The legal status of the Portuguese Brotherhoods and Orders of Saint Michael of the Wing

Brotherhoods and Orders of Saint Michael

In history, there have been several Orders of Saint Michael. The most prominant ones are listed hereafter.

Bavarian Brotherhood and Order of Saint Michael

Guido Reni’s Michael (in Santa Maria della Concezione church, Rome, 1636) tramples Satan. A mosaic of the same painting decorates St. Michael’s Altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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 2011-01-21Juíza 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.

The newly created entity in 2004 is not a dynastic award of the House of Bragança (Carlos Rodrigues Lima. “Nuno da Câmara Pereira ganha batalha judicial a D. Duarte“, 9 January 2009).

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

Nuno da Câmara Pereira ganha vitória em tribunal contra D. Duarte Pio
Fadista ganha em tribunal a exclusividade de título da Ordem de São Miguel da Ala. Saiba que outros temas falaram nos ‘Sem Papas na Língua’. https://www.cmjornal.pt. 29 March 2016.

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 Ala and 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 admirers 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 (not historical) and solely a matter of intellectual property law.

The revived Order is organised as an entirely new private entity and not a dynastic award of the House of Bragança. Aspirant members can apply for membership and subsequently pay a fee to members of the House of Bragança or their representatives. In recent times, it has been alleged that Dom Duarte himself no longer approves membership in his society. The Order is said to be de facto controlled by other members. 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.

Conclusions

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 legal costs for both parties have been enormous. Such a waste of money and effort is an insult to their donors, who think that their money benifts the poor. Instead, their donations end up in the pockets of overpaid lawyers. In a published opinion, one district judge wrote the following disparaging comment (Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, October 15, 2015, Case: 14-14251, Page: 9 of 49):

“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.

Sources

Lines of succession of the Peerage, created by William III of England, Ireland and Scotland

The reign of William III

Willem III of Orange by Benjamin Arlaud. Collection: Rijksmuseum.

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

  1. Henry Bentinck (1682 – 1726), 2nd earl and 1st duke of Portland
    1. William Bentinck (1709 – 1762), 2e hertog en 3e graaf van Portland
      1. William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck (1738 – 1809), 3rd duke and 4th earl of Portland; change of name to Cavendish-Bentinck in 1801
        1. William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck (1768 – 1854), 4th duke and 5th earl of Portland; change of name to Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck
          1. William John Cavendish Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck (1800 – 1879), 5th duke and 6th earl of Portland
        2. William Chalrles Augustus Cavendish-Bentinck (1780 – 1826)
          1. Arthur Cavendish-Bentinck (1819 – 1877)
            1. William Cavendish-Bentinck (1857 – 1943), 6th duke and 7th earl of Portland
              1. William Cavendish-Bentinck (1893 – 1977), 7th duke and 8th earl of Portland
        3. Frederik Cavendish-Bentinck (1781 – 1828)
          1. George August Cavendish-Bentinck (1821 – 1891)
            1. William George Frederik Cavendish-Bentinck (1856 – 1948)
              1. Ferdinand Cavendish-Bentinck (1888 – 1980), 8th duke and 9th earl of Portland
              2. Victor Cavendish-Bentinck (1897 – 1990), 9th duke and 10th earl of Portland
  2. Willem Bentinck (1704 – 1774)
    1. Christiaan Frederik Bentinck (1734 – 1768)
      1. Johan Karel Bentinck (1763 – 1833)
        1. Karel Anton Ferdinand Bentinck (1792 – 1864)
          1. Hendrik Karel Adolf Bentinck (1846 – 1903)
            1. Robert Bentinck (1875 – 1935)
              1. Henry Noel Bentinck (1919 – 1997), 11th earl of Portland
                1. Timothy Bentinck (* 1953), 12th earl of Portland

 

Earl of Albemarle

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. Arnold Joost van Keppel, 1st earl of Albemarle (1670–1718)

1. Willem Anne van Keppel, 2nd earl of (1702–1754)

1. George Keppel, 3rd earl ofvan Albemarle (1724–1772)

1. William Charles Keppel, 4th earl of Albemarle (1772–1849)

1. William Keppel, Viscount Bury (1793–1804)

2. Augustus Frederick Keppel, 5th earl of Albemarle (1794–1851)

3. George Thomas Keppel, 6th earl of Albemarle (1799–1891); through whom is descended Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

          1. William Coutts Keppel, 7th earl of Albemarle (1832–1894)

1. Arnold Allan Cecil Keppel, 8th earl of Albemarle (1858–1942)

              1. Walter Egerton George Lucian Keppel, 9th earl of Albemarle (1882–1979)

1. Derek William Charles Keppel, Viscount Bury (1911–1968)

1. Rufus Arnold Alexis Keppel, 10th earl of Albemarle (1965-)

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.

Conclusions

In the case of Keppel and Bentinck, the succession to the peerage was confirmed by the subsequent heads of state of the United Kingdom:

  1. The Peerage of England — titles created by the Kings and Queens of England before the Act of Union in 1707; The Peerage of Scotland — titles created by the Kings and Queens of Scotland before 1707.
  2. The Peerage of Great Britain — titles created for the Kingdom of Great Britain between 1707 and 1801.
  3. The Peerage of the United Kingdom — titles created since 1801 to the present.
Coat_of_arms_Sir_George_Home,_1st_Earl_of_Dunbar,_KG
Coat of arms Sir George Home, 1st Earl of Dunbar, KG. Artwork by R. S. Nourse on WikiCommons.

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) Charles IV 1807-1819
Victor 1819-1824
Mary II* 1824-1840
House of Este (Modena) Francis I 1840-1875
Mary III 1875-1919
House of Wittelsbach (Bavaria) Robert I and IV 1919-1955
Albert 1955-1996
Francis II 1996-

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.

Marie Anne de Mailly-Nesle by Jean-Marc Nattier. Marie Anne de Mailly-Nesle, duchesse de Châteauroux (5 October 1717 – 8 December 1744) was the youngest of the five famous de Nesle sisters, four of whom would become the mistress of King Louis XV of France. She was his mistress from 1742 until 1744. Photo: Public Domain.

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.

Therefore, the current claimants to the title “Prince of Orange” are: Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands (Amsberg), Georg Friedrich Prince of Prussia and/or Philip Kirill Prince of Prussia (Hohenzollern), and Guy de Mailly, Marquis de Mailly-Nesle (Mailly). In my opinion, all three have the dynastic authority to recognise the title “Earl of Dubar” as issued by William III. This authority is based on dynastic succession. In addition, the Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms also has the authority in her capacity of legal successor of William III. This authority is based on constitutional law.

Sources

In Britain, who is entitled to the suffix of “Esquire” (“Esq.”)?

Introduction

William-Rees-Mogg-Baron-Rees-Mogg
The Right Honourable The Lord Rees-Mogg Kt. William Rees-Mogg, father of politician Jacob Rees-Mogg, was a British newspaper journalist who was Editor of The Times from 1967 to 1981. In the late 1970’s he served as High Sheriff of Somerset, and in the 1980s was Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain and Vice-Chairman of the BBC’s Board of Governors. In 1988, William Rees-Mogg was made a life peer as Baron Rees-Mogg, of Hinton Blewett in the County of Avon. Photo: National Portrait Gallery London.

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.

Based on this definition 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;
  • Eldest sons of esquires created by letters patent or other investiture, and their eldest sons;
  • Foreign noblemen.

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.

Conclusions

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.

Literature

Appendix 1: Use of the suffix of “Esquire” by the Dutch in the East Indies (currently Indonesia) during the British period

Screenshot from 2020-04-10 23-00-19
Regerings-Almanak Nederlandsch-Indië of 1815, p. 39 (during the British period). From 1811 to 1816, Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, FRS (5 July 1781 – 5 July 1826) was Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies.

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.

 

Zijn familiewapens auteursrechtelijk beschermd?

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.

Justitiepaleis van Brussel. Foto: Lotusvogel.

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.

Nederlandse situatie

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.

Conclusies

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.

Bron

American Royalty – Succession to the dynastic rights of the Hawaiian monarchs

Introduction

The Crown Jewels of Hawaii – Photo by the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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

Newspaper article, announcing the appointment by the King of Hawaii of Mr. J.D. van der Made as vice-consul in Dordrecht, The Netherlands. Source: “Binnenland. Rotterdam, 21 Maart.”. “Rotterdamsch nieuwsblad”. Rotterdam, 22-03-1887. Geraadpleegd op Delpher op 02-07-2019, https://resolver.kb.nl/resolve?urn=ddd:011009134:mpeg21:a0018

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 1993, president Bill Clinton signed legislation that apologized for the U.S. role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. The apology, meant as a means of reconciliation with Native Hawaiians, acknowledges the historic significance of the event. It did not however, provide Federal recognition to native Hawaiians as other Federal laws provide to American Indian tribes.

Legal soap

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”.

The summary of the case reads as follows.

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.

I agree with Dr. Kenneth R. Conklin’s conclusions regarding 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.

Claims

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).

Baker claim

The Baker claim is more modest. 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.

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.

Conclusions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Sources

  • Dumberry, Patrick, The Hawaiian Kingdom Arbitration Case and the Unsettled Question of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Claim to Continuity as an Independent State Under International Law (October 23, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1288810 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1288810
  • Webb, N. B., & Webb, J. F. (1998). Kaiulani: Crown princess of Hawaii. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing.
  • Fornander, A., & Stokes, J. F. (1969). An account of the Polynesian race, its origin and migrations and the ancient history of the Hawaiian people to the times of Kamehameha I. Rutland (Vt): Tuttle.
  • Kamehiro, S. L. (2009). The arts of kingship: Hawaiian art and national culture of the Kalākaua era. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  • McKinzie, E. K., & Stagner, I. W. (1986). Hawaiian genealogies: Extracted from Hawaiian language newspapers. Laie, HI: Institute for Polynesian Studies, Brigham Young University-Hawaii Campus.
  • Peleioholan, L. S. (1908). Genealogy of the Robinson family & ancient legends and chants of Hawaii. Honolulu: Bulletin Publishing.
  • Düsing, S. (2002). Traditional leadership and democratisation in Southern Africa: A comparative study of Botswana, Namibia, and Southern Africa. Münster: Lit.
  • Jividen, D. (1972). Sammy Amalu: Prince, Pauper Or Phony? Erin Enterprise.
  • Van Dyke, J.M. (2009). Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawai’i? HonoluluUniversity of Honolulu Press.

Acknowledgement

I gratefully acknowledge the most interesting comments of Dr. Matt Bray.

Nederlandse adeldom via de vrouwelijke lijn

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.

Juridisch kader

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.

Commentaar

Poster van de Vereeniging voor Vrouwenkiesrecht.
Bron: Collectie IAV-Atria, kennisinstituut voor emancipatie en vrouwengeschiedenis. Vervaardigd door Th. Molkenboer, 1918.

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.

Aan het weigeren om adellijke titels (die volgens het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens een onderdeel van de naam zijn; zie de door mij behandelde zaak: EHRM 18 mei 1999, zaaknr. 45908/99) over te laten gaan via de vrouw, liggen dezelfde ‘objectieve’ overwegingen ten grondslag: de geest van de wet. Ik meen dat de term zombie overwegingen beter de lading dekken. Zelfs in 2007 werden dergelijke zombies nog van stal gehaald bij de totstandkoming van de uitspraak van de Raad van State. Hierin werd beslist dat de Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij gesubsidieerd moest worden ondanks dat de partij een vrouw-onvriendelijk beleid hanteert ten aanzien van het kiesrecht. Zoals J. Peeters en K. Bleeker in 2008 terecht constateren, een niet te vatten redenering:

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.

Conclusies

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.

Literatuur

  • 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:

Artikel 1

Adeldom wordt verleend bij koninklijk besluit. De verlening kan uitsluitend geschieden aan Nederlanders.

Artikel 2

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.

Artikel 3

Adeldom gaat ook volgens de bestaande regelingen met betrekking tot adeldom over op buiten het huwelijk geboren kinderen.

Artikel 4

Bij de verlening van adeldom zijn taxa verschuldigd. Bij algemene maatregel van bestuur worden nadere regels omtrent de taxa gesteld.

Artikel 5

Adeldom wordt vermeld op officiële documenten waar dit vereist is, tenzij de betrokken persoon verzoekt, de vermelding achterwege te laten of te verwijderen.

Artikel 6

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.

Artikel 7

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.

Artikel 8

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.

Artikel 9

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.

Gegeven te ‘s-Gravenhage, 10 mei 1994

Beatrix

De Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken,

E. van Thijn

Uitgegeven de tweede juni 1994

De Minister van Justitie,

E. M. H. Hirsch Ballin

Legal Opinion: the status of adult adoption in the context of the German nobility

Introduction
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.

Legal framework

German law

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.

Adolf II. Fürst zu Schaumburg-Lippe (23 February 1883 – 26 March 1936) was the last ruler of the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe. He was succeeded as head of the House of Schaumburg-Lippe by his brother Wolrad (1887-1962), who was succeeded by Philipp-Ernst (1928-2003). The current head of the dynasty is Alexander (1958).

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)

Sayn-Wittgenstein

Graf Christian Ludwig Casimir zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg-Ludwigsburg) (13 July 1725, Berleburg – 6 May 1797, Rheda) (WikiMedia Commons)

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

677px-Coat_of_Arms_of_the_Principality_of_Schaumburg-Lippe.svg
Coat of Arms of the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe (WikiMedia Commons). Artwork by Glasshouse using elements by Sodacan – Own work.

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 child can legally be treated as descendent depends upon the law in the particular jurisdiction. 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

Conclusions

Traditionally (especially before 1918), adult adoption has been used as a way to save a noble family from extinction.

Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser Band XIX, C.A. Starke Verlag, Limburg a.d. Lahn 2011. Example of an adoption with the consent of the German nobiliary law association, obtained after the adoption agreement was ratified by the court and the change of name had been processed in the public registers.

In such cases, in order to be accepted as belonging to the nobility, the adoption had to be followed by a Royal consent; after 1918 replaced by a declaration of no-objection (“adelsrechtliche Nichtbeanstandung der Führung ihres adeligen Namens”) from the German nobiliary law association (“der Deutsche Adelsrechtsausschuß“). Adoptees who obtain(ed) the mentioned consent are treated as founding father of a new family (Heiner Baron v. Hoyningen gen. Huene, Der Deutsche Adelsrechtsausschuss (ARA), pp. 1,4,5,6 ):

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 des Adels 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. 


Notes

(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.

Protection against illegitimate use of titles of nobility

Petronilla Queen of Aragon (ruling 1137 until 1164) and Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona depicted later in a 16th-century painting (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

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.

Impersonating

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

Diploma, issued by mr Stefan Cernetic, bestowing a false knightly order.

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.

Mr Cernetic with the Archibishop of Monaco, His Eminence the Cardinal Bernard Barsi (source: STEFAN CERNETIC/FACEBOOK)

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

Prince Thorbjorn Paternò Castello, descendent of an ancient Sicilian noble family and claimant to the dynastic rights of the former kingdom of Aragon, signing a nobility diploma.

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.

Coat of arms beloning to a title of nobility, issued by prince Thorbjorn.

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).

Conclusions

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.

Literature
Van Gompel, S. (2014). Creativity, autonomy and personal touch: A critical appraisal of the CJEU’s originality test for copyright. In M. van Eechoud (Ed.), The work of authorship (pp. 95-143). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Koningin Juliana, een onderschatte vorstin

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.

Geraadpleegde Literatuur

  • 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)

Noot

(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.

Trivia

  • 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.

Line of succession to the former throne of Germany

Heraldic Ring of Kaiser Wilhelm II with Royal Crown, Coat of Arms of Hohenzollern and The Prussian Order of The Black Eagle
Heraldic Ring of Kaiser Wilhelm II with Royal Crown, Coat of Arms of Hohenzollern and The Prussian Order of The Black Eagle.

Introduction

The claims to the (combined) thrones of Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire are related to the Constitution of the German Empire (Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches) of 1871.  According to this constitution, the empire was a federally organised national state of 25 German states. The office of Bundespräsidium was held by the King of Prussia, who had the title of German Emperor.

The Wikipedia article about the line of succession of the former German throne reads:

The German Empire and Kingdom of Prussia were abolished in 1918. The current head of the former ruling House of Hohenzollern is Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia. The Law of Succession used is Agnatic Primogeniture.

The Telegraph of 26 December 2001  reads:

THE man (Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia) who has just won a legal victory to declare himself the head of Germany’s last ruling royal family says he is perfectly happy with life as a citizen of a republic.

Did the courts really rule in favour of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia as being head of Germany’s last ruling family?

German law of succession to the throne

Wilhelm of Prussia, ex-crown prince, with the participation of former emperor Wilhelm II, named his second son – Louis-Ferdinand prince of Prussia (d. 1994) – as first heir (Vorerb).  After his death his eldest son (unborn in 1938) was to be the next heir (Nacherb), or, should that son not survive Louis Ferdinand, in his stead his eldest male offspring; in the absence of male issue his eldest brother (or in his stead his sons). The contract, however, made one exception to the rule on the succession of the next heir: any son or grandson of Louis-Ferdinand was ineligible to inherit if he were not the issue of a marriage made in accordance with the house laws of the house of Brandenburg-Prussia, or if he was in a marriage not in accordance with said laws (so-called ineligibility clause).

Legal disputes

This clause led to several legal disputes.

Crown of William II, Hohenzollern Castle Collection (photo Wiki Commons)
Crown of William II, Hohenzollern Castle Collection (photo Wiki Commons)

The legal question, which was a question of civil or private law, was whether the designation was valid, and the exclusion of unequally-married or -born offspring was valid. The matter decided was not “headship of the house” but inheritance of a certain estate; indeed, the term “head of  house” or some equivalent has not been decided.  The issue was a contract which set up a specific rule of transmission.  The court decided that the clause which Wilhelm had created in his testament was valid, because of the right to dispose of one’s estate. If Wilhelm had decided to impose a religious requirement, or a height requirement, or to leave his estate to his cat, the court might well have upheld it as well, because of the right to dispose of one’s estate without infringement of the personal rights of one’s offspring (see the important article of F. Velde, The Hohenzollern Succession Dispute, 1994-present).

The succession rules regarding the throne of Germany have ceased to exist when the Constitution of the German Reich (Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (Weimarer Verfassung) came into effect. The constitution declared Germany to be a democratic parliamentary republic with a legislature elected under proportional representation and thus abolished the German Empire. Therefore, the courts of the German Federal Republic have no jurisdiction regarding the headship of the House of Hohenzollern. In the mentioned cases, the courts therefore never ruled regarding the headship. The media have not quite understood the rulings.

Conclusions

Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia was the third in succession to the throne of the German Empire, after his father, German Crown Prince William and elder brother Prince Wilhelm of Prussia. The monarchy was abolished in 1918. When Louis Ferdinand’s older brother Prince Wilhelm renounced his succession rights to marry a non-royal from the lesser nobility in 1933, Louis Ferdinand took his place as the second in the line of succession to the German throne after the Crown Prince. Louis Ferdinand married the Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia in 1938. The couple had four sons and three daughters. Their sons are listed below:

1. Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (9 February 1939 – 29 September 2015). Sons:

  • (a) Philip Kirill Prinz von Preußen (born 23 April 1968).
  • (b) Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Ferdinand Kirill (born 16 August 1979).
  • (c) Joachim Albrecht Bernhard Christian Ernst (born 26 June 1984).

2. Prince Michael of Prussia (22 March 1940 – 3 April 2014).

3. Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (25 August 1944 – 11 July 1977). Son:

  • (a) Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia (born 10 June 1976 Bremen).

4. Prince Christian-Sigismund of Prussia (born 14 March 1946). Son:

  • (a) Prince Christian Ludwig Michael Friedrich Ferdinand of Prussia (born 16 May 1986).

Louis Ferdinand’s two eldest sons (1) and (2) both renounced their succession rights in order to marry commoners. His third son, and heir-apparent, Prince Louis Ferdinand died in 1977 during military maneuvers. It is generally accepted that his one-year-old grandson Georg Friedrich Prince of Prussia (3a, son of Prince Louis Ferdinand) became the new heir-apparent to the Prussian and German Imperial throne. According to these lines, Georg Friedrich became the pretender to the thrones and Head of the Hohenzollern family upon Louis Ferdinand’s death in 1994. However, a well-found alternative viewpoint is possible.

Since about 1.000 years, the Agnatic Primogeniture rules have been used to determine the succession of headship of the House of Hohenzollern. These rules do not have any legal binding in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1919. A “headship of the House of Hohenzollern” does not exist under German law. Renouncing the headship of a family or the claim to a non-existing entity (throne), therefore does not have any legal effect in Germany. The only legal fact that German law can determine is the fact that Philip Kirill Prince of Prussia (1a) is the oldest living relative in the male line of the last German emperor. If the head of the House Hohenzollern is, analogues to customary law, defined as the last living male relative according to German law, then Philip Kirill (1a) is – from an historical (dynastic) perspective – head of the House Hohenzollern. If the head of the House Hohenzollern is defined as the man who is selected as such by some members of the family (holding a certain authority), then Georg Friedrich (3a) is head of the House. The choice of definition is a personal one, not a legal one. Head of the House cannot mean a person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of a family member following the latter’s death, since this can be anyone.

Legal opinion: To what extend can the Hungarian title of “vitéz” be seen as a designation of nobility?

Order of Vitéz Breast Badge, bronze gilt, 57x36 mm, one side enameled, multipart construction, reverse with two clasps
Order of Vitéz Breast Badge, bronze gilt, 57×36 mm (photo: sixbid.com).

Legal Question

The Order of Vitéz, founded in 1678, revived in 1920 by Hungarian Regent Horthy, and abolished by the Soviet-imposed Communist government of Hungary in 1946, has been an important symbol of Hungary’s historic commitment to independence and territorial integrity. It is often assumed that “the Regent had no powers to grant nobility, nor did he try” (e.g Wikipedia) and that therefore the title of vitéz cannot be seen as a title of nobility. Is this assumption correct?

The Order of Vitéz

This Hungarian Order was initially founded in 1678 by Count Imre Thököly de Késmárk, (1657-1705), a Hungarian nobleman, who lead a rebellion against Leopold I of Austria. This Holy Roman Emperor suspended the Constitution and placed Hungary under a Directorate headed by the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. Thököly gathered behind him a force of disaffected Hungarians. This group was mainly composed of disbanded soldiers and peasants. Thököly’s followers were known as kuruc (crusaders). This  designation was also given to the followers of another rebel leader, György (George) Dózsa (1470-1514).

The Order of Vitézi was re-established (Prime Ministerial Decree number 6650 of 1920, 6650/1920 M.E. in Hungarian usage, included as paragraph no 77 in the land reform act, Law XXXVI of 1920) by His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary Miklós vitéz Horthy de Nagybánya. The Hungarian state was legally a kingdom, although it had no king. The Entente powers would not have tolerated any return of the Habsburgs. Horthy’s objective was to form an organization with strong national dedication in order to contribute to the stability of Hungary after the first world war. By 1943 about 14.000 vitéz designations were issued.

The treaty signed between the Soviet Union and Hungarian Government of National Unity in Moscow on 20 January 1945, included a list of organisations that were not allowed to be re-established under Soviet rule. The National Council of Vitéz, governing the Order, was placed on this list (Prime Ministerial Edict no. 1945/529).

The current Order of Vitézi, lead by HIRH Archduke Josef Arpád of Austria, is considered by the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry as the legitimate successor of the founder (HSH Miklós v. Horthy de Nagybánya) of the Knightly Order of Vitéz.

Title of vitéz

The word ‘vitéz‘ in late 19th and early 20th century Hungarian usage, meant ‘knight‘, or ‘hero‘. In the South Slavic languages; Bosnian, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian and Macedonian, the word “vitez” literally means knight. In German, the title can be compared to “Ritter von” (Orden und Ehrenzeichen – Das Magazin für Sammler und Forscher, BDOS Jahrbuch 2003, p. 24). Therefore, the term “Vitézi Rend’ can be translated as ‘Order of Knights’. During Horthy’s reign, the title was recorded in official papers, for instance in birth, marriage or death certificates, and was usually written as ‘v.’ in front of the surname. In Hungary, the surname precedes the Christian name. In an honourable discharge document of a officer, the vitéz order is not mentioned as an award but as a title added to the name (Erik Naberhuis, The Hungarian Vitéz Order, 2005). Admission into the Order was accompanied by a land grant of 40 cadastral holds to an officer, 8 cadastral holds to other ranks based on need (1 cadastral hold = c. 1.43 acres). The honour of Vitéz was hereditary, and the grants (title, badge and land grant) were to be passed on by the recipient to his eldest son.

Hungarian law regarding noble titles

1929
The knighting ceremony pictured above took place in 1929 in Székesfehervar, at the ruins of the original church where the early kings of Hungary were crowned and buried. The new vitéz’ were knighted with a sword, especially designed for the ceremony. This sword is now on display in the Military Museum of Hungary in Budapest.

Horthy was internationally recognised as His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary (and addressed as such by e.g. the United States).  He was head of state and appointed to administer the state because the monarch was absent. There are – next to Horthy’s vitéz order – other examples of regents who founded orders, such the Royal Guelphic Order (also known as the Hanoverian Guelphic Order) by George, Prince Regent in the name of his father King George III in 1815. In France, nobility and hereditary titles were abolished by the Revolutions of 1789 and 1848, but hereditary titles were restored by decree in 1852 and have not been abolished by any subsequent law. In order to grant noble titles it is not necessary to be a royal head of state. Therefore, theoretically, the President of the Republic could, in his capacity as head of state, create titles of nobility. The same counts for Horthy’s Hungary. It is not relevant that Horthy was not a king. He was head of state of a Kingdom.

In Hungarian law, Act IV of 1947 on the abolition of certain titles and ranks has abolished all Hungarian noble ranks and titles and prohibited their future bestowal. Article 1. § (1) of the Act declares annulment of the Hungarian aristocratic and noble ranks, such as duke, marquis, earl, baron, noble, primor, and primipilus (“lófő“). Article 3. § (1) prohibits the use of rank titles mentioned in 1. §. Furthermore, it explicitly forbids the use of the “vitéz” (“valiant”) title. § (2) prohibits the use of nobiliary particles, coats of arms, insignias or the use of any expressions referring to descent from a noble clan (“de genere“). § (3) forbids the use of honorifics referring to ranks or titles abolished by this Act, such as “főméltóságú” (His/Her Serene Highness), “nagyméltóságú” (His/Her Excellency), “kegyelmes” (His/Her Grace), “méltóságos” (The Honourable), “nagyságos” (The Worshipful), “tekintetes“, “nemzetesetc.

The Act of 1947 remains in force today, although it does not contain any explicit sanctions in case the law is not observed. Act I of 2010 on the Civil Registry Procedure prohibits the registration of titles and ranks which would be contrary to Act IV of 1947 [55. § (1a)]. The 1947 Act has survived two challenges before the Hungarian Constitutional Court (HCC) in 2008 [Decision 1161/B/2008] and in 2009 [Decision 988/B/2009]. The Court has held in the 2008 decision that the prohibition of ranks and titles is intended to guarantee the equality of Hungarian citizens, as any discrimination based on hereditary titles and ranks would be contrary to the values of a democratic state and society based on equality; the Act itself is based on a firm set of values that forms an integral part of the values deductible from the Constitution [specifically Article 70/A paragraph (1) of the Constitution of Hungary at that time (Act IV of 1949)]. In the 2009 decision the HCC has found that the 1947 Act is not contrary to human dignity (the petitioner had claimed that the right to bear a name, which is deductible from human dignity, had been infringed by the Act), as nobility titles did not form official parts of a name, and that the state had the right to decide what it accepts as part of name and what it does not. The HCC has also referenced these decisions following the entry into force of the Fundamental Law of Hungary (2011, replacing the previous Constitution) in a recent decision [27/2015 (VII. 21.)] (Ágoston Mohay – Norbert Tóth, What’s in a name? Equal treatment, Union citizens and national rules on names and titles, working paper, University of Pécs, 2016, p. 9).

Conclusions

Members of the Vitéz Order are addressed as “nemzetes úr/asszony”, in German: “Edler (-e) Herr/Dame”. Members with non-Hungarian names used to add the nobility suffix “-y” or “-i”.  The characteristics of the vitéz capacity (hereditary, estate-related, the touch on the vitéz‘ shoulders with the sword at the bestowing of his knighthood, the title/suffix, the registration as a title instead of award in official papers and the emblem) are in full accordance with a title of nobility as we know it in for example the United Kingdom. The Act IV of 1947 also places the title on the same level as the noble titles. It is therefore not correct to say that the vitéz title is not a title of nobility. In the context of the mentioned Act, the history of the Order, its characteristics, and the recent Hungarian court decisions, the vitéz title should – from a historical perspective – be seen as a noble title. It is not recognized by the Hungarian state.

Sources

Legal opinion: Lines of succession to the former Russian Empire

Background

The Russian Imperial Romanov family (Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five young children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei) were brutally murdered in Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918. The Tsar, his family and some servants were shot, bayoneted and stabbed in a room of the “House of Special Purpose of the Ural Soviet Committee” by Bolshevik troops led by Yakov Yurovsky under the orders of the Ural Regional Soviet. Therefore, the last Tsar does not have any living descendants. There exist however, a number of claimants to the former Russian throne. In this article I will examine the legality of these claims.

Branches

St. George's Hall, Grand Kremlin Palace. President Vladimir Putin with Prince Dmitri Romanovich of Russia and his spouse at a state reception devoted to National Unity Day. (Source: Wikipedia)
St. George’s Hall, Grand Kremlin Palace. President Vladimir Putin with Prince Dmitri Romanovich of Russia and his spouse at a state reception devoted to National Unity Day. (Source: Wikipedia)

Since 1992, the Headship of the Imperial House of Russia has been claimed by two branches of the Romanov family: the Vladimirovichi Branch and the Nikolaevichi branch. The Vladimirovichi branch descends of Tsar Alexander II (1818-1881),  the successor son of Tsar Nicholas I. The Nikolaevichi branch descends from Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia (1831–1891), who was the third son and sixth child of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and Alexandra Feodorovna.

I. Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1855) x Princess Charlotte of Prussia (1798-1860). Nicholas was born in Alexander Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the eldest son of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia (formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark). Emperor Alexander III was born on 10 March 1845 at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg and succeeded this father Emperor Alexander II of Russia. Alexander II succeed Tsar Nicolas I, son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg.

Children:

II a. Tsar Alexander II (1818-1881) x Princess Marie of Hesse (1824-1880). Son: Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909) X Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1854-1920) -> Vladimirovichi branch

II b. Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (1831-1891) x Princess Alexandra of Oldenburg (1838-1900) -> Nikolaevichi branch

Claimants

Vladimirovichi branch(es)

I. Cyril (Kirill) Vladimirovich, (Кирилл Владимирович Рома́нов), born 12 October [O.S. 30 September] 1876 – deceased 12 October 1938), Grand Duke of Russia (assumed the Headship of the Imperial Family of Russia and, as next in line to the throne in 1924).

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Pope Benedict XVI and Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (Source: Paul Gilbert).
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Pope Benedict XVI and Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (Source: Paul Gilbert).

II a. Maria Kirillovna (1907–1951), eldest daughter of Kirill Vladimirovich (I). She was born in Coburg when her parents were in exile because their marriage had not been approved by Tsar Nicholas II. The family returned to Russia prior to World War I, but was forced to flee following the Russian Revolution of 1917.

III. Emich, 7th Prince of Leiningen (1926-1991), titular Prince of Leiningen from 1946 until his death, x Eilika of Oldenburg.

IV. Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen.

II b. Vladimir Cyrillovich, (Влади́мир Кири́ллович Рома́нов) born 30 August [O.S. 17 August] 1917 – 21 April 1992), claimed the Headship of the Imperial Family from 1938 to his death, Grand Duke of Russia (1938–1992).

III. Maria Vladimirovna (Мари́я Влади́мировна Рома́нова), born 23 December 1953 in Madrid), has been a claimant to the headship of the Imperial Family since 1992 Grand Duchess of Russia (1992–present).

IV. Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia

Nikolaevichi branch

I. Nicholas Romanov, Prince of Russia (1992–2014)

II. Prince Dimitri Romanovich of Russia (2014–present)

III. Prince Andrew Andreevich (born 1923)

 Applicable law

Karl Emich of Leiningen signs an address to Vladimir Putin aksing permission to assign a land in Ekaterinburg for creation of the Sovereign State Imperial See (Source: Wikipedia).
HSH Karl Emich Prince of Leiningen signs an address to Vladimir Putin aksing permission to assign a land in Ekaterinburg for creation of the Sovereign State Imperial See (Source: Wikipedia).

The Russian laws governing membership in the imperial house, succession to the throne and other dynastic subjects are contained in the Fundamental State Laws of the Russian Empire and the Statute of the Imperial Family (codification of 1906, as amended through 1911). These laws, referred to collectively as “the succession laws” in this essay, are sometimes described as “the Pauline law”, because their original version was promulgated in 1797 by Emperor Paul I.

At the present time, not one of the Emperors or Grand Dukes of Russia has left living descendants with unchallengeable rights to the Throne of Russia. When marrying a foreigner of Equal Rank, or member of a Reigning Family, family members were obliged to renounce their and their issue’s rights to the succession to the Throne of Russia.

Since 1917 the Russian Empire and its laws regarding social classes ceased to exist (Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars, Decree on the Abolition of Social Estates and Civil Ranks, 10 November  1917):

  1. All classes and class divisions of citizens, class privileges and disabilities, class organizations and institutions which have until now existed in Russia, as well as all civil ranks, are abolished.
  2. All designations (as merchant, nobleman, burgher, peasant, etc.), titles (as Prince, Count, etc.), and distinctions of civil ranks (Privy, State, and other Councilors), are abolished, and one common designation is established for all the population of Russia-citizen of the Russian Republic.
  3. The properties of the noblemen’s class institutions are hereby transferred to corresponding Zemstvo self-governing bodies.
  4. The properties of merchants’ and burghers’ associations are hereby placed at the disposal of corresponding municipal bodies.
  5. All class institutions, transactions, and archives are hereby transferred to the jurisdiction of corresponding municipal and Zemstvo bodies.
  6. All corresponding clauses of the laws which have existed until now are abolished.
  7. This decree becomes effective from the day of its publication, and is to be immediately put into effect, by the local Soviets of Workmen’s, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies.

Conclusions

In addition to the abolishment of the public laws regarding social classes, none of the current Romanov family members has unchallengeable rights to the Throne of Russia according to the Pauline Laws. Therefore the headship of the House of Romanov remains a political matter that cannot be determined from a legal perspective. The only authority that can restore the rights to the Russian throne is the Russian Federation. In my opinion, the imperial nobility and the titles it awarded may theoretically remain valid but for the Russian Federation they are quasi foreign.

Sources

Links

Lex Salica

Als het gaat om de erfopvolging binnen vorstenhuizen, wordt regelmatig een beroep gedaan op de zogenoemde Lex Salica. De Frankische koning Chlodowich I (Clovis) gaf tussen 507 en 511 de opdracht de zogenoemde Lex Salica op schrift vast te leggen. Het is interessant na te gaan in hoeverre een beroep hierop gerechtvaardigd is.

Verspreiding van de Lex Salica

De Salische Franken kwamen in 358 het Romeinse Rijk binnen bij Toxandrië (een gouw die zich uitstrekte van de Kempen in het zuiden tot de Maas in het noorden). In 440 stichtten ze een koninkrijk met als centrum Doornik. Ze breidden hun rijk steeds verder uit naar het zuiden. De Salische Franken leefden voorafgaande aan de Grote Volksverhuizing rond de IJssel, maar zij verplaatsten zich later naar het tegenwoordige Vlaanderen en Frankrijk. Onder Karel de Grote werden stammen in Duitsland, Zwitserland en Noord-Italië onderworpen. Hierdoor kwam een groot deel van West-Europa onder de Salische Wet (zie het proefschrift van W. J. D Boone, De Franken van hun eerste optreden tot de dood van Childerik, Groningen 1954). Doorgaan met het lezen van “Lex Salica”