(c) Guy Stair Sainty


Since the first major European revolution against a consecrated Monarch culminated in the execution of Charles I at Whitehall on January 30th, 1649, the validity of nobiliary creations and the award of chivalric distinctions by dethroned Monarchs and their successors has been a subject of some controversy. Almost without exception, the regimes which replaced a deposed Monarch have denied the validity of any use of the Royal Prerogative by that Monarch or succeeding claimants to the throne. [Note 1.1] If a dethroned Monarch or successor thereto has been restored, however, the exercise of the Royal Prerogative in exile has generally been legitimized post facto, either by a formal act or by simply treating the creations or awards as if the Monarchy had never been overthrown.


1.1. The French Republic, exceptionally, has acknowledged the titles of the former reigning families, including those accorded by the head of each family to their issue. Thus, the title of Count of Paris and Count of Clermont (the latter has now succeeded to his father's position and claims) have been accorded to the Head of the Orléans family and his heir, while the senior representative of the Bourbons has been accorded the title of Duke of Anjou (and the French courts have also recognized his right to use the undifferenced Arms of France on the grounds that they ceased to be state Arms in 1830), and his late uncle that of Duke of Aquitaine. The Head of the Bonaparte family is accorded the title of Prince Napoleon. The Kingdom of Italy accorded S.A.R. D. Ferdinando-Pio di Borbone-Due Sicilie, the title of Duke of Calabria on his passport when he traveled to Italy for the marriage of his daughter in 1938. In Germany, all noble titles having become part of the name, these titles are recognized, but not as ranks of nobility; the extent to which the heads of the former German Royal Houses and their families are accorded their royal styles and titles largely depends on the attitude of their particular State.



When the first, English revolution was ended by the restoration of Charles I's eldest son, as Charles II, in 1660, the nineteen peerages he created were simply added to the respective peerage rolls from the original date of creation. [Note 2.1] Similar treatment was accorded to the handful of Garters that he had granted. During his exile, however, there had been a price on Charles's head offered by the English government, which recognized none of his nobiliary creations. Their subsequent addition to the Peerage Rolls with their original date of creation, when the Monarchy had existed only de jure and not de facto, is of considerable significance in the context of this study, as it represents the first time that the exercise of the Prerogative by an exiled Sovereign was recognized in public law.

Following the second English Revolution of 1688, when James II was overthrown for his adhesion to the Catholic Faith by his Protestant son-in-law, William of Orange, the former King, his son, the titular James III, and grandsons, the titular Charles III and (Cardinal) Henry IX, continued to create Peerages and Baronetcies and award the Orders of the Garter and Thistle (the latter founded by James himself). [Note 2.2] These creations of Peerages and awards of Orders have remained unrecognized by the Crown and are not accorded in British society. Nonetheless, the example of Charles II in exile would indicate that had either the 1715 or 1745 uprisings been successful, these Peerages would have been recognized. [Note 2.3] Many of the recipients of these titles entered the service of other European Monarchs and, almost without exception, any titles they had been given by the Stuart Pretenders were recognized by their new masters. Likewise, certifications of nobility were issued by the Stuart claimants, despite being an alien practice for which there was no need in England (there being no privileged nobility other than the Peerage), and these were routinely accepted by nobiliary authorities in France, Spain, Italy and the Empire.

The authority of those revolutionary regimes which replaced legitimate dynasties and assumed the royal prerogative of awarding titles has not generally been recognized following the restoration of the previously reigning dynasty. [Note 2.4] The first revolutionary government to assume the prerogatives of the Crown it replaced was headed by Oliver Cromwell, whose dictatorship followed the execution of Charles I. Like so many tyrants purporting to support the liberties and rights of the people, he was soon discontent with the simple style of gentleman, and gradually elevated himself from the rank of Esquire with the title of Mr, to "Highness" and "Lord Protector".

After abolishing the hereditary legislature, the House of Lords, a second chamber was reconstituted in March 1657, to be composed of not less than forty, or more than seventy persons, nominated by the Lord Protector to hold office for life. After a few months, during which Cromwell endeavored to compose a suitable list of members "the principle part of whom were such as had procured their present possessions by their wits, and were resolved to enlarge them by selling their consciences", [Note 2.5] the names of the sixty-two new Lords of Parliament were eventually published on 10 December 1657, being duly summoned to what was officially called the "Other House". Included among them were his two sons, Richard and Henry, eleven hereditary peers (of whom six did not take their seats as they considered that by doing so they would be countenancing the abolition of the old House and prejudicing their hereditary privileges), senior members of the army and the new power élite. The experiment ended in quarreling between the two houses and Cromwell's own death in September 1659 left the regime without an effective leader, the new Lord Protector, Richard Cromwell, proving to be a man of little ability and no authority. Following the restoration of Charles II, these appointments were ignored and many of the recipients of the dubious honor of Lord of Parliament, were indicted for treason or forced into exile, although it is to the King's credit that Richard Cromwell and his brother were left in peace, it being recognized they had merely been dutiful sons.

The opposition of successor regimes towards use of the royal prerogative by permanently (as opposed to temporarily) deposed dynasties, has generally been repeated in other cases where one dynasty, or branch thereof, was replaced by another. The most notable exception to this rule is Spain, where, following the re-establishment of the Spanish Crown in 1948, the new Head of State, General Franco recognized all the creations of titles by the Carlist claimants to the Throne made before 1931. This followed the precedent set in 1713 when Philip V recognized the creations of titles by the Archduke-Pretender and the latter's awards of the Golden Fleece.


2.1. These were, in the English Peerage, the Dukedom of Gloucester, 1659, the Earldom of Rochester, 1652, the Viscountcy of Mordaunt of Avalon, 1659, and the Baronies of Berkeley of Stratton, 1658, Crofts of Saxham, 1658, Langdale of Holme, 1658, and Wotton, 1650; in the Scottish Peerage, the Earldoms of Balcarres, 1651, and Ormond, 1651, the Viscountcies of Oxfuird, 1651, and Kingston, 1651, and the Baronies of Colvill of Ochiltree, 1651, Duffus, 1650, Rollo of Duncrub, 1651 and Ruthven of Freeland, 1651; and, in the Irish Peerage, the Earldoms of Inchiquin, 1654, Clancarty, 1658, and Ulster, 1659, and the Viscountcy of Tara, 1650.

2.2. A complete record of these creations may be found in The Jacobite Peerage, by the Marquis de Ruvigny, London 1912.

2.3. Seven Irish Peerages were created by James II between March and August 1689 during which period James was both de jure and de facto ruler, but despite the fact that the creation of these peerages conformed in every respect with the law, the new government never acknowledged them. Three peerages survived beyond the life of the original recipient and all three were subsequently merged into earlier, unquestioned peerages. Following his flight from Ireland, he created a further eighteen (or fourteen) peerages, including four Dukedoms (a later holder of the Duchy of Melfort was subsequently given a Brevet as a Duke in France), one Marquessate, seven Earldoms, five Viscountcies and five or nine Baronies (the records are uncertain). His successor, titular King as James III (of England and Ireland) and VIII (of Scotland) created eleven Dukedoms (a Spaniard, D. José de Rozas y Meléndez de la Cueva 1655-?, 1st Conde de Castelbianco [1709], was created Duke of Saint Andrews, etc, in 1717 , a creation whose limitations seem to have been to both males and females and which is still extant, albeit unclaimed), two Marquessates, seventeen Earldoms, three Viscountcies, and twenty Baronies, several of which have extant heirs, none of whom use the titles except where they were recognized by foreign Sovereigns.

2.4. Obvious examples are those of Cromwell and Parliament (1649-1660), the Bonapartist and Murat governments of Naples from 1806-1814 and the Bonapartist government of Spain from 1808-1814.

2.5. Ludlow, Memoirs, edited by C.H. Firth, vol ii., p.30.


The French Revolution led to the abolition of the privileged nobility and the suppression of all noble titles, until the establishment of an entirely new structure by the Emperor Napoleon in 1808. Napoleon's reforms did not re-establish a noble class but enabled the new regime to rewards its supporters and servants with hereditary titles, establishing a new, but otherwise unprivileged, élite. Following the downfall of the Empire and the first restoration of the Bourbons, the ancient nobility were restored to their titles but not their privileges. The new regime recognized the titles of the Imperial nobility and all took precedence according to their date of creation, Imperial Princes ranking among the Dukes. A new Peerage was established, modeled on the British House of Lords, and recipients of the Peerages were required to establish majorats (a substantial financial endowment to support the dignity whose amount depended on the rank within the Peerage), to take their seats and make the Peerage hereditary. Those titles created by Napoleon during the Hundred Days were not recognized automatically, however, although the governments of both Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III subsequently accorded recognition to the majority.

Louis XVIII did not create any titles of nobility while in exile but, in 1801, issued letters patent revising the arms of Claude de Bésiade, Count d'Avaray, eldest son of his faithful friend Antoine de Bésiade, Marquis and future Duke d'Avaray (1815). He did make appointments to the Royal Orders, awarding three collars of the Saint Esprit, twelve of Saint Michel and five hundred and seventy-five crosses or promotions in the Order of Saint Louis, all of which were listed after the Restoration with the original date of appointment.

Following the Revolution of 1830, the new regime confirmed all the titles created by the preceding governments, but never acknowledged the appointments to Orders made by Charles X in exile, his son Louis XIX or grandson Henri V. Following the death of the latter in 1883, the mantle of legitimism was assumed by the senior male descendant of Louis XIV, the Spanish Infant D. Juan (Carlist King Juan III), while the grandson of Louis-Philippe, the Count of Paris, also claimed the throne (with more widespread popular support). The immediate successors of both made limited awards to the Royal Orders, although the Orléanist claimants have made none for the past seventy years. Both the Bourbon and Orléanist claimants have conferred titles on members of their family and, in some cases, these have been acknowledged by the French Republic by the issue of passports. [Note 3.1]

The French Republic's Constitution continues to preserve the recognition of noble titles and has institutionalized a procedure through the Garde des Sceaux, by which the heir to a title may apply for and receive recognition of the right to use an hereditary title (on identity cards and passports, and official acts such as marriages and records of birth and death). Indeed, the Presidents of the second and third French Republics actually confirmed a considerable number of titles.[Note 3.2]

Neither the Orléans nor Bonaparte claimants appear to have made any creations of noble titles for non-family members, so the issue of their recognition has never arisen. The late Infant D. Jaime, as claimant to the legitimist succession, did confer at least one title [Note 3.3] and also awarded both the Saint Esprit and Saint Michel, as did his son and successor, Alfonso, Duke of Cádiz, [Note 3.4] but these have remained unrecognized. The Orléans claimants have informally acknowledged two extinct Ducal titles which have been assumed by cadets (those of Duke of Castries and Duke of Lévis-Mirepoix, this last also being Duke of San Fernando Luis and a Grandee of Spain), and the pre-1936 Bourbon claimants also acknowledged a handful of titles not strictly legitimate according to the pre-1830 nobiliary law. The French republican governments have not recognized any titles other than those granted by reigning French Sovereigns or by Foreign Sovereigns when specific authorization has been sought and granted and the titles of the Royal House of France.


3.1. See note 1.1 above.

3.2. Under the Second Republic the majority of actions were concerned with the succession of "majorats" (trusts) established to maintain the title. There were 5 confirmations of the title of Baron, 3 of Viscount, 2 of Count (1 of these confirming the passage of the title to a nephew who would not have inherited under the letters patent of creation), 1 of Duke (Dalmatie), out of a total of 41 confirmations. Under the Third Republic there were 101 confirnations of Baron, 9 of Viscount, 63 of Count (8 of them new Pontifical titles, 1 an ancien régime title for which letters patent had never been issued), 18 of Marquis, 14 of Duke (Bauffremont, Montebello, Doudeauville, Plaisance, Bassano, Trévise, Elchingen, Cadore, Sabran, Reggio, Albuféra, Périgord, Telleyrand-Périgord, and Richelieu, the latter a diversion from the 1820/22/31 letters patent), 2 of Prince (Wagram and Essling), out of a total of 217 confirmations between 1870 and 1908. See Vicomte A Révérend, Titres et Confirmations de Titres, 1830-1908, Reprint Paris 1974.

3.3. That of Marquess, on M. Massimo Sciolette. This title has not been recognized by any public authority.

3.4. Both D. Jaime and D. Alfonso assumed the title of Duke of Anjou, the title of Philip V before he became King of Spain, as legitimist claimants.


An entirely different state of affairs exists in Italy. The abolition of the Papal States, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchies of Parma and Modena, and the incorporation of the Austrian dependencies in Northern Italy into a united Italian Kingdom, led to the establishment of a new national nobility, with an attempt (not wholly successful) to impose a uniform nobiliary law.

The regimes which had presided over Italy had developed vastly different systems. In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, succession to territorial titles could pass through the female line, while there are also existed a number of Holy Roman Empire titles or Papal titles attached to the family names, which could only pass by masculine succession. There were also surviving feudal titles, some of which were acknowledged by the new government, and some (perhaps because their heirs did not claim them), which remained dormant or simply disappeared. The Papal States maintained a system not dissimilar to the Two Sicilies, but with a larger proportion of Palatine titles (attached to the family name).

In the Grand Duchy of Tuscany territorial titles could pass through the female line, such transfers invariably requiring the permission of the Grand Duke and were not an automatic right, the majority passing by masculine succession. Those Milanese titles created during Spanish rule were generally territorial, while titles of the Holy Roman Empire or Austria that passed to all descendants in the male line were created under the Habsburg regime. Post 1815 Parmesan, Modenese, and Luccan titles all passed through the male line and titles of the Venetian republic were likewise limited to male agnates. When reforming the system, the new government accepted all the titles of the former regimes, while denying the legitimacy of any titles created after the suppression of these States. A uniform system of male succession was imposed, although it was possible for ancient titles to be transferred to an heir in the female line by royal authority. The Kings of Italy eventually acknowledged implicitly some of the titles conferred by Francis II of the Two Sicilies in exile by making new grants in the same name, while the Lateran Treaty of 1929 acknowledged all Papal titles created before that date and undertook to give automatic recognition to titles conferred by the Holy See on Italian citizens in the future.

Although the Italian Republic has abolished all noble titles, only permitting the use of predicati (the territorial designation added to a name) created before the institution of Fascism in 1922, it is compelled by the terms of the Lateran Treaty not to intervene in the conferment of titles created by the Papacy. [Note 4.1] The successors to Pope Pius XII have generally avoided creating titles and Paul VI abolished all the rights and privileges of the Roman nobility at the Papal Court. The Vatican has continued to intervene periodically, however, in determining the destination of titles extinct in the male line but historically able to pass by female succession, or deciding between co-heiresses, and the present Pontiff, very discreetly, has granted a handful of noble titles to Italians. [Note 4.2]

Certain other regulations which had applied in one part of Italy, were extended (without any historical foundation) to others. Thus, the title of "Don" or "Donna" which in the Two Sicilies was accorded to all the descendants in the male line of Princely or Ducal Houses, and to some other notable families, was extended to the descendants of all Italian Princely or Ducal families. The generous distribution of the title of Prince and Duke in southern Italy must be contrasted with its rarity in the north; hence families whose status might been considered quite modest when compared with great northern princely dynasties, were given an equality which bore no relation to their actual circumstances. This multiplication of titles of the highest ranks had been much accelerated by the Spanish Kings, who found it advantageous to accord a high-sounding Neapolitan title to a worthy subject, without diminishing the status of the Spanish Grandeeship.


4.1. It is extremely doubtful whether the Italian Republic's non-recognition of noble titles could legally include Papal awards, under the terms of this Treaty. The recent revisions of the Lateran accord between the Vatican and Italian Republic make no mention of noble titles.

4.2. Most recently the title of Count Palatine was conferred by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome and confirmed in a letter from the Papal Secretariat of State. Information on the Papal nobility today has been provided to this author by the Most Rev Monsignor Karel Kasteel, of the office of the Cardinal Camerlengo (conversation, 1993).

Tuscany and the Two Sicilies

After 1859, the Austrian Emperors granted a handful of titles to Italians, while the Grand Duke Joseph of Tuscany (son of the last reigning Duke) granted at least one noble title, [Note 4.3] and his ultimate successor, the Grand Duke Goffredo granted two. [Note 4.4] Only King Francis II of the Two Sicilies conferred titles in any quantity, the majority of these being created in the few years immediately following his deposition. [Note 4.5] His successor, the Count of Caserta created two noble titles in addition to the titles he conferred on his sons. [Note 4.6] D. Ferdinando-Pio, Duke of Calabria, is not known to have made any new creations and the late Infant D. Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, only conferred two, that of Duchess of Salerno on his elder daughter, Princess Teresa, and that of Duchess of Syracuse on the younger, Princess Inés, to use until their marriages.

The Infant D. Alfonso's son and successor, Infant and Prince D. Carlos, automatically became Duke of Noto on his father's succession, a title which his own son, Prince D. Pedro, received at his birth. The present Head of the Two Sicilies family, the Duke of Calabria, has recognized a handful of titles of nobility, but only when those titles have already been authorized by some other individual or body, and hitherto has not made any new creations. [Note 4.7] He confers the Illustrious Order of San Gennaro (as head of the Dynasty) [Note 4.8] and, as heir of the Farnese, is Grand Master of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. [Note 4.9] The award of this latter has received official acknowledgment in Spain, diplomats applying for authorization to wear it have received such permission and the Order is invited to participate in the bi-annual service of the Military Order of Saint Hermengildo. The titles of Duke of Calabria, and Duke of Noto, conferred by the former on his only son, have been acknowledged officially in Spain, including on their diplomatic passports and identity cards. The title of Duke of Calabria was also recognized by the Holy See in the diploma conferring the Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulcher.

The last Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand IV, continued to bestow the Orders of Saint Stephen and Saint Joseph while in exile, until his death, although sparingly, as did his son and immediate successor the Grand Duke Joseph. [Note 4.10] The Order of Saint Stephen was awarded by the Grand Duke Goffredo, grandfather of the present claimant and, in 1992, the Grand Duke Leopold (who abdicated in 1993 to his eldest son), made some revisions of the statutes of the Order of Santo Stephen and admitted several knights and one dame. [Note 4.11] The following year, two recipients, Marquess Aldo Pezzana Capranica del Grillo and Count Franco Ferretti di Val d'Era, applied to the President of the Italian Republic for permission to wear their Saint Stephen decorations and have been given written authorization; [Note 4.12] this may be regarded as recognition by the Republic of the survival of the Order, despite the attempt to suppress it in 1859, and of the prerogative of the Grand Duke to award it.


4.3. That of Duke of Giglio, Count of Palazzo Vecchio, and Marquess on Noble Stefanelli di Prenterhof e Hohenmaur, with the title of Count and Countess and Don and Donna for his all his descendants in the male line, by patent dated 1918.

4.4. That of Count of Monteloro on Giorgio Cucentrentoli and Count on Prof Rodolfo Bernardini.

4.5. For a list of these creations, see Guy Stair Sainty, the Orders of Chivalry and Merit of the Bourbon-Two Sicilies Dynasty, Madrid, 1989, pp.59-60, note 70.

4.6. The Count of Caserta created that of Count of Sant'Agata on D. Pietro Vial, and the title of Count on D. Raffaello da Barberino-Barberini, whom he also later created Prince of Carrara.

4.7. The rival claimants to the Headship of the Two Sicilies Dynasty have likewise avoided conferring or recognizing titles of nobility, although the late Prince Ranieri granted his Maggiordomo Maggiore, Nobile D. Achille Di Lorenzo, the right to use the simple Arms of the Bourbon-Sicily Family in Chief, and recognized for him the title of Marquess.

4.8. There are presently twenty four living members of this Order.

4.9. This great Order has one thousand four hundred members today, the majority Italians and Spaniards, but also French, German, Austrian, British, American, Canadian, and South and Central American. Included among the Bailiffs Grand Cross are King Juan Carlos, King Simeon of the Bulgarians, King Constantine of the Hellenes, Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, Crown Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, Prince Pedro-Gastao of Orléans-Braganza, the Archdukes Rudolph and Simeon of Austria, and eleven Cardinals.

4.10. On Count Ferruccio Pasini Frassoni and Count Guelfo Guelfi.

4.11. There are now a total of thirty members of this Order.

4.12. Under the provisions of article 7 of the law 178/1951. See Pierfelice degli Uberti, Ordini Cavallereschi e Onorificenze, Milano, 1993, p. 154.

Parma and Modena

The last reigning Duke of Parma, Roberto I, awarded all the Parmesan Orders but following his death in 1907 all such awards ceased, except to members of the Ducal family. The Parmesan Order exists today in Italy but purely as a body established to administer the patrimony of the Order and is under the direct control of the President of the Republic. The Dukes of Modena having become extinct in the male line, the Este inheritance passed to the second son of the Emperor Charles I, the Archduke Robert, who has awarded neither titles nor Orders.

The Murat Monarchy in Naples

The status of those titles conferred by the new Monarchies established by Napoleon for his family in Italy is less clear. Murat, who reigned in Naples as King Gioacchino Napoleone, between July 7th, 1810 and September 8th, 1815 conferred a number of titles, which were not automatically recognized by the Bourbons but which, in some cases, received recognition later from the Bourbon and Savoy Kings. [Note 4.13]These totaled sixty-two titles of Baron, [Note 4.14] three titles of Count, three of Marquess and two of Duke without any territorial designation (or predicati), one title of Count and one of Marquess with territorial designations, [Note 4.15] and the confirmation and recognition of several pre-existing titles, that of Marquess with three territorial designations for one individual and one Ducal title with a territorial designation. [Note 4.16] While accepting the ancien régime system in respect of some titles, the majority of Murat's creations imitated the French Imperial system. Napoleon's step-son, Eugène de Beauharnais, granted several titles as Viceroy of Italy, as did the Emperor's sister, Élise, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and their subsequent recognition was conferred primarily on the basis of the achievements of the succeeding heirs.


4.13. For a complete list of the titles conferred by Murat, see Natale Barone, Atti Nobiliari Sovrani di Gioacchino Murat, Naples, 1917.

4.14. Some of these creations have been recognized, e.g. the concession of the title of Baron for Felice Parrilli on 17 December 1814, was recognized in the 1922 Elenco Ufficiale; and the title of Baron for Raffaele Aloisio Scalfaro, 2 June 1814, was recognized by royal letters patent of King Umberto I on 16 March 1899 - the present Baron is currently President of the Italian Republic.

4.15. The title of Count of Camaldoli was created for his Minister of Grace and Justice, Francesco Ricciardi, on 25 December 1813, and was recognized by King Ferdinando II by royal decree of 29 July 1853; that of Marquess di Villalba for Placido Palmeri, Baron of Miccicche, 21 August 1813, was recognized by royal decree of Ferdinando II 16 March 1846.

4.16. The confirmations were as follows: that of Marquess of Arena, Pascarola and Anzi for D. Lourenço Vicente Cristovao Joaõ de Noronha, 12 October 1810; that of Duke of Casalanza for General Barone Bianchi, 8 September 1815.

The Savoy Monarchy

The last King of Italy, Umberto II, never abdicated as King and was accompanied into exile in 1946 by the Minister of the Royal Household, Marquess Falcone Lucifero, who, under the Savoyard Constitution, was required to countersign any confirmations, convalidations or creations of noble titles for them to be legally valid. In addition to the titles created by King Umberto in the brief period between his father's abdication and his departure for exile, the King awarded a considerable number of titles between 1950 and his death in 1983. These numbered two hundred and seventy-eight entirely new "concessions", ranging from noble through prince and the "concession" of extinct titles to collaterals. He also made a number of "authorizations" which, in several cases, may be regarded as new creations, the claims of some of the recipients being somewhat uncertain, "convalidations" which may have included the recognition of extinct titles granted to collateral branches, "renovations", "assents" and authorizations of "transmission" through the female line. [Note 4.17] The recognition of titles by King Umberto has included several titles also assumed by Spanish claimants. The King renovated the vacant titles of Prince of Torremuzza, Marquess di Motta d'Affermo and Count of Gagliano (originally pertaining to the Castelli family), for Barone Gabriele Ortolani di Bordonaro in 1974, but these titles were also claimed by Doña Dulce Maria Chacón y Jorge, Countess of Gibacoa and Casa Bayona and her children, effectively creating two titles out of one. [Note 4.18]

Among King Umberto's creations may be numbered several entirely new Princely and Ducal titles. These include that of Prince of Casalnuovo granted to Count [Note 4.19] Don Vittorio Marullo di Condojanni, Nobile di Messina, by elevating the Barony of that name which had belonged to the Maria family, of which Nobile Vittorio Marullo was one of several heirs. Other interesting creations or recognitions by King Umberto II included that of Count for the Scottish born hotelier, Sir Charles Forte (now a British Life Peer as Baron Forte, of Ripley), in 1974, that of Prince for Nicola Kretzulesco, of Russian descent (in 1965), that of Count (in 1966) for the brother of the 77th Prince and Grand Master of the S.M.O.M., Fra Angelo de Mojana, a title also eventually conceded to two of his nephews (in 1980), that of Baron (in 1969) to the father of the distinguished lawyer, Aldo Pezzana, himself subsequently elevated to the title of Marquess with the addition of his wife's family name of Capranica del Grillo (in 1974), that of Count on the noted art historian, Andrea Busiri Vici (in 1972), the "authorization" of that of Count for two Polish noblemen (Dr Andrew Ciechanowiecki in 1975 and Stanislas Lis de Kozlowo Kozlowski in 1980), that of Duke of Dino for Manuél Gonzáles de Andia (in 1975) [Note 4.20] and the "convalidation" (in 1961) of the title of Marquess for the historian Luigi Buccini Grimaldi, who was also later created Count of Bisaccia (in 1979). While the Italian Republic does not recognizes any noble titles, whether created before or after 1946 and the new predicati created by King Umberto cannot be introduced legally into the name, the Italian Courts have been persuaded to consider numerous claims to titles of nobility without actually applying nobiliary law, leading to some bizarre decisions. [Note 4.21]

The position of King Umberto's only son and successor, H.R.H. Crown Prince Vittorio Emanuele, is slightly different, since, while the King had never abdicated his rights, his son inherited the claim after the abolition of the Monarchy. The Constitution of the Italian Republic prohibits the Crown Prince and his son from entering Italian territory, a provision which grossly offends a basic human right, that of a citizen to live in the country of his birth. The Crown Prince has never acknowledged the Republic and has continued to claim the Italian throne. The right to award the Royal Orders has been actively maintained and, when the former Papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Casaroli, publicly accepted the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Annunziata in 1988, the Holy See was implicitly acknowledging that the purported abolition of this Order by the Italian Republic was illegal and ineffective and the right of the Crown Prince to award his dynastic Orders. [Note 4.22] The Crown Prince has successfully reorganized the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, [Note 4.23] which now has members across Europe and in the United States and is engaged in an active charitable mission, and has established the Order of Civil Merit of Savoy in a reform of the Civil Order of Savoy.

There is little doubt, since the right of the Crown Prince to award the Dynastic Orders of his House has been generally recognized by the (private) Italian nobiliary authorities, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Holy See, that he also retains the right to concede, confirm or authorize the transmission of titles of nobility, provided that he follows the proper forms as required by the pre-1946 laws (i.e. that all creations should be countersigned by the Minister of the Royal Household, presently Count Carlo d'Amelio). The fact that he has not assumed the title of King does not affect this prerogative vis-à-vis Italian law, which also denied the legitimacy of the use of the Royal Prerogative by the late King Umberto. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recognized by the Italian Republic as enjoying the status of a Sovereign State, has acknowledged the late King's nobiliary concessions, recognizing that this right survived the abolition of the Italian Monarchy. [Note 4.24] Since Crown Prince Vittorio-Emanuele's prerogative to bestow the Royal Orders is recognized by the S.M.O.M. (the Grand Master having accepted the Annunziata) and the Holy See, his other prerogatives may also be regarded as having survived. The use of the title of King does not affect this right, as is demonstrated by the concessions of titles by other claimants to former thrones who never assumed the kingly style.


4.17. See the Bolletino Ufficiale del Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana, Anni XXVI-XXX - Ottobre 1987, pp.63-80.

4.18. Spanish law having provided for the recognition of foreign titles inherited by Spaniards, it is possible for a Spaniard to make such a claim today, provided the government of the state in which the title originated is willing to provide the Spanish Ministry of Justice with a written declaration to the effect that the claimant is indeed the legitimate heir. This latter limitation, introduced in 1968, has made it impossible for claims by Spaniards to Italian titles to succeed, unless the title was conferred by the Spanish Kings (thereby not requiring such a declaration by the Italian Government) and then only by special grace of the reigning Monarch (very rarely offered). A number of such titles were recognized between 1950 and 1968, however, but it appears that the heirs of those who received such recognition may not be successful in claiming these titles after the deaths of the present holders. A useful list of pending claims to such titles, or of claims established before the Italian Courts in a procedure whose validity is disputed by the present (privately constituted) Italian nobiliary authorities, may be found in recent editions of the Elenco de Grandezas y Titularios Nobiliarios published by the Istituto Salazar y Castro headed by D. Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent. The claimants to such titles have generally made their claims on the basis of the original letters patent of creation, ignoring the changes in nobiliary inheritance law following the unification of Italy. Thus, in several cases, a title whose claim by a Spanish citizen is acknowledged by inclusion in this list may also be claimed and utilized by an Italian, sometimes causing dissent and bad feeling on the part of each. Since 1994 no more rehabilitations of Spanish titles will be allowed if they have been dormant for more than forty years, unless proceedings began before 1994.

4.19. This title also created by King Umberto II in 1971.

4.20. He was the nephew of the last male of the Talleyrand-Perigord family; this title had been conferred by Ferdinand I on the nephew of Prince Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand in return for the Principality of Benevento in 1815.

4.21. Italian titles are regulated unofficially by the Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana, the most responsible of the various bodies established in Italy to regulate the nobility, along with the Collegio Araldico, which publishes the Libro d'Oro della Nobiltà Italiana. This latter body, in the forward to its most recent edition, states that it acknowledges all the titles registered in the Libro d'Oro of the ancient Consulta Araldica of the Kingdom, those recognized or created by grace of King Umberto II, those created by the Popes after 1870 and by the Republic of San Marino after 1861, those lacking any other formal recognition but which were included in the Official Lists of the Italian nobility published in 1921 and 1933, and those whose nobility was recognized by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta on their reception as knights. The Libro d'Oro also includes, in the second part, families whose proofs of nobility are not susceptible to such rigorous examination but are nonetheless considered by the Collegio Araldico to be of noble origin and will sometimes recognize those whose nobility has been acknowledged by the Constantinian Order of Saint George. Although this suggests that the Collegio Araldico would not acknowledge titles created by the claimants to the pre-unification States, in fact the title of "Prince of Carrara" was accorded the late D. Raffaello da Barberino-Barberini in his Libro d'Oro entry, as was the amendment to his arms accorded D. Achille Di Lorenzo.

4.22. The Crown Prince has only made three other awards of the Annunziata to date, conferring it on the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra' Andrew Bertie, on his cousin, the new King of the Belgians (whose brother Baudouin was also a Knight) and the Duke of Santa Severina.

4.23. The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus was likewise a Papal foundation dating from 1572, and could not be abolished by a unilateral decision of the Italian Republic

4.24. The best example of this being the recognition of the titles of Count and Prince of Casalnuovo for the late Grand Commander of the Order and his son, presently Receiver-General of the Order.


In Spain, the changes of Family within the Dynasty in 1700, the replacement of the Dynasty from 1808-1814, the change of Dynasty in 1870 and return to the Borbón family in 1875, the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Spain without a Monarch in 1948, and the restoration of the Monarchy in 1975, has led to differing, and sometimes contradictory, positions. Following the end of the War of Spanish Succession, the government of Philip V recognized all the titles created by the Archduke Charles between 1700 and 1712, and also his conferrals of the Golden Fleece. Between 1808 and 1814, the Spanish King was imprisoned by Napoleon and neither created any titles nor conferred the Royal Orders, while the resistance to Joseph Bonaparte was led by the Regency and Cortes. This latter conferred titles of nobility (most notably on Arthur, Duke of Wellington, who was created Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, 30 January 1812, and granted the Golden Fleece) and awarded the Royal Orders, all of which awards were acknowledged by Ferdinand VII on his restoration. Unlike the French Bourbons, however, King Ferdinand VII did not recognize the titles created by Joseph Bonaparte (who fled the country without being in a position to negotiate any such terms) and these creations remain unrecognized today. Isabel II and her son, Alfonso XII, to whom she abdicated shortly after her own deposition, neither created any titles nor awarded the Royal Orders in exile, while the latter recognized all the creations and awards made by King Amadeus I (of Savoy, Duke of Aosta), and by the short-lived Republic.

King Alfonso XIII conceded titles only to his immediate family; that of Duke of Cádiz on his brother-in-law, the Infant D. Fernando de Baviera (who is not known to have made use of this title), that of Count of Covadonga on his eldest son, the Prince of the Asturias, following his renunciation, that of Duke of Segovia on his second son, the Infant D. Jaime, following his renunciation, and that of Countess of Odiel on the morganatic wife of the Infant D. José-Eugenio de Baviera, D. Marisol de Messía y Lesseps. None of these titles were subsequently formally recognized by the Spanish State after the re-establishment of the Kingdom by General Franco. King Alfonso XIII did not confer the Golden Fleece during his exile, but several concessions were made of the Order of María Luisa (including to the Infanta D. Alicia, dowager Duchess of Calabria, at the time of her marriage to the Infant D. Alfonso de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y Borbón, in 1936).

The abdication of Alfonso XIII shortly before his death in 1941 led to the succession of his third, but second surviving, son, the late Don Juan de Borbón y Battenberg (1913-1993). Don Juan had been titled Prince of the Asturias between 1933 and 1941 and, on his succession, assumed the title of Count of Barcelona. As the legitimate claimant to the Spanish Crown, he conferred on his eldest daughter, the Infanta D. Pilar, the title of Duchess of Badajoz by Letters Patent dated 17 April 1967 (a title acknowledged by the government of General Franco without any statement as to who had created it), and this title was recognized by a Decree of King Juan Carlos dated 6 November 1987 and published in the Boletín Oficial, in which her title of Infanta de España was confirmed, along with that of Infanta de España for her younger sister, the Infanta Margarita, who had been created Duchess of Soria by her brother in 1981. While no other titles were formally conferred by D. Juan, he implicitly recognized the titles of Duke of Parma and Duke of Calabria when, in 1964, he conferred upon each of them the Order of the Golden Fleece using those titles. The Count of Barcelona also conferred the Golden Fleece on his three year old elder son, then Prince of the Asturias and now King Juan Carlos I, in 1941, on the late King Baudouin of the Belgians (in 1960), on the late King Paul of the Hellenes (in 1962) and his son, King Constantine (in 1964). All these awards were made in French, using the title of Duke of Burgundy.

A law initiated by General Franco on 4 May, 1948, elaborated in a law of 4 June 1948 (see Spanish Nobiliary Regulations) provided that the 171 titles created by the Carlist claimants in exile between 1833 and 1931, could be recognized or rehabilitated for their present heirs, despite the fact that for much of that time these claimants did not maintain even a shadowy government-in- exile nor, after 1875, did they enjoy the recognition of any of the European Powers. While most of these titles were created in formal letters patent, a number were created in an informal fashion and the recognition granted them was accorded on the most generous basis. While the recognition of these titles was intended to cement the spirit of national reconciliation following the disastrous civil wars of the previous hundred and fifteen years, the decision of the government of General Franco to ignore the actions of King Alfonso XIII and his successor, Don Juan, in exile may be regarded as illogical. The re-established Monarchy has not revised the terms of nobiliary creations or recognitions by the late General Franco, with one exception: the title of Duke of Cádiz granted in 1972 to the senior grandson of Alfonso XIII, the late D. Alfonso de Borbón y Dampierre, [Note 5.1] because the poor drafting of the decree appeared to contradict the traditions of Spanish nobiliary law.

Don Juan did not request that the awards he made of the Golden Fleece be published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado by Government decree, as had been the required under a law dating from the Isabeline Monarchy. But the law requiring publication of such awards could not deprive the legitimate Sovereign of the Order of his right to bestow it, irrespective of whether or not it was published. No official list of members of the Golden Fleece, which, one may presume, would include all those on whom it was conferred by D. Juan, has yet been published. A formal decree published formally recognizing the title of Count or Countess of Barcelona was not published until 1987, and following the sad death of D. Juan, the government declared that "His Royal Highness the Count of Barcelona" would be granted the "obsequies of a King of Spain". The title of Infanta de España pertaining to D. Alicia, widow of the late Infant D. Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, been never formally acknowledged by a Decree published in the Boletín Oficial although it has been acknowledged by the Crown on numerous occasions.

There is no question, however, over the validity of any of the titles of members of the Royal Family or of the awards of the Golden Fleece between 1941 and 1977, and all have been recognized implicitly in various acts of the Crown since 1975. [Note 5.2] Under the present Constitution, the King is given sole jurisdiction over his Household and the Royal Family. The government decree which stated on his accession that he was the heir to the prerogatives of the preceding Kings of Spain, implicitly acknowledges the validity in Spanish law of the acts in exile of his late father, since it was by virtue of his birth, as the elder and only surviving son of D. Juan, that he inherited his right to the Crown. The act of the 23rd July, 1969, by which the present King took the oath as General Franco's successor, did not only recognize that he would succeed to the Throne, but acknowledged his legitimate right to do so as the eventual heir of the Alfonsine Monarchy. The abdication of his father, D. Juan, as Head of the Dynasty in 1977, may be regarded as putting the seal of legitimacy on the re-establishment of the Spanish Monarchy.


5.1. Who, as S.A.R. Monseigneur Alphonse II, Duc d'Anjou, assumed the legitimist claim to the French throne upon the death of his father in 1975.

5.2. Including the titles of Duchess of Badajoz between its creation in 1967 and the use of this title in the Decree published in the Boletín Oficial confirming the title of Infante de España in 1987, of Count and Countess of Barcelona assumed by the father and mother of the King, of Infanta de España for D. Alicia de Borbón-Parma y Austria, dowager Duchess of Calabria, assumed at her marriage in 1936, of Duke (assumed in 1964 on his succession) and Duchess of Calabria (assumed at her marriage in 1965) for Prince D. Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y Borbón-Parma (created an Infant of Spain by decree of 16 December 1994) and Princess D. Anne de Orléans y Orléans-Braganza, of Duke of Noto for Prince D. Pedro de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y Orléans, assumed at his birth in 1968, and of Countess of Odiel for D. Marisol de Messía y Lesseps, de Baviera, or of the awards of the Golden Fleece during the same period.


In Portugal, both the deposed Monarch, Miguel I, and the last King of the "liberal" Monarchy (deposed in 1910), bestowed titles of nobility while in exile. [Note 6.1] H.R.H. Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza, the claimant to the Portuguese Throne, has not only awarded the Royal Order of the Immaculate Conception of Villa Viçosa, the only Order of the former Kingdom not taken over by the Republic, but has also re-established a long dormant Order, that of Saint Michael of the Wing, with members across Europe and a handful in the United States (now reformed as an Association rather than an Order) The Republican authorities have looked with a benevolent eye on the activities of Dom Duarte, who has a substantial following within the country and has always conducted himself with considerable dignity. His late father created a Council of Nobility, now under the Presidency of the Marques de Pombal, which he has invested with delegated powers to confirm in his name titles created during the Monarchy but now extinct or dormant. A feature of the titles created under the "liberal" monarchy was that a substantial number were created for the life of the grantee, or for one or two lives thereafter. The Council has also been given the power to revive or extend the life of such titles, generally, although not necessarily, for the representative of the original grantee. Thus, by such "revivals" the Council may sometimes be creating new titles.


6.1. The title of Countess of Castelo, now extinct, is an example of one bestowed by the former. I am grateful to Dom Manuel de Noronha, Marquess of Arena, for his  assistance with the Portuguese section.


Elsewhere in Europe, the former German Sovereigns and their successors have limited their use of the royal prerogative to the award of the family Orders and the regulation of titles within their own families. The collective Associations which regulate the mediatized families and other nobiliary bodies, generally defer to the Head of each family in determining the interpretation of House Laws, etc. While some Heads of formerly regnant or mediatized families have reintegrated branches which had forfeited their membership because of marriages breaching the House Laws, [Note 7.1] some other Heads of Family have enforced rules inequitably against members of their family, in a fashion which sometimes abused the very principles under which these same House laws had been established.

A law of the Federal Republic of Germany of 12 July 1957 permits the wearing of "Orders and decorations of honor which were established by a sovereign, the Emperor, etc" and may be considered to embrace all the German Royal and Dynastic Orders. With the singly exception of a disputed claim to the Headship of the Princely House of Lippe, who distributed the "Order of the Rose" with little discretion, {Note 7.2] the former German reigning families manage their House Orders prudently and make only limited awards outside their own families or to the heads of those same great families who might have been expected to have received these honors under the Monarchies. The Duke of Bavaria, in particular, has maintained the Royal Order of Saint Hubert and his Order of Saint George, a noble Catholic Order, has retained its highly restrictive nobiliary proofs and also an active humanitarian role. The German Law of 1919 by which those possessed of noble titles took their father's rank (differed according to the sex) as part of the name, but without the style of Royal, Serene or Illustrious Highness, meant that it has not been possible for the descendants of unrecognized marriages to take different names. Hence, it is normally the practice for such descendants not to be accorded the style of Highness in its various degrees within the family, in works of reference or in society, while retaining their other titles. [Note 7.3]

The Austrian Republic not only abolished all the Imperial Prerogatives but also prohibited the use of noble titles or the style "von", infringements of which, on occasion, have been strictly dealt with. Nonetheless, such titles are used in society and, in 1950, the Austrian republic recognized that the Order of the Golden Fleece as a separate, independent inheritance whose Grand Master was the Head of the Habsburg-Lothringen House. The present Head, the Archduke Otto (otherwise known as Dr Othon von Habsburg and a leading Member of the European Parliament), has been Grand Master for seventy-two years since the death of his father, the Emperor Charles, and has continued to maintain the Order according to its historic statutes and awarded it with care and discretion. The fact that it was accepted by the last two Grand Masters of the S.M.O.M., [Note 7.4] the Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, Prince (now King) Albert of the Belgians and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg (the latter two also subsequently accepted the Spanish Golden Fleece), is evidence of the continuing legitimacy of this prerogative and its recognition in public international law.

The Archduke Otto has also regulated the titles of his own family, requiring the issue of members of the Dynasty who made marriages which contradicted the House Laws to forfeit the Imperial style and titles, although there has been some recent disagreement between members of the Dynasty over an apparent contradictory exercise of this authority. The Archduke Otto has conferred the titles of Prince (or Princess) of Altenburg on the descendants of several marriages of members of the Dynasty which did not accord with the House Laws. [Note 7.5] He has also conferred some titles of nobility, although he has not believed to have done so since 1945.

In order to make it possible for him to re-enter the territory of the Austrian Republic, he had to renounce his claim to the Austrian Throne in 1961 under a Constitutional provision forbidding members of the former Imperial Family from living within Austria without first renouncing their dynastic rights. If, at some time in the future, however, the Austrian people were to decide to restore the Monarchy, it is unlikely that this renunciation would be considered to have any bearing on the right to the throne of the Archduke Otto or his descendants. No such renunciation was required by the Hungarians who restored the Monarchy under a Regency in 1920, until the foundation of the People's Republic in 1945 (now itself replaced by a democratic, parliamentary Republican system). The late Emperor Charles created the Hungarian Regent, Admiral Horthy, a Duke, but this title was not used by its recipient and we may consider that the Hungarian Government did not recognize it. The Archduke Otto does not now award any of the other Habsburg Orders, although he did make a handful of grants of the Order of Maria-Theresa before 1939 and his late mother bestowed the Order of the Starry Cross (for noble, Catholic ladies) as does her successor, the Archduchess Regina, wife of the Archduke Otto. A recent declaration by the Archduchess Regina made it clear that she would not be succeeded as Head of this Order by the wife of her eldest son.


7.1. The Counts of Carlow, a morganatic branch of the Grand Ducal House of Mecklemburg-Strelitz, have been permitted to reassume the titles of Dukes of Mecklemburg after being adopted by the last surviving Head of the Mecklemburg-Strelitz family by a family accord of 11 Sep 1928 and, with the extinction of the surviving males of the Grand Ducal Houses of Mecklemburg-Schwerin, will represent this Royal Dynasty. Prince Georg von und zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein married on 22 April 1913 Marie Rühm who was created Freifrau von Freusberg. Each of their four children were born and recorded as Freiherr or Freifrau von Freusberg. By an act recorded at Eisenach on 1 April 1946 (and recognized by the Furst von Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein) the three younger children abandoned the name and titles of Freusberg, becoming once again Prinz und Prinzessin von und zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein - only the eldest son, Rolf, remaining Freiherr von Freusberg. They did not inherit, on the death of their uncle without male issue, the title of Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein, which, by a family arrangement, passed to a member of the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg line adopted as heir of the junior, Hohenstein, line.

7.2. Until the German Federal Government intervened.

7.3. German royal or noble name or title changes other than by adoption after 1918. [Noble Names, using "von" or "zu" or titles are illegal in Austria, although commonly used in Society].. Erbgraf Carl-Anton Fugger von Babenhausen abandoned his rights as eldest son in favor of his next brother Hubertus (now Furst) on 23 December 1970. On 18 August 1975 he married Princess Hélène de Polignac and by an act of 27 March 1979 adopted the name and title of Graf Fugger-Babenhausen de Polignbac with the accord of the Head of the House. Electoral Prince, later Elector Friedrich-Wilhelm von Hessen, married Gertrude Falkenstein, (divorced Lehmann) who was created Grafin von Schaumburg & Erlaucht for her and her descendants on 10 October 1831, with no restriction on the succession (other than by male succession). Following her husband's accession, she was created Furstin von Hanau, and the title Prinz und Prinzessin von Hanau conferred on her descendants by the Elector of Hesse on 2 June 1853, with the restriction that this title could only pass to the issue of marriages into families of Countly rank or higher. The titles of Fürst or Fürstin von Hanau und Horowitz was granted by Emperor Franz Josef subject to the same rules on 6 March 1855 and the style of Durchlaucht conferred by the Elector of Hesse on 10 June 1862. Of their five sons who married, three left no issue and the two who left issue were married "unequally" and their issue reverted to the rank of Graf or Grafon von Schaumburg. By a decision of the Bavarian Courts of 4 June 1930, confirmed in Munich 28 May 1931, the Graf und Grafon von Schaumburg were restored to the rank of Prinz (Fürst) und Prinzessin (Fürstin) von Hanau, Graf und Grafon von Schaumburg; this decision confirmed by the editorial board of the Almanach de Gotha on 10 April 1938. Christian Prinz und Langraf von Hessen-Philippsthal-Barchfeld married in breach of the House Laws to Elizabeth Reid Rogers (from Jackson, Tennessee) on 14 January 1915; she was created Freifrau von Barchfeld by the Grand Duke of Hesse on the same day. In an act recorded by the Government of Prussia on 23 June 1920, he and his wife and issue became Prinz und Prinzessin von Hessen with the accord of the Head of the House.

7.4. And most recently by their successor, Frà' Andrew Bertie, the 78th Prince and Grand Master.

7.5. The day preceding the marriage of Archduke Clemens of Austria on 20 Feb 1930 to Countess Elisabeth Rességuier de Miremont (at the time breaching the House Laws) he and his wife received the title of "Graf und Grafin von Altenburg" from the Archduke Otto. This name change was recorded by the government of Nieder-Ósterreich on 2 April 1931. By a further decree of the Archduke Otto dated 15 December 1949, the title of Graf und Grafin was elevated to that of Prinz und Prinzessin. The title of Prinzessin von Altenburg was conferred on Alice noble Ankarcrona with successibility to the issue of her second marriage to the Archduke Karl-Albrecht, Duke of Teschen, by Archduke Otto on 15 Dec 1949. By decision of the Archduke Otto of 30 November 1990, the wives and issue of the Archdukes Joseph-Ferdinand, Radbot, Heinrich, Leopold (a naturalized American citizen as Leopold Lorraine), Stefan, Dominic, Franz-Josef, Karl Pius, Markus, Johann, Carl-Salvator, Albrecht (Duke of Teschen), Leo-Karl, Istvan and Geza, were created Graf or Grafin von Habsburg. (Note: the family name is Habsburg-Lothringen, Lothringen being the male line so this was not simply the use of their family name with the addition of a title as it has been sometimes portrayed).


With the murder of Czar Nicholas II, the claim to the Crown of the Russian Empire passed to his cousin, the Grand Duke Kyril Vladimirovich, who awarded the Imperial Orders and made several concessions of titles, including granting the style of "Serene Highness" to Georg, Count of Carlow, and Duke of Mecklemburg after his adoption by his uncle, the last male of that family (on 18 July 1929). [Note 8.1]The Grand Duke Kyril was succeeded by his only son, Prince Wladimir Kyrillovich, who assumed the title of Grand Duke and died in 1991. Both the Grand Duke Kyril and the Grand Duke Wladimir rigidly imposed the highly restrictive House Laws in regard to marriages of cadets of the family, while the latter declared his own marriage, to Mrs Summer Kirby, born Princess Leonida Bagration, to be equal for dynastic purposes. [Note 8.2] Those members of the Imperial Family who made marriages which the Grand Dukes Kyril and Wladimir did not consider met the requirements of the House Laws received the title "Prince Romanovsky" with a variety of suffixes. [Note 8.3] Grand Duke Wladimir gave a number of titles throughout his headship of the Imperial House, a register of which may b e found in the archives of his successor. 


8.1. Another was the creation of the title of Prince Tschotokoua for a Noble Tschokonia who was heir to the former family by marriage. The latter was informally acknowledged by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, for whom Prince Tschotokoua serves as Ambassador.

8.2. Other Romanov descendants have asked for a family agreement on revised House Laws more in keeping with the spirit of the twentieth century. The House Laws had prohibited the marriage of any members of the Imperial Family with a member of a subject family, however eminent, because of the fear of a resurgence of the divisions which had plagued Russia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when members of families into which the Czars had married became overly powerful. These same laws required that members of the Dynasty marry "equally", i.e. into other sovereign or formerly sovereign houses.

8.3. Such as Romanovsky-Ilyinsky and Romanovskaia-Koutuzova.


The Constitutions of Greece, Roumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania each prohibited their Sovereigns from conferring titles of nobility or establishing a noble class, only permitting them to regulate the titles of the Royal Family. With the exception of the late King Peter II of Yugoslavia, none have done so, although all have conferred the Royal Orders, at least on members of their own family. Unfortunately, the late King Peter was persuaded not only to institute the rank of "knight bachelor", a style which had no place in the history of Yugoslavia or its constituent parts, but without any legal authority accorded the recipients of this distinction the style of "Sir". [Note 9.1] The King also granted at least one title of nobility, [Note 9.2] ignoring the restriction under Article 4 of the Constitution of 3 September 1931, which states: "The nobility, titles and other privileges of birth are not recognized" but neither this conferral, nor the bestowal of the title of Knight Bachelor, nor any other of King Peter's acts in the United States met the requirement of Article 34 of the same Constitution, requiring that "Every written act of the King is countersigned by the competent Minister or the Council of Ministers". Since King Peter had taken an oath of obedience to this Constitution at his accession, these acts and the confirmation or validation of non-Yugoslav Orders (notably the various self-styled "Orders of Saint John" which claimed his "Charter"), are not considered valid by most Constitutional specialists. [Note 9.3]


9.1. This has proved popular in the United States but may be regarded as invalid as being ultra vires his powers. The title of "Sir" is of British origin and is not an accurate translation of the word "Chevalier", "Cavaliere" or "Ritter" (which in each case means "knight") but is an Anglicization of the old French word Messire. It is strictly limited to subjects of the British Crown (or of the Dominions) who have received the honor of Knighthood from a reigning British Sovereign, as a knight bachelor, or as a member of the Orders of the Garter or Thistle, or as a Knight Grand Cross or Knight Commander of the Orders of the Bath, Saint Michael and Saint George or the Royal Victorian Order, or a Knight Grand Cross or Knight of the Order of the British Empire. It is not, for example, extended to recipients of the Order of Canada or the Order of Australia, nor to members of the Most Venerable Order of Saint John.

9.2. In a decree dated after his accession but prior to his flight into exile which, however, does not bear the counter-signature of the responsible Minister.

9.3. It has been suggested that the restriction on the King's prerogative to confer titles was limited to Yugoslav subjects and did not include foreigners, but there is no authority to support this.


It may be safely stated that the legitimate claimants to the Headship of formerly reigning families can assume the prerogative to award their Royal or Dynastic Orders and, to the extent that the last Constitutions of those particular Monarchies so permitted, enjoy such other prerogatives as can be exercised in actuality. These may, for example, include the right to create or confirm titles of nobility, provided such creations conform with the legal requirements established before the fall of the Monarchy. They would not include, on the other hand, such provisions as being Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of that country, as that responsibility is likely to have been assumed by another under the Constitution of the successor state. It may not always be possible for a Head of a Dynasty to comply with the precise requirements of the Monarchical law because of the disappearance of an historic office or position. To the extent that it is possible and practical, such requirements should be met and the various acts properly recorded.

Whether these awards have any validity outside the realm of private law would depend on the attitude of other Sovereign states. As several reigning Heads of State having accepted the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece, itself recognized by the Austrian Republic, the exercise of that particular prerogative can be considered as having been recognized in public law (precisely because it is held not to derive from the claim to the throne). The same applies to the Grand Magistery of the Constantinian Order which, although divided, is recognized as a non-national Order by the Government of Italy and, in Spain, is recognized as an award and is invited to participate in ceremonies along with the Orders of Malta and the Holy Sepulcher. German Law seems to acknowledge the right of the heads of formerly reigning families to award their Orders and several states have recognized, in the past, titles created by exiled Sovereigns whom they accorded some form of recognition (such as those by the exiled Stuarts). Whether or not a claimant chooses to exercise these prerogatives, he or she would be well advised to do so with caution and discretion; one day the Dynasty might be restored and a future Sovereign would not wish to be embarrassed by having to acknowledge as legitimate those actions of his immediate antecedents which would be better forgotten.