was made Viceroy of Italian East Africa and Governor-General of Shewa and Addis Ababa. After an unsuccessful attempt by two Eritreans to kill him on 19 February 1937, Graziani ordered the killing of up to thirty thousand civilians of Addis Ababa. Another 1.500 people were summarily executed by the end of the next month, and over one thousand Ethiopian notables were imprisoned and then exiled from Ethiopia. Graziani became known as “the Butcher of Ethiopia“.
In 1948, an Italian military tribunal sentenced Graziani to 19 years in jail for his collaborating with the Nazis, but this conviction was not executed.
The Lampsins brothers were born to a wealthy Dutch family of slave traders and merchants. The family owned a trading house in Vlissingen, and was involved in the early colonization of the Caribbean. In the 1630’s, Cornelius Lampsins owned a fleet of over three hundred trading ships, in both the East and West Indies. The Lampsins merchant house was the first employer of the famous Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter, who, later in his career, was created a Spanish Duke and Danish Baron.
Cornelius Lampsins helped found the colonies of Martinique and Saint Thomas. In 1654, the Lampsins brothers led a Dutch colonial expedition to Tobago, which was then New Courland. This colony was owned by the Duchy of Courland, which was the second smallest state to colonise the Americas (after the Knights of Malta), with a colony on the island of Tobago from 1654 to 1659, and intermittently from 1660 to 1689.
There was much dispute between the Couronian and Dutch colonists, and when Courland surrendered to Sweden in 1659, the Lampsins brothers took control of the colony. The family reigned over Tobago until the English invaded the island in 1666. Cornelius Lampsins had two sons, Jan and Geleyn, who participated in running the settlement on Tobago with their uncle. The descendants of the Lampsins brothers maintained many rights to the island until 1749, when Britain and France agreed to keep the island neutral.
The Lampsins family played a significant role in the international slave trade. For the Lampsins family, the slave trade had three stages and was called a ‘triangular trade’: (i) West African slaves were exchanged for trade goods such as brandy and guns; (ii) slaves were then taken via the so-called ‘Middle Passage’ across the Atlantic for sale in the West Indies and North America; (iii) finally, a cargo of rum and sugar taken from the colonies, was taken back to Europe to sell.
Journeys lasted from as little as six weeks to several months, depending on the weather. The ships were often too small to carry the hundreds of slaves on board. Slaves were tightly packed into cramped spaces with one person’s right leg chained to the left leg of another person. Conditions on the ships were terrible and slaves died from diseases such as smallpox, scurvy and measles. We can only imagine the sort of memories and visions that may have haunted these slaves, from the moment they were seized in Africa and marched in shackles towards the Atlantic coast, to the hour at which their eyes were closed forever.
The United Nations Slavery Route Project was initiated to study the causes, the modalities and the consequences of slavery and the slave trade, seeking to enhance the understanding of diverse histories and heritages stemming from this global tragedy. In commemoration of the memory of the victims, the General Assembly, in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007, declared 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to be observed annually.
The Lampsins family was incorporated into the Dutch nobility, but died out in 1848. In March 1847, Jhr. Jan Jacob van den Velden, obtained permission by Royal Decree to add the surname of his mother, Johanna Margaretha Lampsins, to his family name, creating the name Lampsins van den Velden. This family died out in 1953.
It is sometimes being argued that African and Asian rulers do not have the fons honorum to issue European-style titles of nobility. Examples of (ex-)rules who have issued such titles are King Kigeli V of Rwanda, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia (in his capacity of president of the Crown Council) and tribal King Togbe Osei III in Ghana. Former King Peter II of Yugoslavia and Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia issued titles referring to countries outside their original jurisdiction, but these were European-style titles. The examples in this article show that European monarchs have set the standard by issuing titles, referring to America, Africa and Asia. It is in line with the sovereignty of (ex-)rulers (see Hugo Grotius’ De iure belli ac pacis; English: On the Law of War and Peace. Paris 1625) of these continents to ‘return the favour’ and issue European titles. It is not for private bodies to judge this sovereignty and I do not see why European monarchs should have the monopoly on this practice.
It could be said that the titles issued by European monarchs point to historical events (sometimes genocide and slave trade). Newer titles do not have that characteristic. However, I do not see how this makes the latter less legitimate. They remain part of the cultural and historical heritage of the issuer. Russian Legitimist puts it correctly:
The titles and coats of arms of the Russian Imperial House, its dynastic orders and awards, patents of nobility, and other elements of the historical and symbolic system of monarchical institutions no longer enjoy state recognition and bestow no privileges, but they remain nonetheless monuments of the nation’s history and part of the cultural heritage of Russia.
“It is not for private bodies to judge this sovereignty and I do not see why European monarchs should have the monopoly on this practice.” Well said! I don’t understand why some “experts” downplay the value of nobiliary titles issued and patterned after European tradition by heads of non-reigning families outside Europe. As sovereigns in their own right whether they are ruling or not, they did not lose their fons honorum and may do almost anything as they please within the confines of international law. The titles they grant are certainly not illegal and their usage is solely dependent on those that receive such titles. In comparison, the Nobel Peace Prize itself is granted by a private institute on behalf of Alfred Nobel’s estate and yet world leaders covet this more than the awards of their own countries. Nobiliary titles and honours from legitimate pretenders and heads of non-reigning families are as valid as any international private award. No person has the right to degrade them just because of their personal opinions and biases lest they want to be branded as bigots and such.
The principles which the International Commission identified were that only states have the right to create Orders of chivalry; that these Orders [of chivalry] cannot be abolished by republican governments, that exiled Sovereigns retain control of royal Orders [of chivalry], that no private individual can create Orders [of chivalry], that no state or supranational organisation without its own [chivalric] Orders can validate [chivalric] Orders, and that the only sovereign Order is the Order of Malta.
Cox, The principles of international law, p. 1
Cox’ concludes the following:
Firstly, every sovereign prince (or, subject to their respective constitutions, the president or other official in a republican state) has the right to confer honours, in accordance with the constitutional framework of the state. These honours should be accorded appropriate recognition in all other countries under the usual rules of private international law.
Secondly, an exiled Sovereign retains the right to bestow honours, dynastic, state or whatever else they may be styled. This right extends to their lawful successors in title, even for several generations. Appointments may continue to be made, unless this has been expressly prohibited by the successor authorities of the state, or the Order has become obsolete. It also follows that an exiled, or former Sovereign may continue to make appointments to an Order which is also governed by the new regime, thus creating a separate, though related, Order. Whilst an exiled Sovereign may in some circumstances establish a new Order of chivalry, he or she may only do so whilst they remain generally recognised by the international community as the de jure ruler of his country. His or her successors will not have this right to create new Orders, excepting in those rare instances where the son or further issue of an exiled Sovereign has been generally recognised by the international community as the rightful ruler of their country. Only de jure Sovereigns (including their republican equivalents) may create Orders of chivalry.
Thirdly, the international status of an Order of chivalry depends upon the municipal law of the country in which it was created. There can be no international Orders as such, shorn of dependence upon the municipal laws of a state.1 Principles four, five and six together indicate that sovereign Orders are not generally possible, with recognition however being extended to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.2 The Order of Malta depends upon its own unique history, and, at least in part, its recognition by the Holy See and by secular princes. Any pretended “sovereign” Order is nothing more than a voluntary society or association, and members should not wear any insignia or use any styles or titles to which they may be entitled outside the private functions of such groups
1 “Thus, the “Sovereign Order of Saint Stanislaus” created 9 June 1979 by Count Juliusz Nowina Sokolnicki, President of the Republic of Poland (in exile), is not, and never could have been, sovereign, irrespective of the regularity of Sokolnicki’s own status as titular President.“
2 “Noel Cox, “The Continuing question of sovereignty and the Sovereign Military Order of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta”, 13, Australian International Law Journal (2006): 211-232.“
Cox, The principles of international law, p. 8
I disagree with both the principles of the ICOC and with Cox’ conclusions, as I shall explain hereafter.
The freedom to create Orders of Chivalry and Knighthood
“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.”
Article 11 ECHR
The right to freedom of peaceful association and assembly is both an individual right and a collective right. It is a fundamental right in a democratic society and, like the right to freedom of expression, is one of the foundations of such a society. Thus, it should not be interpreted restrictively (ECHR, Djavit An v. Turkey, § 56; Kudrevičius and Others v. Lithuania [GC], § 91). In view of the fundamental nature of this right, the European Court of Human Rights has been reluctant to accept objections that the applicants have suffered no “significant disadvantage” and to dismiss Article 11 complaints with reference to Article 35 § 3 (b) of the Convention (ECHR, Berladir and Others v. Russia, § 34; Öğrüv. Turkey, § 18. The protection of opinions and the freedom to express them is one of the objectives of the freedoms of assembly and association enshrined in Article 11 (ECHR, Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP) v. Turkey [GC], § 37). The link between Articles 10 and 11 is particularly relevant where the authorities have interfered with the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in reaction to the views held or statements made by participants in a demonstration or by members of an association (ECHR, Primov and Others v. Russia, § 92; Stankov and the United Macedonian Organisation Ilinden v. Bulgaria, § 85).
The mentioned fundamental rights are not only relevant in the relation between individuals and states. They also dictate a responsibility among civilians and private entities within the constitutional order when interacting with each other. This is called the horizontal effect of fundamental rights, pointing at the relations of private parties among each other.
The mentioned freedom of assembly and association is the legal foundation for any person to create an Order (=Merriam-Webster: a group of people united in a formal way). The freedom of expression is the basis for designating such an Order as an Order of Chivalry (=Merriam-Webster: the system, spirit, or customs of medieval knighthood) or Knighthood (=Merriam-Webster: the qualities befitting a knight). Therefore, in principle, any individual living in a democratic state has the fons honorum to create an Order of Chivalry or Knighthood.
The ICOC itself does not interfere with the right of associations of other individuals by making a list of – in their view – genuine Orders, but there are individuals and entities related to the ICOC, who made it a habit to defame associations that they regard as illegitimate.
SMOM is not a sovereign Order
The sixth principle of the ICOC states that only the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) is a sovereign Order: “The only recognised Order with the style of “Sovereign” existing nowadays is that of St John of Jerusalem, called of Rhodes, called of Malta, whose international headquarters were transferred to Rome in 1834, and whose international diplomatic “status” as an independent non-territorial power is recognised officially by the Holy See and by many other Governments.“. This statement is incorrect. With respect to the SMOM, a distinction should be made between sovereignty in the interstate relations and sovereignty in the public-private relation.
Sovereignty in the interstate relations
The SMOM describes itself not as a state, but as a sovereign subject of international law. The Italian state recognises SMOM’s extraterritorial rights over its properties in Rome. SMOM maintains a recognized permanent observer mission at the United Nations, the European Commission and other international and multinational organizations. SMOM is not categorized by the UN as a non-member state (like e.g. the Holy See), but among entities and intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers. For interstate-sovereignty, it is generally considered that the entity should be recognised as such by other sovereign entities or states. SMOM has diplomatic relations with numerous states and thus clearly possesses such an interstate-sovereignty. From a public international law perspective, SMOM is not a ‘sovereign Order’ (as the ICOC states), but a sovereign subject of the part of public international law that governs interstate relations. This interstate law does not recognise ‘Orders’, but only organisations, entities, subjects et cetera.
Sovereignty in the public-private relation
The SMOM has obviously lost its sovereignty in the public-private relation when it recently experienced a leadership crisis and during that crisis, the Vatican City State took over control of the Order. In December 2016, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager protested his removal as Grand Chancellor by Grand Master Matthew Festing. In a confidential letter of 6 December 2016 (see below: sources), to Grandmaster Festing, cardinal Burke pushed the Grandmaster for cooperation and even threatened with a visitation of the Order by the Pope. In January 2017, Pope Francis ordered Von Boeselager to be reinstated and required Festing’s resignation. The Pope also named Archbishop Giovanni Becciu as his personal representative to the Order until the election of a new Grandmaster. This move ignored the Order’s Cardinal Patron Raymond Burke. In May 2017, the Order named Mauro Bertero Gutiérrez, a Bolivian member of the Government Council, to lead its constitutional reform process. In June 2017, at their annual papal audience, the leadership of the Order wore informal attire instead of the traditional full dress uniforms. In May 2018, when a new Grandmaster was elected, Pope Francis extended Becciu’s mandate indefinitely. When the Order’s General Chapter met in May 2019, the participants included three women; a novelty. OnePeterFive of 14 July 2020 revealed that the program of Boeselager and the German SMOM associations is to modernize the Order by reducing its character as a religious order and to have it run by its lay members as a kind of medical NGO.
With regard to the public-private relation, as governed by public national law, public international law and private national law, it cannot be said that the Order is still sovereign, due to the mentioned Vatican City State interventions.
The mentioned events show that the Pope, not the Grandmaster nor the members of the SMOM, are in charge of the Order. Because SMOM allowed interventions by a religious leader and de facto gave up control over the Order, it is not, in any respect, an autonomous or sovereign Order. In contrast, any private association (Order) that is protected by law from state-interference, can be designated as ‘sovereign’ (=Merriam-Webster: enjoying autonomy).
I think it is important that this great Order gets modernized. This way, it can adapt better to a changing world and be more effective in supplying medical care. The Frankfurter Allgemeine puts it perfectly:
Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager führt den ehrwürdigen Malteserorden. Er bricht mit der Tradition, damit der Orden besser helfen kann.
In my opinion, the ICOC should develop a new set of principles that can be applied to answer one simple question: “Does, in the opinion of the ICOC, the Order of Chivalry in question have a historical background“? If so, it can be placed on the ICOC-list. I suggest applying an adjusted framework of the one that I used earlier to determine the value of nobiliary titles, issued by Prince David Bagration of Georgia (but this could be an interesting discussion within the ICOC):
The status of the issuer (dynasty and person);
The status of the Order (original status, current status and their compatibility);
The acceptance of the Order (acceptance by the legal successors of the dynasty, and/or by other royal houses and/or by relevant authorities).
Apart from the historical background, I would add a fourth criterium, in order to protect potential members from malversation:
Legal structure, financial transparency (Hoegen Dijkhof 2006, pp. 427-432) and contribution to society (inspired by the remarks of Freiherr von Boeselager in the Frankfurter Algemeine of 14 July 2019).
The principles of the ICOC are in breach with the fundamental rights of association, assembly and freedom of speech. The ICOC should revise its task and should not concern itself with the question ‘who has the right to create orders of chivalry‘, since, in a democratic society, this is legal question that is answered by law and by independent and impartial judges; not by a commission of private individuals. From a legal point of view, the current activities of the ICOC come down to one association, judging another association. Legally, both are to the same extent protected to express their opinions by the freedom of speech. There exists no superiority in this respect.
Instead of focussing on recognition issues, I suggest that the ICOC focusses on criteria to determine that an order has historical legitimacy (a positive approach). This information could be of enormous importance to the public. It is e.g. dishonest for organizers of an Order to make false claims about the historic background in order to attract funding. In addition, members of an Order risk becoming involved in trademark and copyright disputes, when they use emblems that belong to another entity. The primary task of the ICOC should be to protect the public in this respect, since in many Orders high passage and membership fees have to be paid to become and remain a member. To achieve this, the ICOC does not need to make major adjustments. The list of the ICOC itself is, to a large extent, a list of Orders that are historically legitimate, but the pretentions of the ICOC regarding their list are incorrect.
Confidential documents. These documents include an alternative timeline of events from a number of different sources. The documents report that Cardinal Burke told Grand Master Matthew Festing, that if Von Boeselager was not removed he would “instruct the Holy Father to initiate a visitation of the order”.
Grotius, Hugo, De iure belli ac pacis, ed. Barbeyrac, Jean (Amsterdam, 1720), Prolegomena, n. 52 Google Scholar.
Hugo Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace, edited and with an Introduction by Richard Tuck, from the Edition by Jean Barbeyrac (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 1. 7/15/2020. <https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1425>
Evans, M. D. (2018). International law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Evans, M. (2015). The changing nature of religious rights under international law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Steinerte, E., & Wallace, R. M. (2008). International law. London: Sweet & Maxwell.
“The principles of international law governing the Sovereign authority for the creation and administration of Orders of Chivalry”, in Rory Stanley (ed.), Féil-Scríbhinn Liam Mhic Alasdair – Essays Presented to Liam Mac Alasdair, FGSI (Genealogical Society of Ireland, Dublin, 2009) 15-25 ISBN 9781898471677.
The Bagration dynasty (Georgian: ბაგრატიონი) is a royal dynasty which reigned in Georgia from the Middle Ages until the early 19th century. It is considered to be amongst the oldest extant Christian ruling dynasties in the world. The genealogy of the dynasty can be traced back to the 8th century and the first mentioning of the dynasty may be traced as far back as the 2nd century AD. The Soviet occupation of Georgia in 1921 forced some members of the family to more modest status. Their properties were seized. Other members relocated to Western Europe and needed to start a new career from scratch. After Georgia regained independence in 1991, some family members repatriated to Georgia.
It is interesting to compare the seniority of the Georgian monarchy to the British and Spanish monarchy. The first monarch of the House of Hannover, George Louis, became king in 1714 as George I; about 1.000 years after the first Bagrationi emerged as a ruling monarch. The House of Borbón-Anjou (Spanish: Casa de Borbón) is, since 1700, the reigning family of the Kingdom of Spain, also about 1.000 years later.
Therefore, based on the seniority, the House of Bagration has an extremely high status.
Considering the foregoing, Prince David has an excellent reputation.
Status of the titles
Nobiliary system during the Bagration reign
In the kingdom of Georgia, about 5% of the population belonged to the nobility. The highest circles in society were occupied by the Bagration family. Immediately below the royal families came the princes (tavadni), organised within great clans. The most prestigious princes were heads of the five most noble clans; the Orbeliani, Amilkhvari, Tsitsishvili and the two Eristavi clans, as well as the senior Armenian melik. Members of these clans outranked other noble clans. Below the princes were the vassal gentry or aznaurni, people of status but dependent on the king, clergy, or the princes. Royal vassals, like the mouravni (local governors originally appointed by the king) outranked the vassals of the church, who in turn outranked the vassals of nobles. Many aznaurni were quite poor and lived no better than peasants, but their status carried certain privileges and exemptions from obligations (Gvosdev 2000, p. 92).
The Georgian nobility was largely organised on a military basis, the army being divided into several corps represented by “banners” (or drosha), each commanded by the great grandees of the realm. These grandees were petty sovereigns within their own domains, enjoying the power of life and death, but owing allegiance to the king (source: Christopher Buyers). It is clear that Georgia had a highly structured nobiliary system, which can serve as a basis for the modern titles.
Compatibility between ancient and current tiles
The ancient nobility in the kingdom of Georgia was organised as follows (source: Christopher Buyers)
H.M. The Most High King.
Princes of the Blood (batonishvili).
Great Officers of State
Grandees of the first class
Grandees of the second class
Junior members (tavadishvili) of the families of the grandees of the first class
Bishops of the Georgian Orthodox Church
Grandees of the third class
Junior members (mtavarishvili) of the families of the princes of the second class (mtavari)
Archimandrites of the Georgan Orthodox Church
In recent years, Prince David Bagration conferred the title of Duke of San Jorge, to mr. Alfredo Escudero y Díaz-Madroñero, a reputable Spanish insurance broker and tax advisor. Prince David also issued the title of Duke of Aymer (a long-established surname of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derived from the Middle English male given name “Ailmar”) on behalf of mr. William Francis Charnley, a well-respected British lawyer and master (2016 – 2017) of the Drapers’ Company (est. 1361). In 2011, the title of Viscount of Portadei was conferred upon José María de Montells y Galán, historian, meticulous researcher, brilliant writer and revolutionary poet. These appointments show that Prince David carefully selects the persons to whom such honours are given.
It is clear that these titles cannot be compared to the ancient Georgian noble titles like e.g. Duke of Aragvi (Aragvi-eristavi) or Duke of Ksani (Ksani-eristavi). Both titleholders were Grandees of the first class (Sul-didibuli-tavadi) of the Kingdom of Kartli and ruled over enormous estates. Obviously, Prince David has modernised the Georgian nobility, and revised it in accordance with Western standards. This innovation is understandable, since nobility should not be a mausoleum. Apart from that, titles like aznaurni would be very impractical to use in Western Europe. Issuing titles referring to European places, is a personal choice of Prince David.
Modernisation of the titles
In ancient and medieval Georgia, the nobiliary titles were embedded in a system of personal dependence, called feudalism or patronqmoba (Georgian: პატრონყმობა from patroni, “lord”, and qmoba, “slavery”, “serfdom”). This system arose from the tribal-dynastic organization of Georgian society. This hierarchical division of the Georgian feudal society was later codified in law by King Vakhtang VI (reigned 1716–24) in an official table of “weregild” or blood money rates. The system is thought to have its roots into the ancient Georgian, or Iberian, society of Hellenistic period.
The status of the current titles differs very much from the mentioned original status. Currently, the titles are an honorific accessory to the name. This modernisation is in line with the democratic principles that are laid down in article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The revised titles have nothing to do with the horrors of serfdom, attached to the original Georgian titles. Because they have a more humane character, the current status of the Georgian titles is higher than their original status.
No consent or confirmatory authority needed
In medieval Georgia, there existed a council of state, called Darbazi (Georgian: დარბაზი), introduced by king David IV of Georgia (c. 1073-1125). The Darbazi consisted of Didebulis (high aristocracy) and church representatives (Mikaberidze 2007). The Council was non-mandatory in the decisions of major questions of government. The king could, at his discretion, take the advice of the Darbazi into consideration. The rights and obligations of Darbazi were significantly widened after an insurrection by the 12th-century Georgian politician Qutlu Arslan and his followers. It was the result of a social struggle that marked a further step in the advancement of Georgian society.
At the time of the Russian annexation, Georgian society was rigidly hierarchical (Gvosdev 2000, p. 92). Georgian princes not only had nearly unlimited power over their estates and the enserfed peasantry, they also exercised police and judicial power (Gvosdev 2000, p. 65). In this extremely hierarchical society (even compared to imperial Russian standards) no consent was needed to elevate persons to higher ranks.
As a Republic, Georgia currently does not register titles of nobility. The work of Martínez Larrañaga et al. however, includes an overview of the Georgian nobiliary titles, issued by Prince David.
Acceptance of the titles
Likelihood of a restoration
In an article on the website Civil.ge, a project by the United Nations Association of Georgia, several politicians are asked how they feel about the idea of restoring the monarchy.
There has been a broad welcome from the opposition to Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church Illia II’s call to consider establishing a constitutional monarchy. We, most opposition parties, believe that we should have a parliamentary form of government and its perfect form is a constitutional monarchy, MP Zviad Dzidziguri of the Conservative Party said on October 8. I always supported a constitutional monarchy, as an appropriate form of government for Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of Georgia’s Way, told reporters. Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili said on October 8 that his party also supports the proposal. Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, the leader of the opposition Freedom Party, said the proposal was extremely positive. The New Rights Party, in a statement issued on October 8, said that Georgia should be a constitutional monarchy. A lawmaker from the ruling party, Vakhtang Balavadze, said the issue should only be considered after the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity. In his Sunday sermon, Illia II, said that today conditions exist which may help to make this dream of the Georgian people come true referring to the restoration of the Georgian royal dynasty of Bagrationi. He, however, also said it may take years. His comments come amid political confrontation between the authorities and opposition parties. A group of ten opposition parties has launched a campaign calling for the abolition of the presidency and the creation of a parliamentary system of government.
Considering this political climate, it is not unlikely that Georgia will restore the monarchy and that currently issued titles will be formalised.
Acceptance by the Russian Empire
With the Treaty of Georgievsk (Russian: Георгиевский трактат, Georgievskiy traktat; Georgian: გეორგიევსკის ტრაქტატი, georgievskis trakt’at’i) of 24 July 1783 between Catherine the Great of the Russian Empire and Heraclius II of Kartli-Kakheti, eastern Georgia became a protectorate under Russia, which guaranteed its territorial integrity and the continuation of its reigning Bagration dynasty, in return for prerogatives in the conduct of Georgian foreign affairs.
However, on 22 December 1800, Tsar Paul I of Russia, at the alleged request of the Georgian King George XII (sometimes known as George XIII), proclaimed the incorporation of western Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire. The incorporation was formalised by the decree of 8 January 1801, and confirmed by Tsar Alexander I on 12 September 1801. The Bagration royal family was deported from their kingdom. In 1810, the eastern kingdom of Imereti followed a comparable faith. In 1891, Georgia was almost completely annexed by the Russian Empire. The Russians ignored Georgian habits and traditions and sought to eradicate Georgian language and culture. Almost all frescos in the Georgian cathedrals were white-washed and both the status of the Patriarch and the autocephaly of the Georgian Church were abolished (source: Georgian government). The situation became worse when – after a short period as an independent republic – the Soviet armies invaded Georgia in 1921.
In 1801, Emperor Paul I Petrovich recognized the Bagrationi-Davitishvili and the Bagration-Mukhraneli families (amongst many other princely families) as princes of the Russian Empire. This recognition was revoked shortly afterwards. A number of Georgian native nobles ignored the Russian titles, but a substantial number of nobles moved to Russia and mingled with the Russian nobility. Prince David himself, for example, is a cousin of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, claimant to the headship of the Russian Imperial House, as her mother was born Princess Leonida Bagration-Mukhraneli. The Russian Nobility Association in America accepts such nobles of Georgian descent as members, when they can prove that their family was listed in the Books of the Nobility of the Russian Imperial Senate between 1801 and 1917 (about 120 families). The restored relation and mutual recognition between the Georgian and Russian dynasties has been underlined recently by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia:
Russia ceased treating the sons of King George XII of Georgia living in Russia as royal princes, even though their former royal status was a matter of historical fact. Catherine II’s great-great-great-grandson and heir Nicholas II, perhaps mindful of this history, made a private comment acknowledging the royal status of the Bagrations at the time of the first Romanoff-Bagration wedding in 1911. But it was her great-great-great-great-grandson and heir Grand Duke Wladimir who in 1946 gave effect to the underlying spirit of mutual respect between the two dynasties that was a key purpose of the treaty.
Although the official recognition of Georgian titles back in the days of the Russian Empire does not apply to the newly issued titles by Prince David, it is not unlikely that there is a mutual recognition of such titles between the two Houses, considering their excellent relationship.
The titles issued by the House of Bagration are of high value. In my opinion, the titles will become even more valuable when they become more ancient over the course of time. They form a unique part of the grandeur of the Georgian Royal House.
Gvosdev, N. K. (2000). Imperial policies and perspectives towards Georgia: 1760-1819. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Toumanoff, Cyril, Cyril, “The Early Bagratids. remarks in connexion with some recent publications”, Le Muséon 62 (1949); “The Bagratids of Iberia from the Eighth to the Eleventh Century”, Le Muséon 74 (1961); “Manuel de Généalogie et de Chronologie pour le Caucase chrétien (Arménie, Géorgie, Albanie)“, 1976
Stephen F. Jones, Russian Imperial Administration and the Georgian Nobility: The Georgian Conspiracy of 1832. The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 65, No. 1 (Jan., 1987), pp. 53-76.
Mikaberidze, Alexander, Historical Dictionary of Georgia – Scarecrow Press, (2007 ISBN 978-0810855809.
Martínez Larrañaga, Fernando; Alfredo Escudero y Díaz Madroñero; José María de Montells y Galán; (2015), Armorial de la Orden del Águila de Georgia y la Túnica Inconsútil de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, ISBN 978-84-943890-4-7
I offer this possibility to those who have something to say against the idea of the King Kigeli to grant “honours” using names of “European nobiliary titles” (but I repeat they are not nobiliary titles but only honours): prepare a true study supported by due documentation, historical precedents, footnotes which quote precedent studies on the matter to be published in one of my reviews or better to participate in the next III International Colloquium of Genealogy organized by Institut International d’Etudes Généalogiques et d’Histoire des Families in San Marino from 28 September to 1 October 2007.
[Felice degli Uberti] finds Kigeli V’s trade in titles “very sad”. He has warned the ex-king that the titles do not form part of his historical tradition and should not be awarded. His majesty declined to comment but his secretary-general responded: “Who has the right to question his authorities but God and his countrymen?”
Personally, I agree with the late King. The titles he issued, had a European flavour, which is not inappropriate. The titles of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Duke of Addis Abeba, Marquess of O’Shea and Earl Mountbatten of Burma (issued by European monarchs), for example, are also well-accepted. From a linguistic perspective, it would be difficult to issue African titles to Europeans and Americans. Stewart Saint-David’s interesting work “Grace and Favor” includes a list of Rwandan titles. Saint-David is an expert on Rwanda’s history and his work is authoritative:
Saint-David’s book, ‘Umwami: King Kigeli V and the Shattered Kingdom of Rwanda,’ the official biography of the last ruling monarch of the Nyiginya dynasty, highlights the vital role played by the nation’s kings in helping to foster the long-term peace and prosperity of its traditional society and culture. In 2017, in accordance with the last wishes of the late King, he was granted the honorific nobiliary title of Marquis of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, and was also named a Knight of the Royal Order of Saint Michael of the Wing of Portugal, an ancient chivalric institution founded in the 12th century, whose Grand Master, H.R.H. Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, has for many years been a noted friend and supporter of the Royal House of Rwanda.
Prof. Saint-David’s later study, ‘Beloved of Amun-Ra: The Lost Origins of the Ancient Names of the Kings of Rwanda,’ centers on the genetic, linguistic, and cultural links between pharaonic Egypt and monarchical Rwanda. As a recognition of this innovative work, he was named a Knight Grand Collar of the Royal Order of the Drum by King Yuhi VI Bushayija of Rwanda, and in October, 2019, he was awarded the Dragomanov Medal for European Communication by the National Dragomanov Pedagogical University of Ukraine.
In March, 2020, Prof. Saint-David was appointed official historian of the Royal House of Rwanda, with the title of Kalinga Chronicler. He has recently published an illustrated survey, ‘In the House of Eternity: A Brief History of Ancient Egypt,’ created in collaboration with his wife, the photographer E. L. J. Saint-David. His latest volume, entitled, ‘In the Presence: Eyewitness Accounts of Foreign Visitors to the Royal Court of Rwanda, 1894-1922,’ is a small collection of excerpted writings by some of the European guests presented at the courts of Kigeli IV Rwabugili (r. 1853-1895) and Yuhi V Musinga (r. 1896-1931). He is currently in the early stages of research for a historical survey of Egypt under Roman and Byzantine rule.
Saint-David’s list is copied below. It can serve as a basis for answering degli Uberti’s question. However, a truly scientific sociological study of the matter would involve a sequence of prescribed steps: defining a specific research question that can be answered through empirical observation; gathering information and resources through detailed observation (e.g. from the Belgian colonial archives); forming a hypothesis; testing the hypothesis in a reproducible manner; analysing and drawing conclusions from the data; publishing the results; and anticipating further development when future researchers respond to and re-examine the findings.
(equivalent to the) Ducal title conferred by H.M. King Mutara III Rudahigwa (1959-2016)
H.M. Baudouin, King of the Belgians, Duc du Royaume (1955). This appointment is manifested by the gift of 120 spears; literally: Ijana Namakumyabiri, or ‘120. The equivalent to the title of duke/duc in European culture.
Ducal titles conferred by H.M. King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa (1959-2016)
On 28 November 2004, the mentioned Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000 came into force. It abolished the feudal system of land tenure (the relationship that individuals hold regarding land and related resources) on feudal baronies. The retained dignity of baron is no longer attached to land, but a floating dignity which may be bought and sold as incorporeal heritable property and may be bequeathed by will.
Baronies are not registerable in the Land Register and deeds relating to them are no longer recorded in the Register of Sasines (the oldest national public land register in the world, dating back to 1617) automatically. As a result, the transfer of dignity is no longer bound to be registered anywhere. However, ‘Burke’s Peerage and Gentry’ includes a complete list of Scottish Feudal Barons. This list can be viewed online at www.burkespeerage.com. Where the applicant provides evidence that the Lord Lyon has recognised their feudal barony, or the title is included in Burke’s Peerage, this may be accepted by HM Passport Office and subsequently be recorded on the personal details page of his/her British passport (source: HM Passport Office, 13 Januari 2012).
Registration policies of Lord Lyon
The Court of the Lord Lyon is a court of law, and applications for a coat of arms are made by a formal “Petition”. The initiative thereto is taken by the person wishing to obtain a coat of arms. He/she submits the Petition to the Lord Lyon, stating who he/she is and asking for a coat of arms to be granted to him/her. The process is not complicated. Lord Lyon, who is the Crown’s representative in all heraldic matters in Scotland, used to recognise Scottish feudal titles, but has signalled an intention to phase out this recognition. Since the 2000-Act came into force, successive holders of the office of Lord Lyon King of Arms have developed different practices in relation to the wording of formal Letters Patent, by which the Lord Lyon grants arms to those persons presently entitled to the dignity of baron.
On 17 December 2002, Lyon Blair (in office between 2001 and 2008) announced that, as a result of the Abolition of Feudal Tenures Act 2000, he would from 28 November 2004 no longer officially recognise a person as a feudal baron, nor make any grant of baronial additaments as part of armorial bearings:
COURT OF THE LORD LYON ABOLITION OF FEUDAL TENURE ETC (SCOTLAND) ACT
The Armorial Bearings of The Court of the Lord Lyon
In connection with the Appointed Day under the above Act, which has been announced to be 28 November 2004, the following Rules will apply:
1. With effect from the Appointed Day the Lord Lyon will no longer officially recognise a person as a feudal baron, nor make any grant of baronial additaments as part of Armorial Bearings.
2. Any Petition for recognition as a baron and/or for baronial additaments must be submitted to the Court of the Lord Lyon not later than 30 April 2004 in order to allow time for it to be processed before the Appointed Day. No such Petition lodged after the 30 April 2004 will be considered.
3. After the Appointed Day the Lord Lyon will be prepared to consider allowing a bleu chapeau as part of the Arms matriculated by an heir of a baron who has been recognised by the Lord Lyon prior to the Appointed Day, in a similar manner as bleu chapeaux have in the past been, and will continue to be, allowed to Representers of former owners of baronial lands.
4. After the Appointed Day a baron who has a grant of Arms with baronial additaments may continue to use the additaments for his lifetime. Use of the additaments by his heir after the death of the baron will not be permissible and all existing grants will be subject to this Rule.
In the Margaret Hamilton of Rockhall v Lord Lyon King of Arms ( CSOH 85) case, Lyon Blair determined to recognise the petitioner (in 2006) only as “Holder of the Barony of Lag” and to grant the petitioner a coat of arms without any baronial additaments. The petitioner had asked for wording of the titles “the baron of …” instead of “holder of the barony of …”. In the mentioned Margaret Hamilton of Rockhall v Lord Lyon King of Arms case, it was decided that Lyon Blair was entitled to do so:
The very particular character of the royal prerogative power that is exercised by the Lord Lyon as a matter of grace is wholly inimical to the articulation of a policy or practice by him that is capable of binding successors in the office of Lord Lyon in the grant of arms. The breadth of the discretion the Lord Lyon has in such matters, which is almost unique in a modern context, arises from the origins and nature of his ancient office and the very particular character of the royal prerogative he exercises on behalf of the Monarch.
On 31 August 2014, the Lord Lyon King of Arms issued the “Note on the Petition of George Menking“, under which he determined to accept petitions for the grant arms for feudal dignities including feudal earldoms (not to be confused with an earldom, which forms part of the Peerage of Scotland) since such dignities have historically always been of the genus of a barony and as such represent a higher form of barony and fall within the jurisdiction of the King of Arms.
Recently, the Lord Lyon stated that from 1 March 2018 he will no longer make mention, in Letters Patent granting armorial bearings, of a petitioner’s ownership of a Feudal Barony and therefore status as Feudal Baron (source: letter dated 23 October 2017, addressed to Dr Michael Yellowlees of Lindsays Solicitors).
A solicitor generally charges legal fees between £2,000 – £3,000 for the acquisition of a barony and £3,000 – £4,000 for an earldom. The barony itself will cost in the region of £75,000 or more in the case of a lordship, earldom or marquisate.
There is a more or less standard procedure for transferring ownership of a feudal barony.
Once the deposit and the intermediary’s (seller’s agent) buyer’s premium have been paid, the intermediary will instruct the selling solicitor to issue the title deeds and the drafts of the transfer documentation. The buyer’s solicitor examines and reports to the buyer on the terms of the titles (the bundle of rights in the property that the buyer will own). If these documents prove existence and ownership of the barony, the buyer’s solicitor will draw up the contract for the purchase on the buyer’s behalf and deal with the assignation (transfer) of the barony.
When the legal procedure reaches the final phase and a date of completion is agreed the buyer’s solicitor will ask the buyer to transfer the balance of the purchase price, the Scottish Barony Register registration dues and his/her solicitor’s fee to our client account. The funds are then paid to the seller’s solicitor in exchange for the signed Assignation. When the purchase is completed the buyer’s solicitor registers the Assignation in the Scottish Barony Register. The seller cannot draw down the purchase price until the Assignation has been registered.
Scottish Barony Register
The Scottish Barony Register is a Private Limited Company by guarantee. The company was incorporated on 22 November 2004 to enable registration of barony titles as a remedy for the introduction of the mentioned Abolition of Feudal Tenure Act. The purpose of registration in the Register is to prevent the sale of irregular titles. The people behind the Register are listed in the registers of Company House (Company number SC276349).
Register of Feudal Lords and Barons of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Lyons have finally accepted that they are not conveyancers. The legal ownership of a feudal barony has never been dependent upon his recognition. The conveyancing (the legal transfer of property from one owner to another) documents should prove the ownership. Lyon will still recognise the holder of a barony as qualifying to petition for Scottish arms, but only as long as the conveyance has been accepted by the Scottish Baronial Register. What has been changed is the fact that Lyon will no longer mention the dignity of feudal baron on the letters patents, granting arms.
Political theorist Karl Marx (1818–1883) was born in Trier, Germany. He is considered the father of international communism, also known as Marxism. This ideology in both its original and more orthodox guises, inspired both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis to establish their concentration camps in order to exterminate their political opponents or other ‘undesirable’ individuals. It was the Soviet Union, not Nazi Germany, where the first concentration camps in the ‘old continent’ were established (Vladimir Tismaneanu, ‘Communism and the Human Condition: Reflections on the Black Book of Communism’ (2001) 2(2) Human Rights Review 130). As early as October 1923, there were 315 of them spread all over the Soviet Union. Over that period no less than 15 million Russian people were brought into forced labour, with more than 1.5 million dying in prison. Six million people were deported on grounds of family ties and indeed ethnic identity (Nicolas Werth, ‘A State Against its People: Violence, Repression and Terror in the Soviet Union’ in Stephane Courtois et al., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge/MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p 73). Hitler knew about those Soviet camps, and he learned from them in order to create his own concentration camps in Nazi Germany. In his Public Speech, Munich, November 1941 (see: The Bulletin of International News, Royal Institute of International Affairs, XVIII, No. 5t, p 269) Adolf Hitler said: “Basically, National-Socialism and Marxism are the same.”.
Although both his grandfathers were rabbis, Marx’s father converted his eight children to Protestantism in 1824. The young Marx later declared himself an atheist. As a student, Marx wanted to be a poet and dramatist. At the University of Berlin, he studied Hegelian philosophy and became interested in economics. During his stay in Paris, he befriended Friedrich Engels, who supported him financially for the rest of his life. Together they published the Communist Manifestoin 1848, a radical criticism of the upper class and a call for the international cooperation of the proletariat. Following his expulsion from Brussels, Cologne, and Paris, Marx eventually settled in London. He lived there as a stateless exile until his death.
Marx was a devoted husband to his wife, Jenny Edle von Westphalen, a descendent of Prussian and British aristocrats. Jenny’s paternal grandmother, Jeanie Wishart (1742–1811), was a descendent of a Scottish nobleman. Her father, George Wishart, son of William Wishart, was Principal of Edinburgh University, and a descendant of the 9th Earl of Angus and the 3rd Earl Marischal. The latter was in turn a direct descendant of King James I, of the House of Stuart. At the depth of the couple’s long poverty, Jenny still carried calling cards identifying her as “Marx née Edle von Westphalen”. The couple had seven children, but only three lived to adulthood. Two adult daughters killed themselves because of political and marital problems.
Johann Ludwig von Westphalen, born on 11 July 1770 in Bornum am Elm, died Trier 3 March 1842, son of Christian Heinrich Philipp Edler von Westphalen (son of a Blankenburg postmaster who had been ennobled in 1764 as Edler von Westphalen by Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick for his military services) and of Jeanie Wishart. Johann Ludwig married (1st) Meisdorf 4 July 1798 Elisabeth von Veltheim, daughter of Karl Christian Septimus von Veltheim and Friederike Albertine von Pannwitz. Johann Ludwig married (2nd) Salzwebel 30 April 1812 Caroline Heubel, daughter of Julius Heubel, retired military horse-care expert, and Sophie Heubel. Children of Johann Ludwig von Westphalen and Caroline Heubel:
Johanna Bertha Julie Jenny Edle von Westphalen, b. 15 Jan 1814, d. 2 Dec 1881, m. 19 June 1843 Karl Heinrich Marx;
Helena Laura Cecilia Charlotte Friederike Edle von Westphalen, b. 16 Mar 1817, d. 3 Apr 1821;
Gerhard Oscar Ludwig Edgar Edler von Westphalen, b. 26 Mar 1819, d. 30 Sep 1890.
The combination of Marxism and nobility is strange, taking into consideration the negative ideas of Marx regarding the aristocracy. Currently, another peculiar combination has arisen: Marxism and the Black Lives Matter movements (BLM).
BLM considers itself a neo-Marxist movement with various far-left objectives, including the dismantling of capitalism. The affiliation with Marxism is quite unnatural because both Marx and Engels had extremely racist views on society. In a letter to Engels, in reference to his socialist political competitor Ferdinand Lassalle, the son of a Jewish silk merchant, Marx wrote:
It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes who had joined Moses’ exodus from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother on the paternal side had not interbred with a negro. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product.
Engels shared Marx’s racial philosophy. In 1887, Paul Lafargue, who was Marx’s son-in-law, was a candidate for a council seat in a Paris district that contained a zoo. Engels claimed that Lafargue had “one-eighth or one-twelfth negro blood.”. In a letter to Lafargue’s wife, Engels wrote, “Being in his quality as a negro, a degree nearer to the rest of the animal kingdom than the rest of us, he is undoubtedly the most appropriate representative of that district.”
Marx was also an anti-Semite. In On the Jewish Question (1844) Marx endorsed the anti-Semitic leader of the Hegelian Left, Bruno Bauer, who demanded that the Jews should immediately abandon Judaism. Marx asked:
What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. … Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man—and turns them into commodities. … The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange. … The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general.
Marxism is the movement that inspired Hitler. It will never be the source for inspiration to us, believing in the ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Weyl, N. ‘Notes on Karl Marx’s racial philosophy of politics and history’, The Mankind Quarterly (July 1977), pp. 59–70; idem, Karl Marx: Racist (New York: Arlington House, 1979). A comprehensive catalogue of their various, ignominious racially prejudices pontificated by Karl Marx and Engels. This book is needed for those studying economics, Marxism, capitalism, wealth inequality, communism, income equality, and anthropology.
Gabriel, M. (2012). Love and capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the birth of a revolution. New York: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Co.
The author opposes racism in all forms and rejects communism and socialism.
One reader wrote me: “It’s actually even worse. In the note to Engels on Ferdinand Lassalle, Marx didn’t use the word Negro. He used the derogatory American word. He propounded the same thoughts on his own son-in-law, Lafarge, who was of part Cuban mulatto and Native American stock.“
Bij koninklijk besluit van 15 mei 1996 werden de vier kinderen uit het huwelijk tussen Carel Hugo van Bourbon-Parma (1930) en Irene prinses der Nederlanden (1939) op basis van de Wet op de adeldom ingelijfd in de Nederlandse adel met de titel ‘prins/prinses’ en het predicaat ‘Koninklijke Hoogheid’. Carlos prins de Bourbon de Parme (1970) is de oudste zoon uit dit huwelijk. De grond voor de inlijving in de Nederlandse adel was dat – volgens de Hoge Raad van Adel – het geslacht in Spanje werd gerekend tot de adel. Dit bleek echter, na onderzoek door Jhr. Titus von Bönninghausen bij het Spaanse ministerie van Justitie, niet het geval te zijn. De inlijving had toen al plaatsgevonden en de ontdekking van dit feit is daarom juridisch niet meer terug te draaien.
In 1997 werd Carlos Hugo Roderik Sybren Klynstra (roepnaam ‘Hugo‘), geboren uit de relatie tussen prins Carlos en Brigitte Klynstra, verpleegster (1959). Mevrouw Klynstra woont in het Gelderse Hummelo op het terrein van het landgoed van haar stiefvader, graaf van Rechteren Limpurg:
Graaf en Edele heer Ernst van Lippe-Weissenfeld (1870 – 1914, Oostfront) trouwt in 1911 in Schloss Büdingen met Prinses Anna van Ysenburg en Büdingen (1886-1980). Uit dit huwelijk:
Prinses Eleonore van Lippe-Weissenfeld (1913 in Dresden – 1964 in Den Haag), trouwt (gescheiden 1944) in 1935 in Detmold met Sweder graaf van Rechteren Limpurg (1910-1972). Uit dit huwelijk:
Adolph Roderik Ernst Leopold graaf van Rechteren Limpurg (1938-), Afdelingshoofd van de Vereniging van Natuurmonumenten te ‘s-Graveland, commandeur van de Duitse Orde, trouwt met Ingrid Pieksma (1935-2008), dochter van Dirk Pieksma en Gerardine Nicolina Alette Evers (eerder gehuwd met Sybren Bonno Klynstra (1920-2004)), moeder van Brigitte Klynstra voornoemd.
Prins Carlos en mevrouw Klynstra waren niet getrouwd en woonden niet samen. In 1999 verzocht moeder Klynstra bij de rechtbank in Zutphen om gerechtelijke vaststelling van het vaderschap van prins Carlos. Dit verzoek werd door de rechtbank ingewilligd.
Adellijke titel gaat over op Klynstra
Bij besluit van 14 september 2015 heeft de minister van Veiligheid en Justitie de aanvraag ingewilligd van zoon Klynstra om wijziging van zijn geslachtsnaam in ‘De Bourbon de Parme’, voorafgegaan door de adellijke titel ‘prins’ en het predicaat ‘Koninklijke Hoogheid’. De Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State oordeelde in 2018 dat de minister terecht heeft besloten dat Klynstra aan de voorwaarden voor naamswijziging voldoet. De vader – prins Carlos – en de entiteit ‘Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme’ hadden hiertegen bezwaar gemaakt. In een persbericht van de Raad van State van 28 februari 2018 is het volgende over de zaak opgenomen:
Hugo Klynstra krijgt achternaam De Bourbon de Parme en de titel ‘prins’
Gepubliceerd op 28 februari 2018 De toenmalig minister van Veiligheid en Justitie heeft het verzoek om de achternaam van Klynstra te wijzigen in De Bourbon de Parme terecht ingewilligd. Dat blijkt uit een uitspraak van vandaag (28 februari 2018) van de hoogste bestuursrechter, de Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State. Dat betekent dat Klynstra de achternaam van zijn vader Carlos prins de Bourbon de Parme krijgt. Ook mag hij de titel ‘prins’ en het predicaat ‘Koninklijke Hoogheid’ voeren. Om de naamswijziging officieel door te voeren, is eerst nog wel een zogenoemd koninklijk besluit nodig.
Om twee redenen heeft Klynstra recht op de wijziging van zijn achternaam in De Bourbon de Parme en de bijbehorende titel en het bijbehorende predicaat.
Wijziging van de achternaam
In het Burgerlijk Wetboek staan de voorwaarden voor een wijziging van de achternaam. De Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak is van oordeel dat de minister terecht heeft besloten dat Klynstra aan die voorwaarden voldoet. De rechtbank in Zutphen heeft in 1999 het vaderschap van Carlos prins de Bourbon de Parme ‘gerechtelijk vastgesteld’. Dat hij het vaderschap niet heeft erkend, is niet van belang.
Titel en koninklijk predicaat
Uit het Nederlandse adelsrecht volgt dat wijziging van de achternaam automatisch tot gevolg heeft dat adeldom overgaat. Klynstra mag door de naamswijziging dan ook de titel ‘prins’ en het predicaat ‘Koninklijke Hoogheid’ voeren. Carlos prins de Bourbon de Parme is in 1996 ingelijfd in de Nederlandse adel. Hierbij zijn de prinselijke titel en het koninklijk predicaat toegekend aan hem en zijn mannelijke nakomelingen. Daardoor geldt het Nederlandse adelsrecht en gaan de titel en het predicaat met de naamswijziging automatisch over op Klynstra. Voor de Nederlandse Wet op de adeldom maakt de manier waarop het vaderschap van het kind is vast komen te staan niet uit, oordeelt de Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak.
Geen lid van het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme
De naamswijziging heeft niet tot gevolg dat Klynstra nu ook lid wordt van het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme. Dat is een privéaangelegenheid van het Huis zelf. En daar gaat het Nederlandse adelsrecht niet over.
Hugo Klynstra is geboren in 1997. Hij is de buitenechtelijke zoon van Carlos prins de Bourbon de Parme. Bij zijn geboorte kreeg hij de achternaam van zijn moeder, Klynstra. Toen hij meerderjarig werd, verzocht hij de toenmalige minister van Veiligheid en Justitie om de naamswijziging. De minister willigde dat verzoek in 2015 in. De rechtbank Den Haag bepaalde in november 2016 dat de bezwaren van Carlos prins de Bourbon de Parme en het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme tegen de naamswijziging niet konden slagen. De Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak bevestigt dat oordeel van de rechtbank in de uitspraak van vandaag.
Lees hier de volledige uitspraak met zaaknummer 201609884/1.
“De regels van het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme”
In het persbericht wordt uitdrukkelijk vermeld: “De naamswijziging heeft niet tot gevolg dat Klynstra nu ook lid wordt van het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme. Dat is een privéaangelegenheid van het Huis zelf. En daar gaat het Nederlandse adelsrecht niet over.“. Het is de vraag of dit juist is.
In de uitspraak zelf wordt door de Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak, voor zover van belang, hierover het volgende overwogen (r.o. 7.1):
De Afdeling is van oordeel dat de belangen van [het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] rechtstreeks worden geraakt door de in het besluit van 14 september 2015 voorziene overgang van de titel prins en het predicaat Koninklijke Hoogheid. De regels van het Koninklijk Huis verzetten zich ertegen dat een buiten echt geboren kind de titel prins en het predicaat Koninklijke Hoogheid krijgt. [Klynstra] zal gelet op deze regels ook geen lid van dat Koninklijk Huis worden. Deze regels zijn evenwel niet algemeen bekend, zodat aannemelijk is dat de toekenning van de titel prins en het predicaat Koninklijke Hoogheid de schijn zal wekken dat [Klynstra] wél tot dat Koninklijk Huis zal gaan behoren.
De rechtbank heeft in zijn uitspraak van 18 november 2016 hierover – geheel terecht – overwogen dat het al dan niet tot het Koninklijk Huis [De Bourbon de Parme] behoren een particuliere aangelegenheid is die niet door het Nederlandse adelsrecht wordt beheerst. De Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak verwijst in zijn uitspraak naar regels van “het Koninklijk Huis” en overweegt dat het een juridische entiteit betreft die belanghebbende kan zijn in de zin van art. artikel 1:2, eerste lid, van de Algemene wet bestuursrecht. Deze entiteit kan dus ook bezwaar maken/beroep instellen tegen een besluit als hier aan de orde is, aldus de Afdeling.
De Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak kent rechtsgevolgen toe aan het bestaan van een entiteit met eigen huisregels, namelijk doordat de Afdeling de entiteit Koninklijk Huis de Bourbon de Parme (= familievereniging) als belanghebbende aanmerkt bij de vraag of een buiten het huwelijk geboren kind van iemand de naam van de vader mag krijgen (r.o. 7.1):
De Afdeling is van oordeel dat de belangen van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] rechtstreeks worden geraakt door de in het besluit van 14 september 2015 voorziene overgang van de titel prins en het predicaat Koninklijke Hoogheid.
De Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak overweegt over de juridische status van dit Koninklijk Huis dat het een entiteit betreft die herkenbaar is in het rechtsverkeer (r.o. 7):
[Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] presenteert zich naar buiten als een eenheid, thans onder meer via zijn website. Op deze website is informatie te vinden over de geschiedenis van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme], de leden van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] en de organisatie van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme]. Het bestuur van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] wordt gevormd door [prins Carlos] als hoofd van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme], een hoofd ceremoniën, een secretaris en een vertegenwoordiger. [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] heeft voorts aparte besturen voor de verschillende ordes die [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] kent. Uit naam van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] worden jaarlijks evenementen georganiseerd waarbij [prins Carlos] als hoofd van [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] en Grootmeester van de ordes onderscheidingen, waaronder de ordes, toekent. Onder deze omstandigheden moet [Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme] naar het oordeel van de Afdeling worden aangemerkt als entiteit die herkenbaar is in het rechtsverkeer.
Het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme voerde in de procedure aan dat het besluit van de minister om titel en predicaat op Klynstra te laten overgaan met zich brengt dat er een Koninklijke Hoogheid is die niet tot een Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme behoort (r.o. 6). Gelet hierop, vormt – volgens het Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme – het besluit in feite de aanzet is voor een nieuw Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme, dat niet te onderscheiden is van het oorspronkelijke Huis. Dit eerste is naar mijn mening juist, het tweede niet.
Klynstra kan inderdaad zijn eigen tak van het ‘Koninklijk Huis de Bourbon de Parme’ starten en ontwikkelen. Omdat Klynstra (nu ZKH Hugo prins de Bourbon de Parme) de oudste zoon is van prins Carlos, is het de vraag wie straks in historische zin de chef van het Huis De Bourbon de Parme is, aan wie traditiegetrouw de dynastieke rechten (bijvoorbeeld: troonopvolging en het uitgeven van orden en adellijke titels) toekomen (zie bijvoorbeeld: Bourbon, S. D. (1914). Le traité d’Utrecht et les lois fondamentales du royaume. Thèse pour le doctorat. Paris: Université de Paris). Naar mijn mening is dit het huis van prins Hugo (traditiegetrouw de oudste tak), maar een autoriteit om dit te bevestigen is er niet. Dit betekent dat prins Hugo alle reden heeft om ook een website op te zetten en een organisatie daar omheen op te bouwen, die bijvoorbeeld verschillende orden (in de uitspraak staat foutief ‘ordes’) kan uitgeven. In dit opzicht is er wel degelijk onderscheid aan te brengen: namelijk tussen een oudste tak en een jongere tak van het Huis De Bourbon de Parme. Het is overigens beslist niet vreemd dat er meerdere aanspraken bestaan op dezelfde dynastieke rechten. Denk daarbij aan dynastieke rechten ten aanzien van het uitgeven van de Heilige Militaire Constantijnse Orde van Sint-Joris (Italiaans: L’Ordine Costantiniano di San Giorgio), kortweg Constantijnse Orde. Zoals ik eerder schreef, worden de dynastieke rechten voor het uitgeven van deze orde geclaimd door drie families (takken), waaronder die van prins Carlos. In de toekomst kan ik daar mogelijk een vierde aan toevoegen.
Het antwoord op de vraag of ZKH Hugo prins de Bourbon de Parme behoort tot het “Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme”, dient bevestigend te worden beantwoord. Daarbij moet worden aangetekend dat met het “Koninklijk Huis De Bourbon de Parme” de oudste tak van de familie wordt bedoeld en niet de jongere tak van prins Carlos. Prins Hugo is namelijk geen lid van deze laatste entiteit.
Het is ongepast om een ethisch oordeel te geven over de weigering van prins Carlos om zijn zoon te erkennen. Hoewel ik hier aanvankelijk impulsief negatief over oordeelde, zijn er toch veel aspecten die niet bekend zijn. Belangrijker is het om vast te stellen dat het een privé kwestie betreft, die – hoewel deze zich in het publiek domein afspeelt – de niet-belanghebbenden niets aangaat. In dit verband wil ik onderstaand stukje citeren dat laat zien dat het gissen is naar de achtergronden van de hele affaire:
Prins Carlos werd door zijn toenmalige vriendin niet alleen voor een slechts door haar gewenste zwangerschap geplaatst, maar mocht ook geen contact hebben met de boreling, die nota bene de namen Carlos Hugo meekreeg.Meer dan een korte verklaring uit 1997 was er tot nu toe niet. Die kwam kil en koel over. Het was ‘een eigen, zelfstandige beslissing van mevrouw Klynstra geweest om moeder te willen worden.’Prins Carlos respecteerde dat, maar liet ook weten dat geen er familierechtelijke betrekking tussen hem en de pasgeborene bestond en dat ‘het uitgesloten mag worden geacht dat die er zal komen.’. Dat was de basis voor het slechte en gedeukte imago van de prins. Carlos heeft er verder nooit meer over gesproken.
Giesey, Ralph E. “The Juristic Basis of Dynastic Right to the French Throne.” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 51, no. 5, 1961, pp. 3–47. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1005867. Accessed 10 June 2020.
wikimedia.org, Caramb, Palazzo Ducale Parma. Belichting en contrast van de foto door mij bewerkt.
Carlism (in Spanish: Carlismo) is a Spanish political movement of traditionalist character, formed in the 1820’s by the extremist clerical party that developed in 1827 into the paramilitary Royalist Volunteers. This opposition to liberalism affiliated in the 1830s with the person of Carlos María Isidro de Borbón (1788-1855), count (in Spanish: conde) de Molina, younger brother of King Ferdinand VII (1784-1833). In 1970, the Carlist Party (Spanish: Partido Carlista, Catalan: Partit Carlí, Basque: Karlista Alderdia, Galician: Partido Carlista, Asturian: Partíu Carlista) was formed that considers itself as a successor to the mentioned historical movement of Carlism. The party remained illegal until 1977, when the Spanish CaudilloFrancisco Franco died.
The mentioned opposition to liberalism was triggered by the birth of the daughter of Ferdinand VII, Isabella, in October 1830. By the ancient law of Castile and Leon, women could rule as monatchs in their own right. However, this right had been abrogated by an act by Philip V in 1713, changing the rules of succession to Salic Law of Succession, which excluded females from the royal succession. This law was implemented to prevent any union of the crowns of Spain and France. Carlists are advocates of the legitimacy of this male line of succession, proclaiming the conde de Molina as the legitimate successor to Ferdinand VII. King Carlos IV (Ferdinand VII’s father) already suggested that the Salic succession law should be altered. The change would consist of giving preference to females of the main descendant line over males of collateral lines. The proposal was accepted and formally adopted as Cortes’ petition to the king, after a 1789 series of debates and decisions, taking place and adopted prior, during and after the Cortes sittings. However, a corresponding law, known as the Pragmatic Sanction, was not published until 1830. Upon her father’s death, Isabella (1830-1904) ruled as Queen of Spain from 1833 until 1868. The First Carlist War (1833–39) broke out almost immediately.
The question to whether the succession law was effectively changed in 1789 turned into a heated juridical, historical and political debate and continued well into the 20th century. Currently, most historians tend to avoid addressing the 1789 series of debates and decisions, taking place and adopted prior, during and after the Cortes sittings. In retrospective, the issue had no historical significance.
In 1833, Ferdinand VII issued the mentioned Pragmatic Sanction to ensure the succession of his daughter. Isabella came to the throne when her father died in the same year. Her succession was unsuccessfully disputed by the count of Molina (her father’s younger brother). Under the regency of her mother, Spain transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy by adopting the Royal Statute of 1834 and Constitution of 1837. In 1868, during the Glorious Revolution, Isabella II formally abdicated in 1870.
Isabella II’s son, Alfonso XII (1857-1885), became king of Spain in 1874, following a military coup against the First Republic. Alfonso XII reigned from 1874 to 1885. Alfonso XII was succeeded by his unborn son, who became king as Alfonso XIII (1886-1941). On 12 April 1931, the republican parties won a significant victory in the municipal elections, perceived as a plebiscite on monarchy. Alfonso XIII left the country on 14 April 1931 and the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed. However, he did not formally abdicate and eventually settled in Rome. On 15 January 1941, Alfonso XIII renounced his rights to the defunct Spanish throne in favour of his third son Juan, Count of Barcelona (1913-1993). In 1933, his two eldest sons, Alfonso and Jaime, had already renounced their claims to the defunct throne, and in 1934 Alfonso XIII youngest son Gonzalo died. This left his third son Juan, Count of Barcelona his only male heir. In 1975, the Caudillo Francisco Franco Bahamonde handed over full control as head of state to Juan’s son, Juan Carlos. The Caudillo died three weeks later. Two days after Franco’s death, the Cortes Españolas proclaimed Juan Carlos King of Spain. He is the father of the current King of Spain, Felipe VI.
Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, is considered by some a contested pretender to the Carlist claim to the throne of Spain under the name Carlos Javier I. In 2016 Carlos told the Spanish press that, while (like his father in 2005) he “does not abandon” his claim to the throne, it is “not a priority” in his life, and he “will not dispute” [no planteo pleito] the legitimacy of King Felipe VI (“Ser príncipe me ayuda a mejorar el bienestar común“, La Vanguardia. 11 November 2016). These vague statements do not make sense, since the Carlist succession was rejected by the Kingdom of Spain when Isabella II became queen in 1833. She was styled accordingly during her reign:
10 October 1830 – 29 September 1833: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Asturias
29 September 1833 – 25 June 1870: Her Most Catholic Majesty The Queen of Spain
25 June 1870 – 10 April 1904: Her Majesty Queen Isabella II of Spain
In 1837, Spanish legislation produced a constitutional monarchy and a new format of the title was used for Isabel: By the grace of God and the Constitution of the Spanish monarchy, Queen Isabel II of the Spains.
The underage Queen Isabella II was known by a long title that included both extant and extinct titles and claims:
Isabel II by the Grace of God, Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, of the Two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, of Navarre, of Granada, of Toledo, of Valencia, of Galicia, of Majorca, of Seville, of Sardinia, of Córdoba, of Corsica, of Murcia, of Menorca, of Jaén, the Algarves, Algeciras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, of the East and West Indies, Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea; Archduchess of Austria; Duchess of Burgundy, Brabant, Milan; Countess of Habsburg, Flanders, Tirol and Barcelona; Lady of Biscay and Molina.
Monter, E. W. (2012). The rise of female kings in Europe, 1300-1800. New Haven: Yale University Press.
In addition to the semi-claim to the throne of Spain, Wikipedia states that Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma (1970) is also the “uncontested traditional claimant to the defunct throne of the Duchy of Parma under the name Carlo V“.
Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (born 27 January 1970) is the current head of the House of Bourbon-Parma, as well a member of the Dutch Royal Family. He is the uncontested traditional claimant to the defunct throne of the Duchy of Parma under the name Carlo V (English: Charles V). In addition, he is considered by some a contested pretender to the Carlist claim to the throne of Spain under the name Carlos Javier I (English: Charles Xavier I). In 2016 Carlos told the Spanish press that, while (like his father in 2005) he “does not abandon” his claim to the throne, it is “not a priority” in his life, and he “will not dispute” [no planteo pleito] the legitimacy of King Felipe VI.
In 1814 the Congress of Vienna gave the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza to Napoleon’s consort, Marie-Louise. Upon her death, in 1847, Parma and Piacenza were restored to the Bourbons. Louise of Bourbon-Berry (1819–1864), regent for her infant son Robert (1854-1907), transferred her powers to a provisional government on 9 June 1859. Subsequently, Parma and Piacenza were annexed by Piedmont-Sardinia in March 1860. Piedmont-Sardinia became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, ruled by the Savoy Dynasty.
The Savoy’s estates extended over Aosta, Savoy, Piedmont and other territories of modern-day Italy and France, including Sicily and Sardinia. The Savoys remained Kings of a united Italy until the impact of World War II led to a referendum which in 1946 narrowly established the current Republic of Italy. The last King, Umberto II, died in 1983. His only son, Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, is the present Head of the House of Savoy. In my opinion, he is a legitimate successor to the title ‘Duke of Parma and Piacenza‘, simply by tracing the line of royal succession. Wikipedia’s statement that Carlos of Bourbon-Parma is the “undisputed claimant”, is therefore incorrect.
A legitimate successor to the Carlist claim does not exist, because the claim was rejected in 1833 by the Kingdom of Spain. An alternative successor to the title ‘Duke of Parma and Piacenza‘ is the head of the House Savoy, because Parma became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
Monter, E. W. (2012). The rise of female kings in Europe, 1300-1800. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Blinkhorn, Martin (1975). Carlism and Crisis in Spain, 1931–1939, Cambridge University Press.
Longares Alonso, Jesús, Las últimas Cortes del Antiguo Régimen en España (19 septiembre – 5 diciembre [sic!] de 1789), [in:] Estudis: Revista de historia moderna 3 (1974), pp. 113–165.
In history, there have been several Orders of Saint Michael. The most prominant ones are listed hereafter.
Bavarian Brotherhood and Order of Saint Michael
On 8 May 1693, Joseph Clemens, duke of Bavaria, then Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, formed the Bruderschaft des hl. Erzengels und Himmelsfürsten Michael, that still exists today and has about 800 members, mostly in Germany and Austria. On 29 September 1693, Joseph Clemens created the Bavarian Orden zum Heiligen Michael or Königlicher Verdienstorden vom heiligen richael, as a Military order. Initially, the latter was only open to the Catholic nobility. On 16 February 1837, the Order was abolished by king Louis I of Baviaria.
Portuguese Brotherhoods and Orders of Saint Michael
The original Knights of St. Michael’s Wing founded an order in the Cistercian monastery of Alcobaza about 1171, by Alfonzo I, King of Portugal, in commemoration of victory over the Moors, in which, according to tradition, he was assisted by St. Michael in person. The knights were placed under the jurisdiction of Abbot of Alcobaza and were pledged to recite the same prayers as the Cistercian lay brothers. Some authors state that the Order only existed briefly in the 12th century (Alston, George Cyprian “The Benedictine Order”. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company 1907); some claim it lasted until 1732 (James Anderson. Royal genealogies: or, The genealogical tables of emperors, kings and princes, from Adam to these times; in two parts. London), and some claim it existed until 1910, the year Portugal became a republic (Rodrigues Lima, Carlos [2009-01-09]. “Nuno da Câmara Pereira ganha batalha judicial a D. Duarte”. Diário de Notícias. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-01-21. Juíza vinca que Portugal é uma República, desvalorizando herança. O Tribunal Cível de Lisboa acaba de dar razão a Nuno da Câmara Pereira num conflito que o opunha a D. Duarte de Bragança, obrigando este último a desistir da denominação Real Ordem de São Miguel de Ala, uma ordem que criou em 2004. (Judge stresses that Portugal is a Republic, and values heritage. The Civil Court of Lisbon had initially ruled in favor of Nuno da Câmara Pereira in a conflict with Dom Duarte de Bragança, forcing the latter to give up the name the Royal Order of Saint Michael of the Wing, an order created in 2004.)
The history of the ancient Order is obscure, but the current Order’s predecessor was revived sometime in the 19th century (Almeida, Gomes Abrunhosa Marques de and Manuel Ângelo (2007), Precedentes histórico-teóricos dos regionalismos dos Açores e da Galiza. Santiago de Compostela: Univ Santiago de Compostela) as a secret society – not as a knighlty order – with political motives, aiming to restore Miguel’s branch of the Bragança family to power in Portugal.
American Royal Brotherhood of Saint Michael of the Archdiocese for Military Services
The Royal Brotherhood of Saint Michael of the Archdiocese for Military Services was canonically erected by Decree of His Excellency Archbishop Timothy Broglio STD (2016), specifically as an Association of the Faithful for active or reserve military personnel. Dedicated to Saint Michael it is headquartered in the Military Archdiocese of the United States Armed Forces. The Commandry is a registered non profit Charity 501 C3. Its activities, fall under the canonical jurisdiction of Royal Brotherhood of the Archdiocese governed by the Canonically confirmed Judge, Col. Stephen Michael Besinaiz. The Royal Brotherhood was canonically erected in 2016 in the Archdiocese for Military Services, and is a Member of the Federation of Royal Brotherhoods of Saint Michael of the Wing. This branch of the Order is affliated with Dom Duarte Pio.
French Order of Saint Michael
The French Order of Saint Michael (French: Ordre de Saint-Michel) was a French chivalric order, founded by Louis XI of France in 1469, in competitive response to the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece, that was founded by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy. As a chivalric order, its goal was to confirm the loyalty of its knights to the king. Originally, there were a limited number of knights, at first thirty-one, then increased to thirty-six including the king. An office of Provost was established in 1476. The Order of St Michael was the highest order in France until it was superseded by the Order of the Holy Spirit.
The Order was abolished by the French authorities in 1830. However, in 1929-1930 Jaime, Duke of Anjou and Madrid, and in 1960 Infante Jaime, Duke of Anjou, Segovia and Madrid, granted membership of the Order to their confidants, thus de facto reviving the Order.
Intellectual Property issues
On 4 August 1981, Nuno da Câmara Pereira, José da Câmara Gonçalves, Gonçalo da Câmara Pereira, António de Sousa Lara and João Ferreira Rosa established the association Ordem de São Miguel da Ala by public deed at the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado, which was recorded in the database of the Institute, the Registo Nacional de Pessoas Colectivas. Nuno da Câmara Pereira is the great grandson of Dom Vasco António de Figueiredo Cabral da Camara, 3rd count of Belmonte. As a monarchist, Nuno da Câmara Pereira disputes the validity of the dynastic claims of the Miguelist Branch of House of Bragança, of which the current pretender is Dom Duarte Pio de Bragança, his distant cousin. Dom Nuno de Figueiredo Cabral da Câmara Pereira, is Marques de Castelo Rodrigo and President of the Council of the Portuguese Nobility and Chancellor of all Knightly Orders of the House of Loulé, the second major claimant to the dynastic rights to the throne of Portugal.
In 2004 Dom Duarte Pio de Bragança registered the association Real Irmandade (=Brotherhood) de São Miguel de Ala. In 2007, Câmara Pereira sued Dom Duarte on charges of breaching the intellectual property rights of his Ordem de São Miguel da Alaand won the case in 2009.
The judge noted that in the current legal-constitutional order, which configures Portugal as a Republic and enshrines the principle of separation between Church and State, it is irrelevant whether the association is a dynastic order, if the use of the insignia is exclusive to the putative heir of the royal house (which is not recognized in the legal order of the Republic), or if it was canonically erected. Despite the historical arguments put forward by the Dom Duarte, the judge determined the problem as “purely legal”. In this respect, the simple apposition of the word ‘Real’ (royal) before the name already used by the association “Ordem de São Miguel da Ala” is not enough to achieve an effective and objective differentiation between the two associations. In 2011, Dom Duarte, saw 17 of his properties seized as well as a bank account worth more than 260 thousand Euros, as a result of a judicial execution.
Dom Duarte appealed and on 1 October 2015, the Portuguese Supremo Tribunal de Justiça (Supreme Court of Justice) finally condemned Dom Duarte, forbidding him to use the name and insignia of the “Ordem de São Miguel da Ala“, forcing him to indemnify the rightful holders and preventing him from even requesting a new appeal in the face of that process. However, the case was turned upside down when on 3 November 2015 Nuno da Câmara Pereira’s intellectual property rights to use the symbols expired. Subsequently, on 7 December 2016 Dom Duarte regained the intellectual property rights to use the insignia. Although followers of Dom Duarte, often mention that the legal procedures show that Dom Duarte is the dynastic successor to the historical Order of Saint Michael of the Wing, the matter was a legal one and solely a matter of intellectual property law.
As I understand, the revived Order currently has an upgraded legal structure (a federation of brotherhoods). It is not so much as a dynastic award of the House of Bragança anymore. However, the Order is still operating under the patronage of the House of Bragança. Many members of the Order today are Americans and citizens of the British Commonwealth.
Current holder of the intellectual property rights
The European Union Intellectual Property Office shows the IP registration for the word combination “QUIS UT DEUS” and the accompanying graphic representation in the name of “Duarte Pio De Bragança, Rua do Campo, 4, San Pedro P-2710, Sintra, Portugal” since 7 November 2016. This registration (nr. 016009748) also shows that the registered trade mark has been published for opposition, at which time one or more challenges to registration were filed but they have not yet been decided. On 23 March 2020 the case was still pending before the Board of the Office. The representative of the opposition is Mr António José Caeiro da Mota Veiga (b. Lisbon, 8 June 1951), a lawyer, who married in Sintra on 31 October 1974 to Maria José Trigueiros de Aragão Acciaioli de Avilez (b. Lisbon, Santa Maria de Belém, 21 June 1954), youngest of the only three daughters of José Maria de Avilez Juzarte de Sousa Tavares (Lisbon, 14 August 1926 -), 7th Count of Avilez, Representative of Viscount of Torre do Terrenho, of the Viscounts of Reguengo, and his wife (m. Castelo Branco, Alcains, 28 September 1947) Ana Maria de Portugal Lobo Trigueiros de Aragão (Fundão, Aldeia de Joanes, 16 August 1923-), of the Counts ofIdanha-a-Nova and Viscounts of o Outeiro.
Under Portuguese law, the dynastic rights to the ancient Brotherhoods and Orders of Saint Michael of the Wing are not recognised. There is a tradition of affiliation between the House of Bragança and the Brotherhood/Order, but the headship of the House is disputed. The jurisprudence in this case shows that the intellectual property rights regarding the insignia of the Order are irrelevant to the question of whom the legal successor is to the dynastic rights regarding the Order. Simply, because Portuguese law is not interested in the historical aspects, but judges the matter in terms of IP-rights only. The holder of the IP rights to the insignia can be anyone. It is only a matter of who registered the IP-rights first (or forgot to reregister them).
In my opinion, (knightly) orders or brotherhoods should not be subject to costly legal battles. Historical evidence should be the key to the question if an order or brotherhood has historical substance. An example of a total escalation is the long-running intellectual property dispute between two knightly orders: the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta on the one hand, and the Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, the Ecumenical Order on the other hand.
SMOM alleged that The Florida Priory had infringed on five of its registered trademarks including its cross and shield imagery. The organization also alleged that The Florida Priory engaged in false advertising by claiming a historical background that belongs to the SMOM.
“The parties present themselves as Christian charities. The Court struggles with the parties’ characterizing themselves in that manner, however. The amounts of money each party has raised for charitable purposes are unimpressive, which leads the Court to believe that the members of both [the Sovereign Order] and the [Florida Priory] are more interested in dressing up in costumes, conferring titles on each other and playing in a “weird world of princes and knights” than in performing charitable acts.”
The Michael of the Wing-dispute has similar characteristics, but the Duke de Bragança is not to blame.
Alessandro Cont, La Chiesa dei principi. Le relazioni tra Reichskirche, dinastie sovrane tedesche e stati italiani (1688-1763), preface of Elisabeth Garms-Cornides, Trento, Provincia autonoma di Trento, 2018, pp. 19-55)
Hubert Glaser (Hrsg.): Kurfürst Max Emanuel. Bd. 1, Zur Geschichte und Kunstgeschichte der Max-Emanuel-Zeit. München 1976, ISBN 3-7774-2790-X; Bd. 2: Katalog der Ausstellung im Alten und Neuen Schloss Schleissheiml. München 1976, ISBN 3-7774-2800-0.
Thea Christians (Redaktion), Friedrich Fahr (Beitrag), Siegmund Benker, Quis ut Deus. 300 Jahre Erzbruderschaft St. Michael, Berg am Laim, München, 1693 – 1993 (= Diözesanmuseum Freising, Kataloge und Schriften, Band 13), Freising 1994. ISBN 978-3-930618-00-2.
In December 1653, Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) was appointed ‘Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging’, with powers akin to those of a monarch. Cromwell was an English general and statesman who led the Parliament of England’s armies against King Charles I during the English Civil War and ruled the British Isles as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658. He acted simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republican commonwealth. After the Protectorate collapsed, Charles II, the eldest surviving child of Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland and Henrietta Maria of France had very wide support for his taking of the throne in 1660. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651 and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death in 1685. Charles’s wife, Catherine of Braganza, bore no live children, but Charles acknowledged at least twelve illegitimate children by various mistresses. He was succeeded by his brother James II with widespread support in England, Ireland and Scotland, largely based on the principle of divine right or birth. James was not a supporter of religious tolerance, as his time in France had exposed him to the beliefs and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church. He and his wife Anne became drawn to the Roman Catholic faith.
In June 1688, two events triggered a constitutional crisis. First, in April 1688, James re-issued the ‘Declaration of Indulgence’ and subsequently ordered Anglican clergy to read it in their churches. William Sancroft, the archbishop of Canterbury, and six other bishops petitioned him against this and were prosecuted for seditious libel. In reaction, they were arrested and tried for seditious libel. Secondly, their acquittal almost coincided with the birth of a son, James Francis Edward, on 10 June 1688, to James’s Roman Catholic queen, Mary of Modena. Because James’s only possible successors were his two Protestant daughters, the English establishment could see his pro-Catholic policies as a temporary phenomenon. The birth, however, of his son James Francis Edward promised an indefinite continuance of his policy and brought wide discontent. Several influential Protestants had already entered into negotiations with the Protestant Stadholder William III of Orange when it became known the Queen was pregnant. In the same year, seven eminent Englishmen, including one bishop and six prominent politicians of both Whig and Tory persuasions, wrote to the Protestant Stadholder (Dutch: Stadhouder) William III of Orange, inviting him to come over with an army to redress the nation’s grievances and to help expel James II.
William was both James’s nephew and his son-in-law, and, until the birth of James’s son, William’s wife, Mary, was heir apparent. William’s chief concern was to check the overgrowth of French power in Europe. Between 1679 and 1684, England’s impotence and the emperor Leopold I’s preoccupation with a Turkish advance to Vienna had allowed Louis XIV to seize Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Casale Monferrato, and other places vital to the defense of the Spanish Netherlands, the German Rhineland, and northern Italy. By 1688, however, a great European coalition had begun to form to call for a halt to aggressions. Its prospects depended partly upon England. Thus, having been in close touch with the leading English malcontents for more than a year, William accepted their invitation. Landing at Brixham on Tor Bay (November 5 1688), he advanced slowly on London as support fell away from James II. James’s daughter Anne and his best general, John Churchill, were among the deserters to William’s camp. Thereupon, James fled to France (source: Britanica.com).
After his successful invasion, William and his wife, Mary Stuart, were crowned king and queen King of England, Ireland and Scotland. William III was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from the 1670s and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. In his capacity of King of Scotland, he is known as William II and is informally also known as “King Billy” in Northern Ireland and Scotland. For the next half century, James II and his son James Francis Edward Stuart and grandson Charles Edward Stuart claimed that they were the true Stuart kings, but they were in exile, and attempts to return with French aid were defeated.
Granting of titles
The following is an examination of three cases: the ennoblement by William III of William Bentinck, of Arnold van Keppel, of and of Alexander Hume. Described below are the similarities and differences among the three cases and an analysis of the questions that arise in the line of succession of the awarded titles.
Earl of Portland
The title ‘Earl of Portland’ was created for a second time in 1689 in favour of Hans William Bentinck (20 July 1649, in Diepenheim, Overijssel – 23 November 1709, in Bulstrode Park, Buckinghamshire), the Dutch favorite and close advisor of King William III. He made Bentinck Groom of the Stole, first gentleman of the bedchamber, and a Privy Counsellor. In April 1689 Bentinck was created Baron Cirencester, Viscount Woodstock and, in its second creation, Earl of Portland. The first creation of the earldom had been made for Richard Weston in 1633, but it became extinct in 1688. On the death of Bentinck, his eldest son Henry or Hendrik in Dutch (1680-1724) succeeded as second earl. He was created marquess of Titchfield and duke of Portland in 1716.
Hans Willem Bentinck (1649 – 1709), 1st earl of Portland, created 1689
Arnold van Keppel (baptized Zutphen 30 January 1670 – The Hague 30 May 1718), 1st Earl of Albemarle, became Groom of the Bedchamber and Master of the Robes in 1695. In 1696, he was created the Viscount Bury in Lancashire, and the Baron Ashford of Ashford, Kent. On 10 February 1697, William made Van Keppel the Earl of Albemarle. In 1699, he was awarded the command of the First Life Guards. After the death of William III, who bequeathed to him ƒ 200,000 and the lordship of Bredevoort, Albemarle returned to The Netherlands, took his seat as a noble in the States-General, and became a general of cavalry in the Dutch army.
1. heir apparant: Augustus Sergei Darius Keppel, Viscount Bury (2003-)
Earl of Dunbar
Sir Alexander Home of Manderston.
1. George Home, 1st Earl of Dunbar (ca. 1556 – 20 January 1611) died without male issue. In the last decade of his life, George Home, KG, PC was the most prominent and most influential Scotsman in England. He was knighted on 4 November 1590, and known as “Sir George Home of Primrose Knowe”, then in 1593, “Sir George Home of Spot”. Spott is a village in East Lothian. Upon James’s accession as James I of England in 1603, Home accompanied his sovereign to Westminster, where he became Chancellor of the Exchequer (and ex officio the Second Lord of the Treasury) from 1603 to 1606. In 1603 he was also appointed to the Privy Council of England, and on 1 June of that year, he received a grant as Keeper of the Great Wardrobe for life. On 7 July 1604, he was created Baron Hume of Berwick in the Peerage of England. In 1605 he was appointed a Knight of the Garter, and on 3 July was created Earl of Dunbar in the Peerage of Scotland.
2. John Home, de jure 2nd Earl of Dunbar (a 1628), brother of 1st Earl, according to the Lord Advocate in 1634, he “conceiving his fortune too mean, forebore to assume the dignity.” He died without male issue.
George Home, de jure 3rd Earl of Dunbar (a 1637), son of Alexander Home of Manderston and nephew of 1st Earl, certified his claim in 1634 by the same Lord Advocate.
Alexander Home, de jure 4th Earl of Dunbar (d 1675), son of 3rd Earl, is said to have been confirmed in title by Charles II in 1651, but does not appear in The Great Seal of Scotland and died without male issue.
Creation by William III
Alexander Hume, of Manderstone, de jure 5th Earl of Dunbar (b. 1651, d. 4 Jan. 1720 Aurich, Germany), nephew of 4th Earl. Capt. of a troop of horse in the service of the States of Holland, later Geheimrat in Aurich, Germany. To him 14 Oct. 1689, William III, King of England, Ireland and Scotland confirmed the Earldom of Dunbar exemplifying the previous confirmation thereof by Charles II. It is not known if Alexander Hume styled himself “Earl of Dunbar” in Germany, where he and his descendants rather are known as Grafen (Counts) Hume of Manderstone. He married the daughter of Leonard Fewen, General Steward of Emden, who inherited the manor house and estate of Stikelkamp at Hesel, East Frisia. His son – Leonard Hume (1684-1741), de jure 6th Earl of Dunbar – inherited the estate in Stikelkamp from his father. Leonard married Gesina Bruncken (1701-1763). An alleged son of Leonard – Heeres Andries Hume – was de jure the 7th Earl of Dunbar (b. 1738 in Norden). Leonard’s daughter Helena Hume of Manderstone (1722-1784) inherited the estate of Stikelkamp; she married Bebäus Scato Kettwig; their daughter Isabella (1742-1797) married Eger Carl Christian Lantzius-Beninga (1744-1798); the Lantzius-Beninga family owned the Stikelkamp estate untl 1971, when it was purchased by the Landkreis Leer. Note: No claimant has progressed his claim before the House of Lords Committee for Privileges to a satisfactory conclusion. This Committee was – until the Dissolution of Parliament on 12 April 2010 – the only body which was authorised to decide whether or not a claimant may be confirmed in the title. The Lord Advocate of Scotland, for instance, has no authority in these matters, especially in the 17th century, given the corruption and nepotism rampant at that time. The usual way to establish the right to inherit a title is to apply for a Writ of Summons to attend Parliament (a procedure that will have to be reviewed in the light of new legislation abolishing the hereditary parliamentary rights of peers). Then the Committee for Privileges examines the validity of the documentation supporting the line of descent of the claimant and his relationship to the previous holder of the peerage title. Source: Wikipedia.
In the case of Keppel and Bentinck, the succession to the peerage was confirmed by the subsequent heads of state of the United Kingdom:
In the case of Hume, the succession to the title is not confirmed. The genealogical lines from the creation by William III to the current descendants is clear, however no state recognition, by incorporating the title to Peerage of the United Kingdom, has been granted. As the original title was created by the House of Stuart, it could be said that the current head of the House still has the fons honorum to recognize the title dynastically as an alternative to recognition by the United Kingdom.
After the Battle of Culloden, the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart was decisively defeated by a British government force under William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, on Drummossie Moor near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The House of Stuart lost its position as a dynastic alternative to the Hanoverians. The movement of the supporters of the House of Stuart called ‘Jacobitism’ went into a rapid decline, and in 1788, with the death of Charles, the ‘Young Pretender’, the Jacobite succession lost its political importance. His younger brother, Henry, Cardinal of York, died in 1807, and the male line of the House of Stuart thereby became extinct. According to the Royal Stuart Society, the claim to the Headship of the House of Stuart takes its descent from Henrietta-Anne (1644-1670), daughter of King Charles I, and her husband Philippe, Duke of Orléans. It was inherited by their heirs, the House of Savoy. Marriages of the subsequent heirs then saw it pass to the House of Modena-Este and later to the House of Wittelsbach (Bavaria), with whom it rests today, and the Head of which is Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern:
House of Savoy (Sardinia)
House of Este (Modena)
House of Wittelsbach (Bavaria)
Robert I and IV
According to the Society, the elder daughter of King James II and VII, who was married to William III and styled herself Mary II, was not part of the de jure succession, with her father and brother being alive at the time. I do not quite agree with this statement, as Duke Franz has declined such a claim. It is therefore perfectly legitimate for other successors to come forward.
An even more obvious authority who could recognize the use of the title Earl of Dunbar would be the successor of William III, since he was the most recent monarch to create the title. However, in 1702, the first House of Orange-Nassau became extinct with the death of William III. John William Friso, Prince of Nassau-Dietz, inherited part of the possessions and the title “Prince of Orange” from his cousin, William III. From then on, the rulers used the title Fürst von Nassau-Oranien in Germany and the title Prins van Oranje-Nassau (English: Prince of Orange-Nassau) in The Netherlands. When the branches of Nassau-Dillenburg and Nassau-Siegen died out in 1739 and 1743, all Nassau areas of the Ottonian Line were reunited and inherited by the branch of Orange-Nassau. The Prince of Orange-Nassau from then on had two seats in the Council of Princes of the Reichstag: Hadamar-Nassau and Nassau-Dillenburg. On 31 May 1815, Prince William VI of Orange-Nassau signed a treaty at the Congress of Vienna with his Prussian brother-in-law and first cousin, King Frederick William III. The treaty ceded the Principality of Orange-Nassau to the Kingdom of Prussia in exchange for Luxembourg which was elevated to a Grand Duchy. On the same day, the Prussian King gave most of the principality to the Duchy of Nassau (thereby uniting the areas of the Ottonian Line and the Walram Line of the House of Nassau). Only Siegen remained with Prussia. Thus, naming a successor to the dynastic rights of William III is difficult. Rival claims to the title ‘Prince of Orange’ have been made by German emperors and kings of the House of Hohenzollern.
Another claiment to the title “Prince of Orange” is the head of the French noble family of Mailly. In 1673, Louis XIV bestowed the titular princedom on Louis Charles de Mailly, Marquis de Nesle, whose wife was a direct descendant, and heiress-general by primogeniture, of the original princes of Orange. After the marquis (who died in 1713), the next holder was Louis of Mailly-Nesle, marquis de Nesle (1689–1764). Although no longer descended from Louis-Charles, a branch of the Mailly family still claims the title today.
Cokayne, G.E.; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume IV, page 511. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume IV, page 510.
Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume I, page 330.
Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 1949. Hereinafter cited as Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition. 2. Charles Mosley, Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 2, page 1951.
Koninklijk Nederlandsch Genootschap voor Geslacht- en Wapenkunde, De Nederlandsche Leeuw, Jg. 37 ( 1919), column 329.
Arbeitsgruppe Familienkunde und Heraldik, Ostfriesischen Landschaft .”Quellen und Forschungen zur Ostfriesischen Familien- und Wappenkunde, 13. Jahrgang (1964) Heft 3, Seite 26.
British politician Jacob Rees-Mogg has marked his arrival as a senior minister in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government by issuing a detailed style edict (see appendix) for his departmental staff. Under the new rules, “untitled” men are to be described in writing as “Esquire” rather than “Mr.” In this respect, it is interesting to see who in Britain is entitled to the suffix of “Esq.” from both a modern and historical perspective.
Historically, the term “Esquire” has an exclusive bearing. An esquire (Latin: scutarius; shield-bearer) originally was a personal attendant to a knight. Over time, the title evolved into that of an apprentice knight and later into a lord of a manor. With the rise of the use of the term “Gentleman” as a rank, it became increasingly difficult to know where the lower limit should be drawn. Traditionally, Esquire ranked socially above Gentleman but below Knight.
In the post-medieval world, the title of ¨Esquire” came to be attributed to all men of the higher landed gentry. Sir John Fearn, in his Glory of Generositie of 1586, referred to four sorts of esquires; by creation, birth, dignity, and office. He commented that this title “is no less abused and profaned” than that of Gentleman, and that,
the degree of esquire is through custom tolerated to many other sorts of gentlemen, but they all, or most of them, are…in function of some offices of justice or government in the King’s palace, as…annexed to the dignities of judges and barons of the benches and courts of justice; to the advocates and procurators of the sovereign; to the degree of sergeants at the coif; to the office of sheriff, escheator, and serjeant at arms; to the eldest born of a baron and peer of the realm or of a knight, besides many others. But that the same should descend from the father to the son, as the state of gentry doth, is mere fabulous. For the title of esquire of common right doth appertain to none, except that by creation he receives the same at the sovereign’s hand, or else through the bearing of such an office as a dignity anent to the same, or else by right of birth as in cases aforesaid, and that through custom.
In the 16th century, esquires and gentlemen were not precisely defeined – the esquires ranked above gentlemen as sons of knightly families or as Justices of the Peace – but all had achieved a certain position. For those who held such positions, the Heralds of the College of Arms could issue a coat of arms for a certain fee (Corfield, p. 7).
In the 18th century, bankers, dealers, and other more modest tradesmen also started styling themselves as „Mr‟ or, more powerfully, as „Gent.‟ or „Esquire‟. For example, there were individual vintners, brewers, tanners, theatre-managers, and dancing-masters who used this title (Corfield, p. 13). Three members of the Horrocks manufacturing dynasty were designated in literature as „gent.‟ or „Esq.‟, while their cotton-spinning business was simultaneously entered under „tradesmen‟. In the Maidstone directory, the Scudamore solicitors were listed twice, both as „gentry‟ and as „attorneys‟ (Corfield, p. 36), as well as in other legal documents concerning the transfer of property (e.g. National Archives, X668/90). The monumental inscriptions, including wills (pre 1858) and other notes of the Holy Trinity Church in Maidstone dated 7 May 1856 concerning the family, do not mention „Gent.‟ or „Esquire‟.
In 1848, Burke published an article in The Patrician, that addresses the question “who is a gentleman, and who an esquire?“.
In conclusion, for the sake of clearness, we recapitulate in a tabular form, the different classes to whom the title of Esquire belongs. ESQUIRES ARE:
The sons of all the peers and lords of parliament in the lives of – their fathers; the younger sons of peers after the death of their fathers; the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers, and their eldest sons in per petual succession.
Noblemen of other nations.
The eldest (and we think, if any, all the) sons of baronets, and the eldest sons of knights.
Esquires created expressly with a collar of SS, and spurs of silver, now obsolete.
Persons to whom the Queen gives arms by her own letters patent, with the title Esquire.
Esquires of the Bath , and the eldest sons of those Esquires pursuant to the statutes of the order.
Barristers-at- law, by their office or profession.
Justices of the peace, and mayors, while in the commission, or in office.
Persons chosen Esquires to the body of the Prince, now obsolete.
Persons attending on the Sovereign ’s coronation in some notable employment, or persons employed in any superior office of trust under the Crown, or serving in some place of better note in the Queen ‘ s household.
Persons who are styled Esquires by the Queen in their patents, commissions, or appointments, such as sheriffs of counties, captains in the army and navy.
Attorneys in colonies, where the departments of counsel and attor ney are united.
Based on these observations and on other literature, the entitlement to the suffix of “Esquire” included the following persons:.
Category A: Esquires by birth
The eldest sons of knights and their eldest sons in perpetual succession;
The eldest sons of younger sons of peers and their eldest sons in perpetual succession;
The Eldest sons of esquires created by letters patent or other investiture, and their eldest sons;
In this context, the term is used to pay an informal compliment to a male recipient by way of implying noble birth.
Category B: Esquires other than by birth
Lords of the Manor;
Esquires created by letters patent or other investiture;
Esquires by virtue of their offices: as the heralds and serjeants at arms and some others, who are constituted esquires by receiving a Collar of Esses; Judges and other officers of state, justices of the peace, and the higher naval and military officers who are designated esquires in their patents or commissions; Doctors in the several faculties and barristers at law.
None of these offices or degrees convey gentility to the posterity of their holders.
There are protocols for identifying those to whom the suffix should properly be given, especially in very formal or official circumstances. However, no fixed criteria distinguishing those designated “Esquire” exist. They differ over time and have the character of customary law. A number of authorities have tried to create criteria, but none of these are entirely correct or complete. The use of the term “Esquire” essentially remains a matter of impression as to whether a person qualifies for this status. For example, British men have ‘Esq.’ after their names whereas all men from overseas are called ‘Mr.’ on the envelope containing an invitation to Buckingham Palace. The same counts for letters sent to employees of the Royal Household. This protocol does not convey gentility. It is different when the suffix is used in official diplomas issued under the auspices of HM the Queen. In such cases, the suffix implies noble birth (category A, above).
The context of the use is therefore crucial to establishing the meaning of the suffix and determining whether the suffix is correctly used or not. The same is true for the prefix “Sir.” This prefix is used for men titled Knights, i.e., of orders of chivalry, to baronets and other offices. Since the Late Modern era, “Sir” has been increasingly used also as a respectful way to address any commoners of a superior social status or military rank.
Therefore, the specific context can be linguistic, involving the linguistic environment of the suffix “Esquire”, as well as situational, involving extra linguistic elements that contribute to the construction of the meaning of the suffix.
Coke, E. (1642). The second part of the Institutes of the lawes of England: containing the exposition of many ancient, and other statutes: whereof you may see the particulars in a table following. London: Printed by M. Flesher, and R. Young, for E.D., R.M., W.L., and D.P.
Dod, C. R. (1992). A manual of dignities, privilege, and precedence: including lists of the great public functionaries, from the revolution to the present time. By Charles R. Dodd. London: Whittaker and Co. Ave Maria Lane.
Gough, H., & Parker, J. (1966). A Glossary of terms used in heraldry …: New edition … Henry Gough and James Parker. Detroit: Mich., Gale research Company.
Young, J. H. (1883). Our deportment or The manners, conduct and dress of the most refined society: Incl. forms for letters, invitations, etc., etc. Also, valuable suggestions on home culture and training. Comp. from the latest reliable authorities. Detroit, MI: Dickerson.
Blackstone, W., Coleridge, J. T., Strahan, A., Cadell, T., & Butterworth, J. (1825). Commentaries on the laws of England. London: Printed by A Strahan, for T. Cadell.
Appendix 1: Use of the suffix of “Esquire” by the Dutch in the East Indies (currently Indonesia) during the British period
Appendix 2: full text of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s writing style document
RULES FOR UNDERLINGS.
To combat a shocking decline in standards, all but myself must obey the following rules. I shall not be bound by them, as evidenced in my recent excellently-written, well-received and best selling book, ‘Eminent Victorian’s’.
Do not use the Metric System. Or any other French invention, including pasteurisation, mayonnaise or aspirin. Use good, honest British alternatives or, better still, do without. Show some pluck!
Do not use decimal currency. Pounds, shillings and pence will suffice, but florins and groats for preference.
Terms of address. Untitled men are ‘Esquire’, after the totally most excellent example set by our colonial cousin Mr. Bill S. Preston, Esq, of California.
Unmarried women are ‘spinster of the parish’. Correspondence to married women should be addressed to their husband.
Use multiple spaces after a full stop. The more white space you can leave the better, in order to camouflage the lack of meaningful content.
FACT-CHECK YOUR WORK. If you find any, remove them immediately.
Certain words and phrases are strictly forbidden in communications, including
’I understand your concerns’ – I have never understood anyone’s concerns and I do not propose to start now.
’Get’, as in ‘Can I get a coffee?’ – I would immediately sack any member of the cast of Friends, and I will do the same to you if you speak like them.
’Friends’ – I watched it once. Awful moving daguerreotype ‘programme’. Do not mention it.
’Hopefully’ – There shall be no hope during my tenure.
’Unacceptable’ – Nothing is forbidden, everything is acceptable. This applies only to the actions of the Prime Minister.
’Equal’ – Equality has no place in our administration.
’Disappointment’ – this will go without saying.
‘Flaps’ – Can people please stop saying this to me? I do not understand it but makes me feel funny.
Het antwoord op deze vraag luidt: ‘nee’ als het gaat om oude familiewapens. In een vonnis van de rechtbank in Brussel uit 2017 wordt dit verder uitgelegd. Ik zal de zaak in dit artikel bespreken.
De zaak Zara Home – Damiaens
Zara Home is een Spaanse onderneming die onderdeel uitmaakt van de Inditex group, en zich richt op het produceren van betaalbare kleding, in steeds wisselende collecties, en volgens de allerlaatste trends.
Patrick Damiaens is een Vlaamse meester ontwerpsnijder, die internationale faam geniet als een vakman op het gebied van het maken van familiewapen in hout en van ornamenten en ander houtsnijwerk.
In 2012 aanvaardde Damiaens opdracht van de Nederlands familie Odink om een 3D-versie van het recent opgefriste wapenschild in hout uit te snijden. Nadat Damiaens het familiewapen in hout had uitgesneden, plaatste hij een foto van zijn handwerk op zijn website en begon hij aan een ander werk. In 2014 ontving de vakman een telefoontje uit Parijs. Een vriend deelde hem mee dat deze tijdens het shoppen in meubelketen Zara Home een versierde kaars had gezien met een afbeelding, die als twee druppels water leek op de werk van Damiaens. De ontwerpsnijder accepteerde dit niet. Samen met opdrachtgever Odink, nam hij een advocaat in de arm.
Afbeeldingen van het door Damiaens vervaarde houtwerk en de kaars van Zara Home zijn te vinden op de website van Damiaens.
De uitspraak van de rechtbank in Brussel
Uiteindelijk deed de Brusselse rechtbank op 19 juni 2017 uitspraak. Deze hield in dat Zara Home een schadevergoeding moet betalen voor het gebruik van een Nederlands familiewapen.
Damiaens en de familie Odink vorderden dat het ontwerp van het familiewapen en het beeldhouwwerk van eisers als oorspronkelijke werken worden beschermd door het auteursrecht. Verder vorderden zij dat Zara Home door de reproductie van de werken in de Zara Home kaars, de mededeling aan het publiek en de verkoop van de kaars hun auteursrechten heeft geschonden. Zara Home betwiste de originaliteit van het familiewapen.
De rechtbank verklaarde echter voor recht dat het houtsnijwerk auteursrechtelijke bescherming geniet en dat Zara Home door de reproductie van dit werk op de kaars de auteursrechten van Damiaens geschonden heeft. Zara Home werd veroordeeld tot een schadevergoeding van EUR 7.500, conform de vordering.
De rechtbank oordeelde ook dat het familiewapen van Odink als zodanig niet auteursrechtelijk beschermd is en wees de door hen gevorderde schadevergoeding van EUR 17.500 af. De wijzigingen in het origineel weerspiegelden niet de vrije en creatieve keuzes van de auteur. Het aspect van identificatie waarbij aan een lid van een familie het recht toekomt om het familiewapen te gebruiken verzet zich tegen het toekennen van exclusieve rechten aan één persoon onder de vorm van een auteursrecht. Dit zou de auteursrechthouder in staat stellen om familieleden het gebruik van het familiewapen te ontzeggen.
Ook moest het vonnis worden gepubliceerd in het Heraldisch Tijdschrift.
De nationale wetten in verschillende landen op het gebied van het auteursrecht kunnen van elkaar afwijken. Het Nederlandse auteursrecht is vastgelegd in de Auteurswet van 1912. Deze is voor gebaseerd op de Berner Conventie van 1886, een verdrag dat is opgesteld om auteursrecht internationaal te beschermen. Andere belangrijke internationale verdragen op dit gebied zijn het TRIPS-verdrag (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) opgesteld door de Wereldhandelsorganisatie in 1994 en de Universele Auteursrecht Conventie van 1952. Naar mijn mening is de Belgische uitspraak ook in Nederland toepasbaar.
Kortom: familiewapens op zich zijn niet auteursrechtelijk beschermd, maar de afbeelding wel als deze bestanddelen bevat die de uitdrukking vormen van de eigen intellectuele schepping van de auteur. De auteur moet bovendien vrij en creatief kunnen kiezen, waardoor hij een ‘persoonlijke noot’ die zijn ‘persoonlijkheid weerspiegelt’ aan het werk kan aanbrengen (gebaseerd op jurisprudentie van het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Unie).
In de uitspraak is een belangrijke overweging opgenomen, die tot op heden veelal over het hoofd wordt gezien (p. 17):
Ondanks de afwezigheid van enige gecodificeerde bescherming van familiewapens, ook naar Nederlands recht, lijkt prima facie zich niets te verzetten tegen de bescherming van familiewapens tegen manifest onrechtmatig gebruik door een derde (1382 BW) [onrechtmatige daad, JvBQ]. Onder onrechtmatig en dus foutief gebruik zou desgevraagd het gebruik van een familiewapen door een derde begrepen kunnen worden.
Dit laatste was echter niet gevorderd, maar de Brusselse rechtbank oordeelde dus wel dat er een mogelijkheid bestaat dat een schadeplicht ontstaat tegen een derde die een familiewapen onrechtmatig gebruikt, ook in Nederland. Hetzelfde geldt naar mijn mening ook voor heerlijkheidswapens en -titels.
Ik ben van mening dat nieuw ontworpen familiewapens wel auteursrechtelijk zijn beschermd als deze openbaar zijn gemaakt, omdat deze moeten worden aangemerkt als een werk met een eigen oorspronkelijk karakter, dat het stempel van de maker draagt. In dat geval gaat het immers – in tegenstelling tot oude familiewapens – om scheppende menselijke arbeid, waarbij creatieve keuzes zijn gemaakt.
The formation of the Kingdom of Hawaii started in 1795 with the unification of the independent islands of Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi. In 1810, all of the Hawaiian Islands became unified in one kingdom when the islands of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau were voluntarily added. Two major dynastic families ruled the kingdom subsequently: the House of Kamehameha and the House of Kalākaua until the monarchy was abolished in 1893. This article examines the legitimacy of the current claimants regarding the dynastic rights to the former throne of Hawaii.
Monarchs of Hawaii
The following historical chronology and biographies of Hawaiian monarchs were originally documented in Encyclopedia Britannica.
Kamehameha I (1758?-1819). reigning 1795-1819 – Founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii. A shrewd businessman, Kamehameha amassed a fortune for his kingdom through a government monopoly on the sandalwood trade and through the imposition of port duties on visiting ships. He was an open-minded sovereign who rightfully deserves his title Kamehameha the Great. Acclaimed as the strongest Hawaiian ruler, he maintained his kingdom’s independence throughout the difficult period of European discovery and exploration of the islands—a task that proved too great for his successors (source: britannica.com).
Kamehameha II (1797-1824), reigning 1819-1824 – Kamehameha resisted conversion to Christianity, allegedly because he refused to give up four of his five wives as well as rum drinking. In 1823 he sailed on a visit to England, in a delegation that included two of his wives. Stricken with measles in London in June 1824, Kamehameha and his favourite wife, Kamamalu, died there (source: britannica.com).
Kamehameha III (1813 – 1854), reigning 1825-1854 – Only 10 years of age when he succeeded to the throne, he was initially under the regency of Kamehameha I’s favourite wife, Kaahumanu, who had been regent ever since Kamehameha II had visited England in 1824 and died there. Converted to Christianity in 1824, she became known for her wise and beneficent rule. On her death in 1832 the regency fell to Kamehameha I’s daughter Kinau, but in the following year Kamehameha III assumed power in his own right. After hearing a series of lectures on government delivered by an American clergyman, William Richards, Kamehameha III promulgated the Declaration of Rights, called Hawaii’s Magna Carta, on June 7, 1839, the Edict of Toleration on June 17, 1839, and the first constitution on Oct. 8, 1840. This first written constitution for Hawaii contained several innovations, including a representative body of legislators elected by the people. It also set up a supreme court. The first compilation of laws was published in 1842. With Richards’ aid, Kamehameha also obtained diplomatic recognition of Hawaiian independence by the United States in 1842 and by Great Britain and France in 1843 (source: britannica.com).
Kamehameha IV (1834-1863), reigning 1855-1863 – Kamehameha IV, original name Alexander Liholiho, was known for his firm opposition to the annexation of his kingdom by the United States. As Kamehameha IV, he strove to curb the political power of the American Protestant missionaries in the Hawaiian Islands. Dedicated to protecting his people, who were rapidly dying out because of disease, he sponsored many social and economic reforms. He established Hawaii’s commercial and political relations with other nations on a solid base and tried to balance each country’s influence on island life. The son of Kekuanaoa, governor of Oahu, and Kinau, a woman chief who had been kuhina nui (prime minister), Prince Alexander Liholiho was adopted as a child by his uncle, Kamehameha III. He was rigorously educated by Protestant missionaries and attended the Chiefs’ Childrens’ School. To prepare him further for his future role, Prince Alexander and his brother, Lot, accompanied by the missionary-doctor Gerritt P. Judd, toured the United States, England, and France in 1849. Crowned in 1855 at the death of Kamehameha III, he became a popular monarch and was virtually an idol to the Hawaiian people. The annexation movement of 1853–54, championed by many American missionaries, caused Kamehameha to take steps to ensure the independence of his kingdom. In order to balance foreign relations, which had formerly been dominated by the United States, he invited the Church of England to establish itself in the islands. Impatient with the puritanical American missionaries and suspicious of American businessmen, he gradually removed all American members from cabinet posts and encouraged Hawaii’s commercial interests with other nations (source: britannica.com).
Kamehameha V (1830-1872), reigning 1863-1872 – Succeeding to the throne on the death of his younger brother, Kamehameha IV, he immediately revealed his intention to rule with a strong hand, refusing at his inauguration to take the oath to maintain the existing, comparatively liberal constitution. After calling and dismissing a constitutional convention, he himself wrote and promulgated a new constitution (1864), which remained in effect for 23 years. He also imported the first wave of Japanese labourers, by a contract made in 1868. Kamehameha V never married, and the Kamehameha dynasty ended with his death. The legislature elected a cousin, William Charles Lunalilo, to succeed him (source: britannica.com).
Lunalilo (1835-1874), reigning 1873-1874 – Prince William Charles Lunalilo was born to High Chiefess Miriam ʻAuhea Kekāuluohi (Kuhina Nui, or Premier of the Hawaiian Kingdom and niece of Kamehameha I) and High Chief Charles Kanaʻina. Lunalilo’s grandparents were Kalaʻimamahū (half brother of Kamehameha I) and Kalākua (sister to Kaʻahumanu). His great grandfather was Keōuakupupāikalaninui (father of Kamehameha I).Kamehameha V had not named a successor to the throne before he died on December 11, 1872. Lunalilo wanted his people to choose their next ruler in a democratic manner and requested a plebiscite to be held on New Year’s Day. Prince David Kalākaua and others not in the Kamehameha lineage chose to run against Lunalilo. The people on every island unanimously chose Lunalilo as King. At noon on January 8, 1873, the Legislature met, as required by law, in the Courthouse to cast their ballots to elect the next King. Lunalilo received all 37 votes. The coronation of Lunalilo took place at Kawaiahaʻo Church in a simple ceremony on January 9, 1873. He reigned for one year and 25 days, succumbing to pulmonary tuberculosis on February 3, 1874. As a proponent of democracy and more freedom of choice for his people, he did not name a successor before his death because he believed that the people should, again, choose their leader. His trait of “Lokomaikaʻi” followed him in death because of his desire to do what was best for the people (source: lunalilo.org).
Kalakaua (1836-1891), reigning 1874-1891 – The son of a high chief, Kalakaua was a candidate to the throne in 1873 but lost the election to Lunalilo. When Lunalilo died the following year, the legislature then elected Kalakaua, who inaugurated a decidedly reactionary and pro-American reign. In 1874 he visited the United States, and in 1881 he took a trip around the world. Although he secured a somewhat favourable reciprocity treaty with the United States in 1876, he yielded in 1887 to demands to give the United States the exclusive right to enter Pearl Harbor and maintain a naval coaling and repair station there. There was an ever-increasing endeavor by King Kalakaua to restore the ancient Hawaiian social order with its customs and ideas of absolutism and divine right, but it was accompanied by extravagance, corruption, personal interference in politics, and fomentation of race feeling, until he was compelled to promulgate (1887) a new constitution providing for responsible ministerial government and other guarantees. The struggle continued, however, not only until the end of his reign (1891), during which there was an armed insurrection (1889) by the opposition, but even more hotly during the subsequent reign of his sister, Liliuokalani. Kalakaua died on a visit to the United States, amid rumours that he was about to sell his kingdom (source: britannica.com).
Liliuokalani (1838–1917) – reigning 1891-1893. On the death of King Kalakaua in January 1891, Lydia Liliuokalani ascended the throne, becoming the first woman ever to occupy it. Kamakaeha was of a high-ranking family. Her mother, Keohokalole, was an adviser of King Kamehameha III. Reared in the missionary tradition deemed appropriate for Hawaiian princesses, she received a thoroughly modern education, which was augmented by a tour of the Western world. After a time as a member of the court of Kamehameha IV, she was married in September 1862 to John Owen Dominis, son of a Boston sea captain and himself an official in the Hawaiian government. In 1874 her brother David Kalakaua was chosen king, and in 1877, on the death of a second brother, W.P. Leleiohoku, who was heir apparent, she was named heir presumptive. She was known from that time by her royal name, Liliuokalani. Over the next 14 years she established herself firmly in that role. She served as regent during King Kalakaua’s world tour in 1881, and she was active in organizing schools for Hawaiian youth. During a world tour in 1887 she was received by U.S. Pres. Grover Cleveland and by Britain’s Queen Victoria (source: britannica.com).Victoria Ka’iulani (1875-1899) was born as the daughter of Archibald Scott Cleghorn and Princess Miriam Likelike. Her mother was a sister of King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last Queen of Hawaii. She was baptised on Christmas Day at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. She passed her first years with her nurse May Leleo and later her governess Miss Barnes. In 1889, Kaʻiulani was sent to England to receive a private education at Great Harrowden Hall, and although she found her lessons hard, she liked them. Her uncle died in 1891 and was succeeded by her aunt, now Queen Liliʻuokalani. Queen Liliʻuokalani immediately appointed Victoria as Crown Princess. Despite this, she continued her studies in England. In 1893, the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown, and her aunt was deposed. Kaʻiulani released a statement to the press in England (source: historyofroyalwomen.com).
The end of the Hawaiian monarchy
The United States began exercising direct influence over the Hawaiian monarchy with the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. In exchange for exclusive use of Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaiian sugar would enter U.S. markets under favorable tariff rates. Sugar was suddenly the islands’ premier crop, and revenue more than tripled. This economic boom granted the Big Five sugar companies (Ladd & Company, H. Hackfeld & Company, C. Brewer & Company, Castle & Cooke, and Alexander & Baldwin) enormous leverage, that triggered them to organize a political revolution in 1887 (source: history.house.gov).
In 1893 the last monarch of Hawaii, Queen Lili’uokalani, was overthrown by a group of businessmen, who subsequently installed a provisional government. Thereupon, President Benjamin Harrison proposed the Unites States Sanete to annex the Hawaiian islands. In 1897, this initiative was blocked because the native Hawaiian Patriotic League, successfully petitioned the Unites States Congress in opposition of the initiative. In February 1898 however, at the start of the Spanish American War, the establishment of a mid-Pacific fueling station and naval base became crucial for the United States. The Hawaiian islands were an obvious choice in this respect. In July 12, 1898, a Joint Resolution to annex the Hawaiian islands passed Congress and the Hawaiian islands were officially annexed by the United States (source: archives.gov). The annexation of the Hawaiian islands marked the end of a long struggle between native Hawaiians and white American businessmen for the control over the country.
In the 1990’s, two friends, Lance Paul Larsen and David Keanu Sai prepared a strategy to fabricate a recognition of the self-proclaimed “Hawaiian Kingdom”. A classic formula for ‘recognition’ of fantasy claims is to provoke an arbitral award and then claim that this award is proof of the recognition by a judge of the desired claims. Larsen and his friend followed this strategy and managed to bring their fabricated dispute before an arbitral tribunal established under auspice of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague (Netherlands). The parties in the case were designated Lance Paul Larsen as Claimant and the “Hawaiian Kingdom” as Respondent. The appointed arbitrators were Dr. Gavan Griffith QC, Professor Christopher J. Greenwood QC and Professor James Crawford SC (President of the Tribunal). The essence of the case was the question regarding the legality of the annexation of Hawaii by the United States in 1898 and the claim of the continuing existence of the Kingdom as an independent State in international law. The arbitral tribunal did not tackle any of these issues since it concluded that it did not have jurisdiction over the dispute submitted by the Parties. It also noted that it did not recognize anything by designating the Respondent ‘Hawaiian Kingdom’ (par. 1.2):
In the Notice of Arbitration of 8 November 1999 the Respondent is expressed to be “the Hawaiian Kingdom by its Council of Regency”. Without prejudice to any questions of substance, the Respondent will be referred to in this award as “the Hawaiian Kingdom”.
In 1999, Mr. Lance Paul Larsen, a resident of Hawaii, brought a claim before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Netherlands against the Hawaiian Kingdom by its Council of Regency (“Hawaiian Kingdom”) on the grounds that the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom is in continual violation of: (a) its 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the United States of America, as well as the principles of international law laid down in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969 and (b) the principles of international comity, for allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over the claimant’s person within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
In determining whether to accept or decline to exercise jurisdiction, the Tribunal considered the questions of whether there was a legal dispute between the parties to the proceeding, and whether the tribunal could make a decision regarding that dispute, if the very subject matter of the decision would be the rights or obligations of a State not party to the proceedings.
The Tribunal underlined the many points of agreement between the parties, particularly with respect to the propositions that Hawaii was never lawfully incorporated into the United States, and that it continued to exist as a matter of international law. The Tribunal noted that if there existed a dispute, it concerned whether the respondent has fulfilled what both parties maintain is its duty to protect the Claimant, not in the abstract but against the acts of the United States of America as the occupant of the Hawaiian islands. Moreover, the United States’ actions would not give rise to a duty of protection in international law unless they were themselves unlawful in international law. The Tribunal concluded that it could not determine whether the Respondent has failed to discharge its obligations towards the Claimant without ruling on the legality of the acts of the United States of America – something the Tribunal was precluded from doing as the United States was not party to the case.
Gullible people see an opera and mistake it for real life. This staged performance had the backdrop of a building used for the genuine International Court at the Hague, where disputes between nations are resolved and where international war crimes trials are held. Naturally, Keanu and Lance refer to their arbitral panel as “The International Court at the Hague,” which creates a false impression of grandeur.
In this paragraph I will discuss five claims to the dynastic rights of the former Hawaiian monarchs.
Wilcox Salazar claim
The claim to the headship of the Royal House of Hawaii by Mrs. Owana Ka`ohelelani Kahekili Mahealani-Rose La`anui Wilcox Salazar is summarized below.
The Succession to the throne is named by the sovereign under a proper royal proclamation or a ratified and approved constitution, naming the heir to the throne or a line of succession according to the law. In 1844, King Kamehameha III ignored wide claims to the dynasty from other chiefly relatives, and thereby, submitted an official list to the Legislature as the Order-in-Council of a selection of the highest ranking native ali’i eligible to rule under the pertaining Articles of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s constitutions. Article 22 states that upon failing to name an heir to the throne, and if the throne should become vacant, the Legislative Assembly, who shall elect by ballot some native ali`i of the Kingdom as successor to the throne. The Legislative Assembly calls on royal candidates of the highest ranking native ali`i from the list of eligibles to the throne submitted by King Kamehameha III. The list of the highest ranking native ali`i to be rulers was never expanded officially after Kamehameha III by any sovereign, including Kalakaua who was elected from the list in this manner and reigned for 17 years with legal heirs to the throne naming Lili`uokalani. The deposed Queen Lili`uokalani failed to secure a legal heir to the throne after Princess Ka`iulani and dies in 1917 under an illegal occupation, leaving the throne vacant. In 1917, Queen Lili`uokalani’s cousin, the High Chiefess Elizabeth Keka`aniau La`anui is the hereditary head of the royal house and now the only highest ranking ali`i alive on the list of eligibles to the throne provided for the Legislative Assembly for Article 22. Given the fact of the overthrow and that the Legislative Assembly is no more, the head of the royal house and preemptive to the throne, High Chiefess Elizabeth Keka`aniau, by the Grace of God has the natural right under international law to continue as “de jure” sovereign under the illegally occupied Hawaiian Kingdom in 1917. Princess Elizabeth Keka`aniau announces her status as head of the royal house, a direct descendant of King Kamehameha’s brother and also a cousin of Queen Lili`uokalani. Elizabeth claims the next head of the royal house by primogeniture will be her niece, Princess Theresa Owana Ka`ohelelani and then to her primogeniture descendants, which has been handed down from generation to generation to her great grand daughter, Princess Owana Ka`ohelelani Salazar (source: keouanui.org).
The Baker-claim is more modest and honest. The proponent of the claim, Mr. Darrick Baker, substantiates his claim as head of the House of Kamakaheleias and as protector (instead of the head) of “the Royal House” as follows:
The Kingdom of Hawaii was founded by King Kamehameha I in 1795 after unifying the individual Kingdoms of the Hawaiian Islands. Then in 1893 the throne was vacated after a coup d’état against Queen Lydia Liliʻuokalani, who was the last sovereign of Hawai’i. Today there remain descendants of the pre-unication Royal Houses and prominent among them are the House of Kawananakoa and the House of Kamakahelei. H.R.H. Prince Darrick Lane Hoapili Liloa Kamakahelei Baker is the head of the House of Kamakahelei. The House of Kamakehelei is closely related to the former ruling Houses of Kamehameha and Kalakaua and also with the House of Kawananakoa, which is currently headed by Prince Quentin. And as per Hawaiian customs, both Prince Darrick and Prince Quentin are equally positioned to be elected to the Head of the Royal House of Hawaii should the Kingdom be restored.
As Ali’i and a senior member of the Royal House of Hawaii, Prince Darrick considers it his duty to be the protector of the Royal House, actively preserving its legacy and authenticity by maintaining its rich traditions and culture to the maximum extent possible (source: royalhouseofhawaii.com).
The claim is well-documented in a social-cultural study, named: Prince Darrick Baker and the Royal House of Kamakahelei. In november 2019, Prince Darrick was persueded to sign an agreement with a junior member of the family and some Spanish and Portuguese individuals, regarding the successon of his claim. In January 2020, Prince Darrick terminated this agreement by reason of the other parties’ misrepresentation, thus voiding their claim.
Mr. Quentin Kawānanakoa
Mr. Quentin Kawananakoa is a Hawaiian politician and great-grandson of Prince David Kawananakoa — who was a cousin of King David Kalakaua. His great-grandfather’s brother was Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole.
Some Hawaiians also consider Quentin Kawananakoa an heir to the Hawaiian monarchy. However, Mr. Kawananakoa has stated that he neither claims nor rejects the title and it has never been formally bestowed on him. Such a title would be honorific, rather than a source of actual political power, except in the sense that it emphasizes heritage and Island roots, he states in an interview with the Honolulu Advertiser in 2006:
I don’t allude to myself in that fashion, but I certainly am proud of my forefathers who in fact were of the royal family,” he said. “But today what we have is perhaps a remembrance of our culture, and in that respect, I think many Hawaiians do recognize that we do come from our prior ali’i family lines.
Mrs. Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa
Mrs. Kawānanakoa (1928-) is the only child of Lydia Liliuokalani Kawānanakoa and William Jeremiah Ellerbrock. Her great-grandfather was James Campbell, a 19th-century Irish industrialist who made a fortune as a partner in a Maui sugar plantation. At the age of six, Mrs. Kawānanakoa was legally adopted in the Hawaiian tradition of hānai by her grandmother, Princess Abigail Campbell Kawānanakoa. It was the intention that she remain a direct heir to a possible restoration of the monarchy. As Liliʻuokalani’s great grand niece, Mrs. Kawānanakoa is seen as the heir apparent to the Hawaiian throne, should restoration of the monarchy occur. She has been described by US Senator for Hawaii and President pro tempore of the United States Senate, Daniel Ken Inouye as “a member of the family with the closest blood ties to the Kalākaua dynasty” (source: Senator Daniel Ken Inouye, “Anniversary of Coronation of King Kalākaua”, Congressional record 10,098 (27 April 1983, cited in Van Dyke, J.M. (2009). Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawai’i?, p. 370). Mrs. Kawānanakoa has been active in various causes for the preservation of native Hawaiian culture, including the restoration of ‘Iolani Palace.
Mr. Sammy Amalu
Also worth mentioning is Mr. Sammy Amalu (1917–1986), a longtime columnist at The Honolulu Advertiser. The 1972 book by Doris Jividen describes the life of this gentleman in much detail. Amalu styled himself as High Chief Kapiikauinamoku, Prince of Keawe and Duke of Konigsberg. He attempted to buy up several Waikiki hotels with counterfeit checks in the 1940s and ended up in prison. Under the alias Kapiikauinamoku, he later wrote “The Story of Hawaiian Royalty” and “The Story of Maui Royalty” in a series of columns written for The Honolulu Advertiser. These articles include genealogies of Hawaii’s aliʻi families including his ancestress, Miriam Auhea Kekāuluohi Crowningburg Kamai (c. 1839–1899). Mrs. Auhea was a high chiefess during the Kingdom of Hawaii. She was a cousin of King Lunalilo and namesake of his mother Kekāuluohi, however was rarely referred to as Kekāuluohi II. Mr. Amalu’s claim ended with his imprisonment.
It is quite peculiar that the anonymous Facebook page “Prestor John Institute” defames the Baker claim on the basis of a book by Mr. Amalu (alias “Samuel Crowningburg-Amalu”), mentioned above. The page states in its Facebook post of 9 April 2019: “Princess Owana Salazar is the undisputed Head of the Royal House and Senior Heir to the Throne.“. Because there exists at least one more claimant (Mrs. Kawānanakoa, mentioned above), this statement is obviously false.
The Larsen vs. the Hawaiian Kingdom case shows that private persons or entities cannot recognize a state that does not exist. At least, such a recognition does not have legal consequences from a public law perspective. The only authoritative body that could recognize (in a sense of attributing public law consequences) one or more Hawaiian dynastic rights, is the State of Hawaii or the Federal government. Such a recognition could have the form of Act by the government.
Contrary to the Larsen vs. the Hawaiian Kingdom case, there exist transparant and genuine ways to recognise native hereditary rights. In Africa, for example, Botswana has passed several laws to recognise the authority of traditional leaders. These include the Chieftaincy Act; Customary Courts Act, Tribal Territories Act, Marriages Act, and House of Chiefs Act. In Zimbabwe, traditional leaders are selected by their families through rules of succession and eventually endorsed by the executives, a process embedded in the Traditional Leaders Act. In the United States, the Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior (Department) implements Part 83 of Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (25 CFR Part 83), Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes. This acknowledgment process is the Department’s administrative process by which petitioning groups that meet the criteria are given Federal acknowledgment as Indian tribes and by which they become eligible to receive services provided to members of Indian tribes. These examples show that governmental recognition of native groups is achievable. Similar legislation by the State of Hawaii or the Federal Government would bring genuine recognition to Hawaii’s heads of dynastic families.
I do not recommend Hawaiian heads of dynastic families to seek recognition from other non-reigning (European) claimants, since this only emphasizes a lack of official recognition. Hawaii’s dynastic families do not need recognition from private parties to show that they are genuine. I recommend sending a petition with scientific, anthropological, genealogical, and historical research to the state of Hawaii to achieve recognition. Hawaii itself is the only authoritative body in this respect.
At the moment, a single Royal House of Hawaii does not exist and a head of the Royal House cannot be elected, since there is no legislature to institute a council of Hawaiian nobles, elected by the High Chiefs. Princess Victoria Ka’iulani did not appoint a successor. In my opinion, the situation before the unification of the Hawaiian dynastic families has currently been revived, and therefore there can only be heads of the pre-unification dynastic families. The Baker-claim is the only claim that is transparent, precise and honest in this respect.
Een afstammeling – via de vrouwelijke lijn – van een Nederlandse adellijke familie vroeg mij onlangs of hij kon worden erkend te behoren tot de Nederlandse adel. Ik moest hem helaas teleurstellen.
Volgens vaste jurisprudentie van de Raad van State gaat adeldom in Nederland alleen over via de mannelijke lijn:
Gelet op de vaste rechtspraak van de Afdeling (uitspraken van 5 april 2006 in zaak nr. 200505679/1 en van 22 juli 2009 in zaak nr. 200807914/1), is van discriminatie geen sprake als er voor het maken van onderscheid in het licht van de doelen van de van toepassing zijnde regeling redelijke en objectieve gronden bestaan. In dit verband dient de vraag te worden beantwoord of er voor het verschil in behandeling tussen buitenechtelijke kinderen van een adellijke vader geboren vóór 1 augustus 1994 enerzijds en buitenechtelijke kinderen van een adellijke vader die daarna zijn geboren anderzijds een objectieve en redelijke rechtvaardiging bestaat. De adel is een historisch gegroeid instituut dat zijn bestaansrecht uitsluitend ontleent aan dat historische karakter. Met het naar eigentijdse denkbeelden wijzigen en inrichten van het instituut zal dit instituut zijn grondslag verliezen. Uitgangspunt bij het wetsvoorstel was gelet daarop, het beleid ten aanzien van adeldom en het geldende adelsrecht te handhaven. De modernisering is daarom beperkt tot na 1 augustus 1994 buiten het huwelijk geboren kinderen van een adellijke vader. Gelet hierop bestaat voor het onderscheid een objectieve en redelijke rechtvaardiging.
De logica waarom een historisch gegroeid instituut zijn bestaansrecht uitsluitend ontleent aan dat historische karakter en zijn grondslag verliest als adeldom via de vrouwelijke lijn overgaat, ontgaat mij. Naar mijn mening is de overweging van de Raad van State denigrerend ten aanzien van vrouwen; het zijn kennelijk (als je de overweging leest) inferieure wezens die niet in staat zijn om een historisch instituut ‘in ere’ te houden. Laat het helder zijn: zonder vrouwen kan er geen adel zijn omdat alleen vrouwen kinderen kunnen krijgen. Voorgaande standaard-overweging van de Raad van State is een uitvloeisel van een politiek spelletje en heeft niets met recht te maken. Het is zeer ernstig dat de Raad van State zich hiervoor leent. Ik zal dit nader toelichten aan de hand van een vergelijking met het vrouwenkiesrecht.
Vergelijking met vrouwenkiesrecht
In de grondwet van 1882 werd gesproken van ‘Nederlanders’ als het ging om het kiesrecht. Vrouwen waren volgens de letter van de wet dus niet uitgesloten van het kiesrecht. Toen de arts Aletta Jacobs zich in 1883 als eerste vrouw op de kiezerslijst wilde laten zetten in Amsterdam, werd zij geweigerd. Tot drie keer toe kreeg mevrouw Jacobs nul op haar rekest: eerst van de gemeente Amsterdam, vervolgens van de arrondissementsrechtbank en tenslotte van de Hoge Raad.
Hoewel de grondwet het kiesrecht aan meerderjarige Nederlanders met een bepaald inkomen toekende, stelde de Hoge Raad dat ‘Nederlander en ingezetenen alleen slaat op de mannen, anders ware dit afzonderlijk vermeld’. Ons hoogste rechtscollege overwoog dat (Schokking 1958, p. 24):
de rechtbank (…) terecht heeft beslist, dat het ten enemale onaannemelijk is, dat het in de bedoeling van de Nederlandsche wetgever bij de herziening der Grondwet in 1848 zoude hebben gelegen, om, in afwijking van destijds bestaande toestanden en geldende beginselen van Staatsrecht, het stemrecht aan vrouwen toe te kennen; dat toch, ware deze uitbreiding van het kiesrecht door de wetgever beoogd, dit allergewichtigst beginsel ongetwijfeld in duidelijke en ondubbelzinnige termen in de Grondwet en diensvolgens in de Kieswet van 1850 zoude zijn uitgesproken, wat echter niet is geschied.
Net als met de weigering van de adeldom via de vrouwelijke lijn werd ‘de geest der wet’ belangrijker geacht: “. Bij de Grondwetsherziening van 1887 werd het kiesrecht uitgebreid tot kiezers die ‘over tekenen van welstand en bekwaamheid beschikten’, maar er werd ook uitdrukkelijk opgenomen dat alleen mannelijke ingezetenen kiesrecht hadden. Er zou dus een nieuwe grondwetswijziging nodig zijn om vrouwenkiesrecht mogelijk te maken. Pas in 1917 werd in Nederland het passief kiesrecht voor vrouwen ingevoerd. Vrouwen konden toen voor politieke functies gekozen worden, maar mochten niet zelf stemmen. In 1919 kregen vrouwen eindelijk het felbegeerde actief kiesrecht, waardoor ze zelf mochten stemmen.
Het blijft voor ons toch moeilijk te vatten dat een partij als de SGP, die vrouwen rechtstreeks discrimineert, nog steeds serieus genomen wordt (was zelfs recentelijk nog even bij de kabinetsformatie betrokken). Men kan dit toch moeilijk afdoen als een gevolg van de eis van pluriformiteit die ons democratisch bestel kenmerkt? Dat wordt toch niet minder gekenmerkt door het verbod van discriminatie van vrouwen? Misschien wordt de SGP door velen gezien als een rariteit in ons bestel en niet bedreigend. Men moet dan niet vergeten dat de SGP lokaal in sommige gemeenten een dominante rol speelt. Zelfs wanneer men in de afweging tussen de pluriformiteit van de ABRS [Afdeling Bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State, red.] en het discriminatieverbod van het Hof kiest voor pluriformiteit betekent dat toch niet per se dat de SGP actief gesteund moet worden middels subsidie. Wat dit aangaat zijn de vrouwenrechten er niet op vooruitgegaan met de uitspraken van de ABRS en het Hof.
Het is voor mij – en gelukkig voor veel anderen – een enigma dat vrouwen nog steeds geen adeldom kunnen overdragen omdat daarmee het ‘historisch instituut zijn grondslag verliest’. Alleen als de vrouw lid is van het Koninklijk Huis wordt de zombie teruggestuurd naar de plaats waar hij vandaan komt; dan is overerving van adeldom in de vrouwelijke lijn wel mogelijk en verliest het historisch instituut zijn grondslag kennelijk niet. Ik begrijp het niet.
Atria; BWN; BWSA; PDC ; W.F. Bynum and Helen Bynum red., Dictionary of Medical Biography (Oxford 2007); Bonnie Smith red., The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Women in World History (Oxford 2008).
Schokking, J.C. De vrouw in de Nederlandse politiek. Emancipatie tot actief Burgerschap, Assen, 1958.
Peters, J. & K. Bleeker (2008). Staat moet SGP aanpakken maar ook subsidiëren: over botsende competenties en grondrechten, NJB nr. 10, 7 maart 2008, p. 556-563.
Bijlage – Wet op de Adeldom
Wet van 10 mei 1994, houdende regeling inzake de adeldom
Wij Beatrix, bij de gratie Gods, Koningin der Nederlanden, Prinses van Oranje-Nassau, enz. enz. enz.
Allen, die deze zullen zien of horen lezen, saluut! doen te weten:
Alzo Wij in overweging genomen hebben, dat op grond van additioneel artikel XXV van de Grondwet een voorziening moet worden getroffen ter zake van de adeldom;
Zo is het, dat Wij, de Raad van State gehoord, en met gemeen overleg der Staten-Generaal, hebben goedgevonden en verstaan, gelijk Wij goedvinden en verstaan bij deze:
Adeldom wordt verleend bij koninklijk besluit. De verlening kan uitsluitend geschieden aan Nederlanders.
1 De verlening van adeldom geschiedt door verheffing, inlijving of erkenning.
2 Verheffing in de adel bij koninklijk besluit kan uitsluitend plaatsvinden ten aanzien van leden van het koninklijk huis en van voormalige leden daarvan binnen drie maanden na verlies van het lidmaatschap van het koninklijk huis.
De verlening van de titels «Prins (Prinses) der Nederlanden» en «Prins (Prinses) van Oranje-Nassau» wordt bij of krachtens de Wet lidmaatschap koninklijk huis bepaald.
3 Inlijving in de Nederlandse adel kan slechts plaatsvinden ten aanzien van personen wier geslacht behoort tot de wettelijk erkende adel van een staat met een vergelijkbaar adelsstatuut en die het verzoek tot inlijving hebben gedaan.
a.te zamen met het verzoek tot verlening van het Nederlanderschap;
b.te zamen met het afleggen van de verklaring ter verkrijging van het Nederlanderschap door optie;
c.te zamen met het bereiken van de meerderjarigheid bij de verkrijging van het Nederlanderschap van rechtswege indien de vader van de verzoeker het Nederlanderschap niet van rechtswege heeft verkregen.
4 Erkenning te behoren tot de Nederlandse adel kan uitsluitend plaatsvinden ten aanzien van personen die behoren tot een geslacht dat voor 1795 reeds tot de inheemse adel behoorde.
Adeldom gaat ook volgens de bestaande regelingen met betrekking tot adeldom over op buiten het huwelijk geboren kinderen.
Bij de verlening van adeldom zijn taxa verschuldigd. Bij algemene maatregel van bestuur worden nadere regels omtrent de taxa gesteld.
Adeldom wordt vermeld op officiële documenten waar dit vereist is, tenzij de betrokken persoon verzoekt, de vermelding achterwege te laten of te verwijderen.
1 Er is een Hoge Raad van Adel.
2 De Raad heeft tot taak Onze Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken te adviseren over verzoeken tot verlening van adeldom.
3 De Raad is samengesteld uit vijf leden, die bij koninklijk besluit worden benoemd en ontslagen.
1 [Red: Bevat wijzigingen in andere regelgeving.]
2 De bestaande regelingen met betrekking tot adeldom en de Hoge Raad van Adel kunnen worden gewijzigd bij algemene maatregel van bestuur.
Inlijving in de Nederlandse adel kan plaatsvinden ten aanzien van personen wier geslacht behoort tot de wettelijk erkende adel van een staat met een vergelijkbaar adelsstatuut en daartoe een verzoek om inlijving hebben gedaan binnen vijf jaar na de datum van inwerkingtreding van deze wet.
Deze wet kan worden aangehaald als Wet op de adeldom.
Lasten en bevelen dat deze in het Staatsblad zal worden geplaatst en dat alle ministeries, autoriteiten, colleges en ambtenaren wie zulks aangaat, aan de nauwkeurige uitvoering de hand zullen houden.
According to tradition, Ruganzu I Bwimba, a Tutsi leader, founded a kingdom in the Bwanacambwe region near Kigali in the 15th or 16th century. What is now central Rwanda was absorbed in the 16th century, and outlying Hutu communities were subdued by the mwami (“king”) Ruganzu II Ndori in the 17th century. In some areas of the country, independent Hutu principalities continued to exist, and in other areas, Tutsi and Hutu lineages lived in interdependent cooperation under the nominal control of the king. The borders of the kingdom were rounded out in the late 19th century by Kigeli IV Rwabugiri, who is regarded as Rwanda’s greatest king. By 1900 Rwanda was a unified state with a centralized military structure (source: Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Upon the arrival of the Belgians in 1916 after the First World War following the defeat of Germany, the Belgians endorsed the Tutsi’s power over the Hutus as a means of controlling the country. The Belgians considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus. They considered the Tutsis as more like themselves. For this reason they supported them to be the upper-class of Rwandan society. Identity cards that distinguished Hutu from Tutsi became mandatory, like the Jews were categorized in during the Nazi regime. Belgium’s worst crime was the introduction of a racial theory aimed at providing proof of the Tutsi’s apparent greater purity and closer ancestry to Europeans. Skull measurements showing larger brain size, greater height, and lighter skin tones all reaffirmed the Tutsis’ superiority over the Hutus.
The final step in Belgium’s racial policy was implementing ‘Corvée’: peasant farmers, for the large part Hutus, were obligated to grow coffee beans on their land for Tutsi officials. Corvée is a system similar to slavery.
When Belgium relinquished power and granted Rwanda independence in 1962, the Hutus took their place. Over subsequent decades, the Tutsis were portrayed as the scapegoats for every crisis. The oppressed Hutus decided to take revenge. During Grégoire Kayibanda’s regime (1961-1973), there was an increasing exodus of Tutsis from Rwanda into neighboring nations. The above mentioned developments culminated eventually in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide that left nearly one million people dead.
In 1961, with the support of the Belgian government, Hutu politician Dominique Mbonyumutwa led a coup d’état that took control of the Rwandan state and abolished the kingdom on 25 September 1961. King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa of Rwanda (1936 – 2016) was the last ruling king (Mwami) of Rwanda, from 28 July 1959 until the abolition of the Rwandan monarchy. Like his ancestors, he was a peacekeeper and preserved the unity in his country under the difficult times of Belgium oppression. Their support to overthrow the king as head of state was the last act of betrayal by the Belgians to the Rwandan people: the destruction of its centuries-old cultural identity.
The last official king of Rwanda led a life in exile for almost 60 years, both as a refugee and a consistent advocate for the immediate, safe and unconditional return home of all Tutsi exiles. One of the first to help the king was the Monarchist League, a 70-year-old British group that campaigns for the preservation and restoration of kingdoms the world over. In order to fund this great achievement, Kigeli V turned to westerners who were willing to support him financially in exchange for noble titles and other honors. Such a practice is not an uncommon business model for monarchs (whether reigning or in exile) to fund their court.
However, the living circumstances of this great man remained far from optimal. In 2013, Washingtonian magazine found the former monarch living in subsidized housing in Virginia and living off food stamps. He told the magazine that Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda and a fellow Tutsi, had permitted him to return to his home country but said that he could not resume the throne. In retrospective, I doubt that this was the right decision.
As the return to monarchy could be instrumental in preserving unity and peace in Rwanda and thus preventing further violence, it is interesting to investigate the question of who can be seen as a legitimate successor to king Kigeli V.
Line of succession
During the colonization by the Belgians, all legislation governing the country was made by Belgian authorities and the mainstay of criminal and civil legislation was the civil and criminal codes of the then Belgian Congo. Though criminal law had universal application, written civil laws was applied only to whites. Customary law continued to apply to the natives. Hence, the current Rwanda Civil Law Legal system is based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law. It is important to note that Rwanda is a civil law legal system that in the beginning of the 21st century was undergoing a transformation from purely civil law to a merge between civil law and common law. The evolutionary process has led to the reform of several laws such as the penal code, and the law of evidence among others.
During the time that Rwanda was a kingdom, the central government was manned by the Abiru through a complex and secret polity known as ubwiru. The Abiru were ritual loyalists who lived in the king’s palace. Their purpose was to explain occurrences and forecast the future. For instance, the Abiru alone could secretly determine the next king and define his mission during his reign (source: globalsecurity.org).
There currently is no formal law to appoint a successor of Kigeli V as head of state, since the kingdom has been replaced by a republic. This, however, is irrelevant because the Abiru has full authority to appoint a dynastic successor. This ancient institute cannot be abolished by the president of the Rwandan republic as it is part of the king’s personal entourage. Therefore, in respect to the legitimacy of the claim to the headship of the Royal House of Rwanda, customary law adopted to general principles of law that are recognized by civilized nations, legitimize the succession. It is along these lines of thought that I have formed an opinion about the legitimate successor of king Kigeli V.
There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Boniface Benzinge, who himself is a member of a reputable Rwandan family, was a close friend and reliable confidant of the former king. In many instances he can be seen by his side in the Kigeli V’ company, for example at the king’s last public interview of 30th August 2016. Mr. Benzinge also accompanied the king on his last visit to the United Kingdom in June 2016. The close relationship both men held, was mentioned by the Washingtonian in the 2013 article. Mr. Benzinge was Kigeli’s boyhood friend (source: Mr. Chris Kamo). He played various roles for the King, including his chancellor, counsellor, secretary and interpreter. He stayed with his friend for nearly six decades when almost all other Rwandans abandoned him and only a handful of Westerners circled around the former king with the sole purpose of obtaining royal titles and awards. For his services, the King awarded Mr Benzinge a ducal title in 1989, along with the highest grades in the Rwandan Royal Orders. The late King appointed Bushayija as his successor, and entrusted Mr Benzinge to execute his last wishes, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Based on the oral evidence, publicly given by Mr. Benzinge on 9 January 2017, and the forementioned facts and circumstances, in my opinion, the current claimant, Mr. Emmanuel Bushayija (1960), should be regarded as the legitimate successor to the headship of the Royal House of Rwanda. Bushayija is the son of HRH Theoneste Bushayija and grandson of HM King Yuhi V Musinga. Bushayija’s family had ruled Rwanda for nine centuries before his predecessor was ousted in 1960. He has assumed the title “Yuhi VI” and should be addressed as His Majesty in formal correspondence in order to stress the fact that he did not give up his sovereign rights in line with international legal principles that ex-monarchs continue to possess their sovereign rights (see Hugo Grotius’ De iure belli ac pacis; English: On the Law of War and Peace. Paris 1625).
I recommend populating the Abiru with Rwandans, who are able to act in accordance with the ancient traditions of customary law, but are also open to implementing fundamental rules of modern law (for example regarding gender-neutrality). An Abiru, consisting of Westerners is not acceptable, since this would be in breach with customary law.
The Abiru should be formed as a Swiss Verein in order to create a solid fundament for the future.
The composition of the Abiri also needs to be transparent in order not to trigger discussion regarding future successors. The names of the members of the Abiri should be published on the website of the Royal House.
Melvern, L. (2019). A people betrayed: The role of the West in Rwandas genocide. London: ZED Books.
Is there a generally accepted standard regarding the recognition of orders of knighthood?
No, there is not. If this were the case, it would be rather simple to decide whether a given order is legitimate or not. A recognized and accepted standard of what an order of knighthood is does not exist. However, an attempt was made in the 1960’s to establish such a standard; the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry, also known as “ICOC” or in Italian: “Commissione internazionale permanente per lo studio degli ordini cavallereschi“. The organization is a privately run, privately funded, and privately managed entity composed of scholars on chivalric matters and systems of awards. Its purpose is to examine orders of chivalry to determine their legitimacy. Dr. Pier Felice degli Uberti, Baron of Cartsburn, has been its president since 1999. The seat of the organization is in Milan, Italy.
In 2015, the ICOC stated that orders were considered knightly only when they are historical. Other types of orders are listed in appendices in order to inform the public of their existence, but without evaluation. New creations, currently being made by Heads of former ruling Houses, are considered as awarding systems without the designation ‘knightly’. The ICOC uses the below mentioned standard (source: website ICOC) to evaluate whether it is considered ‘knightly’ or not. I have copied the first five standards and added my personal comments. The sixth principle addresses the Sovereign Order of Malta and is not relevant for the questions raised in this article.
Principles involved in assessing the validity of Orders of Chivalry
1) Every independent State has the right to create its own Orders or Decorations of Merit and lay down, at will, their particular rules. But it must be made clear that only the higher degrees of these modern State Orders can be deemed of knightly rank, provided they are conferred by the Crown or by the “pro tempore” ruler of some traditional State.
Comments. An independent state does not need the recognition of the ICOC to decide whether an order is knightly or not. As an example, article 111 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of The Netherlands states that orders of knighthood are constituted by law. Based on this article, Dutch law established two orders of knighthood for civilians: the Order of the Dutch Lion and the Order of Orange-Nassau. Both are explicitly named ‘orders of knighthood’ independent of the issued rank. The first principle of the ICOC is therefore incorrect.
2) The Dynastic (or Family or House) Orders which belong jure sanguinis to a Sovereign House (that is to those ruling or ex-ruling Houses whose sovereign rank was internationally recognised at the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 or later) retain their full historical chivalric, nobiliary and social validity, notwithstanding all political changes. It is therefore considered ultra vires of any republican State to interfere, by legislation or administrative practice, with the Princely Dynastic Family or House Orders. That they may not be officially recognised by the new government does not affect their traditional validity or their accepted status in international heraldic, chivalric and nobiliary circles.
3) It is generally admitted by jurists that such ex-sovereigns who have not abdicated have positions different from those of pretenders and that in their lifetime they retain their full rights as “fons honorum” in respect even of those Orders of which they remain Grand Masters which would be classed, otherwise, as State and Merit Orders.
Comments. These two principles have already been established centuries ago by Hugo de Groot (1583-1645), a Dutch jurist (Grotius, Hugo, 1583-1645. (1964). De jure belli ac pacis libri tres / by Hugo Grotius; trans. by Francis W. Kelsey; with the collaboration of Arthur E.R. Boak, Henry A. Sanders … [and others]. New York : Oceana). Along with the earlier works of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, he laid the foundations for modern international law. They are therefore not original principles of the ICOC, but nonetheless correct principles.
4) Although, at one time – many centuries ago – private people of high standing could and did create some independent Orders of Knighthood, some among which came, in due course, to gain considerable prestige and obtained formal validity from the Church and the Crown, such rights of creation of Orders have long since fallen into desuetude and, nowadays, Orders of Chivalry as we understand the term must always stem from or be – by longstanding uninterrupted tradition – under the protection of Chiefs or of Houses of recognised sovereign rank.
Comments. The Order of the Knights of Rizal is an Order of Knighthood in the Philippines. The Order has been created in 1911 by Colonel Antonio C. Torres, to honor and uphold the ideals of Philippine national hero and polymath Dr. José Rizal. The ranks and insignia of the order are recognized in the Honors Code of the Philippines as official awards of the Republic. The Order has been granted a legislative charter by President Elpidio Quirino as a non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-racial civic, patriotic, and cultural organization under the Republic Act 646 on June 14, 1951. The Order’s insignia have been approved to be worn by the Philippine diplomatic corps. The fourth principle of the ICOC that only “many centuries ago” private persons could create an independent Order of Knighthood, is therefore incorrect. A state, like the Philippines, enjoys the sovereignty to recognise a new Order of Knighthood, formed by private individuals. In addition, the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem is a 19th century example of a private revival, that managed to be turned into an official Order in Britain in 1888. Apart from these two examples, the internationally recognised freedom of association (United States Bill of Rights, article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and international law, including articles 20 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 22 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) is the legal basis for creating independent Orders of Knighthood.
5) The recognition of Orders by States or supranational organisations which themselves do not have chivalric orders of their own, and in whose Constitutions no provisions are made for the recognition of knightly and nobiliary institutions, cannot be accepted as constituting validation by sovereignties, since these particular sovereignties have renounced the exercise of heraldic jurisdiction. The international “status” of an Order of Knighthood rests, in fact, on the rights of fons honorum, which, according to tradition, must belong to the Authority by which this particular Order is granted, protected or recognised.
Comments. The signing of the treaties of Westphalia in 1648 significantly changed the nature of international relations, since it illustrated the beginning of two important principles: state sovereignty as well as the notion of non-interference. These principles are also part of the United Nations’ (UN) charter which says that “the Organization’s foundation depends on the equal sovereignty of all its members.” As such, state sovereignty has been an undeniable pillar of international relations for decades, and it is essential in the present international community. The fifth principle of the ICOC is incorrect, because it is in breach of the sovereignty of states as generally accepted in international law. The same is true regarding supranational entities like the European Union and the World Trade Organization.
There exist a number of websites that purport to be authoritative bodies, but have proven to be landing pages for medal mills. They trigger the public to make inquiries about orders and decorations, subsequently offering their services as an ‘independent’ intermediary. The final step is to sell the medals of formerly ruling houses in exchange for a so-called ‘passage fee’. In this respect, I would like to mention the following websites.
The ‘Instituto Preste João / Prester John Institute’ is a Facebook page run by the Portuguese “Centro de Informação do Castelo de Ourém“, which, in turn, has a separate web page that has been “under construction” for years. The Facebook page also states that the ‘Institute’ is recognized by the “CIAN-International Confederation of Nobility Associations”, a non-existing entity. It further states that the ‘Institute’ is a “Royal and Imperial Council of Foreign Nobility”. The meaning of this designation remains unclear, but the Facebook page lacks authority in these matters.
I prefer to see the ICOC as a highly respected learned society. Its work and publications cannot be overestimated. I very much appreciate the fact that the ICOC’s knowledge and principles develop constantly. It is this attitude and transparency that make the ICOC an important contributor to the body of knowledge regarding knightly orders. I also hold Dr. Pier Felice degli Uberti, widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in heraldry, reward systems and nobiliary law, in high regards. Due to Dr. degli Uberti’s effort, the ICOC has become the leading learned society regarding knightly orders and nobiliary law. On their website, the ICOC shows that its aim is to genuinely contribute to the body of knowledge:
Today, the Commission considers theRegisteralways open and does not exclude the possibility of modifying its positions or decisions, provided that there is solid documentary scientific evidence to do so. Moreover, the Commission favours open discussions on subjects between persons with differing points of view.
In the twenty-first century the Commission needs to expand its horizons, widening its principles in order to bring them into line with the objective reality of today’s society and the inevitable historical changes. The compilation of the Register cannot be limited to the chivalric material of the past, thus the Commission has to offer, to those who are not scholars in the field of award systems, a valid publication from which one can learn and understand. Above all this publication must open the eyes of the uninitiated to diverse award systems which exist in today’s world.
In de wereld van de orden, decoraties en medailles wordt vaak de term ‘ridderlijk’ gebruikt, in de zin van ‘ridderlijke orde’. Volgens Van Dale (jaargang 1898) betekent ‘ridderlijk’:
wat een ridder of de ridders betreft: de ridderlijke stand, de ridderstand; een ridderlijk landgoed, slot; — als een ridder: zich ridderlijk gedragen; ridderlijke avonturen; dapper, moedig; — ridderlijk antwoorden, bekennen, eerlijk, rondborstig.
Het betreft dus een redelijk brede term, waardoor het vrijwel onmogelijk wordt om van overheidswege over te gaan tot het al dan niet erkennen van ‘ridderlijke orden’. Toch doet de overheid dit wel in het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen (zie onderaan dit artikel). De term ‘ridderlijke orde’ betekent iets anders dan de term ‘ridderorde’. Een ridderorde kan alleen bij wet worden ingesteld (artikel 111 Grondwet). De drie Nederlandse ridderorden zijn de Militaire Willemsorde (ingesteld bij wet van 30 april 1815, Stb. 33), de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw (ingesteld bij wet van 29 september 1815, Stb. 47), en de Orde van Oranje-Nassau (ingesteld bij wet van 4 april 1892, Stb. 55).
In zijn buitengewoon interessante proefschrift over Nederlandse ridderlijke orden, komt jhr. dr. Versélewel de Witt Hamer tot een aantal belangrijke conclusies ten aanzien van de erkenning van de drie ridderlijke orden die zijn opgenomen in het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen (zie hieronder bij de letter D: “Erkende (ridderlijke) orden”. Zijn conclusies (Versélewel de Witt Hamer, p.97) op dit punt luiden als volgt.
Alleen voor de Duitse Orde geldt dat deze orde bij wet is ingesteld en daarmee in juridische zin door de Nederlandse overheid is erkend.
Anders ligt het bij de Johanniter orde en de Orde van Malta (SMOM) die beide als vereniging zijn opgericht en waarvan de statuten bij koninklijk besluit zijn vastgesteld, net als van elke Nederlandse vereniging voor de invoering van boek 2 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek in 1976, waarna de toets van bezwaar tegen de erkenning van rechtspersoonlijkheid verviel.
In deze bijdrage wordt kritiek gegeven op de plaats van ridderlijke orden in het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen. Betoogd wordt dat deze orden daaruit moeten worden verwijderd.
Het Koninklijk Besluit voor de goedkeuring van de statuten is geen erkenning van overheidswege van de Johanniter Orde of de Orde van Malta als ridderlijke orde
Een Koninklijk Besluit was in Nederland in de jaren 1855 tot en met 1976 noodzakelijk als een vereniging verzocht om rechtspersoonlijkheid. Dit laatste is noodzakelijk om registergoederen te kunnen aankopen (bijvoorbeeld een kantoorgebouw). In dat geval dienden de statuten van de vereniging te worden goedgekeurd door het Ministerie van Justitie. Voor verenigingen die korter dan 30 jaar waren aangegaan werd de goedkeuring en daarmee de rechtspersoonlijkheid verleend bij koninklijk besluit, voor een duur langer dan 30 jaar bij wet. Om deze laatste, moeilijker weg te ontlopen werden verenigingen doorgaans voor iets korter dan 30 jaar aangegaan, waarna een verzoek tot verlenging kon worden ingediend.
De goedgekeurde statuten werden in de Staatscourant gepubliceerd en bijgehouden in het Verenigingenregister bij het Ministerie van Justitie. Over de periode 1875-1976 bevat dit register (aanwezig bij het Nationaal Archief) ongeveer 80.000 dossiers, waaronder de in 1968 opgerichte “Ridders van de Soevereinde Orde van de Heilige Johannes van Jeruzalem, Ridder van Malta OSJ“. Naar laatstgenoemde ridderlijke orde hebben het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, het Openbaar Ministerie en de Rijksrecherche onderzoek gedaan wegens het misbruiken van de term “Royal Decree”. Enkele brieven en rapporten van de Nederlandse overheid over deze orde zijn hieronder opgesomd (zie stichtingargus.nl):
De koninklijke goedkeuring kon volgens art. 7 van de Wet van 1855 alleen worden geweigerd op grond van het algemeen belang. De koninklijke goedkeuring verdween bij de invoering van Boek 2 van het Nieuw Burgerlijk Wetboek in 1976. Vanaf dan heeft elke vereniging rechtspersoonlijkheid, met de aantekening dat de bestuurders hoofdelijk aansprakelijk zijn zolang de statuten niet door een notaris in een authentieke akte zijn opgenomen en deze bij de Kamer van Koophandel is geregistreerd. Van een erkenning door middel van een Koninklijk besluit van de Maltezer en de Johanniter Orde is dan ook geen sprake.
Artikel 1:3, eerste lid, Algemene wet bestuursrecht bepaalt dat van een besluit sprake is bij een schriftelijke beslissing van een bestuursorgaan inhoudende een publiekrechtelijke rechtshandeling. Volgens vaste jurisprudentie van de Raad van State, moet de vraag of met een handeling een rechtsgevolg is beoogd en het al dan niet om een besluit gaat, worden onderscheiden van de vraag of degene die de handeling heeft verricht bevoegd was namens een bestuursorgaan dat besluit te nemen. Een gepretendeerde bevoegdheid of het geheel ontbreken van een bevoegdheid staan er niet aan in de weg, dat sprake is van een besluit als bedoeld in artikel 1:3, eerste lid, Awb (bijvoorbeeld: ECLI:NL:RVS:2006:AW1297). Dit betekent dat de opname van het Maltezer en de Johanniter Orde in het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen kan worden aangemerkt als een besluit, maar door het ontbreken van de wettelijke bevoegdheid, wel een onrechtmatig besluit. De onrechtmatigheid geldt ook ten aanzien van andere ridderlijke orden, die een dergelijke erkenning van overheidswege niet hebben gekregen, zoals de oecumenische Orde van Sint Lazarus en de Rooms-katholieke Orde van het Heilig Graf van Jeruzalem. Het wordt een interessante casus als, bijvoorbeeld de Orde van Sint-Lazarus, aan aanvraag doet om te worden opgenomen op de lijst van het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen.
Het voorgaande betekent dat de Maltezer Orde en de Johanniter Orde niet door de Nederlandse overheid als ridderlijke orde zijn erkend, behalve in het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen. Hiervoor is geen wettelijke grondslag.
De erkenning door de regering van de huidige Duitse Orde als ridderlijke orde is twijfelachtig
De Duitse orde, balije Utrecht, is op 27 februari 1811 door Napoleon opgeheven en weer hersteld bij wet van 8 augustus 1815, nr. 55, (zie Stbl. nr. 1815, 43). Het eerste artikel van deze wet luidt als volgt:
De Duitsche Orde, Balye Utrecht, wordt hersteld, zodanig als derzelve, ten tijde van derzelve suppressie, in den jare 1811, heeft bestaan, voorbehoudens nogtans Onze bevoegdheid, om aan derzelve Orde, in tijd en wijle, zoodanige andere en meer doelmatige inrightingen te geven, als Wij zullen goedvinden, en voorts op den voet en onder bepalingen, in de volgende artikelen vermeld.
Koning Willem I wees de titel van hoog- of grootmeester af, maar trok wel het aggregatierecht (de mogelijkheid van om de benoeming van nieuwe leden en alle bevorderingen goed te keuren) naar zich toe. Alle benoemingen en bevorderingen in de Duitse Orde vinden sindsdien plaats door middel van een Koninklijk Besluit. Onder de term “Wij” moet worden verstaan: Koning plus Ministers. In het licht van deze Koninklijke Besluiten zou kunnen worden gezegd dat de huidige Duitse Orde van regeringswege is erkend. Het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen heeft dan ook vanuit dit perspectief een wettelijke grondslag om de Duitse Orde op te nemen. Aan de andere kant is de huidige ‘Ridderlijke Duitsche Orde, Balije van Utrecht’ een particuliere vereniging, die is ingeschreven bij de Kamer van Koophandel (inschrijvingsnummer: 40478069). Of met de wet van 1815 ook deze vereniging is erkend (en de erkenning dus zonder meer doorloopt), kan worden betwijfeld omdat ook geredeneerd kan worden dat een nieuwe rechtspersoon is ontstaan.
De Duitse Orde, de Johanniter Orde en de Orde van Malta in Nederland zijn lidmaatschap-orden, die tegen betaling van een jaarlijkse bijdrage recht geven op het bijwonen van een jaarlijkse vergadering en andere bijeenkomsten. Het lidmaatschap is gelimiteerd op grond van een combinatie van (adellijke) geboorte en godsdienstige achtergrond.
Lidmaatschap-orden behoren in het geheel niet van overheidswege te worden erkend, zeker niet in het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen. De overige onderscheidingen die in het Besluit worden genoemd betreffen namelijk zonder uitzondering een eerbetoon voor een persoonlijke, maatschappelijke verdienste ten opzichte van de Nederlandse samenleving. Het zijn geen koopdecoraties voor de maatschappelijk elite. Het is te gek voor woorden dat het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen de ridderlijke orden plaatst boven een belangrijke orde van verdienste als bijvoorbeeld de Gouden Anjer. Deze laatste wordt uitgereikt als blijk van waardering voor personen van onbesproken vaderlands gedrag, die in enigerlei vorm van onverplichte arbeid uitstekende verdiensten hebben verworven voor de Nederlandse cultuur of voor die van de Nederlandse Antillen. In 2018 bijvoorbeeld werd de decoratie uitgereikt aan:
Piet de Boer (Dordrecht, 1942) voor zijn inzet als voorzitter voor het Volendams Opera Koor.
Alice van Romondt (Aruba, 1949) voor haar bijdrage aan de cultuur, de literatuur en de kunsten op Aruba.
Hans van der Ven (Den Haag, 1942) voor zijn hulp aan met name het Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam bij het verwerven van kunstwerken die belangrijk zijn voor het erfgoed van Nederland.
Een tweede punt van kritiek betreft de inconsequentie van indeling door de regering van ridderlijke orden ten opzichte van andere particuliere organisaties. Het is mij niet duidelijk waarom de ridderlijke orden niet gewoon worden gerangschikt onder “F. Onderscheidingen van Nederlandse particuliere organisaties”. Categorie F betreft organisaties met een veel grotere maatschappelijke impact dan genoemde ridderlijke orden. Voorbeelden zijn het Carnegie Heldenfonds en het Rode Kruis. Bovendien is de Orde van Malta een buitenlandse ridderlijke orde en zou om die reden al niet in het Besluit moeten voorkomen.
Een derde kritische opmerking is te maken over de voorkeursbehandeling door de overheid van genoemde ridderlijke orden. Door de overheid is aan deze particuliere orden het voorrecht toegekend van officiële erkenning van de decoraties. Dit geeft deze orden een bijzondere maatschappelijke status, die bijvoorbeeld een Orde van Sint-Lazarus mist. Erkenning geeft deze orden meer aantrekkingskracht en daarmee ook meer mogelijkheden om financiële middelen aan te trekken voor de doelstellingen die zij nastreven, dan de andere ridderlijke (lidmaatschap-) orden in Nederland. Versélewel de Witt Hamer geeft een voorbeeld van het maken van misbruik van het overheidsstempel door de Johanniter Orde ten opzichte van een van de eigen leden, die ook lid was van de Orde van Sint Lazarus (Versélewel de Witt Hamer, p. 152):
Ik werd lid omdat mijn vader lid was. Maar nadat ik een brief kreeg van de Johanniter Orde om dat lidmaatschap te beëindigen omdat het een niet-erkende orde betrof, heb ik dat gedaan. Ik heb toen alle spullen van die orde teruggestuurd.
Typerend voor de discriminerende (door de overheid geïnspireerde) eigendunk van de huidige “ridderlijke orden” is ook de opmerking van jhr. Van Citters, coadjutor van de Johanniter Orde, die in 2016 desgevraagd aan Versélewel de Witt Hamer meedeelde (proefschrift, p. 111):
De Orde van het Heilig Graf is geen ridderlijke orde, de leden zijn immers niet van adel.
De familie Van Citters is een familie van koopmanslieden en bestuurders, die voor het eerst in de archieven verschijnt met Cornelis van Seters, in 1522 burgemeester van Breda. De familie is in 1828 en 1872 verheven in de Nederlandse adel. Met ridders heeft de eigen familie van de coadjutor dus niets uit te staan. Zijn in 1946 nieuw opgerichte Johanniter Orde heeft dat ook niet. Van Citters vergeet dat de door hem als inferieur beschouwde Orde van het Heilig Graf wel zijn oorsprong in de riddertijd heeft (1114), volledig onder pauselijk gezag staat (en dus officieel erkend is) en een belangrijke internationale charitatieve impact heeft; de orde met zijn 23.000 leden is onderverdeeld in 52 commanderijen, gevestigd in meer dan 30 landen (24 in Europa, 15 in de Verenigde Staten en Canada, 5 in Latijns-Amerika en 6 in Australië en het Verre Oosten). Van Citters’ opmerking is daarom ongepast.
Met het voorgaande wil ik aangeven dat het weigeren van bijvoorbeeld de Orde van het Heilig Graf en het opnemen van de Johanniter Orde in de categorie Erkende (ridderlijke) orden in het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen volstrekt willekeurig is en bovendien niet wordt gelegitimeerd door maatschappelijk toegevoegde waarde.
Een vierde punt van kritiek is dat de genoemde Ridderlijke Orden niet van overheidswege dienen te worden erkend omdat zij statuten hebben met discriminatoire bepalingen. Nu is het waarschijnlijk verenigingsrechtelijk toegestaan om personen van adellijke komaf te verenigen en dus personen van niet-adellijke komaf te weigeren (discrimineren), maar het wordt anders als deze verenigingen door de overheid bevoordeeld worden ten opzichte van andere particuliere organisaties bij het dragen van onderscheidingen. Het opnemen in het Besluit van verenigingen waaraan de adellijke status gekoppeld is en die godsdienstige voorwaarden stellen, is strijdig is met nationale en internationale anti-discriminatie bepalingen omdat deze verenigingen en hun discriminerende statuten daarmee van overheidswege worden gepromoot.
In het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen moet categorie D (Erkende (ridderlijke) orden) vervallen en moet Categorie E (Door Z.K.H. Prins Bernhard der Nederlanden ingestelde onderscheidingen) worden toegevoegd aan Categorie B (Huisorden).
Versélewel de Witt Hamer, T. J. (2017). Geloven verplicht: Een elite-onderzoek naar ridderlijke orden in het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (1965-2015). [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
P.L. Dijk P.L. & T.J. van der Ploeg (1997). Van vereniging en stichting, coöperatie en onderlinge waarborgmaatschappij. [Deventer].
De heer Erik Müller, decoratie-deskundige (LinkedIn 23 maart 2019)
Op hoofdlijnen ben ik het met je eens, echter:
de banden van het Koninklijk Huis met zowel de Johanniter Orde (waar altijd een lid van het KH als erecommandeur is geïnstalleerd geweest) en de Orde van Malta (waar meerdere leden van het KH een band mee hebben gehad) hebben hun het voorrecht verworven om al vanaf de eerste draagvolgordelijst in 1952 opgenomen te zijn. Ditzelfde voorrecht is de Orde van Sint Lazarus (waar dan weer wel meerdere ministers en staatssecretarissen lid van zijn geweest) en de Orde van het Heilige Graf nooit gegund. Ik ben het echter wel met je eens dat in ieder geval de laatste gewoon opgenomen zou moeten worden. Voor wat betreft de eerste: welke linie is de oorspronkelijke? Je hebt de Spaanse en de Franse linie, welke beiden claimen de oorspronkelijke orde te zijn. De familie De Bourbon-Parma is verwant aan het Koninklijk Huis, dus ik vermoed dat die de strijd dan wel zullen winnen ;-)
De prinselijke decoraties zijn zeker geen huisorden. Het zijn particuliere onderscheidingen, net als de hofmedailles, die niet door het staatshoofd, maar door een lid van de Koninklijke familie zijn verleend. In het overzicht mist nog de reddingsmedaille die door Koningin Emma werd verleend. Verder zou ik ze inderdaad tussen de herinneringsmedailles en particuliere onderscheidingen laten staan. Ik denk dat er maar één manier is om te achterhalen of het Besluit Draagvolgorde aangepast gaat worden en dat is een request met deze strekking aan de Kanselarij te richten.
Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen
10 oktober 2017
De Kanselier der Nederlandse Orden,
Overwegende dat het wenselijk is het bij zijn besluit van 25 juli 2013 vastgestelde Besluit draagvolgorde van de erkende onderscheidingen te herzien;
Gelet op de instemming van de Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties;
Vast te stellen het herziene Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen.
Indien een persoon de hem toegekende Koninklijke of Ministeriële onderscheidingen draagt, dan worden deze links op de borst gedragen in de in artikel 2 aangegeven volgorde, waarbij de onderscheiding met het laagste rangnummer het dichtst bij het hart wordt gedragen.
De volgorde waarin onderscheidingen worden gedragen, luidt als volgt:
A. Ridderorden en vergelijkbare onderscheidingen
1.1 Ridder Grootkruis
1.3 Ridder der 3e klasse
1.4 Ridder der 4e klasse
Kruis (Medaille) voor Moed en Trouw
Eerepenning voor Menschlievend Hulpbetoon
Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw
6.1 Ridder Grootkruis
Orde van Oranje-Nassau
7.1 Ridder Grootkruis
7.7 Eremedaille, verbonden aan de Orde, in goud
7.8 Eremedaille, verbonden aan de Orde, in zilver
7.9 Eremedaille, verbonden aan de Orde, in brons
Huisorde van de Gouden Leeuw van Nassau
Huisorde van Oranje
9.2 Groot Erekruis
Kruis van Trouw en Verdienste van de Huisorde van Oranje
10.1 in goud
10.2 in zilver
Eremedaille voor Voortvarendheid en Vernuft
Eremedaille voor Kunst en Wetenschap
13.2 Groot Erekruis met plaque
13.3 Groot Erekruis
13.4 Erekruis met rozet
13.6 Eremedaille in goud
13.7 Eremedaille in zilver
13.8 Eremedaille in brons
C. Overige staatsonderscheidingen
C1. Onderscheidingen voor dapperheid
Verzetsster Oost-Azië 1942-1945
Kruis van Verdienste
Eerepenning voor Menschlievend Hulpbetoon
20.1 in zilver
20.2 in brons
C2. Onderscheidingen voor verdiensten
Erepenning voor Verdiensten jegens Openbare Verzamelingen (Museumpenning)
21.1 in goud
21.2 in zilver
21.3 in brons
Onderscheidingsteken ter erkenning van uitstekende daden bij watersnood verricht (Watersnoodmedaille)
22.1 in zilver
22.2 in brons
23.1 in goud
23.2 in zilver
23.3 in brons
Medaille van het Nederlandsche Roode Kruis (Regeringsmedaille)
25.1 in zilver
25.2 in brons
Ereteken voor Verdienste (Defensie)
26.1 in goud
26.2 in zilver
26.3 in brons
Eremedaille voor verdienste politie
C3. Herinneringsonderscheidingen voor militaire operaties
Ereteken voor Belangrijke Krijgsbedrijven (Expeditiekruis)
Medaille voor 10 jaar Trouwe Dienst (Nederlandse Rode Kruis)
F5. Herinnerings- en vaardigheidsonderscheidingen
Kruis van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Bond voor Lichamelijke Opvoeding voor betoonde marsvaardigheid (Vierdaagsekruis)
Nationale Sportmedaille NOC*NSF
(voorheen Vaardigheidsmedaille NSF)
Nationale Vijfkampkruis NOC*NSF
Kruis van de Koninklijke Vereniging van Nederlandse Reserve Officieren (TMPT-kruis)
G. Onderscheidingen van internationale organisaties
Verenigde Naties (VN)
Noord-Atlantische Verdragsorganisatie (NAVO)
West-Europese Unie (WEU)
Multinational Force & Observers (MFO)
Europese Gemeenschap (EG)
Europese Unie (EU)
Baltic Air Policing-Medal
H. Buitenlandse onderscheidingen
In de volgorde van de graden van hoog naar laag. Bij gelijke graad op alfabetische volgorde van de Franse benamingen van land. Bij meerdere onderscheidingen van één land dient de daar gebruikelijke draagvolgorde te worden aangehouden.
1.Dit besluit treedt in werking met ingang van heden.
2.Dit besluit zal worden geplaatst in de Staatscourant.
Aldus vastgesteld te Den Haag, 10 oktober 2017
De Kanselier der Nederlandse Orden,H.Morsink
Het Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen is laatstelijk gewijzigd op 25 juli 2013 vanwege het opnemen van enkele onderscheidingen. Het thans voorliggende besluit dient aan een breed publiek inzichtelijk te maken welke gedachte aan de draagvolgorde ten grondslag ligt. Het besluit kent daarom de volgende wijzigingen:
aanpassing volgorde onderscheidingen in categorie C. Overige staatsonderscheidingen,
aanpassing volgorde onderscheidingen in categorie F. Onderscheidingen van Nederlandse particuliere organisaties,
aanpassing volgorde internationale organisaties in categorie G. Onderscheidingen van internationale organisaties,
toevoegen nieuw ingestelde onderscheidingen,
afvoeren onderscheidingen voor eenmalige gebeurtenissen die niet meer kunnen worden toegekend en waarvan de laatste toekenning meer dan honderd jaar geleden heeft plaats gevonden,
aanpassing nieuwe naam Herinneringsmedaille Vredesoperaties,
Aanpassing volgorde onderscheidingen in categorie C. Overige staatsonderscheidingen
Deze wijziging in de indeling van categorie C (‘Overige staatsonderscheidingen’) beoogt de indeling inzichtelijker te maken, mede met het oog op het rangschikken van eventueel in de toekomst toe te voegen onderscheidingen. Daartoe worden vijf subcategorieën gecreëerd:
C1 Onderscheidingen voor dapperheid,
C2 Onderscheidingen voor verdiensten,
C3 Onderscheidingen voor militaire operaties,
C4 Onderscheidingen voor trouwe dienst,
C5 Herinnerings- en vaardigheidsonderscheidingen.
Binnen de subcategorieën worden de onderscheidingen ingedeeld op basis van de datum waarop de onderscheiding bij Koninklijk Besluit, Algemene Maatregel van Bestuur of ministeriële regeling is ingesteld.
Er is om praktische redenen gekozen om in de subcategorie ‘C5 Herinnerings- en vaardigheidsonderscheidingen’ de herinneringsonderscheidingen te laten prevaleren boven de vaardigheidsonderscheidingen binnen deze categorie teneinde volgorde in het huidige besluit zoveel als mogelijk in stand te houden. De onderscheidingen voor operationele inzet van de Nederlandse krijgmacht (Marinemedaille, Landmachtmedaille, Marechausseemedaille en Luchtmachtmedaille) zullen gelet op de aard van de onderscheiding en de uitvoerbaarheid gehandhaafd blijven in de categorie ‘C5. Herinnerings- en vaardigheidsonderscheidingen’.
Door deze categorisering hebben enkele onderscheidingen een andere positie gekregen in de draagvolgorde. Gelet op de instellingsdatum van de Erepenning voor Verdiensten jegens Openbare Verzamelingen (1817) en de De Ruytermedaille (1907) zijn deze onderscheidingen van plaats gewisseld.
Aanpassing volgorde onderscheidingen in categorie F. Onderscheidingen van Nederlandse particuliere organisaties
Ook de onderscheidingen die worden toegekend door particuliere organisaties zijn opnieuw gerangschikt conform de categorie C. Overige staatsonderscheidingen:
F1 Onderscheidingen voor dapperheid,
F2 Onderscheidingen voor verdiensten,
F3 Onderscheidingen voor bijzondere inzet,
F4 Onderscheidingen voor trouwe dienst,
F5 Herinnerings- en vaardigheidsonderscheidingen.
Binnen de subcategorieën worden de onderscheidingen ingedeeld op basis van de datum waarop de onderscheiding bij Koninklijk Besluit van staatswege is erkend.
Aanpassing volgorde organisaties in categorie G. Onderscheidingen van internationale organisaties
Gelet op de veelvuldige bijdragen van de Nederlandse krijgsmacht en andere organisaties aan vredesoperaties en wederopbouw in internationaal verband is het nodig om deze categorie nader in te vullen om de indeling inzichtelijker te maken. Er is gekozen voor de onderstaande indeling op basis van de oprichtingsdatum van de organisaties of, in het geval van multinationale verbanden, naar de instellingsdatum van de afzonderlijke onderscheiding. Daaruit is deze volgorde af te leiden:
Onderscheidingen van de Verenigde Naties (VN),
Onderscheidingen van de Noord-Atlantische Verdragsorganisatie (NAVO),
Onderscheidingen van de West-Europese Unie (WEU),
Onderscheidingen van de Multinationals Force & Observers (MFO),
Onderscheidingen van de Europese Gemeenschap (EG),
Onderscheidingen van de Europese Unie (EU),
Baltic Air Policing Medal (BAP).
Bij meerdere onderscheidingen van dezelfde organisatie geldt de binnen de organisatie geldende volgorde. Indien deze niet formeel is vastgelegd dienen onderscheidingen te worden gerangschikt, eerst op basis van aard (onderscheiding voor verdiensten of herinneringsonderscheiding) en daar binnen op basis van de instellingsdatum van de onderscheidingen.
Om verwarring te voorkomen zijn onderscheidingen van afzonderlijke militaire missies en bijzondere inzetten onder auspiciën van internationale organisaties niet afzonderlijk vermeld.
Toevoegen en afvoeren nieuwe of erkende onderscheidingen
In de draagvolgorde worden de volgende nieuw ingestelde onderscheidingen toegevoegd:
‘Eremedaille voor verdienste politie’ in goud in categorie ‘C2. Onderscheidingen voor verdiensten’. Op basis van de instellingsdatum is de onderscheiding ingevoegd na het Ereteken voor Verdienste (Defensie),
‘Herinneringsmedaille bezoek in 2013 aan het Caribisch deel van het Koninkrijk’, welke is geplaatst in de categorie ‘C5. Overige herinnerings- en vaardigheidsonderscheidingen’ en op basis van de aard van de onderscheiding ingevoegd na de Inhuldigingsmedaille 2013 en voor de Herinneringsmedaille Buitenlandse Bezoeken,
Het Ereteken voor Verdienste van het Ministerie van Defensie in brons als aanvulling op de reeds bestaande varianten in goud en in zilver.
Uit de draagvolgorde worden de volgende onderscheidingen verwijderd omdat de onderscheiding is ingesteld voor een eenmalige gebeurtenis welke niet langer kan worden toegekend en waarvan de laatste toekenning meer dan honderd jaar geleden heeft plaats gevonden:
Herinneringspenning van de Tweede Haagse Vredesconferentie in 1907.
Tevens zijn de volgende historische onderscheidingen opnieuw opgenomen:
Onderscheidingsteken ter erkenning van uitstekende daden bij watersnood verricht (Watersnoodmedaille),
Ereteken Meester-Kanonnier voor Schepelingen van de Koninklijke Marine.
De naam van de Herinneringsmedaille Vredesoperaties is op grond van het besluit van 2 juni 2016, houdende wijziging van het Besluit Herinneringsmedaille Vredesoperaties, gewijzigd in Herinneringsmedaille Internationale Missies (HIM). De reden was dat de term ‘vredesoperaties’ geen recht deed aan de missies waarin men zich in feite in oorlogsgebied bevindt en in het hoogste geweldsspectrum wordt opgetreden.
Draagvolgorde buitenlandse onderscheidingen
Vanwege een misdruk in de vorige vaststelling van de draagvolgorde is er een misverstand ontstaan over de wijze waarop buitenlandse onderscheidingen dienen te worden gedragen.
De regel is dat buitenlandse onderscheidingen moeten worden gedragen naar de aard van de onderscheiding, d.w.z. eerst de ridderorden gerangschikt aan de hand van de graad en daarna de overige onderscheidingen. Indien een persoon gerechtigd is tot het dragen van twee onderscheidingen van gelijke graad van verschillende landen, dan worden deze gerangschikt op de alfabetische volgorde van de Franstalige benamingen van de landen. Indien de gedecoreerde gerechtigd is tot het dragen van twee onderscheidingen van hetzelfde land, dient hij deze naast elkaar te dragen, ook indien de daaropvolgende onderscheiding van een ander land hoger is in gradatie.
Samenvattend, de draagvolgorde van buitenlandse onderscheidingen wordt eerst bepaald aan de hand van de graad en bij gelijke graad per land op Franse alfabetische volgorde. Heeft een gedecoreerde meerdere onderscheidingen van hetzelfde land, dan moeten deze aansluitend worden gedragen, ongeacht de hoogte van de graad van andere landen.
Graden erkende (ridderlijke) orden
In tegenstelling tot de ridder- en huisorden bevatte categorie D geen nadere vermelding van de bij de in deze categorie opgenomen orden. De afzonderlijke graden zijn alsnog toegevoegd.
Er is om praktische redenen voor gekozen om geen officiële verkorte draagvolgorde vast te leggen. Op basis van het nieuwe besluit kan er in de brochure Draagwijzer (Kanselarij) en het Handboek Onderscheidingen (Defensie) een nader in te vullen verkorte volgorde worden opgenomen.
After the death of King John VI of Portugal in 1826, the Braganzas were divided into three main family-branches: (1) the Brazilian branch, with its chief King John VI’s eldest son, Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, (2) the Constitutional branch, with its chief Emperor Pedro I’s eldest daughter, Queen Maria II of Portugal, and (3) the Miguelist branch, with its chief King John VI’s second eldest son and seventh child, King Miguel I of Portugal. The Brazilian branch became the House of Orléans-Braganza. This branch is divided by the Vassouras branch, led by Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza, and the Petrópolis branch, led by Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza. The Constitutional branch of Maria II became extinct with the death of King Manuel II (who’s reign ended with the dissolution of the monarchy in revolution on 5 October 1910) in 1932.
It is generally accepted that the claim to the Portuguese Crown, and therefore to the chieftainship of the House of Braganza, passed to Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza. Another well-known pretender is Pedro, Duke of Loulé. In this article I will show that the Duke of Loulé has an equally serious claim to the defunct throne of Portugal – both from a historical as a legal perspective – as the Duke of Braganza. Apart from the Portuguese parliament, there is currently no authority to decide who’s claim is the most credible. I think it is interesting to see how the two main claims are derived and which facts are relevant to decide which claim is preferred. My conclusion is that this is a matter of opinion, because both claims are quite transparent and none of the two claims can be dismissed on grounds that cannot be challenged.
The genealogical relations among the heirs to the throne of Portugal since the late 18th century are shown below:
I. King John VI (1767–1826), King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves from 1816 to 1825. Children:
Emperor Pedro I (fourth child), follow IIa.
King Miguel I (seventh child) , follow IIb.
Queen Maria (ninth child), follow IIc.
IIa. King Pedro I (1798–1834), nicknamed “the Liberator”, was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil, as King Dom Pedro IV between 1822-1831, he reigned briefly over Portugal in 1826. Daughter:
IIIa. Queen Maria II (1819–1853), reigned as Queen of Portugal from 1826 to 1828, and again from 1834 to 1853. Maria II’s throne was usurped by Dom Miguel (see below, IIb), Pedro I’s younger brother. Sons:
IVa.1 King Pedro V (1837–1861), nicknamed “the Hopeful” (Portuguese: o Esperançoso), was King of Portugal from 1853 to 1861.
IVa.2 King Luís I (1838–1889), King of Portugal from 1861 to 1889. Son of Luís I:
Va. King Carlos I (1863–1908), known as “the Diplomat” (also known as “the Martyr”; Portuguese: o Diplomata and Portuguese: o Martirizado), King of Portugal 1889-1908 (murdered). Son:
VIa. King Manuel II (1889–1932), “the Patriot” (Portuguese: “o Patriota”) or “the Unfortunate” (Portuguese: “o Desventurado”), was the last King of Portugal, ascending the throne after the assassination of his father, King Carlos I, and his elder brother, Luís Filipe, the Prince Royal. Before ascending the throne he held the title of Duke of Beja. His reign ended with the dissolution of the monarchy in the 5 October 1910 revolution. Manuel lived the rest of his life in exile in Twickenham, South London.
IIb. Miguel I (1802 – 1866), “the Absolutist” (Portuguese: “o Absolutista”) or “the Traditionalist” (Portuguese: “o Tradicionalista”), usurper of the Portuguese throne, regent of Portugal from February 1828 and self-proclaimed king from July 1828 to 1834, though his royal title was not recognized everywhere.
Miguel went with the rest of the royal family to Brazil in 1807, escaping from Napoleon’s armies, but returned with them in 1821 to Portugal. He was then—and remained—much under the influence of his Spanish mother, Queen Carlota Joaquina. On his return, King John VI accepted the liberal constitution of 1821, but Queen Carlota refused to take the oath. When in 1823 the French overthrew the radical regime in Spain, Miguel led a military rebellion that dissolved the discredited Cortes in Portugal. His father promised an amended constitution but appointed liberal ministers, and on April 30, 1824, Miguel again led a military rebellion. When it faltered, his father reluctantly exiled him to Vienna (June 1824). When John VI died (March 10, 1826), his elder son, Pedro I, emperor of Brazil, became Pedro IV of Portugal but constitutionally abdicated in favour of his daughter Maria, then seven years of age. She was to marry Miguel, who was to accept Pedro’s constitutional Charter. Miguel swore to accept the Charter, returned to Portugal, and assumed the regency (Feb. 22, 1828); however, he promptly fell under his mother’s influence, settled old scores, and had himself proclaimed king (July 7, 1828). He was so recognized by the Holy See, Spain, the United States, and Russia but not by the liberal monarchies. In 1830 the Duke of Wellington’s government in Britain was about to recognize him, but it fell. In 1831 Peter abdicated in Brazil, returned to Europe, and initiated a civil war. Michael lost Porto, but the struggle was protracted; he was finally forced by foreign intervention to leave Lisbon and surrendered at Évora-Monte on May 26, 1834 (source: Encyclopaedia Britannica).
In December 1834 the Portuguese Cortes banished Miguel and all his descendants from Portugal upon pain of immediate death. Article 98 of the Constitution of 1838 excluded the collateral Miguelist line from the throne. The 1834 ban remained in effect until revoked in May 1950. Son:
IIIb. Miguel Januário de Bragança (1853 – 1927), Miguelist claimant to the throne of Portugal from 1866 to 1920. He used the title Duke of Braganza. Son:
IVb. Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza (1907 – 1976). In 1952, when the Portuguese Laws of Banishment were revoked, Dom Duarte Nuno moved his family to Portugal, where he spent the rest of his life attempting, without success, to restore the Brigantine assets to his family and reestablish the image of the Miguelist Braganzas in Portuguese society. Dom Duarte Nuno’s overall aim was to restore the Portuguese monarchy under the Braganzas. Son:
Vb. Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza (1945 -), claimant to the defunct Portuguese throne, President of the King Manuel II Foundation, married Dona Isabel Inês de Castro Curvello de Herédia.
IIc. Infanta Ana de Jesus Maria of Braganza (1806 – 1857), married Royal Ajuda Palace, 5 December 1827 Dom Nuno José Severo de Mendonça Rolim de Moura Barreto (1804-1875), then Marquis of Loulé and Count de Vale de Reis. As leader of the Historic Party, he was three times appointed President of the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister (1856 – 1859; 1860 – 1865 and 1869 – 1870). Dom Nuno was created 1st Duke of Loulé by Luís I of Portugal in 1862. He was awarded the Grand Cordon in the Order of Leopold (1857) and was Member of the Military Order of Christ and of the Order of the Tower and Sword. Son:
IIIc. Pedro José Agostinho de Mendoça Rolim de Moura Barreto, 2nd Duke of Loulé, 10th Count of Vale de Reis (1830–1909), married Constança Maria de Figueiredo Cabral da Câmara. Daughter:
IVc. Ana de Jesus Maria de Mendoça (1854 – 1922), married João Maria dos Enfermos da Câmara Berquó (1859 – 1934). Daughter:
Vc. Constança Maria da Conceição Berquó de Mendoça (1889 – 1967), condessa de Vale de Reis (11th, 29 May 1932), married Dom Pedro José de Basto Feyo Folque (1888 – 1969), succeeded to the dukedom of Loulé on 20 April 1947. Son:
VIc. Alberto Nuno Carlos Rita Folque de Mendoça Rolim de Moura Barreto (1923 – 2003), 5th Duke of Loulé married Dona Maria Augusta Amelia de Moraes Cardoso de Menezes. Son:
VIIc. Pedro José Folque de Mendoça Rolim de Moura Barreto, 6th Duke of Loulé (1958 -), claimant to the defunct Portuguese throne, entrepreneur, married Margarida Vaz Pinto and lives in Portugal.
Note: The Government of the Order of Saint Sebastian, called the Arrow is entrusted to the Dom Filipe, Count of Rio Grande, brother of VIIc. This Order was revived in January 1994, by Dom Filipe, with express authorization of his father, Dom Alberto, Duke of Loulé (VIc.).
The Duke of Braganza and the Duke of Loulé share a common ancestor: King John VI of Portugal. Both dukes claim the headship of the defunct throne of Portugal. When validating these claims, it should be taken into account that the direct ancestor of Dom Duarte Pio, Miguel I, usurped Maria II’s throne and that the legitimate Portuguese government banished Miguel I and all his descendants (like Dom Duarte Pio) from Portugal, as well as excluded the collateral Miguelist line from the throne. These facts do not contribute to the legitimacy of the claim of the Duke de Braganza.
However, a formal statement by the Portuguese government in 2006 (see below, sources), makes it clear that the Duke of Braganza is seen as the legitimate claimant to the defunct Portuguese throne. The Duke of Braganza even has the right to grant titles and to name new members of the royal dynastic orders of chivalry, although titles granted after 1905 are not recognized by the Republic. The Duke and Duchess of Braganza are entitled to use their royal title and style in Portugal based on the law that permits those who had a noble status prior to 1905 to use their styles and titles in Portugal. Only the Duke and Duchess of Braganza and their eldest son, the Duke of Beira, have the right to use the style of HRH. Very interesting and an act of social recognition is the fact that the document states that it has long been the custom of the Portuguese Republic to invite the head of the House of Braganza to participate in solemn ceremonies and to represent the country abroad as a living symbol of Portuguese history.
The Duke of Loulé descends from King John VI in the female line and from a younger child than the Duke of Braganza. I think these facts might not entirely fit into the traditional lines of succession, but they do not hinder a legitimate claim regarding the defunct throne of Portugal, especially taking into account that the line of succession in the past already included females. The mentioned statement by the Portuguese government does not exclude or dismiss the Duke of Loulé’s claims. The statement only concerns the legitimacy of the claim of mr. Rosario Poidimani, an Italian businessman.
Articles 87 and 88 of the Constitutional Charter of 1826 stated that the throne passed first to the descendants of Queen Maria II, and stipulated that only in the case this line was extinct, the throne succeeded to her collateral heirs. Article 89 of the same Charter stipulated that “no foreigner may succeed to the crown of the kingdom of Portugal”. Maria II had living descendants in 1932, but none of these had the Portuguese nationality. These facts and circumstances make the matter even more complex. The so-called Dover and Paris Pacts (two supposed agreements regarding the line of succession between the Miguelist and the Braganza-Saxe-Coburg branches of Portugal’s royal family in exile) cannot be seen as authoritative in this matter. The existence of both Pacts is a subject of debate (to say the least), since no signed versions have ever been published and Princess Aldegundes de Bragança later announced that the parties had not reached an agreement and that the whole story was just a propaganda stunt with the intention to validate the unsuccessful Miguelist claims. Between 1920 and 1928, Adelgundes acted as the regent-in-absentia on behalf of her nephew and Miguelist claimant to the Portuguese throne, Duarte Nuno (IVb), who was twelve years old when his father Miguel (IIIb) renounced his claim to the throne in favour of his son. These circumstances only contribute to the idea that the last King of Portugal did not want the Miguelist line to succeed him.
Preference for one of the two claims remains either a matter of opinion or a political choice, since there are no absolute legal criteria from which a judgment can be derived. My personal opinion is that both claims are transparent and are based on a reasonably arguable position, but in the end it is for the Portuguese people to decide who has the best claim. Since only about 25% of the Portuguese population wants to return to a monarchy, it is unlikely that the matter will ever be resolved. This is odd because a monarch would create political stability in the country, similar to, for example, The Netherlands. Due to its constant, senseless political quarrels, Portugal saw its credit rating downgraded to junk status. I am certain that this would not have happened when Portugal were a monarchy. In the times of the monarchy, Portugal was an economic super power. Its current status is far from that.
On a German website, focussing on selling titles of nobility, it is stated that German nobility can be obtained by adoption:
Members of Germany’s historical nobility up to the Royal Rank offer the rare opportunity to acquire a genuine title of nobility. If you were not born into the noble class, you can acquire a highly prestigious German nobility title by adoption, marriage or, for your firm or product, licensing by a legal title-holder.
In this article, I will answer the question to what extend this statement is correct.
Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution, inter alia, abolished all privileges based on birth or status and provided that marks of nobility were to be valid only as part of a surname. Pursuant to Article 123(1) of the present Constitutional Law, that provision remains applicable today. It is common ground that under German law a surname which includes a title of nobility continues to vary according to the sex of the bearer if that was the case for the former title of nobility.
Any head of a dynasty who did not reign prior to 1918 but had held a specific title as heir to one of Germany’s former thrones (such as, Erbprinz (“hereditary prince”)). In a similar way the heirs to a title of nobility inherited via primogeniture, and their wives—were permitted to incorporate those titles into elements of the personal surname. These specific titles were not heritable (1). With the death of the last person styled “Kronprinz” (=crown prince) before 1918, the title Kronprinz ceased to exist as a part of German surnames. Traditional titles exclusively used for unmarried noblewomen by birth, such as Freiin, were also transformed into parts of the legal surname. The could be changed after marriage or upon request (2). All other former titles and designations of Nobility are currently inherited as part of the surname, and protected by German family law as such.
Sections 1297 to 1921 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) (BGB) contain rules regarding family law. The competent court of first instance is the District Court (Amtsgericht) (section 23a, Law on the System of Judicature) (GVG). Court hearings are generally held in private (section 170, GVG). Remedies in family cases go to the regional Courts of Appeal (Oberlandesgericht) (section 119 I a and b, GVG).
Adoption of children is possible if it serves the best interests of the child and it is anticipated that a parent-child relationship will arise between the adoptive parent and the child (section 1741 I, BGB). With adoption, the child becomes the legal child of the adoptive parents/person/couple who receives parental custody by law. The legal relationship to the previous parents, to former siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents or cousins ends. In addition, the child receives the surname of the adoptive family.
Austrian Law (3)
In 1919 the Law on the abolition of the nobility, (Gesetz vom 3. April 1919 über die Aufhebung des Adels, der weltlichen Ritter- und Damenorden und gewisser Titel und Würden (Adelsaufhebungsgesetz), which has constitutional status in accordance with Article 149(1) of the Federal Constitutional Law (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz) abolished the nobility, secular orders of knighthood and certain other titles and dignities, and prohibited the bearing of the corresponding styles. Under Paragraph 1 of the implementing provisions adopted by the competent ministers (Vollzugsanweisung des Staatsamtes für Inneres und Unterricht und des Staatsamtes für Justiz, im Einvernehmen mit den beteiligten Staatsämtern vom 18. April 1919, über die Aufhebung des Adels und gewisser Titel und Würden), the abolition applies to all Austrian citizens, regardless of where the relevant privileges were acquired. Paragraph 2 indicates that the prohibition covers, inter alia, the right to bear the particle ‘von’ as part of the name and the right to bear any title of noble rank, such as ‘Ritter’ (knight), ‘Freiherr’ (baron), ‘Graf’ (count), ‘Fürst’ (prince), ‘Herzog’ (duke) or other corresponding indications of status, whether Austrian or foreign. Under Paragraph 5, various penalties may be imposed for contravening the prohibition.
This prohibition has been applied by the courts with certain adjustments where those bearing a German surname including a former German mark of nobility were concerned. Where a German citizen bore such a surname and acquired Austrian nationality, that name could not be reinterpreted as including a title of nobility and could not be changed. Moreover, an Austrian woman acquiring such a name by virtue of marriage to a German citizen was entitled to bear the name in its entirety; however, she must bear exactly the same surname as her husband, and not a feminine form of the name.
Under Paragraph 9(1) of the Federal Law on international private law (Bundesgesetz vom 15. Juni 1978 über das internationale Privatrecht (IPR-Gesetz), the personal status of natural persons is determined by the law of their nationality. Under Paragraph 13(1), the name which they bear is regulated by their personal status, regardless of the basis on which the name was acquired. Paragraph 26 provides that conditions governing adoption are regulated by the personal status of each adopting party and of the child, while its ‘effects’ are regulated, when there is a single adopting party, by the personal status of that party.
The ‘effects’ thus regulated extend only to those in family law and not to the determination of the adopted child’s name (which remains governed by Paragraph 13(1)). According to a report drawn up by the International Commission on Civil Status (ICCS) in March 2000 (‘Loi applicable à la détermination du nom’) at which time Austria was a member of that organisation, in response to the question ‘What is the law applicable to the determination of the name of an adopted child?’, Austria stated: ‘The (change of) name of an adopted child is one of the effects of the adoption and is determined according to the national law of the adopting party or parties. When the adopting parties are spouses of different nationality, their common national law, failing which their previous common national law if it is still the national law of either spouse, applies. Formerly, the applicable law was that of the habitual residence‘.
Under Paragraph 183(1), read in conjunction with Paragraph 182(2), of the Austrian Civil Code (Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) a child adopted by a single person takes that person’s surname if the legal ties with the parent of the other sex have been dissolved.
Until a court case in 2018 decided otherwise, the noble prefix “von” was tolerated in Austria when having the meaning of originating from a certain geographical location (thus not designating a noble title). The non-noble designation “van” is still tolerated.
Court cases (4)
Ms Ilonka Sayn-Wittgenstein, an Austrian citizen resident in Germany, following her adoption, in 1991, by Mr Lothar Fürst von Sayn-Wittgenstein, a German citizen, acquired the surname of the latter as her name at birth, with his title of nobility, in the form “Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein” (“Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein”). The Austrian authorities proceeded to enter this new name in the Austrian register of civil status. They also renewed and issued a passport and certificates of nationality in the name of Ilonka Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein.
In 2003, the Austrian Constitutional Court held, in a similar case, that the 1919 Law on the abolition of the nobility – which is of constitutional status and implements the principle of equal treatment – precluded an Austrian citizen from acquiring a surname which includes a title of nobility by means of adoption by a German national who is permitted to bear that title as a constituent element of his name. Prompted by that judgment, considering that the birth certificate issued to Ms Ilonka Fürstin von Sayn-Wittgenstein following adoption was incorrect, the civil registrar of Vienna corrected the entry of the surname in the register of civil status to “Sayn-Wittgenstein”. The correction was based on Paragraph 15(1) of the Law on civil status, that requires a registration to be rectified if it was incorrect at the time the entry was made.
Mrs. Sayn-Wittgenstein challenged this decision before the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court, arguing that the non-recognition of the effects of her adoption on her name constituted an obstacle to her right to freedom of movement – since this forces her to use different names in two Member States – and interference with her right to respect for family life – on account of the amendment of her name which she had nevertheless used continuously for 15 years.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) considered that the justification relied upon by the Austrian Government, i.e. the application of the 1919 Law on the abolition of the nobility and more generally the constitutional principle of equality of all Austrian citizens, should be interpreted as reliance on public policy. After having recalled the margin of discretion of the Austrian authorities and the fact that the Union respects the national identities of its Member States, it considers that it is not disproportionate for a Member State to seek to attain the objective of protecting the principle of equal treatment by prohibiting any acquisition, possession or use, by its nationals, of titles of nobility or noble elements which may create the impression that the bearer of the name is holder of such a rank.
Consequently, the ECJ replies that the refusal by the authorities of a Member State to recognise all the elements of the surname of one of its nationals, as determined in another Member State at the time of his or her adoption as an adult by a national of the latter, where that surname includes a title of nobility which is not permitted in the first Member State under its constitutional law, does not unjustifiably undermine the freedom to move and reside enjoyed by citizens of the Union.
Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff
Mr. Nabiel Peter Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff changed his name while living in the United Kingdom to Peter Mark Emanuel Graf von Wolffersdorff Freiherr von Bogendorff. He has dual German-UK citizenship. Mr Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff lived in the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2005. He changed his name under United Kingdom rules and became a citizen of both countries. On his return to Germany, Mr. Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff requested the registry office of the city of Karlsruhe to register his new name, which would allow him to update his German identity papers. The Karlsruhe registry refused.
Mr Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff stated that this has created problems with identity documents, including getting German officials to recognise his passport. He also has trouble convincing people that his young daughter is related to him. Her (United Kingdom) name is Larissa Xenia Graefin von Wolffersdorff Freiin von Bogendorff. Mr Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff took his case to a district court in the town of Karlsruhe, which asked the ECJ for advice.
On 2 June 2016 the ECJ decided that Germany was not bound to recognise the name Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff when he also holds the nationality of another Member State in which he has acquired that name which he has chosen freely and which contains a number of tokens of nobility, which are not accepted by the law of the first Member State, provided that it is established, which it is for the referring court to ascertain, that a refusal of recognition is, in that context, justified on public policy grounds, in that it is appropriate and necessary to ensure compliance with the principle that all citizens of that Member State are equal before the law.
Case study: Schaumburg-Lippe
Schaumburg-Lippe was a county in Germany until 1807 when it became a principality. From 1871 until 1918 it was a state within the German Empire. The current heir apparent of the House of Schaumburg-Lippe (according to the traditional rules that were applied before 1919) is Ernst-August Alexander Wilhelm Bernhard Krafft Heinrich Donatus Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (1994), the son of Ernst August Alexander Christian Viktor Hubert Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (1958), head of the dynasty.
The House of Schaumburg-Lippe is an interesting subject to study in this respect because of the adult adoption by Prince Waldemar of Schaumburg-Lippe, a socialite. Officially Prince Waldemar is called Waldemar Stephan Ferdinand Wolrad Friedrich Karl Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (born 19 December 1940 in Glienicke, Germany). He is a son of Christian Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe and Prinzessin Feodora of Denmark, and the great-grandson of King Frederick VIII of Denmark. Prince Waldemar’s fourth marriage was with Gertraud-Antonia Wagner-Schöppl, a politician, on 20 September 2008 in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna. He adopted the adult son of his wife: Mag. iur. Dr. iur, Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe, MAS, LLM, a well-known actor and journalist.
Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe was born on 23 December 1977 as Mario-Max Wagner, in Salzburg, Austria. His father was Dr. Helmut Wagner, MD. Mario-Max Wagner was adopted in Austria in 2001 by Helga Claire Lee Roderbourg (1911-2005), widow of Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (nephew of the mentioned Prince Waldemar) and daughter of the German industrialist Dr. Carl Roderbourg. In the process, he changed his surname from Wagner to Schaumburg-Lippe. At the occasion of the mentioned marriage of his mother, Gertraud-Antonia Schöppl to Prince Waldemar in 2008, Mario-Max was adopted again, this time by Prince Waldemar. Due to his (German) adoption by Prince Waldemar he obtained the surname Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe and the German nationality. Mario-Max legally changed his given names to Mario-Max Prince Antonius Adolf Albert Eduard Oliver Gertraud Edith Helga Magdalena.
Under German law adults can be adopted (§ 1770 BGB), but the German law considers this to be a so called “weak adoption”, which means that the relationship is limited between the adopting parents and the adoptee (thereby excluding other familial ties of the adopting parents). This also implies that in general the German citizenship is not passed on to the adult adoptee. According to § 1772 BGB, however, adults can also be adopted according to the rules of the adoption of a minor (full adoption) with the same legal effects. This way, the family name is also inherited. According to his birth certificate, shown on his personal internet page, this type of adoption has taken place in the case of Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe.
I disagree with the negative attitude towards adoptees who have been adopted (being adult or minor) by members of the German nobility when the intensions of such an adoption are genuine. I am convinced that this is the case in the Schaumburg-Lippe situation. During the legal proceedings, this is also tested by the judge who decides whether or not the adoption should be ratified. I therefore do not have any problem with the change of name from Wagner to Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe.
Whether an adopted childcan legally be treated as descendentdependsuponthelaw in theparticularjurisdiction. In America e.g., the States have different rules and statutes. Some allow a person to inherit from both his/her biological parents and the adoptive parents, while others preclude an adoptee from inheriting from his/her biological parents and allow them only to inherit from his/her adoptive parents. Under Florida law e.g., adopted children are considered descendants for the purposes of Probate. Applying these remarks to the Schaumburg-Lippe case, it would be incorrect for Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (who often resides in America) to e.g. designate Feodora of Denmark as his grandmother or to state that he descends from King Frederik VIII of Denmark, since in everyday language, as well in a legal context, a descendent is a blood relative in the direct line of descent (Black’s Law Dictionary):
One who Is descended from another; a person who proceeds from the body of another, such as a child, grandchild, etc., to the remotest degree. The terms the opposite of “ascendant,” (?. v.). Descendants is a good term of description in a will, and includes all who proceed from the body of the person named; as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Amb. 397; 2 Hil. Real. Prop. 242.
In the context of family law, an adoptee can be treated in the same way as a descendent, but this is a legal construct and therefore not identical to actually being a descendent. Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe is an heir to his adoptive father, but not a descendent. There is no biological relation between the adoptee and the dynasty of Schaumburg-Lippe and the genealogical chart that is presented on the website of Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe is misleading. This observation is without prejudice to Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe’s achievements in life.
Genealogical chart showing that Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe is a descendent of King Frederik VIII.of Denmark. This impression is false. The addition “of Germany” is misleading, since Mario-Max nor the House Schaumburg-Lippe have been rulers over Germany. “from Germany” would be the correct description. Source: https://schaumburglippe.org
Traditionally (especially before 1918), adult adoption has been used as a way to save a noble family from extinction.
Als auch nach 1945 die DAG und mit ihr die Nachfolgeorganisation der APA zu existieren aufhörte, bildete sich nach wenigen Jahren im Jahre 1949 – noch vor der Gründung der Vereinigung der Deut- schen Adelsverbände (VdDA) – der Ausschuss für adelsrechtliche Fragen. Initiator war Hans Friedrich v. Ehrenkrook, der bereits seit 1925 zusammen mit früheren Mitgliedern des aufgelösten Heroldsamtes dem APA angehört hatte und der bis zu seinem Tode 1968 stellvertretender Präsident des ARA war. Er war somit Garant für die erstaunlich kontinuierliche Arbeit in adelsrechtlichen Fragen in einem langen Zeitraum, seit der Auflösung des Heroldsamts bis in die jüngste Vergangenheit, in einer Zeit, die durch ständige Veränderungen geprägt war. Der Ausschuss, der seit 1977 nicht mehr “Ausschuss für adels- rechtliche Fragen der deutschen Adelsverbände” sondern “Deutscher Adelsrechtsausschuß” heißt, wur- de und wird gebildet von Vertretern der einzelnen Deutschen Adelsverbände bzw. historischer deut- scher Landschaften, für die kein Adelsverband besteht.
Für alle diese Fälle, in denen der Adelsname nach dem staatlichen bürgerlichen Recht zurecht geführt wird, ohne indessen eine Zugehörigkeit zum historischen Adel zu begründen, hält sich der ARA als Rechtsnachfolger seiner Vorgänger, der von 1918 bis 1945 bestehenden Spruchorganisationen des deutschen Adels, für befugt, in besonderen Fällen die Führung eines Adelszeichens, die nach früherem Adelsrecht unzulässig gewesen wäre, adelsrechtlich nicht zu beanstanden mit der Folge, dass der Betroffene als zum Adel gehörend angesehen wird, in das Genealogische Handbuch des Adels aufgenommen und Mitglied eines Adelsverbandes werden kann. Hierbei handelt es sich aber um seltene Ausnahmen bei Vorliegen besonderer Umstände. Denn es kann nicht Aufgabe des ARA sein, Neuadel zu schaffen. Es muß sich um Fälle handeln, in denen angenommen werden kann, dass der Monarch früher eine Nobilitierung vorgenommen hätte.
Seit 1949 hat die II. Kammer (bis incl. 2016) 105 Entscheidungen getroffen, davon 49 positiv und 56 negativ. Die Probanden, deren Namensführung adelsrechtlich nichtbeanstandet worden sind, begründen adelsrechtlich eine neue adelige Familie, die im GHdA einen eigenen Artikel erhält.
Without the mentioned consent, adult adoption by a German noble person of a non-noble adoptee as such does not create German nobility in a historical sense. Therefore, these adoptees are not listed in e.g. the Genealogisches Handbuch desAdels that contains the genealogies of these families. The position of Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe could change when he would obtain a consent from the head of one of the former reigning German dynasties.
(1) Several heirs filed suits against this regulation. On 11 March 1966 the supreme Federal Administrative Court of Germany ruled, based on Art. 109 of the Weimar Constitution and an earlier decision of the Reichsgericht, that German law on names does not recognise hereditary surname variants for heads of families distinct from the legal surname borne by other family members. (cf., N.N. Primogenitur – Nur eine Silbe (“primogeniture – only a syllable”), in: Der Spiegel, No. 15 (1966), p. 61.
(2) Das Bürgerliche Gesetzbuch mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Rechtsprechung des Reichsgerichts und des Bundesgerichtshofes; Kommentare (=Großkommentare der Praxis (in German); “Civil Law Code with Special Attention to Jurisdiction of the Reichsgericht and the Bundesgerichtshof: Commentaries”), edited by members of the Bundesgerichthof, vol. 1: §§ 1–240, compiled by Kurt Herbert Johannsen, 12th, newly revised edition, Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 1982, § 12 (p. 54). ISBN 3-11-008973-4.
(3) According to the Advocate General Sharpston, delivered on 14 October 2010, in case C‑208/09 (Ilonka Sayn-Wittgenstein) of the European Courts of Human Rights.
(4) ECJ, Case C-208/09 Ilonka Sayn-Wittgenstein vs. Landeshauptmann von Wien, judgment of 22 December 2010, summery of the judgment, provided by the court.
Officially called the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, the Constantinian Order is an order of knighthood whose origins traditionally date back to Emperor Constantine. According to a legend, he founded the Order following the miraculous appearance of the Cross at Saxa Rubra. Although no evidence exists that meets modern standards, the Constantinian Order is widely considered one of the most ancient among the orders of knighthood. The main purpose of the Constantinian Order is the propagation of the Christian faith and the glorification of the Holy Cross.
The earliest acknowledged document relating to the Order is the Statute of the Byzantine Emperor Isaac IV Angelo Flavio Comneno that dates back to 1190. The Grand Mastership descended from father to son in the Comneno family until the last of his line who, having remained without heirs and yet wishing to continue the tradition of the Order, ceded his rights to Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma. This transfer was confirmed by Pope Innocent XII who issued the Bull “Sincerae Fidae” on 24 October 1697.
Later, Pope Clement XI, who had been Cardinal Protector of the Order, placed it under the protection of the Holy See in the Bull “Militantis Ecclesiae” on 27 May 1718, granting abbatial privileges to the Grand Prior. Antonio Farnese, last Duke of Parma transferred the Grand Magistry of the Order to Charles of Bourbon, the son of his niece Elisabetta Farnese and Philip V of Spain. When Charles became King of Naples and Sicily, he established there the seat of the Order and later, transferred his rights to his son Ferdinand IV after his succession to the Spanish Throne. Ferdinand was succeeded by Francis I (1825-1830), Ferdinand II (1830-1859), and Francis II (1859-1894), the last King of the united Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The unification of Italy deprived the Constantinian Order of its territorial possessions but the Royal House maintains the Grand Magistry since the Order is a dynastic institution.
There currently exist three separate (generally accepted) branches (also: claimants) of the Order, following a schisma regarding the succession to the succession as head of the House (1960), a subsequent reconciliation (2014) and a new schisma (2016).
HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro (1963). In 2008, Prince Charles succeeded his father’s claim as head of the House of the Two Sicilies. In this capacity, he is known by the title Duke of Castro. This claim is disputed by the Spanish branch of the House of the Two Sicilies. As claimant to the Headship of the House, he also claims to be Grandmaster of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George as well as the Royal Order of Francis I.
HRH Prince Pedro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria (1968). Claimant since the death on 5 October 2015 of his father, HRH Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y de Borbón-Parma, Infante of Spain, who was, at his death, the last infante of Spain during the reigns of his cousins King Juan Carlos I and King Felipe VI.
HRH Prince Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (1930-2010). In 1979 Carlos Hugo abandoned his claims and became a naturalised Spanish citizen. The following year he left the political arena. In 2002 he donated the archives of the House of Parma to Spain’s national archives; in my an opinion enormously important gesture. On 28 September 2003 the Duke of Parma suddenly reasserted his claim, with declarations of new titles for his children. He is succeeded by his son Prince Carlos, Duke of Parma (1970). The Parmesan Constantinian Order was a new foundation, instituted by Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma in 1817.
In my opinion, none of the current branches and family members have unchallengeable rights to the headship of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. Therefore, the Headship of the House remains a political choice or matter of opinion that cannot be determined decisively from a legal perspective. This issue can be illustrated by a an example of two less popular claimants.
In an article on the internet, mr. Sanchez Ramirez de Arellano, discusses the legitimacy of the fons honorum and the genealogy of mr. De Vigo Paleologo, who claims to be the Sovereign Imperial Prince and heir to the Byzantine Throne with the qualification of Royal and Imperial Highness. His conclusion is:
Finally we can not say that Mr. de Vigo is not what he claims to be as well as nobody can say the opposite, because one thing is the recognition or the ability to recognise of a right, another thing is the existence of the right itself. But I believe I have demonstrated that, until now, there is no convincing proofs of the existence of the jus honorarium in his person, and he does not have the implied recognition by other sovereigns that I consider indispensable and the only one really valid.
These remarks are interesting. They suggest that legitimacy of claims regarding the fons honorum can be measured by the acceptance of other Sovereign Houses (of whom the legitimacy is generally accepted). I like this viewpoint, because it offers some guidance to measure the legitimacy of claims like those of mr. De Vigo. As I understand, no general accepted royal dynasty has recognised his claim. Who ever chooses to recognise the historical correctness of the claims of mr. De Vigo is allowed to do so, based on the freedom of opinion and expressing this opinion we have in the Western World. This freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the UDHR states that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice“. The same is true for opponents of other more exotic dynastic claimants, as illustrated by the court decision of the Tribunale di Vicenza on 5 August 2004, in a famous dispute between the well-known nobility expert mr. Guy Stair-Sainty and business man mr. Rosario Poidimani. Another example of an opinion opposing a recent claimant of the Constantinian Order is given below.
In a Facebook post, the well-known royalty expert, mr. Rafe Heydel Mankoo criticises the claim of “S.A.I. e R. P.pe Dott. Luigi Maria Picco di Montenero e Pola Lavarello Lascaris Comneno Paleologo Obrenović di Costantinopoli – Serbia Sovrano Gran Maestro“, to the headship of the Constantinian Order:
This (..) Grand Master (…) Ignoring his blatant usurpation of the insignia of the true Constantinian Order, as well as the riband of the respected Luxembourg Order of Merit, his completely made up surname contains all of the familiar ancient *and extinct* dynastic names we come to associate with self-styled Walter Mittys: Lascaris Comneno Paleologo. For some reason (…) the chivalric underworld have a particular fascination with these three names.
The main problem I have with mr. Picco is the modification of his surname on his webpage on the internet. The public is easily confused by the use of the long and distinguished sounding surname that does not officially (that is registered by a state, in e.g. a passport) appear in public records. It is a peculiar combination of names and hereditary backgrounds that is hard to explain. The court decisions on mr Picco’s website do not relate to him (I cannot find his name in the decisions in the decisions of 1945, 1950 and 1964). They establish a judicial truth regarding the use of titles by mr. Marziano Lavarello (born Rome, 17 March 1921 – died Rome, 17 October 1992). Mr. Lavarello belonged to a wealthy family of Genoese shipowners. Later in life he unfortunately lived in reduced circumstances in a small apartment in the Via Sicilia, Rome, where he tried to maintain his imperial splendour. He had no offspring. The private acts dated 13, 25 and 29 October 1992 (the latter two were signed by mr. Lavarello appearantly after his death on 17 October 1992) transferring the titles of mr. Lavarello to mr. Luigi Mario Picco, do not convince me, since I do not see any family relationship between them and I question the authenticity of these documents. In my view, a family relationship is required to historically continue the legacy.
Traditionally, the transfer to a third party of the capacity to issue titles and awards of nobility and knighthood by private act cannot have the intended legal and historical consequences, without a ratification from a relevant authority, e.g. a court decision or governmental organisation. In the past, the last member of the Comneno family ceded his rights to regarding the Constantinian Order to Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma, which transfer was confirmed by Pope Innocent XII who issued the Bull “Sincerae Fidae” on 24 October 1697. Such a confirmation can hardly be expected regarding the mentioned private acts. The arbitral sentence of 2012 is not enough in this respect. It is legally artificial to create some kind of unrealistic dispute between a claimant and an impressively sounding institute (without serious substance), and subsequently have an arbiter (this is not a judge but a private person, often a jurist) draw up an arbitral judgment and finally have a court certifying this judgment as being in accordance with the formalities (but without making any material comments). Such a certification has no material bearing and is this legal route is common practice in some circles. The opposite is true. When claimants make use of such legal detours, it shows the illegitimacy of their claim due to a lack of valid alternatives. On the other hand, everybody is free to believe and form an opinion about mr. Picco’s claim and anyone can (from a legal perspective) “claim” the headship of this illustrious and ancient Order. Personally, I do not support mr. Picco’s claim and I accept the legitimacy of the three mentioned claimants who have a family relationship with the original Order.
1) Imperial dispute
In 1952 there was a famous legal dual between two “Emperors”; the famous Neapolitan comic actor known as Totò, who had thought that he was entitled to the former throne of Byzantium, and Marziano Lavarello, who objected to the (in his eyes) usurper’s claims. The decision of one Italian court, recognises Marziano’s titles and his ability to ennoble others (10-09-1948, n. 5143 bis, n. 23828/48 R. G., della VII sezione della pretura di Roma): “Con Sentenza della VII sezione n° 23828/48 R.G. 5143-bis Pretura di Roma 10 settembre 1948 si parla dell’Ordine Costantiniano istituito da Costantino nel 312 e si riconosce a Sua Altezza Imperiale il principe Don Marziano II Lascaris Comneno Flavio Angelo Lavarello Ventimiglia di Turgoville il potere di tutti gli atti di sovranità che competono alla Corona Lascarense quale indiscussa ed indubitabile Sovranità ancor se spodestata, ma che conserva a tutti gli effetti le prerogative di Casa Regnante. Si deliba che spetta il trattamento di Maestà e che tra le proprie facoltà vi è quella di concedere Ttitoli Nobiliari e Gradi Cavallereschi […].”
2) Arbitral treaties
Italy is a party to the following treaties regarding the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards:
1927 Geneva Convention on The Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards;
1961 European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration; and
1965 Washington Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States.
3) Fake recognition
The Calabria-branch of the Constantinian Order (listed above as 2), states that it is recognized by the Kingdom of The Netherlands: “SOME RECOGNITION DOCUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE S. and M. CONSTANTINIAN ORDER ISSUED BY DIFFERENT STATES”. This statement is false.
The two letters that should support the recognition are written by the Dutch Ministry of Defense to mr. K. They state that (letter 1) the request by mr. K. for wearing the insignia of the Constantinian Order on the uniform has been received and (letter 2) that there are no objections to the conferring of the Constantinian Order to mr. K. To derive any recognition from these letters is pure nonsense. They prove exactly the opposite. The permission to wear the insignia on the uniform was denied and mr. K. then called with the ministry to obtain a letter that there is no objection to granting him the award. There never is such an objection since Dutch citizens are always allowed to accept foreign decorations, even if they can be categorized as total fake ones. The Dutch Ministry of Defense does not care and is not competent to judge about such issues. The ministry is only competent regarding permissions to wear decorations on Dutch uniforms. The Constantinian Order is not listed in the Handbook of the Minister of Defense that lists the decorations that are allowed to be worn on a Dutch uniform. It is therefore forbidden to wear the Constantinian Order on a Dutch uniform. Note 10 on page 406 of Sainty’s work The Constantinian Order of Saint George (2018), is misleading. I advise the Order to remove the “recognition” as soon as possible from their website.
The above was recently confirmed by the Ministry, stating that The Netherlands does not recognise the order:
The role of traditional leaders in modern Africa is complex and has many aspects. It is discussed by advocates of “traditionalists” and of “modernists.” The traditionalists regard Africa’s traditional chiefs and elders as the true representatives of their people, accessible, respected, and legitimate, and therefore essential to politics on the continent. “Modernists,” by contrast, view traditional authority as a gerontocratic, chauvinistic, authoritarian and increasingly irrelevant form of rule that is antithetical to democracy (C. Logan, working paper 93, Afro Barometer).
In modern Africa the “traditionalists” represent the more popular view. An Afrobarometer survey of 36 African countries in 2014-15 found that 61% of people trusted local chiefs. Faith in ancient power structures has increased as people have grown more wary of modern and democratic institutions and politicians (The Economist, 19 December 2017); which is more or less the same as in West Europe. One reason is because the state in Africa is often absent. It is far more effective to ask a chief than a far-ocourt to rule in a case. Because the chief is local, his ruling may be better understood and accepted. Another reason may be that traditional leaders are seen as less corrupt, even though they tend to follow unwritten customs rather than written laws (The Economist, 19 December 2017).
These unwritten rules and customs, also called “customary law”, are defined as meaning the customs and practices traditionally observed among the indigenous African people of South Africa, which form part of the culture of those people (Bekker Seymour’s Customary Law in Southern Africa (1989) 11-13). Some African countries have definitions, whereas in other countries only descriptions can be applied and thus rules are more complex to derive. Allott says about the definitions: “Whether these definitions of customary law contribute anything by way of precision or facilitation of choice of laws is an open question.” (Allott New Essays in African Law 1970, 157).
Modern African Legal Systems
Most African legal systems consist of a complex combination of customary law, religious laws, received law (such as common law or civil law) and state legislation. In particular customary law can be hard to define in a set of rules as we know in continental Europe. The complexity becomes apparent when the application of different sources of law leads to different outcomes in specific legal cases. In Bhe v The Magistrate, Khayelitsha; Shibi v Sithole; South African Human Rights Commission v President of the Republic of South Africa, for example, the Constitutional Court declared customary rule of male primogeniture, which allows only an oldest male descendant or relative to succeed to the estate of a Black person, unconstitutional and invalid. It also declared unconstitutional and invalid, section 23(7) of the Black Administration Act which unfairly discriminates against women and others with regard to the administration and distribution of black deceased estates. The court imposed, as an interim measure, the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act on estates previously dealt with under the Black Administration Act. It also made special provision for estates relating to polygynous marriages and that estates previously administered in terms of the Black Administration Act must be administered by the Master of the High Court in terms of the Administration of Estates Act.. (J.C. Bekker and D.S. Koyana, The judicial and legislative reform of the customary law of succession, De Jure, 45 Volume 3 2012 pp 568).
In this context some traditional African leaders have started to issue ancient European titles of nobility to westerners in order to help their people fund health care and education. The question arises to what extend such titles can be regarded as legitimate, both from a historic and legal perspective. I will discuss two cases in this respect.
Ghana has a mixed system of English common law and customary law. Article 11(3) of the 1992 Constitution defines customary law as the rules of law which by custom are applicable to particular communities. Customary law is now a question of law to be determined by the courts. In Muslim communities, the reference to customary law is a reference to Islamic law or the Sharia. Customary law is not codified. Under Sections 42 and 43 of the Ghana Chieftaincy Act, 1971 (Act 370), as amended by Chieftaincy (Amendment) Decree, 1973(NRCD 166), Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No. 2) Decree, 1973 (NRCD 226), Chieftaincy (Amendment) Law, 1982 (PNDCL25) and Chieftaincy (Amendment) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 307), the National House of Chiefs and/or a Regional House of Chiefs, can draft their declaration of customary law for approval and publication as a legislative instrument by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice (V. Essien, Researching Ghanaian Law, Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University School of Law, 2005).
I have not discovered in Ghana’s common law nor in Ghana’s customary law (as determined by the courts) a rule or basis that makes it possible to issue European-style titles of nobility. In particular, Ghana’s Constitution makes no mention of such a practice. Therefore, it seems to be the case that this practice has no legal basis. From a historical perspective, the mentioned practice has never occurred. Does this mean that such titles are not legitimate? More specifically, the question is: are there any objections regarding the issuance of western titles by Togbe Osei III and what is their value? I already addressed this question in my article about the former King Kigeli of Rwanda. That case involved a former head of state. In the Ghana-case it concernes a ruling traditional chief, as legally embedded in Ghana’s constitution.
It could be hard to embed a local nobility in Ghana’s regions, since there is no legal basis for it. Nobility can even be seen as unlawful. The President of the National House of Chiefs, the Agbogbomefia of the Ho Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV, recently said one of the objectives of his administration would be to restore the nobility and reverence of the chieftaincy institution to enable it to effectively play its roles in society as expected (Ghanaweb, 2 February 2017, Do not meddle in politics. Togbe Afede tells chiefs). Issuing European-style titles may currently be the only safe way to bestow honours, since Ghana law is neutral about them in the same way as e.g. Italian law.
Like other major Western noble titles, baron is sometimes used to render certain titles in non-Western languages with their own traditions (e.g. the Indian equivalent Rao and the Székely equivalent primor, historically used among a specific population of Hungarians in Transsylvania). From a historic perspective these titles are unrelated and thus hard to compare. They are considered comparable in relative rank. Even in Western Europe the term Baron can hardly be compared among the different European countries or even among different regions within a country. Therefore, when using the title in public, the source of the title should be mentioned; although the word is the same, internationally it has a different meaning.
In my opinion, European-style titles and honours might be unconventional, but can be accepted. There is no authority to forbid the Togbe (literally meaning “grandfather”, the Ewe (1) reference for a chief) to style Europeans and Americans in a European manner. I think the Togbe simply wants to make his titles more attractive to westerners, which is understandable. Issuing original Ghanese-style titles to westerners would be unconventional as well and could even be unlawful. On the other hand, at least one example exists that contradicts the latter suggestion. Therefore, it remains an open question to what extend it is legitimate to issue European titles. I tend to see them as legitimate, but only when used in proper circumstances as described below.
African leaders might not have enough insight regarding the intentions of westerners that want to be involved in charity in Africa in exchange a title of some kind. Frankly, these intentions are not important as long as the titles are bestowed upon worthy individuals and the passage fee is used for the good. However, not taking into account the character and behaviour of the recipients might lead to situations in which the issuer is disgraced. Low passage fees will contribute to attracting gold diggers. More importantly, it also designates low value.
Today’s internet facilities attract numerous title hunters who make ridiculous appearances on the internet, thus jeopardising the reputation of the honour- or award-issuer. Such persons also decrease the value of the titles that are awarded. It is not easy to spot such title and medal hunters from an African perspective. Therefore, African leaders, that choose to issue titles to fund their regional charities are advised to carefully select a western intermediary of high reputation to represent them in such matters. Appointing the first person who comes knocking on the door is unwise.
The use of the title should not lead to confusion and irritation with European title holders. Therefore, on social media (e.g. the “Awards” section on LinkedIn) mentioning the title should e.g. read as: Baron of Todome (13 November 2016), title issued by the Togbe Osei III, 25th Togbe of Godenu. Extravagant use of the title should be avoided: less is more.
I have a problem with use of the terms “King” and “Royal”, without any further explanation. In the context of antiquity and contemporary indigenous peoples, the title can refer to tribal kingship. Germanic kingship is cognate with Indo-European traditions of tribal rulership (c.f. Indic rājan, Gothic reiks, and Old Irish rí, etc.), but it differs from the modern use of the term “King” (head of a state). It needs to be explained that the terms “King” and “Royal” refer to tribal kingship. I suggest that this explanation is put on the website of the House of Godenu.
I also have a problem with creating all kinds of “Royal” institutions, without any real substance. Some representatives of African Houses have e.g. created non-accredited Royal Universities, Honorary Guards, a Hall of Fame, a Royal Society, a Royal Warrant Holder Society, a Royal Commission of Nobility and Royalty, a Royal College of Technology Foundation, a Royal General Register of All Arms and Bearings and other institutions that try to mimic those of reigning European monarchs. All these institutions are presented in a manner that immediately shows a lack of good taste. In my opinion, these institutions are – to put it in a diplomatic manner – not appropriate and therefore should be avoided. African chiefs have their own identity and should not try to become European because of possible commercial gain. The result of these creations without any substance will be that ancient historic African families are again disgraced by westerners. They will be regarded as fake and ridiculous by the public. An example of a genuine and modest presentation, with a focus on history, research and good intentions, is the website of the House of Rwanda. I suggest this website is used as an example.
Comments and different points of view regarding this article are most welcome.
(1) Ewe (Èʋe or Èʋegbe [èβeɡ͡be]) is a Niger–Congo language spoken in southeastern Ghana by approximately 6–7 million people as either the first or second language.
I have copied the opinion of Dr. W.H. Jones, because of his interesting views on the matters, discussed in my article. I was not able to trace the original anymore on the internet.
Granting of Orders and Titles by H.M. King Kigeli V of Rwanda
| 17.03.2007 | 18:40:33 | Views: 398
PAPER PREPARED BY DR W. H. JONES, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Is it possible for the present King of Rwanda, being King Kigeli V, to grant honours which are based on European nobiliary titles?
In February 2007, during a discussion between interested members on a public Internet discussion site devoted to heraldic matters, the question of titles being awarded by King Kigeli of Rwanda was raised.
Following these discussions, which at times became quite heated, the current President of the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry (ICOC), (See Footnote 1) Dr Pier Felice degli Uberti, issued an invitation on 19 February 2007 as follows:
Footnote 2. I offer this possibility to those who have something to say against the idea of the King Kigeli to grant “honours” using name of “European nobiliary titles” (but I repeat they are not nobiliary titles but only honours): prepare a true study supported by due documentation, historical precedents, footnotes which quote precedent studies on the matter to be published in one of my reviews or better to participate in the next III International Colloquium of Genealogy organized by Institut International d’Etudes Généalogiques et d’Histoire des Families in San Marino from 28 September to 1 October 2007.
I accept the invitation to prepare a study. The study will not be published in one of Dr degli Uberti’s reviews as it is not presented in a way that meets the requirements for his reviews. In addition I am not able to participate in the International Colloquium of Genealogy organized by Institut International d’Etudes Généalogiques for September / October 2007.
The invitation was stated as being to those who have something to say against the idea of the King Kigeli to grant “honours” using name of “European nobiliary titles”. However I prefer in an academic treatise to pose a question in positive terms. That being so, the question could be posed quite succinctly as follows:
“Is it possible for the present King of Rwanda, being King Kigeli, to grant honours which are based on European nobiliary titles?”
This whole matter arises because King Kigeli V of Rwanda is in fact not a reigning monarch, but a deposed monarch. He was appointed in 1959, deposed in 1961 and initially fled into exile to Tanzania. Since 1992 he has lived in exile in the USA.
The practice of referring to someone by a title and of a person using a title is one of social convention rather than a legal requirement. While a person might well be fully entitled (sic) to use a title or to be referred to as a holder of such a title, there are seldom any legal sanctions if this is not done. Within the military such disregard or disrespect might be a disciplinary offence but in the civilian world such non-use or non-recognition is normally just bad manners or ignorance. The sanction might be that one is not invited to official functions again, while for those who refuse to recognise or use titles for someone who has such an honour from a monarch in exile such as King Kigeli, then the sanction is not to be invited to future private functions.
However, for the purposes of this study it might be useful to pose the problem in two parts.
Can any modern-day monarch create honours or titles based on current or past titles which are conventionally used in European nobiliary traditions?
Following from this, can a deposed modern-day monarch create titles based on current or past titles which are conventionally used in European nobiliary traditions?
Can any modern-day monarch create honours or titles based on current or past titles which are conventionally used in European nobiliary traditions?
The term “Honours” has a wide meaning but for this question it probably means:
Titles of honour in the European traditions, such as duke, marquess / marquis, earl, count, viscount, baron, lord, and baronet. There may be others of course, such as “grandee” in Spain and “noble” in some countries.
Decorations, medals and orders, which can be created or issued for a very wide range of purposes, eg. Orders of chivalry with between one and any number of classes, orders of merit, also of between one and a number of classes, bravery awards, merit awards, commemoration awards and long service awards.
There are many other meanings for “honours” but these are the ones dealt with in this paper.
At Footnote 3 there is an opinion on what constitutes Orders of Knighthood. There are also comments on sources of legitimacy and legitimacy is a central element in recognition of “honours”.
“Monarch”, while being a fairly specific word, really means the executive or ceremonial head of government of a country, and this could – of course – be a President. Therefore, while this paper does not look at the acts of “presidents”, it can be taken that modern-day presidents can do much the same as monarchs can do, again within the limits imposed by the type of constitution or government that any country is ruled under.
“Titles” in the European context are a social construct and are not scientific phenomena. While the specific meaning of the various ranks within the nobiliary might well have had some specific meaning at some time in the past, changing over the centuries, nowadays such distinctions are mostly a matter of social recognition. One country where the nobiliary had real legal political power was the peerage in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), but recent reforms have reduced that power drastically. What is left in the way of “power” from the peerage in the UK is mostly persuasive and social.
Note: After the British Labour Party came to power in 1997, it began the process of reforming the House of Lords. Under the House of Lords Act 1999, hereditary peerages do not entitle individuals to seats in the House of Lords. The Act did provide exemptions for the Earl Marshal, the Lord Great Chamberlain and ninety others elected by the peers. Further reform of the Lords is under consideration.
“Nobles” is a more difficult concept to generalise on. Again it is a social construct, but it is nevertheless ingrained deep into the consciousness of many European traditions. Much like a grant of arms, “nobility” is seen by some as an incorporeal hereditment, perhaps inalienable in some conventions. In Britain, perhaps excepting Scotland which has some traditions of its own, there is not a “noble” class per se. Only peers are regarded as part of the peerage and their brothers and sisters normally only receive courtesy titles.
Guy Stair Sainty is the author of a paper entitled, “A Summary of the Use of the Royal Prerogatives, its use by the Heirs to Former Thrones and by Republican or Revolutionary Regimes” Footnote 4. Therein he mentions that “certifications of nobility were issued by the Stuart claimants, despite being an alien practice for which there was no need in England (there being no privileged nobility other than the Peerage)” … and these were routinely accepted by nobiliary authorities in France, Spain, Italy and the Empire.) However “nobility” as a discrete element is not dealt with in this paper, as whole books can be written on the subject
Honours and awards are created by convention, normally part of the executive prerogative within a state. Invariably, such honours and awards do not have extra-territorial effect but normal politeness will normally provide at least social acceptance extra-territorially.
At official or diplomatic level, one country will normally accept whatever descriptions are given by sending countries. A somewhat idiosyncratic position was taken by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam of Australia for a while during his tenure of office from 1972 to 1975. He is said to have disputed titles such as “Duke of Gloucester” and referred to the then incumbent as “Prince Henry” Prime Ministers can do much as they like but that ponderous interpretation did not last very long. (See in, Whitlam, E. G. “The Truth of the Matter”. Melbourne: Penguin Books, 1979; W H Jones, “Development of the System of Honours and Awards in Australia”, 1986, Macquarie University).
There are many good sources to find details of the honours and awards issued by the countries of the world. The Internet will provide good references. The Orders and Medals Research Society is a good source for worldwide information (http://www.omrs.org.uk/,) and has the added attraction of having HRH the Prince of Wales as its Patron. On a more esoteric and limited scale there is the private organization known as the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry (ICOC) (http://www.icocregister.org ). Both of these sites can give a guide to past and present honours.
It is a matter of international practice that governments of different countries generally recognize the acts of other countries, unless they are at war or unless there are some other reasons for not recognizing particular acts, laws or conventions. Honours and awards are no exception and countries will normally recognize the awards of other countries. This does not mean that they will give permission to use, accept or wear such honours, except under specific circumstances. Recognition does not imply “permission to wear”.
Switzerland is the only country that I am aware of that specifically does not allow its citizens to have medals and honours in the sense used in this study. This is not a prohibition on non-Swiss from having, using or accepting honours. By exception, Swiss are permitted to serve in the Pontifical Lifeguard (Swiss Guard) and to accept decorations from the Holy See.
Keeping to the subject of honours, almost all countries nowadays create, amend, vary or even disestablish honours. Again a good source on new and defunct honours is the OMRS. A good example of a recent change to a Royal Order is in Britain where the Royal Victorian Order renamed the grade of MVO 4th Class to LVO (Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order). There have also been changes to the Order of the Bath within the last hundred years and of course the Order of the British Empire is less than one hundred years old. The most recent change in the Order of the British Empire is to introduce a lapel badge (2007). While not strictly relevant to the topic of this paper, a point to bear in mind is that some British honours are “dynastic” to the extent that they remain within the control of the monarch – The Garter, Thistle, Royal Victorian Order and the Order of Merit. Most UK gallantry and long service awards have undergone recent changes, particularly by the removal of distinctions between which ranks can receive which awards.
The answer to the first question – “Can any modern-day monarch create titles based on current or past titles which are conventionally used in European nobiliary traditions?” must be yes. The only way in which the executive authority of the monarch (or head of state) in power can be curtailed is by the laws and conventions of the country concerned.
“How” such honours are created can differ. It may be through Orders in Council during the exercise of executive prerogative or it may be by legislation.
To look at King Kigeli of Rwanda in this context, if he had created honours and awards during his very brief period as monarch (1959 to 1961), I doubt very much if such creations would be an issue. They might have been unwise, unconventional or even bizarre, but, in my opinion, they would have been properly established. There are no governing principles or international law or custom that he must follow. The King, if he chose to do so, could create an entirely new system of aristocracy, honours, titles or anything else that followed neither European nor African precedents.
Mr Richard Lichten has referred me to an article on creations within the Japanese peerage. In 1869 under the new Meiji government, a Japanese peerage was created by an Imperial decree merging the former Court nobility (kuge) and former feudal lords (daimyo) into a single new aristocratic class called the kazoku. The House of Peers consisted of princes, marquises, counts, viscounts and barons. The Korean empire also had a system of aristocratic rank that equated to that of Europe, with titles similar to those of Japan. Although these titles may have seemed strange at the time, they created a hierarchy that was comprehensible to both the Japanese and Koreans, and also to outsiders. Nobody would deny the rulers of Japan and Korea the right to create European-style titles, but the main point made by Mr Lichten, is that these rulers had the right of fons honorum. King Kigeli does not.
The Emperor Napoleon 1 of France created a whole range of titles, with rules quite distinct from previous traditions. Nevertheless these were perfectly valid, because they were created by a ruling monarch – despite the interesting fact that he was the “Emperor of the Republic of France”. Footnote 5. Napoleonic Titles and Heraldry Napoléon’s official style, “Napoléon, par la grâce de Dieu et les Constitutions de la République, Empereur des Français”
Source : Brigadier General D Fourie, member of the South African Defence Force Honours Advisory Committee and of the South African Heraldry Council, March 2007.
Can a deposed monarch create honours or titles based on current or past titles which are conventionally used in European nobiliary traditions?
While this question is looked at from the perspective of King Kigeli of Rwanda as a deposed monarch, the answer is likely to be the same for any ex-monarch and for their heirs who might be described as “pretenders”.
There have been many instances of deposed monarchs or governments purporting to establish governments-in-exile. These have had varying levels of support, at least for some years. There was a Polish government in exile between 1939 and 1990 and this claimed to be the de jure government of Poland according to the 1935 constitution until 1990 when communism fell and free elections were held. During this time the PGinE continued to make what might be considered by some as lawful awards of Polish orders. By the 1970s no state recognized the PGinE but such diplomatic recognition was regarded by some as irrelevant to its legality, in much the same way as an interregnum had continued in Poland between 1795 and 1919. It might well be the case that King Kigeli or any other deposed dynasties could raise similar arguments, but it is usually the de facto position that holds the most sway.
In the first place – and quite probably the most important issue – there is the lack of a system within which to establish honours, however described. A monarch in exile does not control the apparatus of the state from which he (or she) is exiled, so it is most unlikely that that state would formally recognize any acts of the former head of state. I know of no state that affords such internal recognition. Portugal is one country that treats the pretender to the throne of Portugal very well, but this does not imply any recognition of acts exercised by the pretender or any of his descendants.
Looking outside Rwanda, one could look to see if honours created by a monarch in exile or a pretender to a throne are recognized, regardless of non-recognition in Rwanda. . I know of not one country that recognizes any actions of any kind by King Kigeli as being effective in Rwanda. There are no known instances in modern times of honours created by monarchs in exile being recognized extra-territorially, although for a while the honours created by the Stuart monarchs in exile received some form of acceptance in some Continental countries. There is no international system in place within which King Kigeli can create honours which have any international meaning or which any international body will acknowledge as having any meaning in Rwanda.
In general I would rely on a statement from a distinguished source:
Footnote 6 Dr Pier Felice degli Uberti, 2007 President of the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry (ICOC).19 February 2007 ” … (I) consider valid and undisputable from a legal point of view only a grant of honours or nobiliary titles coming from a Sovereign on the throne or a State sovereign.
Also relevant are the following:
Footnote 7. I want to precise that although I disagree from a legal point of view with the grants of nobiliary titles made from exile or by descendants, that effectively do not have any value, I consider them a good idea … PFdU
Footnote 8. As you know I disagree with the grants of nobiliary titles given from exile in every case, less and less if the grants come from descendants.
Of course King Kigeli could consider himself to be the Rwandan government in exile and act as a de jure monarch even though de facto deposed. If he is acting as lawful king (but lawful in whose opinion?) though in exile, the question then arises of whether he should consider himself to be guided exclusively by the laws of (Belgian) Rwanda as they existed at the time of his de facto position as monarch, or if he is free to go beyond the restricted royal role of the colonial period. This is hardly a serious question, as it would be specious to argue on the one hand that he should not have been deposed and on the other that because he is now a free agent, although in exile, he can now go beyond powers he had when de facto in power.
What then can King Kigeli do?
As a free man King Kigeli can do virtually anything that is not illegal. It is not illegal to create titles or to purport to do so. The Stuarts in exile did so. The Hutt River Principality in Australia is a good example of self-created titles. There are hundreds if not thousands of societies that grant titles and give awards.
The only real question is what the value is of such titles.
Creation of titles by King Kigeli
King Kigeli has purported to create titles-in-waiting, if I might use that expression, by the issue of Letters Patent that have no legal authority (meaning enforceable authority) but that are not in themselves illegal.They are in effect a form of promissory note without any real intention, possibility or capability of being honoured. But see Footnote 11.
Here is an example of the King’s own words: (See Footnote 10)
By the Grace of God King of Rwanda etc
… We do grant a title of honour, correspondent to the hereditary nobiliary title of (eg Marquis / Count / Baron etc) in the European tradition. This hereditary nobiliary title of (Marquis / Count / etc) shall descend by way of male primogeniture, We engage ourselves to make lawful, valid and executive the nobiliary title of …
These Letters Patent have as much meaning as a similar document issued by any person, but have the added cachet of being issued by a former head of state, who may – just may – become head of state again. Because King Kigeli was born in 1935 and has no known descendants the Letters Patent have doubtful value. In addition there is no indication in the Letters Patent that there is any provision or promise to bind or “engage” any person or body other than the King to make the title “lawful, valid and executive”.
The question then arises about the purpose of the Letters Patent. From Footnote 12 it is clear that the current format of the Letters Patent came after there was some concern about titles being created and granted by King Kigeli. Dr degli Uberti, because of his expertise and background in matters of honours undertook to assist in trying to put in place a system to regularize the granting of titles of honour, while making it clear that the titles had no immediate effect.
Footnote 12. I … am pragmatic and for me every title coming from a former Sovereign (or his descendants) has no legal public official value … not only Africa, but particularly old Europe.
One of King Kigeli’s former close advisers sees the matter in a practical light. With regard to intention, he remarks (see Footnote 9),
” … Anyone may have a political agenda in order to resume the power in his Country and has the right to invent any strategy that can bring about the realization of that plan.
In other words, it is a strategy to regain power in some way, presumably by raising money and gathering adherents for some future endeavour.
A more argumentative interpretation is posed by some of the opponents of such titles, at worst, without saying that creating titles could have every indication of being a form of confidence trick, which attracts funds but offers only a chimera (vain or idle fantasy) in return, playing on individual gullibility or vanity.
Issues about the validity of titles are real, as can be seen in the current controversy (2007) in the UK, on the supposed misuse of the honours system there,
The real question ten remains as to why King Kigeli felt the need to create such nobiliary titles. He had already created a number of “Orders” and other decorations and medals (See following paragraphs – Creation of other honours by King Kigeli V)
The orders and decorations created under the imprimatur of King Kigeli V seemed to find a ready supply of recipients, who, presumably, paid for such honours, either by way of contributions to the causes favoured by King Kigeli or by way of “passage” fees for admittance to the various Orders.
Why then the urge to create further honours in the form of nobiliary titles? Lacking any other plausible explanation, the indications are that it was based on advice from outside King Kigeli’s knowledge, and perhaps as an additional means of raising funds.
The possibilities are legion, but the conclusion one must come to is that King Kigeli was poorly advised in agreeing to establish a system of titles based on European traditions. They have nothing to do with Rwanda or indeed with anything in Africa and, more importantly, did not exist whill he was in power.
There have been some suggestions by his advisers, former advisers and others that there is a distinction between “honours” and “titles”. Such advice may well have been given in good faith, but it is doubtful if such a distinction is really valid.
Footnote 2 (but I repeat they are not nobiliary titles but only honours)
Footnote 9. These people believe incorrectly that the King has placed himself into a position whereby he grants titles of nobility. This belief is incorrect and absolutely false. This can be understood by reading and understanding the … documents signed by the King. The King of Rwanda … does not desire to, nor does He grant to individuals any European noble title (baron, count or marquis). …
I repeat – King Kigeli grants ONLY honors and not titles.
These statements are contradictory within themselves and are also contradicted by the specific words of the King in the example Letters Patent mentioned above, viz;
Footnote 10. We do grant a title of honour, correspondent to the hereditary nobiliary title of (eg Marquis / Count / Baron etc) in the European tradition.
This hereditary nobiliary title of (Marquis / Count / etc)
We engage ourselves to make lawful, valid and executive the nobiliary title of (etc)
The plain fact is that dukedoms, marquisates, earldoms, viscountcies, baronies lordships and baronetcies are all quite clearly titles, within the ordinary meaning of the word. One can quibble about the difference between “title of honour” and “title” but in reality it makes little difference. The grants, titles or honours are unmistakably, from the words of the Letters Patent, intended to be legitimized on the accession of King Kigeli to the throne of Rwanda, as hereditary titles with descent by primogeniture. The King’s ability to effect such legitimization must be in doubt, but this is always a possibility, however remote.
Creation of honours other than titles by King Kigeli
Much the same remarks as have been made about the creation of titles apply to the creation of Orders and decorations. At country or state level, such creations are routine.At a private level, including pretenders to thrones, it is not illegal to do so, is harmless, and if anyone wishes to recognize such orders and decorations then they can do so. Governments invariably will not do so. The following words, already quoted, are apt in this context:
Footnote 6. Dr Pier Felice degli Uberti, 2007 President of the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry (ICOC). 19 February 2007 ” … (I) consider valid and undisputable from a legal point of view only a grant of honours or nobiliary titles coming from a Sovereign on the throne or a State sovereign.
Creation of orders and decorations, in a way, is a much less objectionable way of rewarding services and of fund-raising. Those awarded such orders and decorations can wear them privately or on any occasion where they would be socially acceptable.
The Order of the Lion of Rwanda is one Order created by King Kigeli. There are no records of the existence of such order before King Kigeli was deposed, so it must have the status of a newly-created Order in exile. There is no conflict with an existing Order in Rwanda under the control of the present government. Therefore, there is no situation comparable to the Stuarts (James II) in exile purporting to create Knights of the Garter. On the other hand, if evidence were to be provided that the Rwandan Order of the Lion did exist before King Kigeli was deposed, then the situation would be much the same as pertained during the time of ex-king James II of Britain and King William III of Britain – one set of awards would have recognition from a de facto ruler and one from a self-styled de jure ruler.
Use of titles and honours from King Kigeli V
One of my functions as Chief of Protocol in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe was to deal with issues of precedence and appropriate ways of recognizing titles, honours and awards. In this regard I came in contact with current heads of government, and ministers existing royalty and former royalty.
During the Independence celebrations for Zimbabwe (leading up to 18 April 1980, I dealt with the then Governor, Lord Soames and also had some time with HRH Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles as she was then and Lt Col Andrew Parker Bowles.
At the Independence Dinner itself on 17 April 1980, I had to advise Prime Minister Mugabe on how to resolve the problem of an uninvited guest, Daniel Ortega, who announced himself as the head of the new five man ruling junta in Nicaragua. Living in Rhodesia at the time was King Leka of Albania and his wife, Queen Susan (an Australian). There were issues on how to deal with them and I had a number of problems in this regard.
I looked after HRH the Duke of Kent during a brief stopover in Zimbabwe, and also various Presidents, Prime Ministers, the UN Secretary General, ambassadors, Cardinals and other prominent people in the world of politics.How then might I have advised persons honoured by King Kigeli V?
I might well have given the following advice privately to those who had received decorations such as “knighthood” equivalents, and recipients of “titles” such as marquis from monarchs or pretenders in exile. I would have suggested that they treasure such honours and use them quite openly in appropriate circumstances. By all means use such titles as “Chevalier” in appropriate circumstances and even in correspondence with people who afford such recognition. I might well have suggested that it was no business of anyone else’s what was done in this regard. The appropriate circumstances, however, were unlikely to be official events. “Titles” such as marquis are always a more difficult issue, because they make a statement about social standing, not just for oneself but also for one’s family. They also place a person in a social position in relation to those who might claim “legitimate” titles, if I might use that expression.
However, I would have advised such title-holders in much the same way as those who held positions in Orders – use the title with discretion, within the appropriate milieu. In both instances, my opinion is that recipients of such honours should not be afraid to admit belonging to an order or having a title. If a monarch in exile or a pretender saw fit to honour someone in this fashion then it would be quite proper to admit it. Not to do so would mean denying the donor. The significant issue is to use or display such titles and awards with discretion.
In general, I believe this advice is consistent with that provided by Dr degli Uberti (See Internet site rec.heraldry 18 February 2007). See Footnote 12. Edited from rec.heraldry of 18 Feb 2007. Dr degli Uberti does seem to feel the need to make a case for a distinction between “titles as honours but not titles as such” on the one hand and other forms of titles on the other. I would not agree with this interpretation but it really is not that significant. I see no problem with creating what purport to be titles and calling them titles, as long as the recipients are aware of the uncertain status of such titles within the international community and – more importantly – as long as such tiles are used with circumspection. The Letters Patent from King Kigeli make it clear that the titles are subject to being made valid if the king ever returns to his throne.
Conclusion and Summary
The question that was posed is “What is the position on the idea of the King Kigeli of Rwanda to grant honours using names of European nobiliary titles”
In a very few words, it is not illegal or even improper for King Kigeli to purport to grant honours using names of European nobiliary titles, but this amounts in present circumstances to a private act or acts, backed only by the cachet of being an ex-king, with a remote chance of ever becoming king again. I believe Dr degli Uberti and I are in agreement on many points, and I quote : “King Kigeli – as other former Sovereigns or Chiefs of House – is right in creating new awards (orders), that have value (private) only among his supporters and among those who want to give them value, and are different from those created in Europe” From Footnote 12.
The Commission is a private body, the worth and seriousness of which wholly depends upon the worth and seriousness of its component Members. In the past, there have been errors in scientific evaluation and interpretation, or times when the Commission exceeded its institutional role. Therefore, the new Statutes require a specific academic grounding of those who seek to become Members and these persons must demonstrate their experience in the field of the study of chivalric orders, decorations and awards systems through publications and other specific work.
I wish only make an invitation. I offer this possibility to those who have something to say against the idea of the King Kigeli to grant “honours” using name of “European nobiliary titles”
(but I repeat they are not nobiliary titles but only honours):
Continuation of Footnote 2
prepare a true study supported by due documentation, historical precedents, footnotes which quote precedent studies on the matter to be published in one of my reviews (Nobiltà http://www.iagi.info/rivistaNobilta/ or Il Mondo del Cavaliere http://www.icocregister.org/aioc/programma.htm ), or better to participate in the next III International Colloquium of Genealogy organized by Institut International d’Etudes Généalogiques et d’Histoire des Families in San Marino from 28 September to 1° October 2007.
If the person cannot participate for the distance I will publish the intervention among the proceedings of the Colloquium, so it will be conserved in many of the Libraries and Archives in the world which receive also my reviews.It must be a true study not only personal opinions without scientific support.By my side I will prepare a study on the argument supported by historical precedents of dynasties who granted nobiliary tiles from the exile in Countries where the concept of nobility (as we mean in Europe) did not exist, that should be an ahistorical precedent of common usage between historical dynasties.I will begin from the Oriental Empire, so I will utilize this study also for the next International Colloquium of Genealogy in Romania on May 2007.
Legitimacy and [of] Orders of Knighthood
This essay was first published in December 1996. – François Velde.
A SUMMARY OF THE USE OF THE ROYAL PREROGATIVE, ITS USE BY THE HEIRS TO FORMER THRONES, AND BY REPUBLICAN OR REVOLUTIONARY REGIMES (c) Guy Stair Sainty (Edited 3 March 2007 by W H Jones – only some elements quoted here)
In Portugal, both the deposed Monarch, Miguel I, and the last King of the “liberal” Monarchy (deposed in 1910), bestowed titles of nobility while in exile. H.R.H. Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza, the claimant to the Portuguese Throne, has not only awarded the Royal Order of the Immaculate Conception of Villa Viçosa, the only Order of the former Kingdom not taken over by the Republic, but has also re-established a long dormant Order, that of Saint Michael of the Wing, with members across Europe and a handful in the United States (now reformed as an Association rather than an Order) The Republican authorities have looked with a benevolent eye on the activities of Dom Duarte, who has a substantial following within the country and has always conducted himself with considerable dignity. His late father created a Council of Nobility, now under the Presidency of the Marques de Pombal, which he has invested with delegated powers to confirm in his name titles created during the Monarchy but now extinct or dormant. A feature of the titles created under the “liberal” monarchy was that a substantial number were created for the life of the grantee, or for one or two lives thereafter. The Council has also been given the power to revive or extend the life of such titles, generally, although not necessarily, for the representative of the original grantee. Thus, by such “revivals” the Council may sometimes be creating new titles.
It may be safely stated that the legitimate claimants to the Headship of formerly reigning families can assume the prerogative to award their Royal or Dynastic Orders and, to the extent that the last Constitutions of those particular Monarchies so permitted, enjoy such other prerogatives as can be exercised in actuality. These may, for example, include the right to create or confirm titles of nobility, provided such creations conform with the legal requirements established before the fall of the Monarchy. They would not include, on the other hand, such provisions as being Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of that country, as that responsibility is likely to have been assumed by another under the Constitution of the successor state. It may not always be possible for a Head of a Dynasty to comply with the precise requirements of the Monarchical law because of the disappearance of an historic office or position. To the extent that it is possible and practical, such requirements should be met and the various acts properly recorded.
Whether these awards have any validity outside the realm of private law would depend on the attitude of other Sovereign states. As several reigning Heads of State having accepted the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece, itself recognized by the Austrian Republic, the exercise of that particular prerogative can be considered as having been recognized in public law (precisely because it is held not to derive from the claim to the throne). The same applies to the Grand Magistery of the Constantinian Order which, although divided, is recognized as a non-national Order by the Government of Italy and, in Spain, is recognized as an award and is invited to participate in ceremonies along with the Orders of Malta and the Holy Sepulcher. German Law seems to acknowledge the right of the heads of formerly reigning families to award their Orders and several states have recognized, in the past, titles created by exiled Sovereigns whom they accorded some form of recognition (such as those by the exiled Stuarts). Whether or not a claimant chooses to exercise these prerogatives, he or she would be well advised to do so with caution and discretion; one day the Dynasty might be restored and a future Sovereign would not wish to be embarrassed by having to acknowledge as legitimate those actions of his immediate antecedents which would be better forgotten.
See Napoleonic Titles and Heraldry Napoléon’s official style,paper provided to me by Brigadier General D Fourie, member of the South African Defence Force Honours Advisory and of the South African Heraldry Council. “Napoléon, par la grâce de Dieu et les Constitutions de la République, Empereur des Français”
What a strange thing for me (who consider valid and undisputable from a legal point of view only a grant of honours or nobiliary titles coming from a Sovereign on the throne or a State sovereign) to take on the justification of a former King who used for his honours also the name of European nobiliary titles. Dr. Pier Felice degli Uberti
I want to precise that although I disagree from a legal point of view with the grants of nobiliary titles made from exile or by descendants, that effectively do not have any value, I consider them a good idea particularly valid as moral value which in some manner in private ambient maintain a tradition of our culture which deserves not to die. Dr. Pier Felice degli Uberti
As you know I disagree with the grants of nobiliary titles given from exile in every case, less and less if the grants come from descendants. Dr. Pier Felice degli Uberti
Footnote 9 (edited by me, WHJ).
Occasionally, on the Internet Newgroup, several have mistakenly written concerning the HONORS granted from the former King of the Rwanda. This has probably been caused in part by the ignorance (unscientific awareness) of some of the newsgroups’ frequent visitors who have seen certain web site references to European noble titles … granted by the King of Rwanda.
These people believe incorrectly that the King has placed himself into a position whereby he grants titles of nobility. This belief is incorrect and absolutely false. This can be understood by reading and understanding the ,… documents signed by the King.
The King is perfectly acquainted with the law in His Country and does not desire to, nor does He grant to individuals any European noble title (baron, count or marquis). To do so would be against the tradition of His reign as King of Rwanda and against the laws and culture of the country of Rwanda.
In commonsense terms, the King, in order to reward his faithful supporters who had worked with him in support of the causes of the Rwandan people, had decided as a “political plan” or course of action to create honors comparable or merely similar to the ancient European Noble Titles which had been granted from the European monarchs in the past or the present (as they are legally done today with full authority
The King knows well that his position is completely different from those held by current monarchs on the throne – who also have the tradition to grant noble titles
The position of King Kigeli … is one of a monarch outside of the throne or a FORMER ruler of a country … he does not have the prerogatives to grant a title of nobility in any way, much less according to the ancient rules based on the European model.
However, it does not prohibit the Monarch from the granting of the honors that in this moment of time and space only have value to the inside or membership of his dynasty and between his diligent and loyal supporters. This does not however have any official value but reveals only a term of endearment.
In the document the King of the Rwanda engages himself with His word or promises as King to render these honors in Rwanda valid upon a day of the King’s return as Monarch to the throne, and obviously in that case He will change also the law in his Country in order to allow the full legal acknowledgment of these honors – honors that will perhaps then will also possess the European denomination of count, marquis, etc. King Kigeli is not the first African monarch who has adopted European denominations for noble titles, as has already happened in the Empire of the Central Africa (Bokassa).
But – I repeat – this is only a promised by the King and the honor will only have any value in the moment in which the King returns to the throne in Rwanda.
Numerous previous histories exist relating to former monarchs who have granted titles of nobility, but even if the noble titles were in the tradition of their country, it is important to realize that no monarch removed from the throne has the legal right to grant noble titles. Perhaps in this case such titles are only known as titles of courtesy without any real value outside the dynasty or the supporters of that monarch.
Therefore it is to be understood that there is no difference between monarchs with ancient custom or tradition of granting nobiliary titles and non-tradition, if neither monarch is currently on the throne or in common fact has been removed from said throne. No monarch removed from the throne has seen recognized of his titles granted by him from the exile. (exception – Carlist Spain).
Moreover there are historical cases of Monarchs outside the throne who have granted noble titles with the promise to render them valid in the exact moment of their return to the throne (Two Sicilies, Montenegro, Yugoslavia) granted noble titles which they did not have right to grant because they did not exist in the tradition of their Country.
I repeat – King Kigeli grants ONLY honors and not titles. Anyone may have a political agenda in order to resume the power in his Country and has the right to invent any strategy that can bring about the realization of that plan!!!
…individuals receiving such “honors” from the King … only have effective value in the future event of the King returns to the Throne. Every other consideration is useless and demonstrates only a VERY bad acquaintance or awareness of the argument or a desire to not understand the truth. Carl Edwin Lindgren, DEd, FCP.
By the Grace of God King of Rwanda and Lawful Inheritor of the Sovereignty of the Land, Lakes and Peoples of Rwanda according to the familiar traditions of our ancient and respected Dynasty used to grant honours, We hereby express our Royal prerogative through these letters patent. We do grant a title of honour, correspondent to the hereditary nobiliary title of (eg Marquis / Count / Baron etc) in the European tradition. This hereditary nobiliary title of (Marquis / Count / etc) shall descend by way of male primogeniture, We engage ourselves to make lawful, valid and executive the nobiliary title of (etc) granted to XXXXXXXXX, the moment of our return on the throne. Our Royal Seal and Sign Manual affixed to these letters patent on xxxxxxxx day of xxxxxxxxx of the year xxxxxxxxxxx a txxxxxxxxxxxxx
It could be argued that nothing is created just by the issue of Letters Patent, and that the document is just a sign of good faith. There is no way of establishing if it will bind him or any successors.
Re.heraldry 18 Feb 2007 – Pier Felice degli Uberti, (Extract edited by WHJ):
When in 1999 I took on the presidency of ICOC (International Commission for Orders of Chivalry) I promised … that I should listen… and help.. all persons who asked advice…
I dont give value to kind of grant or recognition (nobiliary titles or chivalric orders or recognition by nobiliary associations or bodies) which does not come from a State where the nobiliary/chivalric matter is still today legally recognized.
Less and less I consider valid every private grant, as those coming from kings/chiefs of former Imperial/Royal Houses out of the throne.
I have nothing to do with these grants or orders of King Kigeli and I don’t work for him but gave him my sincere advice which at that time was well considered and applied by the King
I mean my invention as it is said on the diploma of grant agreed with me by the King Kigeli:
I must explain the reason of this advice
I gave … my suggestion to help King Kigeli.
Some nobiliary titles (at the European manner) were granted by King Kigeli who was approached – as it happens in every dynasty – by persons with the purpose to make him grant nobiliary titles. Because this thing appeared … turned … to me as expert on the matter to help the King
Because some grants were still made it was necessary to correct and to justify these grants
To avoid damage to the King Kigeli …I advised about which right solution was possible in a still existing situation (this is the reason of this solution because it was conditioned by the existing reality.
If this reality was not existing clearly my advice should have been different and I had suggested to not create such kind of honours).
Everybody knows that King Kigeli is not an expert about nobility or chivalric matter.
It is necessary to consider – as I made because so it was told me – that through these grants the King Kigeli was helping his people, without obtaining a personal benefit.
But I want to remember that by my point of view I don’t give value to these as other nobiliary titles or “chivalric” orders that today live only in the dreams of the persons who receive them.
When a thing is private or of courtesy can remain only so!
And clearly this is the case (as it is the case of all in Europe when the Sovereign is not on the throne).
I met the King Kigeli in … March 2006
According to the discussion with me and following my suggestion the King decided to grant only honors that are not nobiliary titles as in the European meaning.
In few words according to my advice the King of Rwanda decided to grant honours that can be comparable to the ancient European nobiliary titles… but in the sense it is given them after Napoleon I,that is only honours, although named nobiliary titles. The titles given after Napoleon – although they are nobiliary titles – have nothing to do with the concept of the past nobiliary titles (at least in great part of the Europe).
It is really a bit ridiculous that the King of Rwanda in exile grants honors which bring the name of ancient European nobiliary titles but as Macchiavelli affirmed “Il fine giustifica i mezzi” (the end justifies the means). In fact the King will do what He considers fit, and to grant these honors is useful to help His people. The honesty of the King stays in the promise that – if He returns to the throne – He will make valid these honors.
I … am pragmatic and for me every title coming from a former Sovereign (or his descendants) has no legal public official value … not only Africa, but particularly old Europe. No official State Authority recognizes such titles (courtesy nobiliary titles), although there are today former European Royal Houses who continue to grant nobiliary titles … a recent fact.
The Rwanda Honors are honors that now have a moral value inside the Dynasty and among those who are supporters of King Kigeli. If Kigeli returns to the throne the honors will have effective value in a form that can be accepted by Kingdom of Rwanda. The honor (not the nobiliary title which did not exist in Rwanda) is immediately valid in private (as every honour or nobiliary title or chivalric order given by a private authority, a former Royal/Imperial House). But it is not possible to continue to think about the classical concept of nobility. But new times justify new solutions … the King of Rwanda has found new solutions.
I received some emails asking my personal opinion about this.
Door de heer mr E.J. Wolleswinkel, voormalig secretaris van de Hoge Raad van Adel, wordt in Virtus, Jaarboek voor Adelsgeschiedenis 16, p. 210 (De boekstaving van distinctiegedrag) een vraag gesteld die mij al geruime tijd bezig houdt. Wolleswinkel uit zich terecht kritisch ten opzichte van de stelling dat er in Nederland een recht zou bestaan om zich “heer/vrouwe van/in” een bepaalde voormalige heerlijkheid te noemen. Zijn bedenkingen zijn correct: wat voor recht dit is, wordt in het door hem besproken werk niet duidelijk omdat deze hoedanigheden niet in de burgerlijke stand worden opgenomen. In deze bijdrage doe ik een poging om hierover duidelijkheid te geven.
In de achttiende eeuw, toen heerlijkheden nog bestonden, was het gebruik om aan de naam de betiteling “heer/vrouwe van [naam heerlijkheid]” toe te voegen. Professor J.P. de Monté ver Loren, hoogleraar oudvaderlands recht en secretaris van de Hoge raad van Adel, schrijft hierover in De Nederlandsche Leeuw van november 1961 (kolom 398):
“Vanouds was het gebruik, dat de bezitter van een heerlijkheid de naam daarvan achter zijn geslachtsnaam voegde ter aanduiding van het feit, dat hij heer van de betreffende heerlijkheid was. Ook tegenwoordig wordt dit gebruik soms nog gevolgd.“
Aan de ambtenaar van de Burgerlijke Stand werd bij de invoering en daarna vaak de naam van de heerlijkheid ten onrechte als deel van de geslachtsnaam opgegeven en vervolgens door de ambtenaar ingeschreven. Aan deze onjuiste opgave kon de betrokkene geen rechten ontlenen. De circulaire die de minister van justitie in 1858 rond liet gaan, dat in officiële stukken een naam van een heerlijkheid nooit als deel van een geslachtsnaam mocht worden opgenomen, werd in de praktijk vaak genegeerd, maar bewijst wel dat het hier om een gewoonte ging. In Nederland’s Adelsboek en Nederland’s Patriciaat zijn talloze voorbeeld te vinden die deze praktijk bewijzen met concrete voorbeelden. Ook een recent artikel van mr J. van Wassenaer bevestigt dit.
Een belangrijke bijdrage aan de inventarisatie van de combinatie geslachtsnaam/heerlijkheid is geleverd door de heer C.E.G. ten Houte de Lange in zijn werken: Het Dubbele Namen Boek en Heerlijkheden in Nederland : welke namen van heerlijkheden worden nog gevoerd sinds 1848?.
Met andere woorden, er kan worden gesteld dat er een gewoonte bestond en bestaat binnen de groep van (voormalige) heerlijkheid bezitters om (1) de betiteling heer/vrouwe van/tot [naam (voormalige) heerlijkheid] te voeren en (2) aan de geslachtsnaam de naam van de heerlijkheid toe te voegen, voorafgaand door een “van” of “tot”.
In de uitspraak van de Hoge Raad van 20 februari 2015 (ECLI:NL:HR:2015:395) is overwogen dat het karakter van oude zakelijke rechten kan wijzigen en dat hiervoor aansluiting kan worden gezocht bij hetgeen met voldoende zekerheid kan worden vastgesteld met betrekking tot de daadwerkelijke uitoefening van het recht gedurende de meest recente periode (r.o. 3.5.2):
Oude zakelijke rechten als dat van de dertiende penning worden, bij gebreke van een wettelijke regeling, beheerst door het gewoonterecht. Weliswaar moeten deze rechten krachtens art. 1 van de Wet van 16 mei 1829, Stb. 29, worden geëerbiedigd, maar dit betekent niet dat de sedertdien ingevoerde algemene regels van het Burgerlijk Wetboek ten aanzien van die rechten niet van belang zijn. Voorts lenen die rechten zich voor verdere ontwikkeling op grond van zich wijzigende maatschappelijke omstandigheden. Ingeval onzekerheid bestaat omtrent wat gewoonte is, kan aansluiting worden gezocht bij hetgeen met voldoende zekerheid kan worden vastgesteld met betrekking tot de daadwerkelijke uitoefening van het recht gedurende de meest recente periode (vgl. onder meer HR 1 juli 1994, ECLI:NL:HR:1994:ZC1414, NJ 1995/547 en HR 20 juni 1997, ECLI:NL:HR:1997:ZC2394, NJ 1999/302).
Naar mijn mening is het gevolg van voorgaande jurisprudentie dat het voeren van de betiteling en de toevoeging van de naam, moet worden gezien als een gewoonterecht. Dit recht is in de loop van de tijd van karakter veranderd. Er zijn immers geen eigenlijke heerlijke rechten meer. Dat de betiteling waarde heeft, blijkt uit het feit dat er in het economisch verkeer waarde aan gehecht worden: er worden nog steeds voormalige heerlijkheidsrechten en -titels verhandeld. IJdelheid is hiervoor de voornaamste drijfveer, denk ik. Er is sprake van een recht omdat het gebruik van titel en naam een bepaalde relatie met het goed impliceert die een inbreuk kan maken op de rechten van de eigenaar van dat goed en zodoende leidt tot een onrechtmatige daad, als hiervoor geen juridische grondslag is. Tot een vergelijkbare conclusie kwam mr W. Lunsingh Tonckens al een eeuw geleden (De Nederlandsche Leeuw, jaargang 39, kolommen 285-286):
“Heerlijkheden bestaan hier te lande dus niet meer. Daar het onmogelijk is om eigenaar te zijn eender niet bestaande zaak, kan men heerlijkheden niet erven of koopen”
“Hij, die ten onrechte den naam eener heerlijkheid als deel van een geslachtsnaam opgeeft of draagt, valt niet onder het bereik onzer strafwet en loopt alleen in het weinig waarschijnlijke geval, dat daardoor aan een ander nadeel wordt toegebracht, gevaar, dat eene burgerlijke rechtsvordering tegen hem wordt ingesteld (artikel 1401) van het Burgerlijk Wetboek).”
De conclusie is dus dat er sprake is van een immaterieel vermogensrecht dat ontstaan is door gewoonte. Het betreffende recht is een absoluut recht – dat kan worden geldend gemaakt tegenover in beginsel willekeurig welke derde – op het betreffende immateriële voorwerp (gebruik titel/benaming) en het geeft de rechthebbende een exclusief gebruiksrecht op dat immateriële voorwerp.
Vanaf het moment van het ontstaan van het recht wordt het in beginsel geabstraheerd van de persoon van de originaire rechthebbende en leidt het gewoonterecht een eigen leven dat niet meer beïnvloed wordt door omstandigheden waarin de originaire rechthebbende in de toekomst komt te verkeren. Zoals het eigendomsrecht op een fiets los staat van de wederwaardigheden van de oorspronkelijke eigenaar, maar enkel door de lotgevallen van de fiets wordt bepaald, zo staat het gewoonterecht los van de verdere levensloop van de eerste rechthebbende en is het voortbestaan van het recht hooguit afhankelijk van de lotgevallen van het immateriële voorwerp zelf. Een beetje vergelijkbaar met een auteursrecht dus.
Commentaar/alternatieve denkwijzen zijn van harte welkom.
Dr. Olaf van Hees (FB 26 juli 2018)
Na de afschaffing van de heerlijkheden in 1848 hebben de leden van de familie Van Hees (Van Berkel en Rodenrijs en den Tempel) familiebreed besloten de naam Van Hees van den Tempel te voeren, ook door de 2e en 3e graad leden, immers afkomstig van eenzelfde stam. Het gebruik van de toevoeging is sinds het begin van de 20e eeuw zodanig verwaterd dat niemand dit meer gebruikt.
Mr Dries-Jan van Huykelom van de Pas (E-mail 26 juli 2018)
“Naar mijn mening is het gevolg van voorgaande jurisprudentie dat het voeren van de betiteling en de toevoeging van de naam, moet worden gezien als een gewoonterecht. Dit recht is in de loop van de tijd van karakter veranderd. Er zijn immers geen eigenlijke heerlijke rechten meer”.
Ik heb bezwaar tegen de opvatting dat er geen heerlijke rechten meer zouden bestaan. Toonaangevende wetenschappers, waaronder Ketelaar, zijn van mening dat enkele, nog bestaande, heerlijke rechten een regale oorsprong hebben. Zo is het visrecht afgeleid van het stroomregaal. Ketelaar neemt afstand van het onderscheid dat De Blécourt aanvankelijk maakte tussen eigenlijke en oneigenlijk heerlijke rechten. Hij schrijft: “het heerlijk karakter is juist een wezenlijk aspect van de ambachtsgevolgen” (F.C.J. Ketelaar, “Oude zakelijke rechten, vroeger, nu en in de toekomst”, Universitaire Pers Leiden, Tjeenk Willink 1978, p. 12-13.). Met andere woorden, heerlijke rechten bestaan nog steeds.
“De conclusie is dus dat er sprake is van een immaterieel vermogensrecht dat ontstaan is door gewoonte”
Deze conclusie deel ik. In de vroege Middeleeuwen konden alleen edellieden eigenaar zijn van een heerlijkheid. De titel ‘heer van’ (dominus) is van oorsprong de aanspreektitel voor een ridder. Hoewel het dus geen adellijke titel is duidde het gebruik van de aanspreektitel er destijds wel op dat de geadresseerde van adel was. In de oudste charters uit de Middeleeuwen wordt daarom iedere eigenaar van een heerlijkheid ‘heer van’ genoemd. Als het in de latere Middeleeuwen niet langer verplicht is om van adel te zijn om eigenaar van een heerlijkheid (met uitzondering van Zeeland) te zijn, wordt het woord ‘heer van’ niet genoemd in de charters, terwijl de eigenaars wel ‘heer van’ werden genoemd en als dusdanig werden erkend. Het ridderlijke ‘heer van’ is aldus in de loop van de tijd los komen te staan van het zijn van ridder en duidt sindsdien op het bezit van een heerlijkheid. Daarmee is een heerlijkheidstitel toen vooral een functie-aanduiding geworden voor de eigenaar van de heerlijke rechten, en met name van het recht op jurisdictie.In al mijn onderzoek naar (de status van) heerlijkheden ben ik nergens een bepaalde vorm van codificatie van het recht tot het voeren van de titel tegengekomen. Er zijn ook geen historici, noch rechtswetenschappers die van een wettelijke of anderszins juridische grondslag gewag maken. In dit licht is artikel 24 uit de staatsregeling van 1798 van belang, waarin – zonder enige onduidelijkheid – de heerlijke rechten en titels zijn afgeschaft:
Alle eigenlijk gezegde Heerlijke Regten en Tituls, waardoor aan een bijzonder Persoon of Lichaam zou worden toegekend eenig gezag omtrent het Bestuur van zaken in eenige Stad, Dorp of Plaats, of de aanstelling van deze of gene Ambtenaaren binnen dezelve, worden, voor zoo verr’ die niet reeds niet de daad zijn afgeschaft, bij de aanneming der Staatsregeling, zonder eenige schaêvergoeding, voor altijd vernietigd.”
Hiermee is zeer waarschijnlijk het recht tot het voeren van de titel ‘heer van’ afgeschaft, aangezien de revolutionairen uit die tijd sterk gekant waren tegen het feodalisme. Heerlijkheden, meer nog dan briefadel, waren hier een belangrijk onderdeel van. Zeker is wel dat met artikel 15 van de staatsregeling van 1801 artikel 24 van de staatsregeling van 1798 werd ingetrokken:
Alle algemeene Wetten en bepalingen, welke sedert het begin van den Jare 1795 gederogeerd hebben aan de waarde van Eigendommen of wettig verkregen Bezittingen, zyn aan herziening onderworpen. Een ieder die door dezelve benadeeld is geworden, kan zich deswegen aan het Staats-Bewind vervoegen, het welk, naar bevind van zaken de afschaffing of verbetering van die Wetten, alsmede eene billyke schadeloosstelling, voordraagt aan het Wetgevend Lichaam.“
Heerlijkheden, c.q. heerlijke rechten, als verhandelbare vermogensrechtelijke zaak/zaken vallen hier onder. De titel, als die al was afgeschaft in 1798, is daardoor nog bestaand: er is na 1798 geen enkele wettelijke bepaling die er op ziet om (het gebruik van) de titel af te schaffen.
“De conclusie is dus dat er sprake is van een immaterieel vermogensrecht dat ontstaan is door gewoonte. Het betreffende recht is een absoluut recht – dat kan worden geldend gemaakt tegenover in beginsel willekeurig welke derde – op het betreffende immateriële voorwerp (gebruik titel/benaming) en het geeft de rechthebbende een exclusief gebruiksrecht op dat immateriële voorwerp.”
Zeer juist. Tot slot wil ik je nog op het volgende wijzen:
In 1814 zijn er een aantal Soevereine Besluiten uitgevaardigd door Willem I, waarmee een aantal heerlijke rechten werden hersteld. Je hebt daar een mooi artikel over geschreven, dus daarover zal ik niet uitweiden. Wel van belang is de tekst van deze artikelen. Hierin wordt namelijk vrijwel altijd gesproken over “ambachtsheeren”, “heeren”, slechts in één enkel geval ook over “voormalige heeren”. Uitgaande van een redactionele wetsinterpretatie zou ik durven stellen dat de titel inderdaad 1798 heeft overleefd en in deze artikelen wordt bevestigd.
In Italy a person may call him/herself by any title of nobility desired. Titles of nobility are not forbidden, nor recognized by the Italian state. The Italian judicial system does not forbid the use of titles of nobility, but remains totally indifferent regarding its use. This means that Italian law does not attribute any value (neither value nor disvalue) to noble titles (see e.g. a recent ruling by the Italian court of Reggio Emilia (Tribunale di Reggio Emilia) of 12 December 2017, translated here). In other countries, like e.g. The Netherlands, it is forbidden to use a national title of nobility without being entitled to it. The use of foreign titles is not prohibited. Does this mean that in Italy a person can use/issue any title he likes? And does this mean that in The Netherlands any foreign title of nobility can be used freely? In this article I will show that this is not the case and that the legal protection of titles in various legal systems can be very effectively pursued.
With some exceptions, in most jurisdictions it is not unlawful to impersonate someone per se. In numerous countries however, it is a criminal offence to dishonestly make a false representation with the intention of making a gain or causing a loss. Very often a false representation has the intention of causing some kind of tangible gain or loss. Gain or loss can be loss of money or property. Loss to reputation can have incalculable damage in this regard. It is very difficult to impersonate someone without then going on to commit another offence (either civil or criminal). Those who communicate with a impersonator, and share personal or confidential information, may have very serious damages claims.
One of the most common claims against an impersonator is passing off. In commerce, an example is where an individual misrepresents himself as a representative of a company, or his services to be those of company. In more personal cases, the result is the same, for example when someone falsely suggests that such a high-profile person has endorsed him. Impersonation takes place if any part of a person’s identity is used in a way that does not fit with the characteristics of the actual person concerned. Depending on the legal system, impersonation can result in a criminal offense and/or in civil liability.
Case study: impersonating and its consequences
Publicly impersonating being a descendant from a monarch and belonging to a specific royal family, thus not having a legitimate historical claim to a so-called fount of honor, in my opinion, can lead to both criminal and civil liability. One example would be when someone pays a fee to a illusionary royal descendant in order to obtain a noble title. Another example would be when a reputation is damaged if it turns out that a title of nobility has no historical background, such as in the case of Mrs Pamala Anderson, a famous actress and animal rights campaigner. Mrs Anderson was “officially” declared Countess de Gigli at a ceremony in Genoa (Italy) in 2015. The deed was carried out by the self-declared Prince of Montenegro, a man called Stefan Cernetic. The deed was a horrible act of abusing the trust of a vulnerable lady. Cernetic has been charged with impersonation by the Italian police in 2017. Mr Cernetic is not in any way related to Nikola II Petrović-Njegoš, Crown Prince of Montenegro (born 7 July 1944), who is the legitimate Head of the House of Petrović-Njegoš, which reigned over Montenegro from 1696 to 1766 and again from 1782 to 1918. A third example of impersonation would be to use a title that is connected to an existing family of noble descent, e.g. Count Bismarck, thus giving the impression that the impersonator is part of that noble family.
It should be remembered that historical fact-finding is achieved through scientific reasoning and solid evidence, not via “approval” from a self-appointed “authority” or by somebody who happens to be descended from royalty. Violating these conditions and subsequently issue noble titles may lead to an impersonation. The recipient of the title is deceived. That impersonators gain social acceptance on the internet or edit entries on Wikipedia does not make them real. The recipient believes that the title has a historical background, but in fact this background is fabricated. In contrast, the mentioned criminal court ruling of the Italian court of Reggio Emilia (Tribunale di Reggio Emilia) of 12 December 2017 shows that Prince Thorbjorn Paternò Castello (see below) is not impersonating recipients of his honorific accessories, because the prince has a legitimate claim regarding such honors. This does not mean that such a claim cannot be challenged, only that the claim is reasonable (meaning: not fabricated or false), like in the Cernetic-case.
Breach of Intellectual Property rights
In most countries it is also a civil and criminal offense to falsely claim that someone is the author of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work. It might seem odd to think of title of nobility as being included. Copyright can be seen as a law that gives a person ownership over the things created by that person (the author). As defined by the Berne Convention, the moral rights of the author include: the right to claim authorship of the work (1); the right to object to any distortion, mutilation or modification of the work (2) and the right to object to any derogatory action that may damage the authors honor or reputation (3). It is not always easy to establish whether a work falls within the definition of artistic works. Therefore, whether a title of nobility cannot be solved by detailed definitions of artistic works without creating the opposing problem that such a definition is too narrow. Cited in the 2011 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Lucas films vs. Ainsworth, Judge Mann believes that in many cases it is only the artistic purpose of the artist which makes an otherwise banal object an “artistic work”. I believe that this factor for determining whether a work is an artistic work is crucial. It avoids judges becoming the arbiter of “what is an artistic work” and instead places the onus on the intentions of the artist. A title of nobility can be intended as a artistic work when its specific elements, which alone do not need to attract copyright, together form a ‘unity’ with an own, original character (compare Court of Appeal of Amsterdam 27 June 2002). The latter meaning that it carries the personal character of the maker.
Case study: IP-law protection of legitimate titles
To demonstrate originality, the question should be answered whether the author has made use of the creative space to produce an intellectual creation that can be considered the author’s own (Van Gompel 2014, p. 138). This is the case with titles created by Prince Thorbjorn Paternò Castello, in his capacity as claimant to the dynastic rights of the ancient Royal House of Valencia and Aragon. With the creation of the title, the prince becomes the author of the artistic work, consisting of a written description of the historic background, a description and a color image of the coat of arms that is connected to the title, a chosen and unique combination of words that are designated as a noble title (e.g. Count of Vall de Almonacid of the Sovereign House of Valencia) and can be used as an honorific accessory to a person’s name/identity, and the subsequent courtesy by the relevant community of addressing the person by his noble title. It can be said that the creation of such a title is intended to be an artistic work by both the issuer and the recipient, since it is intended to be a unique honorific accessory to the recipient’s name, based on the personal historical background of the issuer. The title has commercial value because the recipient often pays a fee for the transfer, that is used to fund charity projects of the prince. Therefore, the title is protected by IP-law.
Such IP-rights are transferred in the diploma from the prince to the recipient with the right to transmit them perpetually from male to male in order of primogeniture, and, in the absence of heirs, to the firstborn of the closest line, and, in the absence of males, una tantum to females. Both male and female collaterals have the title of “Noble of the”, as is the custom, and in any case, the title of “Don” and “Donna” (letter of patent issued to John Wayne Rinkle, 28 September 2010).
In countries where there does not exist a direct protection against illegitimate issuance or use of titles of nobility, the law still offers a serious degree of protection against misuse. Historical legitimacy is required. Therefore, only under this condition, issuers and recipients of noble titles can claim legal protection as described above.
Een opinie-artikeltje met deze naam wilde ik al langer schrijven. Toevallig zag ik, voordat ik er aan begon, dat er al een boek was met dezelfde titel: Juliana, een onderschatte vorstin, door journalist Bert van Nieuwenhuizen. De auteur heeft veel artikelen op zijn naam staan, die de Nederlandse monarchie als onderwerp hebben.
In zijn boek legt Van Nieuwenhuizen de nadruk op de rol die Juliana heeft gespeeld bij de wederopbouw en het sociale gezicht van Nederland. Koningin Juliana heeft vaak gezegd dat zij graag maatschappelijk werkster was geworden als zij niet tot vorstin was geroepen. De biografie van Van Nieuwenhuizen is vooral interessant omdat hij deze mede heeft gebaseerd op biografieen van politici met wie Koningin Juliana nauw heeft samengewerkt, zoals Willem Drees en Louis Beel.
Anderen zijn kritischer over de koningin en noemen haar een goede actrice: ‘Juliana hoefde alleen maar in te stappen.’ en ‘Juliana is van alle vorsten die we hebben gehad de beste actrice geweest.’ (M.G.Schenk en M.van Herk, Juliana, vorstin naast de rode loper). Naar mijn mening is dit onjuist. Makkelijk instappen en aan boord blijven was er niet bij. Denk aan het moeilijke huwelijk met Prins Bernhard, de uitdagingen van de wederopbouw, de Greet Hofmans-affaire en het huwelijk van haar dochter Beatrix, waar een deel van Nederland (achteraf volkomen misplaatst) zo veel moeite mee had. Koningin Juliana heeft het allemaal weten te doorstaan.
Een prima voorbeeld van politieke behendigheid, is de rol die Koningin Juliana speelde bij de totstandkoming van het kabinet Den Uyl. Uit recent onderzoek van politicoloog Wilfred Scholten blijkt dat de koningin deze ultra linkse politicus in het zadel heeft geholpen. Koningin Juliana was namelijk de initiatiefnemer voor de zogenaamde “inbraak van Burger”. Met deze term wordt de succesvolle poging van PvdA-informateur Jaap Burger in 1973 aangeduid om de anti-revolutionaire prominenten Boersma en De Gaay Fortman te winnen voor een progressief kabinet-Den Uyl. Daarmee legde Burger de basis voor het beruchte kabinet-Den Uyl. Hiervoor was geen parlementaire meerderheid. Burger had kans gezien Boersma en De Gaay Fortman zover te krijgen dat zij wilden toetreden tot dit kabinet. De ARP-fractie, die van niks wist, stond perplex. Boersma kreeg als ‘verrader’ een stortvloed aan verwijten over zich heen. Het beeld van de simpele ziel aan de zijde van de flashy Prins Bernhard is dus onjuist. Net als het beeld van Den Uyl overigens (maar dan omgekeerd). Terwijl Nederland de jaren zeventig in de krant las dat ‘Joop en Liesbeth’ met de caravan naar het zuiden waren afgereisd, zagen mijn ouders en ik het echtpaar in een duur hotel in Zweden de meest exclusieve gerechten naar binnen werken.
Een wederdienst van de van huis uit koningsgezinde Den Uyl was op zijn plaats. Onderzoeker Anet Bleich ontdekte dat Den Uyl in 1976 van de ’Commissie van drie’ (1) sterke aanwijzingen ontving dat Prins Bernhard zowel van vliegtuigbouwer Lockheed als van concurrent Northrop steekpenningen had aangenomen. Den Uyl heeft die informatie echter achter gehouden. Hij was bang voor een koningscrisis en natuurlijk ook voor het feit dat zijn eigen positie daarin meegezogen zou worden. Hoewel Den Uyl met zijn torenhoge belastingen ons land op de rand van de afgrond heeft gebracht, moet ik hem nageven dat hij ten aanzien van de monarchie de juiste keuzes heeft gemaakt. De politiek van Den Uyl was een “afschrikwekkend voorbeeld van socialistisch beleid” (premier Rutte op BNR Radio, 25 augustus 2012), maar Den Uyl heeft (uit dankbaarheid) de monarchie wel gered.
Bij mij roept dit alles de vraag op waarom Koningin Juliana zo graag Den Uyl aan het roer wilde. Ik kan er geen eenduidige verklaring voor vinden. Ik denk dat Koningin Juliana oprecht geloofde in de linkse ideeën van Den Uyl. Zij vond het mooi om Koningin te zijn maar hechtte ook veel waarde aan een sociale samenleving. Uiteindelijk ben ik van mening dat Koningin Juliana onder de meest moeilijke omstandigheden haar rol als staatshoofd op een prima wijze invulling heeft gegeven.
W. Scholten, Mooie Barend. Biografie van B.W. Biesheuvel 1920-2001 (Uitgeverij Bert Bakker; Amsterdam 2012)
A. Bleich, Joop den Uyl 1919-1987. Dromer en doordouwer (Uitgeverij Balans; Amsterdam 2008)
B. van Nieuwenhuizen, Juliana, een onderschatte vorstin (Uitgeverij Oorsprong; Deventer 2010)
(1) Voorzitter van de Commissie van Drie was mr. A.M Donner, rechter bij het Europees Hof van Justitie. De overige leden waren dr. M.W. Holtrop (voormalig president van De Nederlandsche Bank) en de president van de Algemene Rekenkamer, drs. H. Peschar.
Holtrop (1902 – 1988) was op 30 aug. 1926 gehuwd met Josina Juchter (1901-1965). Uit dit huwelijk werden twee zoons en een dochter geboren.
PvdA-man-Peschar was in 1965 een van de vier leden van de PvdA-fractie die tegen de Toestemmingswet voor het huwelijk van prinses Beatrix en Claus van Amsberg stemden. Peschar had echter minder moeite met het accepteren van een koninklijke onderscheiding. Hij was Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw en Grootofficier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau.
De prinsen-titel voor Pieter van Vollenhoven stuitte destijds op politieke bezwaren. Op 25 maart 1966 schrijft minister-president (14 april 1965 tot 22 november 1966) Jo Cals ‘Allen tegen titel Prins der Nederlanden,’ behalve minister van Defensie De Jong, ‘die overigens geen uitgesproken voorkeur heeft.’ Verder zijn de bewindslieden tegen de verheffing van Pieter in de adelstand. De Hoge Raad van Adel was voor verheffing. Koningin Juliana was ook tegen: ‘Kwalificatie Prins der Nederlanden te hoog’, wel mag Pieter ‘lid van ons Huis’ worden. De koningin wijst een compromisvoorstel af om Pieter dan toch ‘Graaf van Buren’ te laten worden: ‘Dat is een on-Hollandse oplossing.’ (bron: Nationaal Archief). Enige decennia later werd daar gelukkig anders over gedacht bij de verlening van titels aan zijn kinderen.
This article (San Francisco Call, Volume 102, Number 121, 29 September 1907) has been transcribed from the original scan. I have added comments and biographical notes to provide more information about the titled persons. The article gives insight in the social background of the new nobility.
The Papal Nobility of America
Mrs. THOMAS FORTUNE RYAN has been made a countess by Pope Pius X. This announcement comes close on the heels of the report that her husband is to be made a prince of the church. It has been whispered in high church circles in New York and in Rome that for the flrst time in years the red hat of a cardinal would be bestowed upon -a man of the world – and an American. While this report may be groundless, the fact has come to light that during the last few years what may possibly be termed a papal nobility has been created in the United States. Theoretically Pope Plus IX was a friend of the United States and an admirer of the church in this country, but not until the reign of Leo XIII and of the present pontiff has there been any acknowledgment of the high standing of the church in this country other than the creation of two cardinals in a hundred years. “Nobility lies not in heritage alone, but in the deeds of the living generations.” was one of the epigrams of Leo XIII. Taking this for his maxim, he placed the ancient titles of Rome upon men and women whose lives distinguished them among the good doers of the generation. Pius X has followed his policy. During the four years of his reign he has created an unprecedented number of nobles in recognition of both scientific achievement and – philanthropic work. While Pope Pius has accepted the precedent set by Leo XIII, which accorded to Cardinal Gibbons the distinction of being “the American cardinal,” and has intimated that during the life of his eminence no other prelate will be given the red hat, he has in every other way possible elevated the standing of the American church.
Thomas Fortune Ryan (1851–1928) was an American tobacco, insurance and transportation magnate. Although he lived in New York City for much of his adult career, Ryan was perhaps the greatest benefactor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond in the decades before the Great Depression. In addition to paying for schools, hospitals and other charitable works, Ryan’s donations paid for the construction of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Virginia. Ryan also made significant donations to Catholic institutions in New York City and Washington, D.C. (source: Wikipedia). As her husband’s wealth grew exponentially, Ida Barry Ryan began making large benefactions to Catholic charitable organizations in New York, Virginia, and across the country. The Ryans funded churches, convents and hospitals in Manhattan, including the architecturally important St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church on the Upper East Side. In Washington, D.C., they paid for a gymnasium and dormitory at the Jesuit-founded Georgetown University. Pope Pius X recognized the couple’s generosity by naming him to the papal nobility and giving Ida Ryan the cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for her work in the Diocese. The couple’s lifetime contributions to Catholic charities around the country totalled $20 million.
The raising of Mrs. Ryan (1854-1917) to the Catholic nobility was expected by many prelates in this country during Pops Leo’s administration. Decorations and privileges were accorded to her, but the rank of countess was held in the country only by Mils Annie Leary. Mrs. Ryan, the builder of churches and iiospitals and schools, the story of whose remarkable life was recently told in the Herald, never has sough any recognition for her deeds. While it Is known that she gives away $1,000,000 a year for charitable purposes, little Is known of her philanthropy. She has built more churches and schools in the United States than any other person in the entire world. The number of these gifts alone exceeds 30 and there is hardly a Catholic church or Institution In the eastern states or in the southwestern section to which she has not lent material aid. In placing the title of “Countess Ida” upon Mrs. Ryan Pope Pius is said to have remarked that it was not alone for the cathedrals and churches and public institutions with which Mrs. Ryan has enriched the church in this country that she has been made a member of the Vatican nobility, but more especially because of the daily Christian life she leads. Few religious orders require from their nuns more of abstinence and labor and prayer than Mrs. Ryan gives every day of her life. She begins her morning by attending mass, and from that time until she retires at night her mind and her hands are ever busy in some good work. She is a lover of working men and women, and her munificence has done much to relieve the burdens of hundreds In New York and In the far west, where she has materially aided destitute consumptives. She gave to Virginia Its cathedral at Richmond, which cost $ 1.000.000.
The only other papal countess la the United States is the Countess Annie Leary, whose title was ctven by Pope Leo XIII, and expired at the pontiffs death. One of the first acts of Pope Pius’ administration waa to renew the Countess Leary’s title, with that of from other temporary nobility. Countess Leary received the title because of her extensive work for the “Welfare of working girls and emigrants. Years ago, when she very young girl, before the emigrants bureau was as well organized as it is now and prior to the time when State street was lined with homes for emigrant girls, terrible stories of the snares and temptations which were laid In the way of young girls coming as strangers to this land reached the ears of Miss Leery. She was horrified at such conditions and determined to try to find a remedy for the evil. She possessed an ample fortune and she resolved to share it with her less fortunate sisters. She gave freely to the support and management of the Irish emigrants’ home, at No. 7 State street, and also aided the German and Italian homes around Castle Garden, where a housed that steady stream of friendless girls coming to these shores to seek true honest living. But even those homes where the girls were taken on their arrival here did not solve the problem. Places of employment were found for them, and yet too often they went out Into a world they so little understood, unlearned of the ways of the world, unfitted to cope with the conditions friendless girl has to meet. Many ol those girls were of simple faith and trusting natures, and the stories which reached the ears of the clergy and those interestet in the question necessitated some action.
Countess Leary learned some of these facts from her own servant girls. She became Interested, made Investigations and then resolved upen a line of action. She was the mind and often the means of establishing working girls’ clubs and homes, there being a regular network of them throughout, the east and lower west sides. She has devoted most of her life to this work, giving her personal attention and encouragement to these institutions. She goes, among the girls and hears their stories, their little problems and their great troubles. Any woman’s heart oppressed finds eympathy and encouragement from Countess Leary. Her heart has a b!g place in it for all wage earning women.
Countess Leary is a stanch American and, realizing that the future of the state lies In the children of today, she spends much of her time and her wealth for the boys and girls of the poor. She has established boys’ clubs and gymnasiums and girls’, clubs and reading rooms and sewing clubs and playrooms for the youth of the other half. At Christmas and New Year’s and Thanksgiving and national feast days the countess arranges celebrations In the various Institutions she is interested in. Christmas eve of every year she assembles several hundred little tots and gives to each of them a warm, pretty cap and coat, besides candies and a book of some kind. “The Man Without a Country” Is one of her favorite books for boys, and she has given many copies of it. In addition to her charities among children and working women, Countess Leary has lent much aid to hospital work for the poor. She Is a patron’ of all the children’s hospitals and goes often with flowers and dainty foods and pleasing toys to visit the unfortunate young folk. Countess Leary presented to Bellevue-hospital the fine chapel which was built there several years ago. Another pretty charity of hers is to send a beautiful quantity of pure, rich cream for the ward patients at various hospitals on hot days.
Annie Leary (1832 – 1919) was the daughter of the hatter James Leary who was a childhood friend of William Backhouse Astor Sr., then, later bought many beaver pelts from William’s father John Jacob Astor and operated a shop in the basement of the original Astor House Hotel across from New York City Hall. She had three brothers Arthur, Daniel, and George who made a fortune in shipping during the U.S. Civil War. Arthur was a bachelor who Annie accompanied to society functions in New York City as well as Newport, Rhode Island. It has been suggested that James friendship with the Astors is what led to Arthur and in turn Annie’s being the only Catholics to be included on Caroline Astor’s “The 400”. When Arthur died she inherited his fortune as well as his social prominence and recognition via the aforementioned 400 list. Coming into large sums of money Annie Leary soon became an ardent philanthropist. Among her notable bequests was the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at Bellevue Hospital (dedicated 1897 – razed 1938 in order to make way for a Bellevue administration building which encompasses a new chapel where the original stained glass panels including nine made in Munich remain today) the first Catholic chapel at Bellevue. It was dedicated in memory of her late brother Arthur (source: Wikipedia).
To Archbishop Farley, whom Pope Pius greatly esteems, the pontiff has given a court of monsignor, which lends to any diocesan ceremony a dignity of splender which is found nowhere outside Rome. At the consecration of the cathedral, which occurs, it is planned, soon after the work is entirely finished on the Lady chapel, there will be, in addition to the archbishop and his coadjutor, Bishop Cusick, the archbishop’s seven diocesan bishops, 25 purple robed monsignori and seven lay nobles around the episcopal throne.
The only papal duke the United States has ever claimed is the duke de Loubat., the last son of the aristocratic family of that name. The title was conferred by Pope Leo in recognition of the duke de Loubat’s generous support of Catholic and nonsectarian schools and colleges. Duke de Loubat lent his aid to every Catholic college in this country and to many in France. He gave a million dollar endowment to Columbia university at the time when is was in financial straits. He also added much to Columbia library. He was made duke in 1898. He decides his time between New York and Paris and swell known in France as a man of great learning and philanthropy. Is a graduate of the University of Paris.
Joseph Florimond Loubat (January 21, 1831 – March 1, 1927) was a French and American bibliophile, antiquarian, sportsman, and philanthropist. He was ennobled as Duc de Loubat by Pope Leo XIII in 1893 (source: Wikipedia).
John D. Crimmins has recently made a count by Pope Pius X. Mr Crimmins is a trustee of St. Patrick’s cathedral and is a member of nearly all the boards of importance in archbishop’s Farley’s diocese. The scarlet cloak of the Knight of St. Gregory was given to Mr. Crimmins as a token of the pope’s of his work for the church in New York. Count Crimmin’s most distinguished gift in the diocese is the splendid monastery at Hunts point, where he established the Dominican Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. These nuns devote their lives to prayer, and some one of their order kneels every hour of the night and day before the chapel alter in the monastery.
Born in New York City to Irish immigrant parents, John Daniel Crimmins attended the College of St. Francis Xavier (now Xavier High School). After graduating he took a job at his father’s contracting firm, eventually taking over the business. His firm employed some 12,000 workers. It built more than 400 buildings in New York City and most of the elevated railways. He was also involved in local politics, serving as New York City Parks Commissioner. Crimmins was one of the few Catholic millionaires of his time and he was an active benefactor of the Archdiocese of New York. Among the building projects he aided was that of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers. Crimmins was named a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great and a Papal Count. He was active in Irish-American organizations, particularly the American-Irish Historical Society. He wrote two books on Irish-American history (source: patheos.com). Pictures of his house van be found here.
Marquis Maloney, beter known to the political and financial world as Martin Maloney, received his title about six years ago at the request of cardinal Satolli, whom the marquis met when the cardinal was papal delegate for this country. A strong friendship developed here between the prince of the church and the American millionaire. Some time after Cardinal Satolli was called back to Rome, Marquis Maloney went to Italy on a visit and the friendship was renewed. The American when taken to the dilapidated ruins of St. John’s cathedral asked how much it would take to reconstruct the ancient structure.
“How much money?” asked Cardinal Satolli. “Why, who ever thought about that? It would take at least $ 50.000 and that amount might be spent to better advantage.”.
“It might, but it won’t” remarked Martin Maloney, and the very next day saw work begun on the cathedral. It is said that twice $50.000 was spent on the work. While this gift is accredited as the cause of the bestowal of the noble title on Marin Maloney, it is by no means his largest gift to the church.
He has just given to to Pennsylvania a home for aged men and women, the building alone of which will cost $ 150.000. This home will be dedicated to Martin Maloney’s father and mother, who, when they emigrated to this country from Ireland many years ago, made their first humble home in Scranton. It was here that Marquis Maloney spent his boyhood.
At the time of the expulsion of the nuns in France four years ago Marquis Maloney went abroad with a definite purpose in mind. He purchased many of the small convents with the nuns had been ordered to vacate and held them as his private property in order that the religious might not be disturbed. Among the larger convents he purchased was that of the Little Sisters of the Assumption in Paris, where Marquis Maloney’s two daughters, Margaret and Katherine, were educated. After the death of the older daughter, Margaret, Marquis Maloney built near his summer house at Spring Lake N.J. one of the handsomest churches in this country, which he dedicated to his daughter and called St. Margaret’s.
Maloney Hall is the home of the Busch School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America. It is located on the southeast corner of Catholic University’s main campus. Maloney Hall was named for Martin Maloney, a Philadelphia philanthropist and papal marquis (a layman who has received a high title of nobility from the reigning pope), who gave $120,000 for the main building and $100,000 for the auditorium. The building originally housed the Martin Maloney Chemical Laboratory, the laboratory where the chemical weapon lewisite was first invented by Julius Nieuwland and later Winford Lee Lewis, with the help of CUA and Army researchers, developed it into a now-banned chemical weapon. It served as a laboratory for Armyresearchers developing chemical munitions for World War I (source: Wikipedia).
Count John Goode of Brooklyn and Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet of New York aro the only two Americans who, have been titled by Rome in recognition of signal scientific achievements. Count Goede, well known as an inventor, was given his title after evolvIng a machine for the making of ropes. Until this time all the rope made was twisted by hand, and for this labor young boys and girls were employed, the wages paid being too small for the employment of men. Count Goode at that time was a very rich man, having amassed a fortune in the cordage business. He used to stand and watch the boys and girls at the hard labor of rope twisting, and determined to evolve a method for lightening this work. The machine he invented resulted in revolutionizing the cordage enterprise In the world. Count Goude Is a very devoted Catholic and has given much of his wealth to the Brooklyn diocese. He enriched Brooklyn by the church of St. John.
Thomas Addis Emmet
Thomas Addis Emmet is the latest member of the papal knighthood. He was vested, with the scarlet cape and sword In Archbishop Farley’s residence last spring and will appear in his regalia at the formal celebration In the cathedral this fall. Dr Emmet is a proud descendant of Robert Emmet. He was Knighted in recognition of his medical research.
Charles Astor Bristed
Charles Astor Bristed, grandson of William Astor has for a ‘number of years been conspicuous at all the state ceremonies at St. Patrlck’s cathedral, where. with his cape and sword he has, according to the privileges of his title, knelt in the sanctuary to participate in the ‘ceremonies. Sir Charles Brlsted was knighted for his widespread philanthropies and his strict adherence to his church.
William J. Onahan
William J. Onahan of Chicago who was made a knight of St. Gregory by Pope Leo, has enjoyed the actual privileges of his title probably more than any other member of the nobility in this country. He spends a great deal of his time abroad and is a frequent visitor at the Vatican. Accordingly to his rank, he can I enter the Vatican at any time without seeking permission for asking an audience. He was in the Vatican at the time of the death of Pope Leo and was in the very room where the late pontiff’s body was carried to be laid in state. According to ancient customs, the gates were locked at that time and Sir William Onahan was cloistered in the Vatican the remainder of the night.
After ,the death of his mother the family struggled along in Liverpool for a while. Then the voice that had called them from Ireland called again. The little home was again broken up and the Onahan family set sail for America. The voyage took six weeks in a sailing vessel and they reached the harbor of New York on St. Patrick’s day. There was a small boyish figure in the prow of the ship, and two little girls by his side all looking eagerly to the land in which their lot was to be cast. Bands were playing, men were marching, the green flag was flying everywhere. It was a happy omen to the young Irish lad whose staunch Americanism was to be all the hardier for the Celtic root from which it sprang.
Arrived in New York he immediately got a job in a lawyer’s office, sweeping and dusting and doing the usual office chores for the munificent sum of $1.00 per month and his board and clothes. Once in later life when he was testifying in a lawsuit the judge said to him: Mr. Onahan, from your answers you must have studied law.” No. your honor,” he replied, ^Hhe only law I ever studied was what I picked up in the sweepings of a lawyer’s office in New York when I was a lad.” But he had the legal mind (source: Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1908-1984) Vol. 11, No. 4 (Jan., 1919), pp. 636-653).
Count John Creighton of Omaha. Neb., who died, last month, was ono of the best known members of the papal nobility. He donated to Nebraska the Creighton university, the largest university In that state, and also gave several hospitals and a number of churches to Omaha.
Count John Andrew Creighton (October 15, 1831 – February 7, 1907) was a pioneer businessman and philanthropist in Omaha, Nebraska who founded Creighton University. The younger brother of Edward Creighton, John was responsible for a variety of institutions throughout the city of Omaha, and was ennobled by Pope Leo XIII in recognition of his contributions to Creighton University, the Catholic community in Omaha, and the city of Omaha in general. From its founding in 1878 to the time of his death in 1907 Creighton was said to have donated at least $2,000,000 to Creighton University. In 1888 Creighton financed the Creighton University Observatory, and in 1898 he gave money towards a medical school, which was named in his honor. In 1904 he created the Edward Creighton Institute.Creighton is also credited with establishing Omaha’s St. Joseph’s Hospital and bringing the first monastery of the Poor Clares in the country to the city. He paid for almost the entire cost of St. John’s Parish at Creighton, where the cornerstone was laid in 1888. Today Creighton University in Omaha is viewed as being named in honor of the entire Creighton family, particularly John and his brother Edward, as well as their wives Sara and Emily.He was named a Knight of St. Gregory on January 15, 1895 by Pope Leo XIII, and in 1898 was titled a Count by the same. In 1900 Creighton received the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame. Omaha’s John A. Creighton Boulevard was named after him immediately after his death in 1907, as is the existent “John A. Creighton University Professorship” at Creighton University (source: Wikipedia).
Adrin Iselin Is amons the prominent New York men who have received titles from Rome. Mr. Iselin was vested with the cape and sword of the Knights of St. Gregory soon after the beginning of the present administration. One of Sir Adrian Iselin’s most valuable gifts to New York is the $150,000 chapel at New Rochells. This was presented to the diocese after the crest of St. Gregory was bestowed upon him.
Adrian Georg Iselin (January 17, 1818 – March 28, 1905) was a New York financier who invested in and developed real estate, railroads, and mining operations. For many years during his early business career he was engaged in importing with his brother, William Iselin, being one of the most successful merchants of New York in the middle of the century. After retiring from the importing trade, he established the banking house of Adrian Iselin & Co. He is considered the founder of the Iselin family in the United States.
Eleanora O’Donnell Iselin (1821–1897) was born into one of Baltimore, Maryland’s most prominent and wealthy families. In 1845 she married Adrian Iselin, an affluent banker and dry goods merchant. The Iselins lived in New York City, where they were active members of high society and supporters of the city’s cultural centers, including the Metropolitan Opera House, the American Museum of Natural History, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Eleanora’s daughters Georgine and Emily commissioned the portrait from Sargent in the spring of 1888, as the artist’s first professional visit to America was nearing its end (source: National Gallery of Art).
According to family tradition, when Sargent arrived at the Iselin home for the sitting, Mrs. Iselin entered the drawing room followed by a maid carrying an armful of ball gowns and asked him which one he wanted her to wear. To her dismay, Sargent insisted on painting her exactly as she stood without even removing her hand from the table. Some art historians have suggested that this interaction explains the sitter’s somewhat severe expression. When late in life Sargent was asked if he remembered Mrs. Iselin, he diplomatically replied, “Of course! I cannot forget that dominating little finger.” (Source: National Gallery of Art).
Richard C. Kerens
Richard C. Kerens of St. Louis, railroadman and politician. Is a chamberlain to Pope Pius-X. Mr. Kerens, who came to America a poor emigrant boy, went west and amassed a fortune, has carried through his life the strong Roman faith instilled to him by his Irish mother. With his Increased prosperity he has given accordingly to his church. He has enriched the St. Louis university, which is under the direction of the Jesuits, and the Catholic university of America, at Washington, and has aided nearly every charitable institution in St. Louis. He has also done much for institutions in his native land and for Irish charitable enterprises in this country. It Is said that Mr. Kerens is trying to purchase a strip of land in Rome which will reach from the Vatican to the sea, in order to give to the pope a greater freedom and to relieve his present restrictions, which forbid him leaving the Vatican grounds. It is understood that Mr. Kerens has offered $5,000,000 for this purpose.
Among the younger members of the nobility in the United States areEugene and Thomas Kelly, sons of the late Eugene Kelly, a New York banker, who gave the white marble Lady Chapel to St. Patrick’s cathedral. Eugene and Thomas Kelly were made Knights of St. Gregory, with the title of sIr.
The Order of the Knights of St Gregory was reorganized by Pope Gregory XVI In 1831 since which time Catholics who are not of the state nobility or aristocracy have been vested with the title.
Ellen Ewing Shermanand Mary Caldwell
The late Mrs. Tecumseh Sherman was decorated several times by pope Leo for her charitable work. Mary Caldwell, the Virginia, beauty, now the Marquise de Merinville (Mary Gwendolen Caldwell, Marquise de Merinville, Laetare Medalist, VOL_0032_ISSUE_0023, 1899), and who before her marriage presented to the hierarchy of the United States the funds for the establishment of the Catholic university at Washington, was also decorated.
Ellen Ewing Sherman (October 4, 1824 – November 28, 1888), was the wife of General William Tecumseh Sherman, a leading Union general in the American Civil War. She was also a prominent figure of the times in her own right. Like her mother, Ellen was a devout Catholic and often at odds with her husband over religious topics. Ellen raised her eight children in that faith. In 1864, Ellen took up temporary residence in South Bend, Indiana, to have her young family educated at the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College. One of their sons, Thomas Ewing Sherman, became a Catholic priest. She also took an ongoing interest in Indian missions and was credited as the principal organizer of the Catholic Indian Missionary Association. In “the most absorbing and monumental work of her life,” Ellen played an active role in U.S. observances of the Golden Jubilee of Pope Pius IX (May 21, 1877) for which she later received the personal thanks of the Pope (source: Wikipedia).
Mary Elizabeth Breckenridge and Mary Guendaline Byrd Caldwell were the daughters of William Shakespeare Caldwell who made his fortune building and operating gas plants throughout the Midwest. Both daughters married titled European aristocrats. Mary Guendaline was first engaged to the Prince Joachim Murat, the grandson of the King of Naples, who was not only twice her age but an invalid. The engagement was canceled when the couple could not agree on how much of Miss Caldwell’s fortune was to be given to the Prince.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kulage
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kulage of St. Louis, Mo, are the latest additions to the Catholic nobility in the country. They were both knighted by Pope Pius X on August 20 with the Order of St. Gregory, and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Mr. Kulage is created a knight commander of the Gregorian Order, a distinction to few men outside of Rome, and Mrs. Kulage is termed a “Matronae” or lady knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the first tlma this honor has been conferred upon a woman.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, is one of the most ancient orders in existence, having been founded in the thirteenth century during the crusades. The pope himself is the supreme master of the noble order. The insignia of the order is a Jerusalem cross, which is really a combination of five crosses In one. The insignia, is almost entirely of gold, but the obverse and reverse sides are overlaid with crimson enamel. In addition to the cross Mrs. Kulage will appear at all state functions in a mantle of white cloth upon which is embroidered in gold the Insignia of her rank. Mr and Mrs. Kulage been elevated to the Catholic nobility in recognition of their charitable and educational work, especially among the children of the poor in Rome. [the original article ends here]
The historical origins of the Order are somewhat obscure, although according to an undocumented tradition they are traced back to the First Crusade. In fact, the first documentary evidence of an investiture of Knights referred to as “of the Holy Sepulchre” dates to 1336. Since this first testament to the Order’s existence, that is, from the XIV century, the popes gradually and regularly expressed their desire to juridically annex the organization to the Holy See.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem has always benefited from the protection of the Popes who, over the centuries, have reorganized it, augmenting and enriching its privileges. Clement VI entrusted custody of the Holy Sepulchre to the Franciscan friars in 1342, but that was still during an era when Knights alone had the right to create other members of the Order. Alexander VI declared himself the supreme moderator of the Order in 1496, and delegated to the Franciscans the power to bestow a knighthood upon nobles and gentlemen pilgrims on pilgrimage to the Holy Land (power of investiture). Confirmation of this Franciscan privilege, either verbally or by papal Bull, was renewed by Pope Leo X in 1516, by Benedict XIV in 1746, until the restoration of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem by Pius IX in 1847.
Thus the pontifical delegation was transferred to the Patriarch when, in 1868, Pius IX issued Apostolic letters announcing the restoration of the Order. The Order of Knights opened up with the appointment of the Dames of the Holy Sepulcher thanks to Leo XIII, in 1888. Moreover, in 1907 Pius X decided that the title of Grand Master of the Order would be reserved to the Pope himself.
In 1932 Pius XI approved the new Constitution and permitted Knights and Dames to receive their investiture in their places of origin and not only in Jerusalem. In 1940, Pius XII named a cardinal as Protector of the Order and centralized the organization in Rome, as part of the Grand Magisterium, transferring the title of Grand Master to Cardinal Canali. John XXIII approved the new Constitution presented by Cardinal Tisserant in 1962.
With the renewal of the Second Vatican Council, a new Constitution was approved by Paul VI in 1977. Following this, John Paul II made the Order a legal canonical and public personality, constituted by the Holy See. Today the Order seeks to garner the commitment of its members in local churches hopeful for their sanctification. This is the essential and profound reason that motivated the revision of the Constitution during the “Consulta” that took place in 2013 (source: The Vatican).
Most persons that were ennobled, were of Irish catholic descent. Emigration to the United States increased exponentially due to the Great Famine in the mid 1800s. In the 19th century United States, Irish catholics faced hostility and violence. By the 20th century, Irish Catholics were well established in the United States. The extremely wealthy ones, who were also devoted to catholicism and donated large amounts of money to the church and other good works, were ennobled or obtained a knighthood from the church. In this context it cannot be said that nobility was ‘bought’. Spiritualism and good works, in most cases, led to the rewards. The titles are part of this spiritual experience. Women played an important role in this context.
There are currently five existing Orders of Chivalry in Belgium. Only three of them are currently awarded. The Order of the African Star and the Royal Order of the Lion have not been disbanded, but ceased to be awarded when the Congo gained its independence in 1960.
Persons who were honoured for their acts of either courage, self-sacrifice or charity by the Belgian state or a state recognized by Belgium, can be admitted as full members (article 9a Statutes). They must have an excellent reputation. In addition to the full membership, there are associate members who support the objectives of the Society (article 9b Statutes), benefactors (article 9c Statutes) and honorary members (article 9d Statutes). Only full members are allowed to vote.
The Society was not formed by the King, but enjoys Royal Protection since 1893 (most recently renewed on 3 October 2014 for a period of five years; source: letter of the Royal House, R/TD/A/0330.022). The mayor of Brussels acts as honorary president.
Belgian Orders of Chivalry
The current National Orders are established by the laws of 11 July 1832 and 28 December 1838 and the Royal Decress of 3 August 1832 and 16 May 1839 (Order of Leopold); Decrees of 15 October 1897 and 25 June 1898 (Crown Order); Decree of 24 August 1900 (Order of Leopold II). Today, the exact material differences among the Orders has disappeared.
The Order of Leopold was established in 1832 by King Leopold I and is the most distinguished Order in Belgium. The Order is awarded in three fields – Civil, Maritime, and Military (with each having 5 different classes) for contribution to the military, society or the Belgian State.
The Order of the Crown was established by King Leopold II, as ruler of the Free Congo State, in 1897. It was intended to recognize distinguished service in the Congo Free State. In 1908 the Order was made a national order of Belgium. It is currently the second highest order in Belgium, awarded for service to the Belgian state, as well as distinguished achievements. It was awarded in five classes, as well as two palms and three medals.
The Order of Leopold II was first established by King Leopold II as King of the Congo Free State. In 1908, when Congo became part of Belgium, the order became a Belgian national order. It is awarded for service to the Sovereign, in five classes and three medals.
The Order of the African Star was established in 1888 by King Leopold II as ruler of the Free Congo State. When the Congo was annexed by Belgium in 1908, it became one of the Belgian national orders. The order has not been awarded since Congo’s independence in 1960. It was never discontinued and remains the second highest order in Belgium. The Order was awarded in five classes with three medals.
The Royal Order of the Lion was established in 1891 by King Leopold II as ruler of the Congo Free State. Leopold’s reign in the Congo eventually earned infamy on account of the massive mistreatment of the local population. Just like the Order of the African Star, the Royal order of the Lion became a Belgian national order following the annexation of the Congo Free State in 1908 by the Belgium government. In 1960, after Congo’s independence, the Order ceased to be awarded, although it remains in existence. It is the third highest ranking order in Belgium. It was awarded in five classes with three medals.
Order of Leopold
The history of the Order of Leopold is quite interesting. On 8 June 1832 Count Felix de Mérode, Minister of State, proposes the creation of a national order, called “Ordre de l’Union”. After investigation by a commission it is decided to choose the name of “Order of Leopold” with the device “L’Union fait la Force” / ”Eendracht maakt Macht” (United we stand, divided we fall), a free translation of the device of the 1789 Brabantine Revolution “In Unione Salus”. In its early days, the Order was very much military-focussed. The military tradition remains until the current day. The first knight in the Order of Leopold was the French sapper Ausseil, wounded during the siege of Antwerp (1832).
When King Leopold I inspected the front lines he met a stretcher carrying this soldier whose leg had been ripped off by a canon ball. The King told him : “you are badly wounded, my friend” and Ausseil, who did not know his interlocutor answered: “yes general, but it is my watch, for my country and amidst my comrades” and he shouted “Long live France!”.
The King, who knew what real courage was, immediately made him the very first knight of the newly created Order. When he was taken care off at the Antwerp hospital, the sapper was visited by the Queen, who gave him a gold coin (Louis d’or). After Ausseil had recovered, he was also decorated with the Légion d’Honneur.
The first Belgian military to be decorated as knight of the Order of Leopold was Engineer Captain H. Hallart. He was decorated by the King on 7 January 1833. On 30 January and on 5 February ten more Belgian officers were made knight. On 10 March 1833 no less than 304 French and three Belgian military were rewarded because of their conduct at the siege of Antwerp. The majority of the Belgian servicemen, who had distinguished themselves in the campaigns of 1831 and 1832, had to wait the important nominations of 15 December 1833 before they received a decoration in the Order. No less than 450 crosses were assigned to the army, among those 150 to soldiers and petty officers. The first Belgian military to be decorated as knight of the Order of Leopold was Engineer Captain H. Hallart. He was decorated by the King on 7 January 1833 (source: orderofleopold.be).
At the end of World War I, the Order of Leopold became internationally recognised for its famous members. In 1919 King Albert granted all Lieutenant-Generals of the Belgian Army the Grand Cordon in Brussels. The King bestowed the Major Generals with the Grand Cordon. After the Second World War, the Order of Leopold was bestowed on the several officers of foreign militaries who had helped to liberate Belgium from the occupation of German forces. Most illustrious was the grand Cordons with Palms given by the King to Sir Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1945 (source: wikipedia.com).
Since 1865, the administration of the Society is allowed to design medals of the Society (article 31 Statutes). The Society itself awards four medals: the Honorary Cross for humanitarian merit (Kruis van Eer), the Order of the Belgian Cross (Orde van het Belgisch Kruis), Palms of Mercy (Palmen van Menslievenheid), Medal of the Belgian Crown (Medaille van Gekroond België). These awards are not recognized by the Belgian state and they are not Orders of Chivalry or National Orders. The awards have a purely private character.
Association of the Order of Leopold
The Society differs from the Association of the Order of Leopold. This non-profit association has the following mission: (1) the maintenance of the prestige emanating from the nation’s highest distinction; (2) material and moral assistance between the members, decorated with the Order, who voluntary join the Association. The titular member or patron has to justify that she/he has been awarded the Order of Leopold. In order to become an adherent member, one should prove his/her quality as a not remarried widower or widow, not remarried or new partner living together, or as an orphan under twenty-five, or a deceased member of the Order and be accepted by the board of directors (source: Statutes of the Association). The Association does not issue awards, like the Society. It has strict membership rules and thus remains a distinguished group.
The Society is an important cultural initiative with a solid historical background. In order to adapt the Society to modern standards, I suggest the following:
Upgrade the website to a professional level and delete all the regional websites in order to avoid confusion; create a blog on the website to update members.
Avoid attracting “medal hunters” and allow only Belgian official awards and the Society awards to be worn during official meetings, in order to avoid jeopardizing renewal of the Royal Protection. Require members to have a genuine link to Belgium and its National Orders. Never use non-Belgian titles of nobility in the diplomas to avoid recognising fake-nobility. Attract members with a proven professional background in order to avoid parvenus.
Decrease the number of members of the Regional Boards to three to make it less bureaucratic.
Decrease the number of Society medals to one: the Order of the Belgian Cross. It avoids becoming a “medal shop”.
Andre Charles Borne, Distinctions Honorifiques de la Belgique 1830-1985, ISBN 10: 2802200577 ISBN 13: 9782802200574, Publisher: Groep Bruylant, 1985.
Federale Overheidsdienst van het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking, Dienst Nationale Orden, Karmelietenstraat 15, B-1000 Brussel. Mrs Rita Vander Zwalmen, Tel.: +32 2-501 36 60.
Law of 1 May 2006 “betreffende de toekenning van eervolle onderscheidingen in de Nationale Orden”, published in the Belgisch Staatsblad on 24 October 2006.
Royal Decree of 13 October 2006 “tot vaststelling van de regels en de procedure tot toekenning van eervolle onderscheidingen in de Nationale Orden”, published in the Belgisch Staatsblad on 24 October 2006.
R. Cornet, Recueil des dispositions légales et réglementaires régissant Les Ordres Nationaux Belges et considérations relatives aux décorations en général, Publisher: U.G.A., Brussels 1982.
Appendix: Statutes of the Society 2016 (in Dutch)
KONINKLIJKE EN MENSLIEVENDE VERENIGING DER DRAGERS VAN ERETEKENS EN MEDAILLES VAN BELGIE VOOR DADEN VAN MOED, VAN ZELFOPOFFERING EN VAN MENSLIEVENDHEID.
Deze winter verscheen mijn werkje over de Drentse havezate Oosterbroek. Deze havezate, wordt al in het begin van de 17e eeuw als zodanig genoemd.
Sinds ik met mijn moeder als kind Oosterbroek bezocht, heb ik een interesse in deze “Havezate”. Mijn betovergrootvader was een van de eigenaren en mijn moeder vertelde mij allerlei boeiende verhalen over deze bijzondere man.
Hoewel er het een en ander geschreven is over de Drentse havezaten, is er niet al te veel bekend over de families die op de havezaten woonden. Veelal is de beschrijving beperkt tot een lijst (al dan niet compleet) met eigenaren, soms voorzien van enige achtergrondinformatie over beroep en sociale komaf. Het is echter interessant om wat meer speurwerk te verrichten naar de bewoners en hun gezinnen. Hierdoor wordt meer inzicht verkregen in de sociaal-culturele context waarin de havezate en het bezit hiervan geplaatst kan worden. Ook werpt het soms een licht op de wijze waarop het bezit van de havezate tot stand kwam.
In het licht van het voorgaande, heb ik per opvolgende eigenaar een genealogisch fragment opgenomen, waar mogelijk voorzien van portretten en een familiewapen. Enige korte historische en juridische inleidingen gaan hieraan vooraf. Bij sommige personen of families is een wetenswaardigheid toegevoegd in cursief.