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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Royal Wedding Wednesdays~ What’s In A Name

When Catherine Middleton marries Prince William in April, Kate could be titled HRH Princess William of Wales, or HRH Catherine of Wales. There is the strong possibility, in keeping with tradition, that HM the Queen, would bestow a dukedom or earldom upon Prince William when they marry. Then Catherine would be HRH Catherine, Duchess of ________ or HRH Catherine, Countess of _______ (fill in the blank).

Once Prince Charles becomes king, William then becomes heir apparent. If William has an investiture ceremony he would then be known as the Prince of Wales as well as of Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. At that time Catherine would become HRH Catherine, Princess of Wales (which was his mother Diana's title, even though everyone incorrectly shortened it to Princess Diana). Of course when William becomes king, she will be Queen Catherine.

Many have wondered why Camilla did not receive the title of Princess of Wales when she married Charles in 2005. (She is officially known as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.) Even though Diana passed away in 1997, I think the Queen realized that the public remains loyal to Diana and her beloved status as the people’s Princess.  I do however believe that the public would embrace Catherine in such a title.

It has been rumored that Prince William prefers that the Queen not give him a title when he marries. While he is officially His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter,  throughout school and in his military career he was and is known simply as William Wales. The name derived of which his father holds title. The official family surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.

So what titles are currently available if the Queen wants to bestow one on Prince William? Duke of Clarence, Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex are all available. Another one is the Duke of Windsor. But given that that title was previously held by his great uncle, Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne for Wallis Simpson, I highly doubt that anyone will hold that title for a very long time. 

Have you ever wondered about the ranking of titles? At the top of the royal heap is Emperor~ King of kings (i.e. other sovereigns, not to be confused with THE King of kings in religious terms) and is the ruler of an empire. The title of Emperor is known by other names elsewhere.

Tsar (or Czar) in Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian, and Croatian countries. It is derived from the word Caesar. 
Maharajah in Thailand, India and Nepal. "Maha" is a prefix meaning highest, and "Rajah" meaning king, hence "highest king".
Kaiser, German rank also derived from Caesar.

Shahanshah, Shah of Shahs

Sultan, a Turkish (Ottoman) title, ruler.

Archduke, the title of the ruler of the archduchy of Austria prior to 1806.

Grand Duke, ruler of a grand duchy. Luxembourg is the only remaining grand duchy.

Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

From the title of emperor we then move onto King~ ruler of a kingdom addressed as “Your majesty”. Then Duke ~ ruler of a duchy (i.e. territory) and addressed as “Your Grace”.

Queen Elizabeth’s son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York

We then have the title of Prince ~ ruler of a principality.

The title of Crown Prince was once reserved for the heir apparent of an emperor or king.

Dauphin is the title of the crown prince of the royal family of France

Infante is title of the cadet members of the royal families of  Portugal and Spain

Marquess or Marquis was over a marquessate or march (i.e. a border region) and addressed as “the Most Honorable”.

Count (Countess) was theoretically the ruler of a county. In Britain the title is known as an Earl. An Earl ranks below a marquess and above a viscount. His wife would still be known as a Countess.

Queen Elizabeth’s son, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Viscount (Vicountess is feminine), theoretically the ruler of a viscounty (Above a Baron, below an Earl and addressed as "My Lord".)

Baron (Baroness), theoretically the ruler of a barony (i.e. an estate). Just as counties are no longer necessarily connected with a noble earl or count there are baronies which are not connected with a baron. The most famous Baroness was of course not really a Baroness at all.

There are of course numerous other titles.

Baronet is an hereditary title (meaning you are born into it) ranking below Baron but above Knight; this title is granted only in the British Isles.

Knight is the basic rank of the aristocratic system

Esquire is a rank of gentry ( i.e. minor aristocracy) originally derived from Squire and indicating the status of an attendant to a knight or an apprentice knight; it ranked below Knight but above Gentleman.

Gentleman is the basic rank of gentry, historically and primarily associated with land or manoral lords; within British Commonwealth nations it is also roughly equivalent to some lower nobility of some continental European nations.

While “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” I myself am thinking I am so glad that my name is not:

Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster,  Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath***, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Micheal and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

This portrait, as well as your most favored portrait of the Queen last week, was taken by Annie Leibovitz.

While I at times give *** the Order of the Bath in my own home, I can’t help but think I might persuade the H.M. the Queen about gracing me with a title just for typing out her full name.

Until then I remain humbly yours,

Laura, the Duchess of Décor


I am tremendously excited to have esteemed experts, Susan of Between Naps On The Porch and Yvonne from Stonegable presiding over our High Tea Tablescape Party NEXT WEEK. You can find all the details HERE.


Also start thinking about your entries for the Wedding Wear linky entries for on March 9th. The categories are as “Best British Baubles”, “Hats Off”,  “Perfect Princess or Perfectly Putrid” ~ get out those horrific dresses and hats!!! Awards presented by an esteemed panel of experts to be announced in the future.



Jen said...

I have simply adored your posts on the royal family the last several weeks. You have done a lot of research to inform us of the little things one doesn't think of when the royal family comes to mind.

Thanks for sharing!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

How interesting!! Thanks for the break down of the titles!! And I never liked that Baroness in the Sound of Music... figures she was a fake! LOL! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Vicki said...

Great post. I'm learning so much from RWW! Thanks for taking the time to research all of this interesting info. Looking forward to next week already... said...

She lets me call her Liz. ("Queenie" when I'm being cheeky.) :)

Your Friend,

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

What a lesson! Thank you for sharing. My mind is still trying to absorb it all. I think I'll just stick to being queen around my house. I could never remember all the customs and correct protocol in the royal kingdom.
May you have a princess kind of day!

ImagiMeri said...

Good Morning Laura,

I'm so enjoying these Wednesday royal updates and tidbits of history. I'm really looking forward to tea with you and then a luncheon. So far there's about 7 of us for luncheon, hopefully more coming.

Love ya'

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Another fun, fascinating and informative post. I'm shouting some of the tidbits to my husband while he gets ready for work "did you know czar comes from caesar?" and so forth - we're quite enjoying it. The thing is I know I will not remember it all, especially the poor queen's offical title - wow. I did not know the official last name, never even occurred to me!

Susan said...

Wow, Laura, don't know how you compile all that information, do research, etc. Great job!

Thank you so much for your visit to my blog today and for commenting too. Always so nice to have you stop by. Susan

laxsupermom said...

Great post! Could you imagine having a name that long? Even William who hasn't been bestowed a marriage title, has a gazillion middle names. Camilla, ugh. She's looking a good deal less horsey since marrying and getting a royal makeover, but still, ugh. I wish Charles would just abdicate. It'd be more of a romantic story vs the shrew who was the third person in Diana's marriage.

A ton of research went into this post. Thanks for sharing.

Blondie's Journal said...

Very interesting, Laura! I never could keep all of those titles straight. You have done your research! I'm looking forward to the party!


Craftymoose Crafts said...

I wonder if the Queen can even recite her lengthy title! I used to find titles all very confusing, but once again, Duchess of Decor, you have stepped up and made it all clear!

racheld said...

How charming a Histoire, and what lovely photographs!! Were I Queen, the Order of the Thistle would be the one I'd treasure most.

And I Do believe that when other little girls were practicing being a Princess, Kate must have been trying on hats---as TLo would say, "She CAN rock a hat."

One more "I do believe": in reference to the Duke of Windsor title---the "previous couple" who held that name are just as they look in the black and white photo---woebegone waifs whose love affair cost them and the nation a great deal. One sad thought of hers has stuck with me---they felt that they must fulfil the public's expectations of their all-consuming LOVE: "After all that we've sacrificed, we cannot even go out to dinner without being expected to sparkle."

Bestowing the title on such a lively, promising young couple would bring a breath of fresh air back to its musty reputation.

Thank you SO much for dropping in at LAWN TEA!


Curtains In My Tree said...

Thank you for the history lesson.
I enjoyed reading all that very much

And I adore the clothing of the royals

I must get my attire ready for the Wedding Day


Lorrie said...

What fascinating posts you come up with regarding the wedding. Interesting and informative as well.

I'm going to try and get my act together for the tea party next week - we'll see what happens.

Lorrie said...

I was struck by the title of Duke of Normandy held by Queen Elizabeth. The most famous Duke of Normandy was William, also known as William the Conqueror who came from Normandy and conquered England in 1066.

I discovered that although England gave up rights to mainland Normandy in 1259, the Channel Islands remained under English rule and although they are autonomous today, they, like Canada and other nations, recognize the Queen as titular head of state.

The toast in the Channel Islands is "the Queen, our Duke."

Debra@Common Ground said...

Hi Laura, I'm really enjoying your Wednesday informative and interesting! Just wanted to say thank you again, I received my package on Valentine's Day and fell in love with all the goodies. I posted on it yesterday!
Have a wonderful week
hugs and love,

Mom in High Heels said...

RWW! YAY!!!! It always drives me crazy to read books in historical settings that have the titles or addresses wrong. Really, if you're writing a historical book (even if it's a romance novel), so some research and get your titles/forms of address straight!

I also think it interesting that the Queen is styled a Duke (Lancaster and Normandy) and Lord (Mann). Do you know why those weren't feminized? I know that they are tied to the throne, but don't get why they still hold the masculine form.

BTW, I adore William and Harry for using such a simple moniker. I wonder why they didn't use Mountbatten-Windsor though?

BTW, doesn't Henri (the Grand Duke) look a little like Edward aka The Duke of Windsor?

Can't wait for next RWW!!!!

Teresa said...

I think Her Majesty will respect Prince William's wishes on this and if beant on giving them a Duchy she'll go for some not so known about or suggested.

Somehow I think Kate will become HRH Princess Catherine Wales.

When Prince Charles ascends to the throne then she will be HRH Princess Katherine, Princess of Wales.

(In fact, I do believe that although choosing not to use it, or was advised not to, Camilla Parker Bowles also bears the title Princess of Wales (though all official websites go a bot omiss in the subject).

She's Duchess where Charles is Duke (Cornwall, Rothesay...), Countess for all Charles' titles as Earl (Chester) so I figured that, though they try not to make waves, she's indeed Princess of Wales)...

Another brilliant post, My Dear.



Deanna said...

Dearest Laura,
Enjoyed seeing this post today.
I can't embrace wearing hats in my culture....but sometimes I think this formality would be so refreshing.

Absolutely fun!
You take care.

God bless,
d from homehaven

Teresa said...

You know me ;) I always start remembering things after hitting the send button (I have the same problems when writing postcards ;)).

In Spanish they have a, very famous, Baroness (Thyssen) and if you ask there she's the most famous Baroness they know :D. Just thought you'd like to know as she's a very interesting lady - if not for her family/personal life - for her philantropy in the World of Arts.

Cindy Adkins said...

Oh wow, what an amazing post--I LOVE it!! It's all so fancy! Wouldn't it be unreal to be them for a day? I don't know--but it would be fun to find out!


Oh my gosh Laura, my head is swimming. I think I'll leave the titles to the royals! Well, except that at my house, my family (all men) is made aware that I am "THE Queen". 'Nuff said...LOL!

Have a great week,

French said...

Laura, in addition to Duchess of Decor I also nominate you for Princess of certainly have all the titles and salutations straight in your brain! I don't believe I have ever seen Her Majesty's full title ever written out!

Shirley said...

Dear Duchess of Decor,
I'm learning so much and having a lot of fun at the same time..
I truly love Kate and would love for her to be called Princess Catherine.

On the matter of the hats..I love all the feathery styles, but could do without the tipped out from the front frisbee looking one's..

What a very impressive family tree.
Yours Sincerely,
A common house maid,

TRay said...


This is another great post!! I never knew the Queen held so many different titles! I wonder if she ever signs off on anything official using ALL of them--you know, just for "effect?" I might--just like I'd be riding through the streets everyday in that gold carriage, royal sceptre clutched in one hand, orb in the other!

While you definitely are the Duchess of Decor, I'm sure I'm a "royal peculiar." And I relish the title!

Pea, the Royal Peculiar

languageofcolorandtexture said...

Dutchess of Decor, most interesting post, how do you it? So glad you did!
all the best, Karen

LV said...

Great post on the royal family. No one will lever be like Princess Diane was. Such a great loss. It has to be hard on anyone outside their world to cope with the royal family and rules. Your post was very interesting and informative.

Lisa said...

I am loving your "Royal" mini-series! I have always loved the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. What a romance!
PS I DO think you deserve something for giving the royals such great press.:)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

What a wonderfully informative post. And a funny bunch, those royals! A crown is a heavy burden for all the notariety and luxury. I just pray the upcoming princess, or dutchess or whatever will not be consumed by the position she is marrying into. The crown could use another "peoples princess".
Thank you for all the wonderful work it tool to put together this interesting post!
xo Yvonne

Marydon said...

My precious Duchess, you are to adore!, Laura.

What a wonderful write, so informative & delightfully interesting ... soooooooo love all these hats!

Have a beautiful eve ~
Hugs & love,

Mimi said...

I JUST HOPE what ever Kate's name or title be, it not be Princess William, I hate that one, like Princess Michael of Kent, I prefer she get to keep her own name.
I like your title.
I want a title although my blog title is Queen Mimi's corner,
so I like Queen Mimi, as I have several Princesses in my family!!!
I do like Lady Jamie though!!!
Hugs to you,
I am working on an outfit fitting for the Royal wedding outfit!!!

Rebecca said...

I found this quite interesting-thanks for the lesson! Have a great week!

Secret Garden Cottage said...

Wow, Laura... that's a lot of titles to keep straight. I would never be able to do it... lol!

Mary Catherine said...

I love all of your Royal Wedneday posts! I am amazed by your knowledge and the depth of information! Thank you for sharing with your readers!

Sara said...

Interesting indeed. I've frequently wondered about how all the titles related and who outranked whom. (But I've been to lazy to figure it out. Thanks for doing the hard part.)

I'm really enjoying the RWW posts - I recently decided it was time for another party and that a Royal Wedding Tea was just the ticket. I was so pleased to stumble upon your RWW posts when visiting from The Pennington Point. I've been inspired by "education" :0)

Looking forward to next week.

Karena said...

Dear Duchess of Decor,

This is such an educational post!! Not that I will remember it all!! I am so excited you are doing this series!

Art by Karena

(or Mademoiselle Karena)

lifeonthecutoff said...

Such an informative post from such a decorous duchess. Thank you. I, too, have enjoyed your royal wedding posts of late and just had to curtsy and say how much they are appreciated.

the cape on the corner said...

dutchess of decor! love it. i always wanted to be a countess...countess of the cape, maybe?

AshTreeCottage said...

My mother thought the love story between Wallis and Edward was so lovely ~ so my middle name is Wallis. I always hated that name because I thought it to be unfeminine. That does not bother me so much now. What bothers me now is after reading all about Wallis and how she was so hated, I am a bit sad to be named after her.

Susan and Bentley

Nancy said...

How many qustions do you get about your name, and whether or not you are related to THE Laura Ingalls? I love your postings on the Royal family. Do you live in the UK? I was fortunate enough to visit for 10 days in 1995 and had a glorious time, traveling mostly in the north, visiting Roman ruins, and then into Scotland. I will definitely be following your posts.

The Pennington Point said...

Have you seen the new movie, "The King's Speech"? I think you would love it (there is a little bit of swearing). I thought it was fabulous! I am learning a lot from your wedding series...thanks! Lisa~

Liz said...

What a wonderful post! I loved it. I have wondered MANY times "do they pull those titles out of a hat"? LOL!

Thanks for the low down!! :)


Kathy said...

Wow!!! I feel like I have completed a class in college! Well done Duchy!