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Jesus Christ
Kingdom of Albania
Principality of Andorra
Duchy of Anhalt - Part I
Duchy of Anhalt - Part II
Empire of Austria-Hungary - Part I
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Empire of Austria-Hungary - Part III
Empire of Austria-Hungary - Part IV
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United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Part I
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Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Hannover
Electorate of Hesse-Kassel
Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel
Landgraviate of Hesse-Philippsthal
Landgraviate of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld
Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine
Landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg
Principality of Hohenzollern-Hechingen
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Holy Roman Empire
Holy Vatican State - Part I
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Principality of Lippe
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Order of St John
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Duchy of Parma
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Principality of Reuss - Younger Line
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Empire of Russia - Part I
Empire of Russia - Part II
Kingdom of Sardina
Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen
Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha - Part I
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha - Part II
Kingdom of Saxony
Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe
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Grand Duchy of Tuscany
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Principality of Waldeck
Kingdom of Wurttemberg
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Mediatized Houses
House of Arenberg
House of Auersperg
House of Bentheim
House of Bentinck
House of Castell
House of Colloredo
House of Croy
House of Erbach
House of Esterhazy
House of Fugger
House of Furstenberg
House of Harrach
House of Hohenlohe - Part I
House of Hohenlohe - Part II
House of Isenburg
House of Khevenhuller
House of Konigsegg
House of Kuefstein
House of Leiningen
House of Leyen
House of Lobkowicz
House of Looz und Corswarem
House of Löwenstein
House of Metternich-Winneburg
House of Neipperg
House of Oettingen
House of Orsini-Rosenberg
House of Ortenburg
House of Pappenheim
House of Platen-Hallermund
House of Puckler und Limpurg
House of Quadt
House of Rechberg
House of Rechteren-Limpurg
House of Salm-Salm
House of Salm-Reifferscheidt
House of Starhemberg
House of Sayn-Wittgenstein
House of Schaesberg
House of Schlitz von Gortz
House of Schonborn
House of Schonburg
House of Schwarzenberg
House of Solms
House of Stolberg
House of Thurn und Taxis
House of Toerring-Jettenbach
House of Trauttmansdorff
House of Waldbott
House of Waldburg
House of Wied
House of Windisch-Gratz
House of Wurmbrand-Stuppach
Princely and Ducal - AI
Princely and Ducal - AII
Princely and Ducal - BI
Princely and Ducal - BII
Princely and Ducal - BIII
Princely and Ducal - BIV
Princely and Ducal - BV
Princely and Ducal - CI
Princely and Ducal - CII
Princely and Ducal - CIII
Princely and Ducal - CIV
Princely and Ducal - DI
Princely and Ducal - DII
Princely and Ducal - EI
Princely and Ducal - FI
Princely and Ducal - FII
Princely and Ducal - GI
Princely and Ducal - GII
Princely and Ducal - GIII
Princely and Ducal - HI
Princely and Ducal - HII
Princely and Ducal - HIII
Princely and Ducal - II
Princely and Ducal - JI
Princely and Ducal - KI
Princely and Ducal - LI
Princely and Ducal - LII
Princely and Ducal - LIII
Princely and Ducal - LIV
Princely and Ducal - MI
Princely and Ducal - MII
Princely and Ducal - NI
Princely and Ducal - NII
Princely and Ducal - NIII
Princely and Ducal - OI
Princely and Ducal - PI
Princely and Ducal - PII
Princely and Ducal - PIII
Princely and Ducal - PIV
Princely and Ducal - RI
Princely and Ducal - RII
Princely and Ducal - RIII
Princely and Ducal - SI
Princely and Ducal - SII
Princely and Ducal - SIII
Princely and Ducal - SIV
Princely and Ducal - TI
Princely and Ducal - TII
Princely and Ducal - UI
Princely and Ducal - VI
Princely and Ducal - WI
Princely and Ducal - WII
Holy Roman Empire Association
Nobility of Holy Roman Empire - I
Nobility of Holy Roman Empire - II
Nobility of Holy Roman Empire - III
Nobility of Holy Roman Empire - IV
Nobility of Holy Roman Empire - V
Nobility of Holy Roman Empire - VI
British Peerage Part I
British Peerage Part II
British Peerage Part III - A
British Peerage Part III - B
British Peerage Part IV
Higher Nobility I
Higher Nobility II
Higher Nobility III
Higher Nobility IV
Higher Nobility V
Higher Nobility VI
Higher Nobility VII
Higher Nobility VIII
Higher Nobility IX
Higher Nobility X
Higher Nobility XI
Higher Nobility XII
Higher Nobility XIII
Higher Nobility XIV
Higher Nobility XV
Higher Nobility XVI
Nobility of Armenia
Nobility of Albania
Nobility of Austria
Nobility of Belgium
Nobility of Denmark
Nobility of Netherlands
Nobility of Finland
Nobility of France
Nobility of Germany
Nobility of Hungary
Nobility of Italy
Jacobite Nobility
Jewish Nobility
Nobility of Lithuania
Nobility of Malta
Nobility of Mexico - Brazil
Nobility of Norway
Nobility of Poland - Part I
Nobility of Poland - Part II
Nobility of Russia
Nobility of Spain
Nobility of Sweden
Nobility of Switzerland
Nobility of Ireland
US Colonial Families - Part I
US Colonial Families - Part II
Indian Princely Families and States
Nobility of China
Nobility of Mongolia
Princely House of Borjikin - Borjigin
Nobility of the Ottoman Empire
Kingdom of Morocco
Kingdom of Bhutan
Empire of China
Kingdom of Egypt
Empire of Ethiopia
Empire of Haiti
Kingdom of Hawaii
Empire of Persia
Kingdom of Iraq
Kingdom of Jordan
Empire of Korea
Kingdom of Tahiti
Kingdom of Tunisia
Kingdom of Nepal
Kingdom of Libya
Empire of Vietnam
Kingdom of Cambodia
Kingdom of Madagascar
Sultanate of Oman
Kingdom of Bahrain
Kingdom of Swaziland
Kingdom of Afghanistan
Sultanate of Brunei
Sultanate of Zanzibar
Kingdom of Rwanda
Kingdom of Laos
Kingdom of Tonga
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Empire of Japan
State of Qatar
United Arab Emirates
Kingdom of Lesotho
State of Kuwait
Kingdom of Thailand
Kingdom of Burundi
Kingdom of Yemen
Mughal Empire

  File:Heraldic Royal Crown of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.svg
Index of European Titles, Styles,
Honours and Formal Appellations
His Holiness is the official style or manner of address in reference to the leaders of certain religious groups. In the 
Catholic Church, including the Eastern Catholic Churches, the style is used when referring to the Pope. It is also used in reference to some patriarchs of Eastern Orthodoxy. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is also addressed in the same manner in English, as are other Buddhist leaders such as Sakya Trizin, the Patriarch of Sakyapa. In the Hindu tradition, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement, is also styled "His Holiness" by his followers. Adherents of Kemetic Orthodoxy use the term "Her Holiness" for their leader. Also, the leader of Raëlism, Raël, styles himself "His Holiness" as the Raelist prophet. In Catholicism, the style derives from the Latin Sanctitas. It was originally used for all bishops, but from the 7th century on, it was only used for patriarchs and some secular rulers, and from the 14th century on its use has been restricted to the Pope. 


His/Her Imperial and Royal Majesty was the style used by King-Emperors and their consorts as heads of imperial dynasties that were simultaneously Imperial and Royal. The style was used by the Emperor of Austria, who was also the King of Hungary and Bohemia and also by the German Emperor, who was also the King of Prussia. The Austrian and Bohemian monarchies were abolished in 1918 while the vacant throne of Hungary continued to exist until the 1940s. The last king-emperor to use that style was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran (r: 1941-1979). Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom reigned as Queen-Empress of India between 1876 and 1901. The Kings that followed her, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI reigned as King-Emperors (1901-1947). However these monarchs did not use the style Imperial and Royal Majesty preferring the style His/Her Majesty instead.


Imperial Majesty (His/Her Imperial Majesty, abbreviated as HIM) is a style used by Emperors and Empresses. The style is used to distinguish the status of an Emperor from that of a king, who is simply styled Majesty (HM). Today the style has mainly fallen from use with the exception of the Emperor and Empress of Japan (in Japanese: heika)


Majesty is an English word derived ultimately from the Latin Maiestas, meaning Greatness, Originally, during the Roman republic, the word maiestas was the legal term for the supreme status and dignity of the state, to be respected above everything else. After the fall of Rome, Majesty was used to describe a Monarch of the very highest rank - indeed, it was generally applied to God. The title was then also assumed by Monarchs of great powers as an attempt at self-praise and despite a supposed lower royal style as a King or Queen, who would thus often be called "His or Her Royal Majesty." The first English king to be styled Majesty was Henry VIII - earlier monarchs had used the form His Grace. Eventually the title became enshrined in law, and it was thus that all of the Kings and Queens of Europe bear the title to this day. Variations include His Catholic Majesty for Spain and Her Britannic Majesty for the United Kingdom.

Imperial and Royal Highness (in German:Kaiserliche und königliche Hoheit) is a style possessed by someone who either through birth or marriage holds two individual styles, Imperial Highness and Royal Highness. The style is used by members of the Habsburg dynasty who use the titles Prince Imperial and Archduke of Austria and Prince Royal of Bohemia and Hungary. One contemporary example of this is Prince Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and his children who are members of the Belgian Royal Family and of the Austrian Imperial Family at the same time. The style was also used by the eldest son of the German Emperor who was Crown Prince of the German Empire and Crown Prince of Prussia. It is still used by the Head of the House of Hohenzollern.


His/Her Imperial Highness (abbreviation HIH) is a style used by members of an imperial family to denote imperial - as opposed to royal - status to show that the holder in question is descended from an Emperor rather than a King (compare His/Her Royal Highness). It generally outranks all other single styles.

Today the style has mainly fallen from use with the exception of the Imperial Family of Japan (in Japanese: denka), and the descendants of the Imperial Line of Russia who are still addressed as such, although, of course, have no longer any power in Russia. In the past, the style has been applied to more senior members of the French and Korean Imperial Houses. Archdukes of Austria from the Habsburg dynasty held the style of Imperial and Royal Highness (in German:Kaiserliche und königliche Hoheit), with the "Royal" signifying their status as Princes of Hungary and Bohemia. They were also addressed as "Imperial Highness" (Kaiserliche Hoheit). Members of the Imperial House of Osman still continue to use the style His/Her Imperial Highness, which was and still is reserved for children and grandchildren of the Ottoman Emperor (Grand Sultan).
Royal Highness (abbreviation HRH) is a style (His Royal Highness 
or Her Royal Highness). It appears in frontof the names of some 
members of some royal families other than the King or Queen. The style His/Her Royal Highness ranks below His/Her Imperial Highness
(referring to an Imperial House) but above His/Her Grand Ducal Highness, 
His/Her Highness, His/Her Serene Highness and some other styles (referring to Grand Ducal, Princely or Ducal Houses).

In the British monarchy the style of HRH is associated with the rank of prince or princess (although this has not always applied, the notable exception being Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was given the style of HRH in 1947 but was not created a prince until 1958). This is especially important when a prince has another title such as Duke (or a princess the title of Duchess) by which he or she would usually be addressed. For instance HRH The Duke of Connaught was a prince and a member of the royal family while His Grace The Duke of Devonshire is a non-royal duke and not a member of the British Royal Family. The Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of The Earl of Wessex, is legally Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of Wessex but it was decided by her parents that she be styled as the daughter of an earl and not Her Royal Highness. This however is debatable as The Duke of York's daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie enjoy the style Her Royal Highness. In the United Kingdom, a Letter patent issued on 28 August 1996 states that a style received by a spouse of a member of the Royal Family on their marriage ceases at the point of divorce. For that reason Diana Spencer, when she and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales divorced, ceased to be HRH.


(His) Princely Highness is the English rendering of (Zijne) Vorstelijke Hoogheid, a very rare style of address awarded by the colonial authorities of the Dutch East Indies (present Indonesia) to very few major Sultans on Java. The word Vorst at its root is ambivalent in Dutch, used for either a ruler of the low rank title equivalent to German Fürst or as generic term for ruler, never for a non-ruing prince of the blood. Apparently the style reflected the equally rare status of Vorstenland 'princely land', which distinguished the Susuhanan (a higher, pre-Islamic title of this Sultan) of Surakarta (which also enjoyed the privilege of a 19-guns salute), who was explicitly granted the style, reportedly in the atrocious misspelling Zeine Vorstelijke Hoogheid, on 21 January 1932) and plausibly to the Sultan of Yogyakarta, two of the successor states to the Hindu Mataram state on Java, from the Gouvernementslanden '(colonial) government countries' to which all other Regentschappen (native princely states participating in indirect rule) belonged. The same style, probably forged independently, has also been used by unhistorical 'princely houses' in fiction and micronations 
Sultanic Highness was a rare, hybrid western-Islamic honorific style, exclusively used by the son, daughter-in-law and daughters of Sultan Husain Kamil of Egypt (a British protectorate since 1914), who bore it with their primary titles of Prince (Arabic Amir, Turkish Prens) or Princess, after 11 October 1917. They enjoyed these for life, even after the Royal Rescript regulating the styles and titles of the Royal House after the Egyptian Independence in 1922, when the sons and daughters of the newly styled King (Arabic Misr al-Malik, considered a promotion) were granted the style Sahib(at) us-Sumuw al-Malik, or Royal Highness).

His/Her Grand Ducal Highness (acronym: HGDH) is a style of address used before the princely titles of the non-reigning members of some German ruling families headed by a Grand Duke. No currently reigning family employs the style, although it was used most recently by the younger sisters of the late Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg. Since Grand Duchess Charlotte's marriage to Prince Felix of Parma, all of their male-line descendants have used the style Royal Highness.

A reigning Grand Duke, his heir apparent, and their spouses would use the style of Royal Highness. The male line descendants of a reigning Grand Duke, other than the heir, would use the style Grand Ducal Highness. This practice was followed by the ruling families of Luxembourg, Hesse and by Rhine, and Baden. Other grand ducal families either existed before this system developed or were controlled by different rules. At present, the style is used only by the former ruling family of Baden, as the Hessian grand ducal family has become extinct.

Russian Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses were the children or grandchildren of the Emperor and used the style Imperial Highness. The Grand Dukes of Tuscany used the style Royal Highness for themselves but it is not clear what style other members of the family would have used in the absence of the Austro-Hungarian styles. By the time the system of different classes of Highness came into regular use for the relatives of rulers (in the nineteenth century), the Grand Dukes of Tuscany were also members of the House of Austria. As such, they had the title of Archduke and used the style Imperial and Royal Highness. In most of Europe, the style of Grand Ducal Highness was considered to be lower in rank than Royal Highness, and Imperial Highness, but higher in rank than Highness and Serene Highness. If a woman with the rank of Royal Highness married a man with the rank Grand Ducal Highness, the woman would usually retain her pre-marital style. Also, if a woman with the rank of Grand Ducal Highness married a man with the rank of Serene Highness, she would keep her pre-marital style.


Exalted Highness was a rare hybrid of the style highness. It as used as the style  of the Nizams of Hyderabad and Berar

Highness, often used with a personal possessive pronoun (His/Her/Your Highness, the first two abbreviated HH) is an attribute referring to the rank of the dynasty (such as Royal Highness, Imperial Highness) in an address. It is literally the quality of being lofty or high, a term and style used, as are so many abstractions, as a style of dignity and honor, to signify exalted rank or station.

Abstract styles arose in great profusion in the Roman Empire, especially in the Byzantine continuation. Currently such styles can be subject to confusion, as their meaning was affected by inflation and devaluation, but at any given time they were rather rigidly ruled by imperial commands, rendering the official hierarchy of offices; for example at the time of the Notitia dignitatum, the highest offices were grouped in classes, each awarded a characteristic title on top of every functional one, the highest being Illustris, next Spectabilis, et cetera. Like other exorbitant and swelling attributes of the time, the higher styles were conferred on imperial and ruling foreign princes generally as well as attached to various offices at court and/or in the state (military, financial, judiciary and various other, often combined, central and provincial administrations), clarifying the protocollary hierarchy (often deviating from the political reality, though). In the early Middle Ages such styles, couched in the second or third person, were uncertain and much more arbitrary, and were more subject to the fancies of secretaries than in later times (Selden, Titles of Honor, part I, Ch. vii. 100).

In English usage, the terms Highness, Grace (which is not used exclusively for the sovereign), and Majesty, were all used as honorific styles of Kings and Queens until the time of James I of England. Thus in documents relating to the reign of Henry VIII of England, all three styles are used indiscriminately; an example is the King's judgment against Dr Edward Crome (d. f562), quoted, from the Lord Chamberlains' books, ser. I, p. 791, in Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc. N.S. lOX. 299, where article 15 begins with Also the Kinges Highness hath ordered, 16 with Kinges Majestie, and 17 with Kinges Grace. In the Dedication of the Authorized Version of the Bible of 1611, James I is still styled Majesty and Highness; thus, in the first paragraph, the appearance of Your Majesty, as of the Sun in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists ... especially when we beheld the government established in Your Highness and Your hopeful Seed, by an undoubted title. It was, however, in James I's reign that Majesty became the official style. It may be noted that Oliver Cromwell, as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and his wife, were styled Highness, which is unusual for a republic.

In present usage the following members of the British Royal Family normally have the right to be addressed as Royal Highness (HRH, His or Her Royal Highness): The children of past and present Sovereigns, the grandchildren in the male-line and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (decree of 31 May 1898). A change of sovereign does not entail the forfeiture of the style of Royal Highness. However, the sovereign has the right to grant or revoke the style of HRH and other titles (e.g., Princess Royal).

As a general rule, the members of the blood royal of an Imperial or Royal house are addressed as Imperial or Royal Highness (French Altesse Imperiale, Altesse Royale; German Kaiserliche Hoheit, Königliche Hoheit etc.) respectively.

In Germany, Austria (and other former parts of the Holy Roman Empire) the reigning heads of the Grand Duchies bear the title of Royal Highness (Königliche Hoheit), while other members of the family are simply addressed as Grand Ducal Highness or Highness (Großherzogliche Hoheit or Hoheit). Hoheit is borne by the reigning dukes and the princes and princesses of their families.

The style Serene Highness has also an antiquity equal to that of highness, and were titles borne by the Byzantine rulers, and serenitas and serenissimus by the Emperors Honorius and Arcadius. The Doge of Venice was also styled Serenissimus (Latin 'Most Serene'), the crowned republic and the (later Austrian, then Italian) city itself remain widely known as (la) Serenissima. Selden (op. cit. part II. ch. X. 739) calls this style one of the greatest that can be given "to any Prince that hath not the superior title of King". In modern times Serene Highness (Altesse Sérénissime) is used as the equivalent of the German Durchlaucht, a stronger form of Erlaucht, illustrious, represented in the Latin honorific superillustris- Thackerays burlesque title Transparency in the ficticious court at Pumpernickel very accurately gives the meaning. The style of Durchlaucht was granted in 1375 by the Emperor Charles IV to the electoral princes (Kurfürsten), the highest rank under the Roman Emperor).

In the 17th century it became the general style borne by the heads of the reigning princely states of the empire (reichstandische Fürsten), as Erlaucht by those of the countly houses (reichstandische Grafen, i.e. Counts of the Empire). In 1825 the Imperial German Diet agreed to grant the style Durchlaucht to the heads of all mediatized princely houses domiciled in Germany or Austria, and it is now customary to use it of the members of those houses. Further, all those who are elevated to the rank of Fürst (prince in the *secondary meaning of that title) are also styled Durchlaucht. In 1829 the style of Erlaucht, which had formerly been borne by the reigning Counts of the empire, was similarly granted to the mediatized countly families (Almanach de Gotha, 1909, 107).

His Highness, often abbreviated HH, is a style for members of ducal families, some grand ducal families, and lesser members of some royal families. The third case is the only usage of the style that is still used officially. However, socially, many formerly-reigning ducal and grand ducal families assume the style HH, but this is only used socially and they are not normally referred to as such in any official capacity.

The style is officially used by junior members of the royal houses of Denmark and the Netherlands. Before 1917, it was also used by some junior members of the British royal house. The style was also once used by the ruling families of the Grand Duchies of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and of the Duchies of Brunswick, Anhalt, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, and Saxe-Altenburg, as well as by the House of Schleswig-Holstein, which never ruled. Surviving members of these families are sometimes known by the style.
Ducal Serene Highness is a style used by 
members of certain ducal families, such 
as those of Nassau.

Most Serene Highness ( acronym HMSH ) is a style used by Sovereign Princes or heads of  former Sovereign Princely Houses, namely the present Soveregn Princes of Monaco and of Liechtenstein.

Serene Highness ( acronym HSH ) - His Serene Highness or Her Serene Highness. The style of HSH appeared at the front of the princely titles of members of German ruling families. The style is also used today by the ruling families of Monaco and Liechtenstein. The style Serene Highness was mainly used by the mediatized Dukes, reigning and mediatized Fürsten ("Princes"), and the children and grandchildren of the reigning or mediatized Dukes and Fürsten, of the small German states that survived after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire. It was also given to several morganatic branches of German ruling family. Queen Mary, the consort of King George V used the style Her Serene Highness as a Princess of Teck. (The dukes and princes of Teck were a branch of the Royal House of Württemberg). In the Republic of Venice, also called the Serene Republic, the Doge was known as "Serenissimus".

In most of Europe, the style of Serene Highness was considered to be lower in rank than Highness, Grand Ducal Highness, Royal Highness, and Imperial Highness. If a woman with the rank of Royal Highness married a man with the rank Serene Highness, the woman would usually retain her pre-marital style. Queen Victoria did however create those German princes and dukes who married her daughters Royal Highnesses.

In Germany, the styled used is Durchlaucht, a translation for the Latin superillustris. This is usually translated into English as Serene Highness, however, it would be more correct to translate it as superior to, above, beyond or greater than famous. In a number of Old English dictionaries, serene as used in this context means supreme, royal, august, or marked by majestic dignity or grandeur or high or supremely dignified. The style Serene Highness has an antiquity equal to that of highness. However, is some, excluding the Latin speaking countries, Highness outranks a Serene Highness. In 1905 the Emperor Wilhelm II granted the high Durchlaucht title to virtually every prince in the former Holy Roman Empire, even if they had never been sovereign. During World War I, King George V revoked the style Serene Highness for use by those members of the British Royal Family who were British subjects. The official current usage of the style in the German-speaking countries is by the princely house of Liechtenstein, the entirety of which bears the style, and other higher Germanic states. It is used officially by these.


Illustrious Highness is the English-language form for a style used by 
various members of the European aristocracy. It is used to translate 
the German word Erlaucht, a style used by the cadet members of some mediatized princely families, as well as the members of some mediatized comital families. It is sometimes used to translate the Russian word Ssiatelstvo, a style used by members of some Russian princely families (also sometimes translated as Serene Highness).


His Eminence is a historical style of address for high nobility, still in useas a style of reference to the cardinalate of the Roman Catholic Church. The style remains in use as the official style or standard of address in reference to a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, reflecting his status as a Prince of the Church, ecclesiastically outranking Archbishops and even Patriarchs. A longer, and more formal, title is "His (or Your when addressing the cardinal directly) Most Reverend Eminence". [a] The style for cardinals of noble birth is His Most Illustrious and Reverend Eminence. While the term is shunned by many individuals of other faiths denominations of Christianity, the title is officially maintained in international diplomacy without regard for its doctrinal, philosophical and theological origins.

When the Grand Master of the Military Order of the Knights of Malta, the Head of state of their sovereign territorial state comprising the island of Malta until 1797, who had already been made a Reichsfürst (i.e. Prince of the Holy Roman Empire) in 1607, was granted ecclesiastical equality with the Cardinals in 1630, he was also awarded the hybrid style His Most Eminent Highness.


Excellency is a honorific style given to certain members of an organization 
or state, It is sometimes misinterpreted as a title of office in itself, but in 
fact it is an honorific which goes with and is used before various such titles (such as Mr, President, and so on), both in speech and in writing. In reference to such an official, it takes the form "His/Her Excellency"; in direct address, "Your Excellency", or, less formally, simply "Excellency". In many states, this form is used for: Presidents , Governors-General , Other Governors, 
Prime Ministers, Foreign ambassadors, Roman Catholic , Archbishops and Bishops 
(except if Cardinal, then replaced by Your Eminence).
Germanic Titles and Prefixes
of the German Empire
A Comital Title indicating feudal 
(Alt = Old) origin. An Altgraf or 
Altgrave, was a nobleman of the 
status of a count who had his dominion 
in mountainous areas of Germany and 
Alpine regions, particularly around 
mountain passes where he had rights 
and entitlements of establishing garrisons 
at such points, and of levying tolls for 
passage. Originally it was a title of 
veneration rather than the holding of power. 
A style of specific Houses or lines 
"Nobility by the Letter", as opposed 
to "Uradel" or the ancient nobility. 
Traditionally titles granted after 
c.15th or 16th century but often 
referring to more recent (19th and 
20th century) nobility.

German Borough Count: A Burggraf, 
or Burgrave, was a military and civil 
judicial governor in the 12th and 13th 
centuries of a castle, the town it dominated
and its immediate surrounding countryside. 
His jurisdiction was a burgraviate. Later 
the title became ennobled and hereditary 
with its own domain. Example of the Title 
is the Burgrave of Nuremberg, held by 
the House of Hohenzollern.




Most Serene Highness, (Perfect translation is " Your Transparency").

"Most Serenely High Born", given to members of Houses holding Durchlaucht.

"Noble of", Austrian / Austrian-Hungarian title usually indicating 'Briefadel' and  ranking below Freiherr / Baron.

Noble Lord.

Perfix (Hereditary) used to denote the senior heir of (to) a mediatized comital house (Erbgraf). For Royalty the prefix is Kron-(Crown)as in Kronprinz / Kronprinzessin.

Heir Apparent to a Duke.

His / Her Illustrious Highness.

Archduke / Archduchess.


A Lady.

Freie Reichstadt. 

German Baron/Baroness. The unmarried 
daughter of a Freiherr is Titled Freiin. 
The Style "Baron" is used in social address. 
Hungarian and Polish nobility (with German 
or Austrian Title) of this rank are usually 
Titled Baron rather than Freiherr.

The Title of a reigning Prince; the 
senior or head of Princely House 
(others Titled Prinz / Prinzessin) 
or in a Princely primogeniture / 
comital House (others Titled Graf 
/ Graefin, as in Starhemberg).

The Appellation Style 
of 'Princely Grace'.

A Princely Count or Countess.

Deutsche Bund.

German Count / Countess: Graf is a 
German noble Title with equal in rank 
to a Count or an Earl. The Comital titles 
awarded in the Holy Roman Empire were often 
related to the jurisdiction or domain of 
responsibility and represented special 
concessions of authority or rank. Only the 
more important Titles came to remain in use 
until modern times. Many Counts were Titled 
Graf without any additional qualification.

Grand Duke / Grand Duchess.


German Duke / Duchess.

Used by German Nobles being 
of high birth 'High Born'.

'High Well Born' Used for 
German Nobles holding rank 
below that of Count / Graf.


Heiliges Römisches Reich.





Emperor / Empress.

King / Queen.



A Royal Prince.

Prince-Elector / Elector of the Empire.

"Landgrave", an accessory feudal comital 
title style, a Landgraf, or Landgrave, 
was a nobleman of rank or count in medieval
Germany whose jurisdiction stretched over
a sometimes quite considerable territory. 
The Title survived from the times of the 
Holy Roman Empire. The power of a landgrave 
was often associated with Sovereign rights 
and decision making much greater than that 
of a count. The formal jurisdiction of a 
Landgrave was a Landgraviate and the wife 
of a Landgrave was a Landgravine. The Title 
was used for the heads of different lines 
namely the House of Hesse and was also held 
by the Princes zu Furstenberg. 


"Margrave / Margravine", equivalent to Marquess. Title of Imperial Counts who ruled the border territories or marches. A rank between Count and Duke. A Markgraf, or Margrave, was originally the military governor of a Carolingian 'Mark'(or March), a medieval border province. As outlying areas tended to be of great importance to the central realms of Kings and Princes, and they often were larger than those nearer the interior, Margraves assumed quit inordinate powers over those of the Counts of a realm. The jurisdiction of a Margrave was a Margraviate. The wife of a Margrave is called a Margravine. Most Marks and, consequently, Margraves were to be found on the Eastern border of the Carolingian and later, Holy Roman Empire. One notable exception is the Spanish Mark on the Muslim frontier including what is now Catalonia. In central Europe the most important provinces so called were the 'Marks of Brandenburg' and 'Austria', which in its medieval Latin version was Marchia Austriaca, the 'eastern borderland'. Here one has to bear in mind that Austria was the eastern outpost of the Holy Roman Empire, on the border to, first, Eastern Christianity and ,later, to Isalm. Similarly in the north-west there was the 'Higher March'(Hohe Mark). Marggrabova was an example of a town in the eastern Marches of the German Empire, formerly in East Prussia, (renamed Olecko in the Mazury province of Poland), that had been named after the Margrave Albrecht of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Later, the title became hereditary and is considered a higher equivalent of a Marquess in England, or Marquis in France.




Count Palatine: A Pfalzgraf or Count 
Palatine functioned, especially in 
medieval times, and particularly during 
the Holy Roman Empire, as a viceroy and 
often becoming a more independent ruler 
of a Palatinate. Borne by the Count 
Palatine of the Rhine and junior branches 
of his family.

A Raugraf, or Raugrave only held 
jurisdiction over waste ground and 
uninhabited districts. The title -since 
1667 - was used exclusively by the children 
of Elector of Palatine Karl I's bigamous 
second marriage and Karl's wife, Maria 
Louise von Degenfeld.

Style variation of the basic rank (Furst,
Graf,etc.) indicating that the Title was
granted by a Holy Roman Emperor.

A Rheingraf, or Rhinegrave, was a nobleman 
with the status of a Count in the 12th and 
13th centuries, the governor of one of the 
many castles or fortresses along the Rhine 
river in western Germany, who had the 
entitlement of levying tolls for passage 
along the river.

"Knight of" (no female equivalent, 
wife and daughter usually Elde von or von); 
Ancient Title. In modern times an Austrian / 
Austrian-Hungarian " Briefadel" Title usually 
conferred on military men. Like the Knighthood
of the British Baronet, it is hereditary and 
a Title of nobility(except that British 
Baronectcies are held in the person only, 
by male primogeniture and not extended to 
simultaneous living issue).

Köninglicher Prinz.

Koenigliche Stamm. 

The most basic Title-particle of German(ic) 
nobility, translates into English as "of" 
and can be equated to the French / Spanish
/ Latin "de, dela, du", Italian "di" and 
the Polish suffix "ski or cki", and like 
those, not strictly an indicator of nobility. 
Von may also appear as part of a non-noble 
family name. To differentiate the two forms, 
it has been German-language practice among 
the nobility to abbreviate the noble "von" as "v".

A Wiltgraf, Wildgrave or Waldgrave was 
originally a nobleman of the status of 
count who had jurisdiction over uncultivated 
areas, forests and uninhabited districts. 
His legal privileges eventually vested in 
him the power of a chief forester and 
gamekeeper of a district.

Literally meaning "to", the original 
use of "zu" rather than "von" in the 
Titles of high nobility (Princely and 
comital houses) indicated that the 
ancestral property which served as the 
basis for the name was still in the 
possession of the House (Fuerst zu Stolberg). 
Often it forms an accessory style (Graf von 
Harrach zu Rohrau und Thannhausen). "zu" is
also used with "von" to indicate the duality 
of origin and possession/rule (Furst von und 
zu Liechtenstein). The comman belief that "zu" 
was a higher or move valued Title-particle 
than "von" has no basis.

(Ger. Altgraf) An exclusively German usage, granted to nobles of the status of Counts with holdings in mountainous regions, particularly along passes, where they were vested with the right to garrison such points, and levy tolls for access and passage. See also Burggrave, Landgrave, Margrave, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave.

(Fr. Archiduc; Ger. Erzherzog; Ir. Ard Diuc; Ital. Arciduca; Sp. Archiduque) The title of sovereignty used exclusively by legitimate members of the Austrian Habsburgs and Lorraine-Habsburgs, from 1359; a duke of higher rank than Grand Dukes or simple Dukes. The title of Archduke was invented in the Privilegium Maius, a forgery initiated by Duke Rudolf IV of Austria. Originally, it was meant to denote the ruler of the Archduchy of Austria, in any effort to put that ruler on par with the electorships, as Austria had been passed over in the Golden Bull of 1356, where the electorships had been assigned. Emperor Charles IV refused to recognize the title. Duke Ernest the Iron and his descendants unilaterally assumed the title "Archduke." This title was only officially recognized in 1453 by Emperor Frederick III, when the Habsburgs had (permanently) gained control of the office of the Holy Roman Emperor . From the 16th century onward, Archduke or its female form, Archduchess, came to be used by all the members of the House of Habsburg, similar to the title Prince in many other royal houses. For example, Queen Marie_Antoinette of France was born an Archduchess of Austria. This practice was maintained in the Austrian_Empire (1804-1867) and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918). With the abolition of the monarchy, titles and the peerage system were also abolished in Austria. Thus, those members of the extended Habsburg family who are citizens of the Republic of Austria, are simply known by their respective first name and their surname Habsburg-Lothringen. The use of aristocratic titles such as archduke is in fact illegal in Austria. However, some members of the family who are citizens of other countries such as Germany, where aristocratic titles have become part of the name, may use the title.

(Irish) High King, the theoretical (and sometimes
actual) ruler of the entire Irish nation.

( Slavonic ) A term usually found in Hungary and the Balkans, in the context of describing district or provincial governors; it often had a hereditary implication, and could be approximately equivalent to Duke or Prince. In it's origin, it seems to have been based on a Irani term, and imported into the Balkans with the Avar invasions.

(Fr. Baron; Ger. Freiherr; Ir. Barun; It. Barone; Port. Barao; Sp. Baron) The lowest grade of nobility; the word derives from a Gothic term meaning "Man" in the sense of "My man in London", ie. my representative, my servant, one who exerts himself on my behalf. Spanish still has two separate terms for the idea, the Latinate "Hombre" and the Visigothic "Varon". Originally, Barons were the holders of Royal lands, castellans and companions of the King who assisted in maintaining order in the provinces. The German term translates as "free warrior".

( Slavonic ) A term meaning "Noble", "Companion", or "Landholder"; roughly speaking, an eastern European equivalent for "Count". It is an archaic term, and tends to be superceded by Slavic transliterations of central and western European titles after the 16th century.

( Ger. Burggraf ) A title encountered exclusively in Germany, where it refers to a person with the status of Count whose domain was primarily an urban territory. Some sources equate it as an equivalent title to the Anglo-French Viscount. Cf. Altgrave, Landgrave, Margrave, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave.

(Ang.-Sax. Ealdorman; Eng. Earl/Countess; Fr. Comte; Ger. Graf; Ir. Iarla, Coimhid, Cunta; It. Conte; Lat. Comes; Port. Conde; Scand. Jarl; Sp. Conde) The Anglo-Saxon term translates literally as "Elder", "Senior", and refers to a chief counselor of the realm. The term survives in modern English as "Alderman", a councilman or representative in local government or a local church governing body. The "Co..." terms all derive from the Latin "Comes", a companion, ally, or supporter. In English, a cognate term is "Committee". The term came to be used to refer to close friends and companions of Royalty, and was eventually institutionalized as such, somewhat superceding, but not replacing, Barons. The Scandinavian "Jarl", which came to be transliterated in English as "Earl" has exactly the same sense: a companion or supporter ( of Royalty ). The German term of "Graf" also has the same basic meaning as well. English is unusual in that it preserves all three terms in contemporary speech: Earl recalls the Scandinavian term, a Countess is a female Earl, and Graf entered the language as "Reeve", a manorial steward or overseer; "Reeve" has become archaic with the disappearance of manorial feudalism, but it may be noted that Kings began to appoint bailiffs to enforce Royal perogatives on a local level, and these "shire-reeves" (sheriffs) still exist today.

(Eng. Palatine Earl; Ger. Pfalzgraf; Ital. Conte Palatino) In a general sense, Palatine nobles are those invested not only with the honours and privileges usual to their rank, but also with certain sovereign or semi-sovereign rights as well, especially those involving the administration of justice. This is the case both in the north of England and within Germany, where this form is most usually encountered. In the specific sense of the German usage, the Counts Palatine of the Rhine became the senior Counts of the Empire, and were invested with Electoral dignity from the 14th century.

(Gk.) An old term which came, in the Middle Ages, to be used in the Balkansand Anatolia as regional ruler, dictator (in the modern sense). Sometimes as a vassal. sometimes autonomous.

(Arm. Naharar; Fr. Duc, Ger. Herzog, Ir. Diuc; Ital. Doge, Duca; Lat. Dux; Port. Duque; Serb. Herceg; Sp. Duque) The highest grade of nobility, and sometimes a sovereign title. Most of the above-mentioned terms derive from the Latin "Dux", meaning a leader or commander, especially in a military sense, ie. a general or warlord. Warlord is the exact equivalent of the Dark Ages usage from which the term evolved into an hereditary caste of nobility: "Dux Bellorum". The German Herzog means exactly the same thing. 
Dux was a title given by the Romans to a general commanding a single military expedition and holding no other power than that which he exercised over his soldiers. The designation first arose in the early part of the second century. Upon the separation of the civil and military functions in the fourth century the duke became commander of all the troops cantoned in a single province. The Germanic Franks converted, under Roman influence, the Germanic concept of ''Herzog'' (literally: "war-leader", commonly translated as "duke"), the temporarily elected general for a major expedition of warfare, into military governors for units of up to a dozen counties. In the 7th_century these units developed into hereditary clan-duchies of Bavarians, Thuringians, Alemanns, Franks and other Germanic tribes, which Charlemagne crushed in 788, converting the border provinces into margraviates ( which however soon emerged as clan-margraviates: Saxony, Bavaria, Swabia, Lorraine...). The dissolution tendency was counteracted by the appointment of younger sons of the monarchs ''( royal dukes )'' as military governors of the important border provinces, which however also soon developed into hereditary duchies and a source of intrigues against the monarch. The medieval dukes had a strong position in the realms they belonged to. Like the margraves, they were responsible for the military defence of an important region, and had strong arguments for retaining the Crown's tax incomes of their duchy to found their military force. In early Medieval Italy, the Dukes of Benevento and of Spoleto were independent territorial magnates in duchies originally created by the Lombards. Although since the unification of Italy in the 1870, there have no longer been any sovereign duchies Luxembourg is a grand duchy sovereign dukes of Parma and Modena in Italy, and of Brunswick , Anhalt , Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, and Saxe-Altenburg in Germany survived Napoleon's reorganization.

(Ger. Kurfürst) In the restricted sense of the German usage, "Elector" refers to the any of the great nobles of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Kingdom of Germany who held the right to elect successive Holy Roman Emperors; the term became in effect a kind of senior nobility in and of itself. In fact, one electorate ( Hesse-Cassel) insisted on retaining the title even after the Empire had been abolished.

(Fr. Empereur; Ger. Kaiser; Ital. Imperatore; Lat. Augustus, Caesar, Imperator; Rus. Tsar; Sp. Emperador) Technically, a ruler of sovereigns, a king of kings. Most of the above terms derive from the Latin Imperator, meaning "One who requires, demands, or obligates". The Roman usage was as field marshal, a supreme military commander. As such, there were many individuals invested with imperium before the establishment of the Roman Empire. That establishment took place with the granting of the style of "Augustus" (revered one) to the Imperator Octavian Caesar in 27 BCE. His family name provides the source for the remaining terms. An Emperor is the male head of state of an empire who reigns for life. Empress is the feminine form. The term "emperor" is in many cases interchangeable with "dictator" or "king", but there are subtle differences. An emperor always adopts royal ceremony and regalia, and thus acts as a monarch, though he may not be from an established royal family. In some cases, this is the only thing making a "dictator" into an "emperor". An emperor, in theory at least, reigns over several ethnicities or nationalities, as opposed to a king, who rules a single nation. Emperors are always recognised to be above kings in precedence when both titles are used in a single system. While a king is subject to the conventions of a state church, an emperor often ranks above the church, answering to no one but himself. Derivation of Emperor , The English term for emperor is derived from the Latin imperator ( literally, "one who prepares against" loosely,commander ). Imperator was originally a title used by the highest-ranking Roman commanders, roughly comparable to field marshal or commander in chief. The term was later used by Roman monarchs specifically in place of the Latin word for "king", which had negative historical connotations for the Romans. What we now call the "emperors" of Rome in fact had a long list of honorifics and titles, of which the dynastic name Caesar also played an important part. Successive emperors took the name Caesar regardless of whether they had any dynastic tie to Julius or Augustus Caesar, founders of the imperial system. Thus, in German the title ''Kaiser'' is equivalent to "emperor". Kaiser was used in the Austro Hungarian Empire. In some Slavic languages ''tsar'' was used. All of these are derived from ''Caesar'' rather than "imperator". Another honorific of the Roman emperors was "princeps", meaning "first citizen", from which we derive "prince". Historical development , After the fall of Rome to barbarian forces, the title of "emperor" lived on in rulers of the Byzantine_Empire until at least the mid 14th century. Following the final fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the Turkish sultan sometimes designated himself as successor to the Roman Emperors, and used the title of Emperor in addition to that of Sultan. The tsars of Russia also claimed to be the carriers of the "Eastern Roman Empire" flame since one of them had taken a niece of a Byzantine emperor as consort.

Holy Roman Empire - On 25 December , 800, Charles I, King of the Franks, was crowned Emperor by Pope Leo III in Rome. This was seen as a revival of the Western Empire, and descendants of Charlemagne continued to be crowned in Rome through the 9th century. The increasing divisions within the Frankish lands, however, led to a suspension of the office. In 962, Otto I, King of the Eastern Franks ( or Germany ) was again crowned Emperor by the Pope. His successors became known as Holy Roman Emperors. The Holy Roman Empire, such as it was, consisted of the Kingdoms of Germany, Italy, and Burgundy. After the 13th century and the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the universalistic aspirations of the Emperors became increasingly theoretical, and their control over Italy, still seen as the locus of the proper empire, became increasingly tenuous. Rather than being hereditary, emperors were elected by the great German magnates, in a process codified by the Golden Bull of 1356. Coronations in Rome became rarer and rarer, until in 1508, King Maximilian I declared himself Emperor Elect without having been crowned in Rome. Although Maximilian's grandson and successor, Charles V, was crowned in Bologna in 1529 by the Pope, he was the last, and thereafter the position of Holy Roman Emperor was a wholly German post until the Empire's dissolution in August 6, 1806. Even in Germany itself, real control was increasingly tenuous, as various local princes put increasing amounts of power into his own hands, so that the Habsburg emperors who ruled almost continuously from 1438 until the end of the empire derived their power much more from their hereditary lands in the eastern part of the monarchy than from their position as emperor. This became even more true after the defeat of Habsburg attempts to reassert authority over the Empire in the Thirty Years War, which ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The impotence of the Emperors' position became most nakedly apparent during the brief reign of Charles VII from 1742 to 1745. As Duke of Bavaria, Charles was the only non-Habsburg emperor for the last three hundred fifty years of the empire's existence, and his utter inability even to protect his own hereditary lands from the forces of his enemy, Maria Theresa, the Habsburg heiress, showed how empty the position of Holy Roman Emperor had become. The conquests of the French revolutionary armies in the 1790s made the Empire itself untenable, so that Emperor Francis II in 1804 took the title of Emperor of Austria as Francis I , and ultimately, allowed ( illegally) the dissolution of the Empire two years later.

Bulgaria - In 913, Bulgarian king Simeon I crowned himself "Emperor and Autocrat of all the Bulgars and Greeks" following a victory over the Byzantines. His successors held on to the title Tsar until 1396 when Bulgaria fell to the invading Ottoman Empire. The title was revived between 1908 and 1946. Simeon II, the last tsar, abdicated and the monarchy was abolished.

Spain - King Sancho III of Navarre declared himself emperor of Spain in 1034. His son, Ferdinand I of Castile also took the title in 1039. His son, Alfonso VI of Castile Leon took the title in 1077. His grandson, Alfonso VII crowned himself in 1135. The title was not hereditary but self proclaimations.

Serbia - After a series of victories against his neighbors, Serbian king Stefan Uros IV proclaimed himself "Tsar and Autocrat of Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians and Albanians" in 1346. His son, Stefan Uros V, was unable to retain the empire. After his death in 1371, no Serb monarch would use the title Tsar.

Russia - The exclusivity of the title Emperor in Europe was lost on 31 October , 1721 when, at the request of his jubilant Senate and the Holy Synod, the recent victor of the 21 year long Great Northern War Peter I ("Peter the Great") proclaimed the establishment of the Russian Empire and accepted the title Emperor of Russia in addition to the traditional (since 1547) title of Tsar of several diverse nationalities in their specific lands. He based his claim partially upon a letter discovered in 1717 written in 1514 from Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor to Vasili III, Grand Duke of Moscow, in which the Holy Roman Emperor used the term in referring to Vasily. The title has not been used in Russia since the consecutive abdications of Emperor Saint Nicholas II and his brother Grand Duke Michael on March 15 and 16, 1917.

France - Napoleon I declared himself Emperor of the French on 18 May , 1804. He relinquished the title of Emperor of the French on 6 April and again on April 11, 1814, but was allowed to style himself Emperor of Elba, the island of his first exile. After his attempted restoration and defeat in 1815 he was stripped of even that usage during his second exile. His nephew Napoleon III resurrected the title on December_2, 1852 after establishing the Second French Empire in a Coup d'état, and lost it when he was deposed on September_4, 1870 by the Third Republic. It has not been used in France since then.

Austria - On 11 August , 1804 anticipating the eventual collapse of the Holy Roman Empire (the "First Reich") at the behest of Napoleon I, Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire assumed the additional title of Emperor of Austria ( as Francis I thereof ). The precaution was a wise one, because two years later on August 6 1806 he was obliged to proclaim the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The title has not been used in Austria since Emperor Karl of Austria "relinquished every participation in the administration of the State" on November_11 1918.

Germany - Upon the formation of the Second Reich the Prussian king had himself crowned German Emperor as Wilhelm I on January 18 1871, as part of the competition with the Emperor of Austria for dominance in the German-speaking lands. The Prussian Crown Prince was married to a daughter of Queen Victoria, and when he came to the throne his wife would naturally carry the title of Empress, outranking her more powerful mother whose title was merely Queen. The title was no longer used in Germany after the announcement of the abdication of Emperor Wilhelm II on 9 November 1918.

(Fr. Gens de Qualite; Ger. Landadel; Ir. Daoine Uaisle; Lat. Gentis; Sp. Gentil) A Gentleman is not necessarily mild-mannered, he is gentle because he is a member of a Gens, a distinguished lineage or family (cf. "Gender, Genealogy, Genetics").

(Fr. Grand Duc; Ger. Grossherzog; Ital. Granduca) A title created in early modern times to distinguish certain sovereign Dukes from simple Dukes of various nobilities. A single GrandDuchy remains today: Luxembourg.

(Ger. Hauptmann; Pol./Ukr. Hetman) In a general sense, a Hetman is a clan or tribal leader and/or military commander. The title is most usually a reference to Cossack leaders of the Ukraine: in fact, it has been used to identify Ukrainian Sovereigns on those occasions when dissident Cossacks attempted the establishment of a separate State. Its military sense has also been used extensively in Moldavia during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Highness, literally the quality of being lofty or high, a term used, as are so many abstractions, as a title of dignity and honor, to signify exalted rank or station. These abstractions arose in great profusion in the Roman empire, both of the East and West, and highness is to be directly traced to the allitudo and ceisitudo of the Latin and the iah7Xr,~ of the Greek emperors. Like other exorbitant and swelling attributes of the time, they were conferred on ruling princes generally. In the early middle ages such titles, couched in the second or third person, were uncertain and much more arbitrary (according to the fancies of secretaries) than in the later times (Selden, Titles of Honor, pt. i. ch. vii. 100). In English usage, Highness alternates with Grace and Majesty, as the honorific title of the king and queen until the time of James I Thus in documents relating to the reign of Henry VIII all three titles are used indiscriminately; an example is the kings judgment against Dr Edward Crome (d. f 562), quoted, from the lord chamberlains books, ser. I, p. 791, in Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc. N.S. lOX. 299, where article 15 begins with Also the Kinges Highness hath ordered, 16 with Kinges Majestie, and 17 with Kinges Grace. In the Dedication of the Authorized Version of the Bible of 1611 James I is still styled Majesty and Highness; thus, in the first paragraph, the appearance of Your Majesty, as of the Sun in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists . . . especially when we beheld the government established in Your Highness and Your hopeful Seed, by an undoubted title. It was, however, in James I's reign that Majesty became the official title. It may be noted that Cromwell, as lord protector, and his wife were styled Highness. In present usage the following members of the British Royal Family are addressed as Royal Highness (H.R.H.): all sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts of the reigning sovereign, grandsons and granddaughters if children of sons, and also great grandchildren (decree of 31st of May 1898) if children of an eldest son of any prince of Wales. Nephews, nieces and cousins and grandchildren, offspring of daughters, are styled Highness only. A change of sovereign does not entail the forfeiture of the title Royal Highness, once acquired, though the father of the bearer has become a nephew and not a grandson of the sovereign. The principal feudatory princes of the Indian empire are also styled Highness. As a general rule the members of the blood royal of an Imperial or Royal house are addressed as Imperial or Royal Highness (.4ltesselmpriale, Royale, Kaiserliche, Koniglic/ze Hoheit) respectively. In Germany the reigning heads of the Grand Duchies bear the title of Royal or Grand Ducal Highness (Konigliche or Gross-Herzogliche Hoheit), while the members of the family are addressed as Hoheit, Highness, simply. Hoheit is borne by the reigning dukes and the princes and princesses of their families. The title Serene Highness has also an antiquity equal to that of highness, for yaXflv6r1~c and were titles borne by the Byzantine rulers, and serenitas and serenissimus by the emperors Honorius and Arcadius. The doge of Venice was also styled Serenissimus. Selden (op. cii. pt. ii. ch. X. 739) calls this title one of the greatest that can be given to any Prince that hath not the superior title of King. In modern times Serene Highness (Altesse Srnissime) is used as the equivalent of the German Durchlaucht, a stronger form of Erlauclit, illustrious, represented in the Latin honorific superillustris. Thackerays burlesque title Transparency in the court at Pumpernickel very accurately gives the meaning. The title of Durchlaucht was granted in 1375 by the emperor Charles IV to the electoral princes (Kurfursten). In the I 7th century it became the general title borne by the heads of the reigning princely states of the empire (reiclzstandische Frsten), as Erlaucht by those of the countly houses (reichstandische Grafen). In 1825 the German Diet agreed to grant the title Durc/ilaucht to the heads of the mediatized princely houses whether domiciled in Germany or Austria, and it is now customary to use it of the members of those houses. Further, all those who are elevated to the rank of prince (Furst) in the secondary meaning of that title are also styled Durc/zlauc/it. In 1829 the title of Erlaucht, which had formerly been borne by the reigning counts of the empire, was similarly granted to the mediatized countly families

(Arm. Tagavor; Celt. Rig; Dan. Konge; Dutch Koning; Fr. Roi; Ger. 
König; Gk. Basileus; Hung. Kiraly; Ir. Ri(gh); Ital. Re; Lat. Rex; Pol. 
Krol; Port. Rei; Nor. Konge; Rom. Regele; Serb. Kralj; Sp. Rey; Swe. Konung) All of these terms mean essentially the same thing; national ruler or sovereign leader of a particular people.

(Russian Knyaz; Serb. Knez) An archaic title meaning "Prince", but often mistranslated as "Duke". The Kniazy were rulers of the various Russian states existing during the Middle Ages. They had differing levels of authority; technically a Kniaz was a sub-Prince, the highest level were called Veliky Knyaz, Great Prince (also translated poorly, as Grand Duke).

(Ang.-Sax. Cniht; Fr. Chevalier; Ger. Ritter; Ir. Curadh, Ridire; Ital. Cavaliere; Lat. Equites; Port. Cavaleiro; Sp. Caballero) A knight is, technically, just someone who owes military service to a feudal lord, and is wealthy enough to own a horse. Most of the above terms are variations on "Horseman" or "Rider"; the Anglo-Saxon term has the sense of "Youth", "Aide-de-Camp", or "Military Retainer" (almost exactly the same status as later came to be described by the term "Squire").

(Ger. Landgraf) A title found in Germany, referring to a Count who has jurisdiction over primarily rural regions. Cf. Altgrave, Burgrave Margrave, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave.

(Ger. Führer; Ital. Duce; Lat. Dictator; Sp. Caudillo) Not noble titles at all, these terms nevertheless are important references to political rulers. They each have the sense of Overall Commander, Ruler (especially: Military Ruler), "Boss".

(Irish) Literally "Half-King", the particular style for a member of a joint rulership.

(Ang.-Sax. Hlaford; Fr. Seigneur; Ger. Herr; Ir.Tiarna, Tighearna; It. Signore; Port. Senhor; Sp. Señor) This is an imprecise term which can mean various things depending on context. Usually it means "One of noble birth, a holder of a title of nobility". In Great Britain though, it can also have the sense of rural gentry, one of gentle birth who, without possessing a patent of nobility, nevertheless owns a manorial estate. The Scottish "Laird" is an exact equivalent of this sense. The Irish Tighearna was also similar; an untitled ruler of a compact swath of territory. Most of the above terms derive from the Latin "Senior", an elder or master. The German term means "Warrior".

(Eng. Marquess/Marchioness; Fr. Marquis; Ger. Markgraf; Ir. Marcas; It. Marchese; Port. Marques; Sp. Marques) Originally this term refered to counts who held frontier districts. Since such regions tended to be larger than average, and heavily militarized, March lords slowly accumulated greater status than others, and now are the second grade of nobility, ranking below Dukes but above Counts. Note also; Altgrave, Burggrave, Landgrave, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave.

(Armenian) Prince, ruler of a small state. Derived from Arabic Malik, "King, Prince".
(Fr. Page; Ger. Page, Ital. Paggio; Lat. Paginus; Sp. Paje) All these terms derive from the Latin, which means "A boy, a child servant". Pages were institutionalized as the first step in becoming a Knight; a child of roughly 7 to 14 who was set to learning the fundamentals of life in a castle.

(Arm. Ishxan; Fr. Prince; Ger. Fürst, Prinz; Ir. Flaith, Mal, Prionsa; Lat. Princeps; Port. Principe; Sp. Principe; Welsh Brenin) This term has any of a number of definitions depending on context. Usually, "Prince" refers to a member of a Royal Family who is not the sovereign. Often, especially when used as "Crown Prince", it refers to the immediate heir to the throne. It is also a sovereign title, and as such there are several Principalities still in existence today. In German nobility, a Prince was a grade of nobility located below Dukes but above Margraves. The term derives from the Latin, which means simply "First, Chief, the Boss" The Roman Empire was, in fact, described by its citizens as "the Principate".

(Ger. Rheingraf) An exclusively German usage, denoting nobles of Countal status with holdings on the Rhine River, and vested with the privilege of levying tolls for passage along the river. See as well; Altgrave, Burggrave, Landgrave, Margrave, Wildgrave.

(Irish) Petty King; Lord of a minor or dependent regality.

(Ger. Gutsherr, Junker; Ir. Scuibheir; Ital. Scudiero; Port. Morgado; Sp. Escudero) Usually this refers to the servant of a knight, a young person of roughly 14 to 21 who is learning the business of being a knight. It, and similar terms in other languages have been applied to landed gentry, owners of large estates who do not hold patents of nobility. The term derives ultimately to a phrase (Esquyer, Escutier) in Anglo-Norman meaning "Shieldbearer", and a variant of that has also remained in the language: Esquire.

(Arm. Sparapet) An old Greek term for military commander, General. Came to be used in various places around the Middle East as a term for Military Governor

(Irish) Successor-designate to a chieftaincy or royalty.
Utilized today as the Irish term for Deputy Prime Minister.

(Irish) Clan elder, chieftain. Utilized
today as the Irish term for Prime Minister.

(Gk.) An ancient term for semi-monarchic oligarchic ruler of a region or city-state. Very similar in many respects to the modern idea of a military junta or dictator, but not necessarily pejorative. Tyrants were found mainlt in Greece, western Anatolia, and southern Italy, especially in the 7th through 5th centuries BCE.

(Fr. Vicomte; Ger. Vicomte; Ir. Biocun; Ital. Visconte; Lat. Vice Comes; Sp. Vizconde) A title meaning, essentially, "Vice-Count", an assistant or deputy Count. It is now the fourth grade of nobility, situated between Counts/Earls on the one hand, and Barons on the other.

(Russ. Voyevoda; Serb. Vojvod) An old Slavonic title, usually encountered in the Balkans. Its original sense was a military one, meaning field commander in an army. By extension, it became the title of district or provincial governors, and evolved in some areas a quasi-hereditary status close to that of Prince or Duke. Cf. Bulg. "Voin", "Warrior". In a slightly altered context, it has also come to be applied as a term describing the clan leader of a Gypsy (Rroma) band or extended family.

(Ger. Wildgraf) A German usage, refering to a noble of the status of Count, who held jurisdiction over wilderness, waste ground, forests, and uninhabited districts. They had certain legal privileges which made them, in effect, foresters and gamekeepers.

(Slavonic) Most usually found in the Balkans, the original meaning of this term was the "Leader of a Zupa", a clan or grouping of extended families. These associations of families (remnants of which can still be recognized today in various Slavic nations) were among the earliest political organizations found among Proto-Slavic and Slavonic peoples. As the term evolved, it became a usage for certain types of provincial governors and minor nobles.

This oldest level of the nobility is made up of those houses which by no later than 1400 were members of the knightly class, or patricians of a free Imperial city such as Frankfurt/Main. Most often these houses are counted as noble since "time immemorial" as at their first appearance in written records they were already noble. The families that make up this segment of the nobility usually descend from the knights or most important warriors of a sovereign that were the basis of his fighting force, or more rarely from a senior civil official of the time. The Uradel often had legal privileges over the newer nobility certifying their higher standing, such as in the Nobles Law of the Kingdom of Saxony of 1902. There are far fewer Uradel families still in existence than Briefadel due to the fact that families die out over the centuries and no Uradel has been created in almost 600 years.

This level of the nobility is made up of those houses which were ennobled since the beginning of the 15th Century through the end of the German or Austrian Empires in 1918. There were widely differing prerequisites for this level of the nobility, though most often military or civil service to the sovereign were the qualities most valued. The Briefadel includes houses ennobled or recognized as noble by the Emperor or one of the sovereigns of the high nobility. Also included are patricians of the free Imperial cities and non-German noble houses that immigrated over the centuries, such as the Counts von Polier from France or the Herren von Zerboni di Sposetti from Italy.
The High Nobility is made up of those families that had Reichsstandschaft, or had a seat in the Parliament of the Holy Roman Empire. These seats were reserved for sovereign houses. These families were also Reichsunmittelbar, or in a feudal sense holding their lands directly from the Holy Roman Emperor. In essence, these families were rulers of their own countries, often in times of a weak emperor paying only lip service to their subservience to him. Their relationship to the emperor was then much like that of today's Commonwealth rulers to the British Queen. Even in times of a strong emperor he was to them more like a chairman of the board rather than a ruler. Up to the early 19th Century, there were some baronial and untitled families that held lands directly of the emperor, so essentially being their own rulers, but had no seat in the Parliament, thus being members of the lower nobility. Many families of the high nobility have house laws applicable to their members. Often these laws do not allow marriage outside their ranks, even to the lower nobility which would be considered a morganatic alliance. Even today, the children of a member of the high nobility who marries morganatically become members of the lower nobility.


Within this division of the nobility the highest title is 
Emperor, or Kaiser, deriving from Caesar in Latin. 
 Next rank is König and Königin, or King and Queen, which was 
carried by the rulers of the larger German states (Bavaria, Hanover, 
Prussia, Saxony, Württemberg, ). They were addressed as Majesty, and their children, princes or princesses, as Royal Highnesses.

After these come the Großherzog, or Grand Duke, who were styled royal highness, and were rulers of somewhat smaller states, such as the two Mecklenburgs or Luxemburg . The heir to these thrones was known as an Erbgroßherzog, or hereditary grand duke, and the other children were princes or princesses. Additionally in the Saxon kingdom, grand duchy, and duchies, all the children of the ruler were also styled dukes or duchesses.
The next level is that of Herzog, or Duke, 
who was normally styled Highness.
Kurfürst, or Elector in English, ranked with a Duke. The electors were 
originally the greatest lords of the Holy Roman Empire, both temporal and 
spiritual, who elected the Emperor before the throne became hereditary. They later became sovereigns no different from the rest.
Landgraf (Landgrave), Markgraf (Margrave), and Pfalzgraf (Palsgrave or 
Count Palatine) ranked somewhat with a Duke and are usually considered 
higher than a Fürst. All sovereigns of this rank were eventually "promoted" to higher titles, but the titles were sometimes used instead of crown prince for their states, and are currently used for the Heads of the Houses of Baden, Hesse and Saxony. Depending on circumstances, they could be styled Royal Highness or simply Highness. In the Middle Ages, some sovereigns were Burggrafs, or Burgraves, but all these took higher titles early on and Burggraf became a title and sometimes function, like Wildgraf, of the lower nobility.
Next follows Fürst (for which there is no good translation in English, but 
which is confusingly called Prince). These are styled Durchlaucht, translated 
as Serene Highness. Children of dukes, kurfürsts, and fürsts were all princes or princesses. In the third generation their descendants sometimes become counts, except for the ruling line, which retains the princely title. The last category of the high nobility still in existence is that of Graf, or Count. 
They are styled Erlaucht, or Illustrious Highness. Their children are all counts 
or countesses. A former somewhat higher rank of gefürsteter Graf, or princely count, no longer exists. Among all the higher nobility the idea of Ebenbürtigkeit exists, meaning all 
of them, no matter what the title, are considered of equal birth and standing.
Very often a certain level of income, wealth, or social standing was 
necessary for appointment to these ranks, so as to demonstrate the 
ability of the person ennobled to maintain himself at a proper level.
The highest rank of the non-sovereign nobility is Herzog or Duke, a title 
almost never given them and then only "ad personam", or much like an 
English life peer. An example is Otto von Bismarck as Duke of Lauenburg. He was styled Serene Highness.
The highest rank that normally was part of the lower nobility is Fürst. 
This title, like Duke, was given to them only in the last centuries of the 
monarchy. Their children were rarely princes, but more usually counts or barons, depending on what was the original title of the Fürst.
Next in rank is Graf or Count, which in modern times could be given 
primogeniture (inherited only by the eldest son), but was usually given 
to all the children of the new count. A very few houses also carry the title Burggraf which is approximately equivalent to Count.
Baron follows, which is almost always called Freiherr in Germany, but given as Baron to the Germans of the Baltic regions. For many years it was in dispute whether Baron was equivalent to Freiherr (which was deemed "better"), but this was settled in the last century in an affirmative manner. The wife of a Freiherr is a Freifrau, the daughter a Freiherrin. This last title is sometimes abbreviated Freiin. The wife of a Baron is a Baronin, the daughter a Baronesse. Another variant of this rank is called Edler Herr, or Edle Herrin for females, which is borne by only a few very old families (such as the Gans zu Putlitz) a Frau (in this sense Lady) and not Ritterin.
The last level is that of the untitled nobility, which nevertheless 
includes some titled families. Normally an untitled noble is 
addressed as Herr, in this context meaning Lord. 
In former times untitled nobles, especially those from the eastern regions, 
were addressed as Junker, a title still in usage in the Netherlands as Jonkheer. 
It is no longer normally used in Germany. In Bavaria and especially Austria, the hereditary title of Ritter (Knight) was given to families, but they were still considered part of the untitled nobility. Much the same applies to the title of Edler, which is mainly northern and central German. While the wife and daughters of an Edler were titled Edle, the wife of a Ritter was called

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