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                        The British Monarchy The Queen visits Oxford


Swearing the Oath:

Crown: Upon which sword do you wish to swear your Oath?


Upon the sword of His Imperial Majesty.

Knights In The News:

It is commonly believed that United States citizens cannot receive from a foreign government noble honors such as a Knighthood. To show that this belief has no basis in law or practice, this is a listing of United States citizens (whether famous or not) who have appeared in the news because they have received Knighthoods. Our sources are newspapers, magazines, and journals.

                                                                                              [ KOV Suit Of Armor ]                                                                 

Wesley Clark, U.S. General and NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe made Knight Cokmmander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire March 28, 2000.

General Wesley K. Clark, US Army


 [ Picture of Gen. Clark ]


Foreign Honors and Awards                                   

General Wesley Clark

From Waco to Yugoslavia:

Lynn Sandstedt, University Professor at the University of Northern Colorado, appointed Knight of the Order of Alphonso the Wise by King Juan Carlos, for educational work in Madrid, October 1998.

Jerry Lewis, comedian, actor, director, producer, humanitarian, appointed as Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, 1966.

                                                                            wpe4.jpg (4014 bytes)


Bob Hope, actor, comedian, humanitarian, appointed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth, 1976, as Commander of the British Empire.

Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell, U.S. Military Generals, appointed in 1993 as Knights Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (Honorary) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth.                                                                                            Colin L. Powell , 5k

  Schwarzkopf: Logs don't mention chemical exposure              Bush Names Powell Secretary of State

George Bush, former U.S. President, appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath by H.M. Queen Elizabeth. Portrait, George Herbert Walker Bush



Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President, appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath by H.M. Queen Elizabeth. Portrait, Ronald Wilson Reagan

Caspar Weinberger, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by H.M. Queen Elizabeth.

Final Report on Iran/Contra: Part VIII


Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger lied to investigators to  conceal his knowledge of the Iran arms sales. Contrary to Weinberger's assertions, a small group of senior civilian officials and m...

John Paul Getty II, U.S. billionaire businessman, appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by H.M. Queen Elizabeth.

Andre Previn, U.S. music composer and orchestral maestro, appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Welsh, Alfred J.: Attorney (Louisville, Kentucky). no date. Knight, Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Belgium. No restriction on use of prenominal "Sir" or on postnominals. Sir Alfred has served as Honorary Consul of Belgium in Louisville since 1983. Source: The Magazine of Sigma Chi, Fall 1994, page 16.

Foley, Tom: Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. March 19, 1995. Member, Order of the British Empire. Foly also holds the French Legion of Honor and the German Order of Merit. Source: AP news release. The OBE was given by Sir Robin Renwick, the British Ambassador to the United States with these words: "I am ordered by Her Majesty the Queen to invest you with the Order of Knight of the British Empire." Without further ceremony, Sir Robin then placed the neck decoration upon Foley. According to the AP news release, Foley cannot use the chivalric prenominal, but can use the OBE postnominal.

Falk, Peter: Television and motion picture actor. Chevalier of Arts and Letters, France's highest arts honor in the French Legion of Honor; on Thursday, February 29, 1996 in Paris. French film star Gerard Depardie, himself a Chevalier, bestowed the honor in a ceremony held by the French Ministry of Culture. Falk is one of many Americans who regularly receive Knighthood in various Orders of Chivalry.

Heston, Charleton: Actor. Monday, March 16, 1997. Commander, Order of Arts and Letters (France). The French Order of Arts and Letters is France's highest civilian honor for those in the performing arts. Source: AP news release. No restriction on the use of prenominal "Chev." or on postnominals. Chevalier Heston commented that while he had played knights in the movies, this was the first time he actually was made one.

Admiral Leighton W Smith Jr., who recently retired from the United States Navy, has been appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Military Division) (KBE). The award, which will be made during an audience with The Queen at Buckingham Palace on 5 March, 1997 is in recognition of Admiral Leighton Smith's key role, whilst Commander-in Chief of NATO's Southern Command based in Naples.

Hope, Bob and Delores Hope: Actor/Comedian/Humanitarian. January 4, 1998. Knight, Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great. The Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great (Ordo Sancti Gregorii Magni) was founded by Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846). The Order's original purpose was to honor loyal and meritorious gentlemen of the Papal States. The Order of St. Gregory the Great is open to Roman Catholics, non-Roman Catholic Christians, and even non-Christians. It now has three ranks (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander, and Knight) and two divisions, civil and military. Source: AP news release. No restriction on the use of prenominal "Chev." or on postnominals. On June 11, 1998, Chev. Hope and his wife, Dame Hope, were Invested as Knight Commanders with Star of this Order. Source: AP news release.

Montalban, Ricardo and Mrs. Montalban: Actor. January 4, 1998. Knight, Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great. The Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great (Ordo Sancti Gregorii Magni) was founded by Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846). The Order's original purpose was to honor loyal and meritorious gentlemen of the Papal States. The Order of St. Gregory the Great is open to Roman Catholics, non-Roman Catholic Christians, and even non-Christians. It now has three ranks (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander, and Knight) and two divisions, civil and military. Source: AP news release. No restriction on the use of prenominal "Chev." or on postnominals.

Disney, Roy and Mrs. Disney: Disney Studios Executive and brother of Walt Disney. January 4, 1998. Knight, Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great. The Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great (Ordo Sancti Gregorii Magni) was founded by Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846). The Order's original purpose was to honor loyal and meritorious gentlemen of the Papal States. The Order of St. Gregory the Great is open to Roman Catholics, non-Roman Catholic Christians, and even non-Christians. It now has three ranks (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander, and Knight) and two divisions, civil and military. Source: AP news release. No restriction on the use of prenominal "Chev." or on postnominals.

Ali, Muhammed: World heavyweight champion boxer. Thursday, January 15, 1998. Member of Morocco's Commander of the Arch. By King Hassan II. Ali was in Morocco for the holy month of Islam's Ramadan.

Fed Chief Greenspan to Be Knighted

Tuesday, August 6, 2002; 4:48 PM

WASHINGTON –– He won't get to call himself "Sir Alan" but Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan – often known as the second most powerful man in the United States – will get another title: knight.

Queen Elizabeth II has approved an honorary knighthood for Greenspan's "outstanding contribution to global economic stability," the British Treasury announced Tuesday. A copy of the release was distributed in Washington.

Greenspan Defends His Knighthood

Alan Greenspan recently received his knighthood, and he's keeping it, thank you.

And that comes from the chairman of the Federal Reserve himself, in correspondence NewsMax recently obtained.

When word first broke in August that Queen Elizabeth II was about to bestow a knighthood on Greenspan for "his outstanding contribution to global economic stability" (what was the Queen smoking when she said that?), the indefatigable Conservative Caucus Chairman Howard Phillips fired off a letter to Greenspan, saying such a move violated the Constitution prohibition against officials holding "titles." America, is, after all, a republic.

Greenspan fired back a letter to Phillips, saying his lawyer says he has every right, under federal law, to accept and keep his knighthood.

We thought we'd share the correspondence between Phillips and Greenspan.

Here is the letter from Howard Phillips:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I noted in this morning's Washington Post that you expect to be awarded a knighthood by her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom.

In order to help spare you embarrassment, I call to your attention the provision of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution of the United States which asserts that "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State". I would urge you to either secure advance Congressional approval for your receipt of this title, or that you respectfully decline.

Thank you for your consideration.

With Personal Best Wishes, I am


Howard Phillips


Greenspan's Response to Phillips:

Dear Mr. Phillips:

Thank you for your interest in my pending award of a knighthood by her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom.

I also believed that specific congressional approval was required. My general counsel, however, informed me to the contrary. His memo is enclosed. I trust this responds adequately to your concerns.

My best regards.


Alan Greenspan


Greenspan attached the following letter:


August 21, 2002

Office Correspondence

To: Chairman Greenspan

Subject: Foreign Decorations

From: Virgil Mattingly and Cary Williams

Mr. Phillips has asked whether the proposed honorary knighthood for you would violate the Emoluments Clause of the U. S. Constitution. This clause provides that:

[N]o person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them [the United States], shall without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or title, of any kind whatsoever, from any King, Prince or foreign state. (Emphasis added.)

Congress gave its consent to the acceptance of certain gifts and decorations in the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act (originally enacted in 1966). The Act provides as follows:

The Congress consents to the accepting, retaining, and wearing by an employee of a decoration tendered in recognition of active field service in time of combat operations or awarded for other outstanding or unusually meritorious performance, subject to the approval of the employing agency of such employee.

The Act defines "decoration" to include "an order, device, medal, badge, insignia, emblem or award." The Department of Justice has ruled that an honorary knighthood is an "order" as permitted by the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act.

Recent examples of U. S. citizens who have been knighted by the Queen of England while they held public office include General Wesley Clark and General Norman Schwarzkopf (who was presented with his medal by the Queen at his Florida army base). U. S. citizens who are knighted may not use the title "Sir", but may use the initials representing the order of the knighthood they receive, such as "KBE" -- "Knight of the British Empire" -- after their name.

Britain 'to confer honorary knighthood - Bill Gatesn Bill Gates'

Microsoft supremo Bill Gates is to receive an honorary British knighthood for services to global enterprise, a newspaper has reported.

Mr Gates, 48, was recommended for the knighthood - which is to be formally conveyed by the Queen - by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, the Sunday Telegraph reported, adding that an announcement would be made today.

That is when Mr Gates, among other captains of global industry and finance, will be in London attending a major conference titled "Advancing Enterprise: Britain in a Global Economy", organised by Mr Brown.

Britain gives the title of honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or KBE, from time to time to distinguished non-Britons, many of them Americans.

Such foreign knights cannot, however, prefix their names with "sir".

Americans who have received a KBE include former president George Bush, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, film director Steven Spielberg, and US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who will also be at the conference, the newspaper said.


Queen Bestows Knighthood On Bill Gates March 2, 2005

The honor came in a private ceremony today at Buckingham Palace, in recognition of his charitable works.

The Microsoft founder was knighted by the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

The honor bestowed on the American multi-billionaire is actually an honorary knighthood, because royal titles aren't formally recognized in the United States. Gates was given the knighthood primarily in recognition of his efforts to improve health and reduce poverty in the developing world. To date, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health program has earmarked nearly $5 billion for the effort.

"I'm particularly pleased that this honour helps recognize the real heroes our foundation supports to improve health in poor countries," Gates said in a statement. "Their incredible work is helping ensure that one day all people-- no matter where they are born--will have the same opportunity for a healthy life, and I'm grateful to share this honour with them."

Gates was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, Melinda Gates, co-founder of the foundation.

Nominated for the knighthood by U.K. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Gates was also cited for his business leadership and contributions. In 2000, the Gates Foundation donated $210 million to Cambridge University to be used toward graduate school scholarships for recipients from outside Britain.

Microsoft employs some 2,000 persons in the U.K. and supports directly and indirectly some 17,000 partner businesses in the U.K., Microsoft said. Some 80 researchers are employed at the Microsoft Research Cambridge laboratory.

Microsoft is scheming to take over the world


Wellington Webb, Mayor of Denver, appointed May 1998 as Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor.

Webb teams with Hillary

Owens criticizes Webb anti-gun ads

Robert Lederman

Rudy: A Knight in Tarnished Armor

Fri Feb 22 17:40:06 2002

Rudy: A Knight in Tarnished Armor


Rudy Giuliani.jpg (71756 bytes)  Rudy Giuliani2.jpg (25061 bytes)

By Ian Williams

Ian Williams is a British writer living in New York City.

Newsday February 20, 2002

LAST WEDNESDAY, as protocol dictates, "bowing from the head, not the waist"

to Queen Elizabeth, "Sir" Rudy Giuliani joined Billy Graham, Steven

Spielberg, IBM's Lou Gerstner, Ronald Reagan, Norman Schwarzkopf and other

knightly relics of the British attempt to persuade Washington that the

"special" relationship between the two countries means something more than

Tony Blair's doing what he's told - sometimes even before he's asked.

However, as "Sir" Rudy received his gong (medal) from the British queen, he

had more relevant role models as an "honorary" Knight Commander of the Most

Excellent Order of the British Empire. For example, one other previous

honorary knight was Rumanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, who was honored for

buying British even as he drove his people to poverty and desperation.

Ceaucescu didn't like term limits either, and he also tried to hang on to

office, until the crowds in Bucharest eliminated him.

The Queen has also knighted President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan,

and British newspapers pointed out that even if he thus became an ersatz

aristocrat, his primary avocation was as a kleptocrat who had become one of

the richest people in the world by selling off his country's oilfields and

pocketing the proceeds. But since British companies were among those who

wanted to buy them, her majesty overlooked this peccadillo.

"Sir" Nursultan could provide a few other pointers for Sir Rudy, following

the latter's attempts to extend his term by hook or by crook last November.

The Kazakh parliament passed a law granting the "First President" total

immunity from prosecution and subpoenas if he were ever to break the

dictatorial mold and retire. Something similar may be useful if ever there

is any fallout from the last minute stadium deals or the lifting of all the

mayor's records in the last days of Giuliani's term.

British Airways, which has just announced 5,800 firings, flew Sir Rudy to

meet the oceanliner QE2 on the snobby but noisy Concorde. Sir Rudy

reciprocated by going to a banquet arranged by Sir Richard Branson,

proprietor of bitter rival Virgin Atlantic. He also did the Churchillian

tour, visiting the British leader's wartime bunker, and relishing the

somewhat forced comparisons between himself - for so bravely facing the

world's TV cameras - and the prime minister who had faced the Nazi bombers.

His hosts chivalrously forbore to point out that Sir Winston had had the

good sense to put his bunker underground rather than on the 23rd floor of 7

World Trade Center. The new knight's love affair with things British must

also have been a surprise to the Brooklyn Museum, whose funding he

threatened because they mounted an exhibition of British artists whose work

he did not like: He claimed it was anti-Catholic.

Perhaps someone should have told him as he was bowing his head to Queen

Elizabeth that she and her offspring have by law been banned from being

Catholics or marrying one.

In olden times, knights were supposed to be chivalrous: they were chaste,

humble and protected the weak. You could be forgiven if you don't think

central casting would have sent Giuliani around to audition for the part.

After all, neither canon lawn or the medieval ideal of knighthood included

separating from your wife at a news conference without telling her, did it?

On the other hand, Henry VIII, the founder of the modern British monarchy,

wasn't one for listening to the pope either. He divorced and beheaded his

way through six wives.

And as for defending the weak: Did Sir Rudy ever ride to the rescue for any

victim of NYPD brutality? For instance, Patrick Dorismond, whose juvenile

records the white knight and mayor unsealed so that he could somehow justify

summary execution on the street?

Knighthood is not enough for Sir Rudy. Anyone who follows British politics

can see that a control freak so prissily opinionated, so much a manipulator

of information, has a natural calling as a new Labor peer in the soon to be

reformed House of Lords. If the Queen and the government like him so much,

he'd be sure to get a British passport quickly.

All hail Lord Rudy of Flatbush!

And it may divert his nakedly palpable presidential ambitions and save the

United States and the world from his meanspirited and unchivalrous politics

as well. Then perhaps we could banish his baneful influence from New York

totally, except perhaps to allow him to record one of those inanely annoying

messages from minor celebs (another Giuliani legacy) that make it impossible

to tell a yellow cab driver your destination.

As he tells us to buckle up, we can tell him to belt up - with feeling.

Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.


The Original 13th Article of Amendment

"If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince, or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them."

March 11, 1997: "Investiture Ceremony" The investiture ceremony took place in London, Buckingham Palace. Paul was receiving his knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.  


Sean Connery should be knighted, Brits say

Copyright © 1998

Copyright © 1998 Agence France-Presse

LONDON (April 6, 1998 5:25 p.m. EDT - Two-thirds of Britons believe Scottish actor and former James Bond star Sean Connery should get a knighthood after years of being passed over, according to a poll released Monday.

Connery, 67, deserves to be awarded the title "sir" from Queen Elizabeth II for incarnating the most famous member of Her Majesty's Secret Service, most people polled by the NOP Research Group said. His support was highest among 15- to 34-year-olds.

The actor himself has claimed he was missed off the 1998 New Year's Honors list because of his active support for the Scottish National Party that advocates independence for Scotland. But government sources suggested it may have more to do with his attitude to domestic violence. In a 1993 interview, Connery had said it was justifiable in certain circumstances for a man to administer "an open-handed slap" to his wife.

Oaths in the Scriptures:

Matthew 5:33-37,  Jesus said, " Again. ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself,   but shall perform unto the Lord thine paths: vs.33

But I say unto you Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: vs.34

Nor by the earth: for it is His footstool: neither by Jerusalem: for it is the city of the great King. vs.35

Neither shall thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. vs.36

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."  vs.37

King James Version of the Holy Bible

The following was found on a Message Board by one of our researchers:

Posted by Nigel on June 16, 2000 at 20:51:32:

In Reply to: Re: Oath of Knighthood posted by Jasper on March 13, 2000 at 11:00:08:

: If non Sca I have no information on the ceremonies.

SCA-analog groups have very varied traditions. In my group (the Empire of Adria), the Oath has some basic elements, but certain elements are at the discretion of the Oath-Taker or even the Oath-Giver (the Crown).

My Oath was slightly different than usual, because I was already in direct fealty to the Crown by virtue of an Oath I took three years ago. I also adapted some elements from other sources (including some from here!). The last line "in all areas of my life" is something I put in because I knew that it wasn't just *Nigel* who was taking the oath, it was the mundane *ME* as well. I knew that this oath would affect the rest of my life, not just my persona.

The Oath I took went as follows:

Here do I reaffirm

My oath of fealty and service

To the Crown and Empire of Adria

And I do hereby swear

By mouth and hand

To be a good and worthy Knight

To be a Lamp of Chivalry unto the Populace

To be ever courteous and reverent

To seek excellence in all my endeavours

To be courageous and faithful

To be always loyal and true

To temper justice with mercy

To defend my Crown and my liege

To be temperate and humble

To shelter the weak

To help the needy

To champion the right

And uphold the good

To teach what I know

To learn what I can

To be true to my Faith

And to be faithful to my duties

All this in each area of my life.

So swear I,

Nigel the Byzantine

You can see the entire ceremony, including the highly religious Vigil Invocation, at the link below.

In service,

Sir Nigel the Byzantine

Knight of Adria

Fleur-de-Lis King of Arms

*       *       *       *        *       *       *       *        *       *        *       *   

Knighting Ceremony of

Nigel the Byzantine I

Cathedral Church of Saint Paul 8 April anno domini 2000

Feast of SS. Albert of Jerusalem & Walter of Pontnoise

The Vigil

At 8 pm the night before the Knighting is to take place, the Guardians should convey the Candidate to the Cathedral for the Invocation of the Vigil.

The Vigil will commence with the Celebrant standing at the Altar, with everyone seated in the pews. When the Candidate is ready, he will be brought into the Cathedral by his Guardians, and all three shall kneel before the altar. The Celebrant shall begin:

Let us pray:

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, we prostrate ourselves before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. We pray for Thy blessing upon Thy servant here, that Thou might illumine the darkness of his intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame his heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that he may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saints in whose honor he takes his accolade.

Moreover, we beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of these powerful Holy Guides, the petition which through them we humbly place before Thee, that he may be blessed, and have strength for the Vigil that is to come, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of the world. Amen.

O Most Holy Queen, as the Archangel Gabriel beheld thee, a living scroll of Christ which the Spirit had sealed, he cried out to thee: "Hail, vessel of joy, in whom the curse of Eve is lifted!" Thou art the Mother of Our Lord, and the re-creation of Nature. Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, Saint George; favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of His Son, thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit. Blessed Archangel, Saint Michael, who doth guard us against the wickedness and snares of the Evil One, thou art the Messenger of Our Lord and His General, and thy name is the battle cry of the Heavenly Host. We fervently implore you as the Holy Guides of your servant here, for the sake Our Lord, to help your servant by your intercession to overcome the temptations that surround him, and to bear bravely the trials that he will face, so that he may enter into his new station with a pure heart and a humble countenance.

Our Lord and our God! We offer up to Thee our petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His blessed Mother, Mary, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the Holy Guides in whose honor he takes the Mantle of Knighthood.

Look down upon us, merciful Lord! Grant us Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear our prayer.

In nómine Patris, et Fílli, et Spirítus Sancti,


The First Reader shall step forward:

Hear now the words of Saint Louis IX, from a letter to his son:

My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin.

If God has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If God bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank Him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either though vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend Him in the matter of His gifts.

Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits He has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth.

The Second Reader shall step forward:

Hear now the words of the Apostle Paul, from his first Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not Love, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge: and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not Love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is kind: Love envieth not: Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love never faileth: but whether there be prophesies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesie in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part, shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly: but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth Faith, Hope, Love, these three, but the greatest of these is Love.

The Celebrant shall step forward again:

Let us pray:

Ave Maria, gratia plena

Dominus tecum.

Benedicta tu et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesu.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,

Ora pro nobis peccatoribus

Nunc et in ora mortis nostrae.


The First Reader shall step forward again:

Hear now the wisdom of Saint Augustine:

God bestows more consideration on the purity of the intention with which our actions are performed than on the actions themselves.

I will suggest a means whereby you can praise God all day long, if you wish. Whatever you do, do it well, and you have praised God.

This is the business of our life: by labor and prayer to advance in the grace of God, till we come to that height of perfection in which, with clean hearts, we may behold God.

God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes you do what you can and to pray for what you cannot, and aids you that you may be able.

Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet.

The Second Reader shall step forward again:

Hear now the words of the Psalmist. This is the First Psalm:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scorneful.

But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaffe, which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the Congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The Celebrant shall step forward again:

Let us pray:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccáta mundi: miserére nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccáta mundi: miserére nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccáta mundi: nobis pacem.


The First Reader shall step forward again:

Hear now the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, in the Canticle of the Sun:

Most High Almighty Good Lord, Yours are praise, glory, honor and all blessings; To You alone! Most High, do they belong, and no man is worthy of speaking Your Name!

Be praised, Lord, with all Your creatures, and above all our Brother Sun, who gives us the day by which You light our way, and who is beautiful, radiant and with his great splendor is a symbol to us of You, O Most High!

And be praised, Lord, for our Sister Moon and the Stars. You created them in the heavens bright, precious and beautiful!

And be praised, Lord, for our Brother the Wind and for the air and the clouds and for fair weather and for all other through which You sustain Your creatures.

And be praised, Lord, for our Sister Water, so useful, and humble, and chaste!

And be praised, my Lord, for our Brother Fire, through whom You light up the night and who is handsome, joyful, robust, and strong!

And be praised, my Lord, for our Sister, Mother Earth, who supports and carries us and produces the diverse fruits and colorful flowers and trees!

Praise and bless the Lord and give thanks to Him and serve Him with great humility!

Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister, bodily Death from whom no living man can escape!

Woe only to those who die in mortal sin; but blessed are those who have done Your most holy will; for the second death can cause them no harm!

The Second Reader shall step forward again:

Hear now the words of Our Lord, from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter five, verses 3 through 12:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shal say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: For so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you.

The Celebrant shall step forward again:

Let us pray:

Pater noster,

Qui es in coelis,

Sanctificetur nomen tuum;

Adveniat regnum tuum.

Fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra.

Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodiè.

Et dimitte nobis debita nostra,

Sicut et nos debitoribus nostris.

Et ne nos inducas in tentationem;

Sed libera nos à malo.


We praise Thee, O Lord, most holy Father, King of heaven and earth; because Thou hast comforted us and brought Thy servant here to Thy holy Knighthood.

For Thou art the God of our salvation, even that Salvation which arose from the Holy Sepulchre.

The Lord is our strength and our song, and Thou hast become our salvation, and in his Knighthood shall Thy servant become Thy Right Hand;

Let the heaven and earth praise Thee, the seas and everything that moves in them. For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah. That they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love Thy Name shall dwell in it.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

In nómine Patris, et Fílli, et Spirítus Sancti,


The Vigil is commenced, go in peace.

After the close of the Vigil Invocation, the Candidate will take up his position at the Altar, kneeling over his armor and weapons. Until 10 pm, people may visit him to discuss Knighthood with him, after which he and his two attendants will retire until morning.

At 8:00 the next morning, he and his party will set up a pavilion in the Park, after which more visitations may commence.

Knighting Ceremony of

Nigel the Byzantine II

Cathedral Church of Saint Paul 8 April anno domini 2000

Feast of SS. Albert of Jerusalem & Walter of Pontnoise

The Knighting

Part the First: The Introduction of the Candidate

The Knighting shall begin at 2:00 in the afternoon. Everyone shall assemble in the Lady Chapel, with the Crowns seated on thrones in front of the Altar. When everyone is assembled and the Candidate is ready, Court shall be opened in the usual way.

Herald: Your Majesty, His Imperial Highness, Sir François de Coucy, has business before You.


Please come forward, Your Highness.

Sir François shall come before the Crown, and say:

François: Your Majesty, on behalf of the Chivalry of the Empire, I beg to inform you that our numbers are not complete. There is one who by his deeds and his demeanour has the right to a place in our company, a place he has deserved for quite some time.


Then let him come forward.


Their Imperial Majesties, Elisabeth and Erik, by the Grace of God and the Will of the Estates Empress and Emperor of Adria, do command the presence of Their servant, Nigel the Byzantine.

Knight Candidate Nigel, accompanied by the Knighting Party and wearing a white robe, shall come forward to the following Boast and kneel before the Thrones:

Herald: Your Majesties, he who comes before You now is Nigel the Byzantine, who serves You and this Empire as Fleur-de-Lis King of Arms. He is a Baronet in this Empire, a Companion of the Order of the Star of Adria, a holder of the Golden Spoon and the Celestial Raven, and a Paladin of the Orders of Saint Bela and Saint Warhammer. In the Laurel Kingdoms, he holds rank of Lord and the Order of the Golden Trident, and he is Drafn. He comes now before Your Majesties to beg from Your hands the accolade which his peers agree is rightly deserved.


Your Lordship, are you prepared to accept the accolade of Knighthood this day?


I am, Your Majesty.

Part the Second: Statement of the Legal Requirements

Crown: The Laws of the Adrian Empire require that the Candidate's legal requirements for elevation be confirmed. Minister of Rolls: Has the Candidate completed all of the required points for the rank of Knight Minister as prescribed by the Estates?


Yes, Your Majesty.


Sovereign of Arms: Has the Candidate duly registered heraldry as prescribed by the Estates?


Yes, Your Majesty. He bears Purpure, two lions addorsed, tails entwined or.


Chancellor: Is the Candidate under any judicial ban that would prevent the taking of this estate at this time?


No, Your Majesty.


Steward: Has the Candidate paid his taxes according to Our laws?


Yes, Your Majesty.

Part the Third: Speaking the Qualifications

Crown: Who would speak to the Candidate's qualifications for this Estate?


I would speak for the Chivalry. Speaker should speak to the Candidate's chivalry and reverence of the customs of the Empire.


I would speak for the Estates Minor. Speaker should speak to the Candidate's service and fidelity to the Empire.


I would speak for the Estates Major. Speaker should speak to the Candidate's prowess and courage.


I would speak for the Estates Royal. Speaker should speak to the Candidate's honesty and loyalty.


I would speak for the Ladies of the Rose. Speaker should speak to the Candidate's courtesy and generosity.


I would speak for the Church. Speaker should speak to the Candidate's faith and humility.


I would speak for the Dream. Speaker should speak to the Candidate's noble demeanor and how he upholds the Traditions.


Is there anyone else who would speak to the qualifications of this Knight Candidate?

A few minutes should be allowed for those who have something nice to say. In the off chance they don't have anything nice to say, the Crown should cut them off. After people have said their peace, the Crown should continue:

Part the Fourth: Vestment of the Regalia

Crown: With your fulfillment of the Lawful requirements verified, and your qualifications been spoken to by these noble gentleman and ladies, let the Spurs be brought forward.

While the Spurs are being placed on the Candidate's heels, the Herald continues:

Herald: The Spurs represent the right of a Knight to ride unhindered throughout the land, dispensing justice tempered with mercy, protecting the weak, defending the defenseless, and helping the needy. By wearing the precious Spurs near his feet, the Knights shows his disdain for earthly treasures in favour of spiritual.

One of the people putting the Spurs on the candidate should say as they near completion:

Spurs: May they never be hacked from your heels in shame and disgrace.

Once the Spurs are on, the Crown continues:

Crown: Let the Belt be brought forward.

While the Belt is being girded on the Candidate, the Herald continues:

Herald: The Belt respresents the unity of the Chivalry. The blue color is symbolic of the Virgin Mary, reminding the Knight to be ever faithful in his duties, to be pure of heart, and to be respectful in his actions. The belt hearkens back to the ancient days of the Order of the Garter, whose motto, "Honi soit qui mal y pense", or "Dishonour on him who thinks ill of it", speaks as a reminder to the Knight to remain ever honourable in his actions and his deeds.

The person vesting the Candidate with the Belt should say as they near completion:

Belt: Choose death before dishonour.

Once the Belt is girded, the Crown continues:

Crown: Let the Sword be brought forward.

While the Sword is being girded on the Candidate, the Herald continues:

Herald: The Sword represents the Knight's right to dispense justice. The double edge of the blade ever reminds the Knight to temper justice with mercy. As the steel of the Sword must be tempered in fire and water, so must the soul of the Knight be tempered by adversity and compassion.

The person vesting the Candidate with the Sword should say as he nears completion:

Sword: Never draw this in anger.

Part the Fifth: Swearing the Oath

Once the Candidate is fully vested, the Crown shall ask:

Crown: Upon which sword do you wish to swear your Oath?


Upon the sword of His Imperial Majesty.

The Crown shall direct the Candidate to place his hands on the Sword. The Herald will administer the Oath (one phrase at a time):

Herald: All members of the Chivalry present, including SCA Peers, and all those who aspire to the Chivalry, are encouraged to kneel in support of the Candidate as he swears his Oath.

(to the Candidate): My Lord, please repeat after me:

Here do I reaffirm

My oath of fealty and service

To the Crown and Empire of Adria

And I do hereby swear

By mouth and hand

To be a good and worthy Knight

To be a Lamp of Chivalry unto the Populace

To be ever courteous and reverent

To seek excellence in all my endeavours

To be courageous and faithful

To be always loyal and true

To temper justice with mercy

To defend my Crown and my liege

To be temperate and humble

To shelter the weak

To help the needy

To champion the right

And uphold the good

To teach what I know

To learn what I can

To be true to my Faith

And to be faithful to my duties

All this in each area of my life.

So swear I,

Nigel the Byzantine


This we do hear and shall never forget nor fail to reward that which is given: fealty with love, service with honour, and oath-breaking with vengeance.

Part the Sixth: The Accolade and the Collée

After the Oath is administered, the Crown will commence with the Accolade:

Crown: With which sword do you wish to be dubbed?


With the sword of His Highness, Sir Stefan Belski, who was the first Monarch I had the priviledge of serving.

Dame Katayana, who has been holding her husband's sword, will present it to Her Majesty.

Crown: Having fulfilled the requirements, had your qualifications spoken to, been clothed in your vestments, and having taken your Oath, I hereby create you a Knight Minister in the name of

Saint George

Saint Michael

and Our Lady.

Rise, SIR Nigel!

Now that the Knight has risen, the Crown shall ask:

Crown: Whom do you wish to administer the Collée?


His Grace, Sir Gregory of York, who is a Knight of my homeland and the man who to me best exemplifies all that is Knightly and Chivalrous.

The Knight should be braced for what is to come.

Gregory: Let this be the last blow you take unanswered.

Commentaries on the Laws of England

William Blackstone

From the First Edition of 1765 - 1769


Volume I: Of the Rights of Persons



Blackstone's Commentaries did not make law, but was a commentary on the law of Great Britain as it had been established by king and parliament. Blackstone's Commentaries is still in use today in the legal system of Great Britain. The excerpt here is provided for the historical interest it contains about British titles and the duties and privileges of the peerage.


Chapter the Twelfth

Of the Civil State

The lay part of his majesty's subjects, or such of the people as are not comprehended under the denomination of clergy, may be divided into three distinct states, the civil, the military, and the maritime.

That part of the nation which falls under our first and most comprehensive division, the civil state, includes all orders of men, from the highest nobleman to the meanest peasant; that are not included under either our former division, of clergy, or under one of the two latter, the military and maritime states: and it may sometimes include individuals of the other three orders; since a nobleman, a knight, a gentleman, or a peasant, may become either a divine, a soldier, or a seaman.

The civil state consists of the nobility and the commonalty. Of the nobility, the peerage of Great Britain, or lords temporal, as forming (together with the bishops) one of the supreme branches of the legislature, I have before sufficiently spoken: we are here to consider them according to their several degrees, or titles of honour.

All degrees of nobility and honour are derived from the king as their fountain: and he may institute what new titles he pleases. Hence it is that all degrees of honour are not of equal antiquity. Those now in use are dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons.

A duke, though it be with us, as a mere title of nobility, inferior in point of antiquity to many others, yet it is superior to all of them in rank; being the first title of dignity after the royal family. Among the Saxons the Latin name of dukes, duces, is very frequent, and signified, as among the Romans, the commanders or leaders of their armies, whom in their own language they called heheroza [note: transliterated from the Greek]; and in the laws of Henry I (as translated by Lambard) we find them called heretochii. But after the Norman conquest, which changed the military polity of the nation, the kings themselves continuing for many generations dukes of Normandy, they would not honour any subjects with that title, till the time of Edward III, who, claiming to be king of France, and thereby losing the ducal in the royal dignity, in the eleventh year of his reign created his son, Edward the black prince, duke of Cornwall: and many, of the royal family especially, were afterwards raised to the same honour. However, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, A.D. 1572, the whole order became utterly extinct: but it was revived about fifty years afterwards by her successor, who was remarkably prodigal of honours, in the person of George Villiers duke of Buckingham.

2. A marquess, marchio, is the next degree of nobility. His office formerly was (for dignity and duty were never separated by our ancestors) to guard the frontiers and limits of the kingdom; which were called the marches, from the teutonic word, marche, a limit: as, in particular, were the marches of Wales and Scotland, while they continued to be enemies countries. The persons who had command there, were called lords marchers, or marquesses; whose authority was abolished by Statute 27 Hen.VIII. C. 27: though the title had long before been made a mere ensign of honour; Robert Vere, earl of Oxford, being created marquess of Dublin, by Richard II in the eighth year of his reign.

3. An earl is a title of nobility so antient, that its original cannot clearly be traced out. Thus much seems tolerably certain: that among the Saxons they were called ealdormen, quasi-elder men, signifying the same as sen or or senator among the Romans; and also schiremen, because they had each of them the civil government of a several division or shire. On the irruption of the Danes, they changed the name to eorles, which, according to Camden, signified the same in their language. In Latin they are called comites (a title first used in the empire) from being the king's attendants; a societate nomen sumpserunt, reges enim tales "sibi associant." After the Norman conquest they were for some time called counts, or countees, from the French; but they did not long retain that name themselves, though their shires are from thence called counties to this day. It is now become a mere title they having nothing to do with the government of the county which, as has been more than once observed, is now entirely devolved on the sheriff, the earl's deputy, or vice-comes. In all writs and commissions, and other formal instruments, the king, when he mentions any peer of the degree of an earl, always stiles him "trusty and well beloved cousin," an appellation as antient as the reign of Henry IV; who being either by his wife, his mother, or his sisters, actually related or allied to every earl in the kingdom, artfully and constantly acknowledged that connexion in a his letters and other public acts; from whence the usage has descended to his successors, though the reason has long ago failed.

4. The name of vice-comnes or viscount was afterwards made use of as an arbitrary title of honour, without any shadow of office pertaining to it, by Henry the sixth when in the eighteenth year of his reign, he created John Beaumont a peer, by the name of viscount Beaumont, which was the first instance of the kind.

5. A baron's is the most general and universal title of nobility; for originally every one of the peers of superior rank had also a barony annexed to his other titles. But it hath sometimes happened that, when an antient baron hath been raised to a new degree of peerage, in the course of a few generations the two titles have descended differently; one perhaps to the male descendants, the other to the heirs general; whereby the earldom or other superior title hath subsisted without a barony: and there are also modern instances where earls and viscounts have been created without annexing a barony to their other honours: so that now the rule does not hold universally, that all peers are barons. The original and antiquity of baronies has occasioned great enquiries among our English antiquarians. The more probable opinion seems to be that they were the same with our present lords of manors; to which the name of court baron, (which is the lord's court, and incident to every manor) gives some countenance. It may be collected from king John's magna carta, that originally all lords of manors, or barons, that held of the king in capite, had seats in the great council or parliament, till about the reign of that prince the conflux of them became so large and troublesome, that the king was obliged to divide them, and summon only the greater barons in person; leaving the small ones to be summoned by the sheriff, and ( as it is said) to sit by representation on another house; which gave rise to the separation of the two houses of parliament. By degrees the title came to be confined to the greater barons, or lords of parliament only; and there were no other barons among the peerage but such as were summoned by writ, in respect of the tenure of their lands or baronies, till Richard the second first made it a mere title of honor, by conferring it on divers persons by his letters patent.

Having made this short enquiry into the original of our several degrees of nobility, I shall next consider the manner in which they may be created. The right of peerage seems to have been originally territorial; that is, annexed to lands, honors, castles, manors, and the like, the proprietors and possessors of which were (in right of those estates) allowed to be peers of the realm, and were summoned to parliament to do suit and service to their sovereign: and, when the land was alienated, the dignity passed with it as appendant. Thus the bishops still sit in the house of lords in right of succession to certain antient baronies annexed, or supposed to be annexed, to their episcopal lands: and thus, in II Hen. VI, the possession of the castle of Arundel was adjudged to confer an earldom on its possessor. But afterwards, when alienations grew to be frequent, the dignity of peerage was confined to the lineage of the party ennobled, and instead of territorial became personal. Actual proof of a tenure by barony became no longer necessary to constitute a lord of parliament; but the record of the writ of summons to them or their ancestors was admitted as a sufficient evidence of the tenure.

Peers are now created either by writ, or by patent: for those who claim by prescription must suppose either a writ or patent made to their ancestors; though by length of time it is lost. The creation by writ, or the king's letter, is a summons to attend the house of peers, by the stile and title of that barony, which the king is pleased to confer: that by patent is a royal grant to a subject of any dignity and degree of peerage. The creation by writ is the more antient way; but a man is not ennobled thereby, unless he actually takes his seat in the house of lords: and therefore the most usual, because the surest way is to grant the dignity by patent, which inures to a man and his heirs according to the limitations thereof, though he never himself makes use of it. Yet it is frequent to call up the eldest son of a peer to the house of lords by writ of summons, in the name of his father's barony: because in that case there is no danger of his children's losing the nobility in case he never takes his seat; for they will succeed to their grand-father. Creation by writ has also one advantage over that by patent: for a person created by writ holds the dignity to him and his heirs, without any words to that purport in the writ, but in letters patent there must be words to direst the inheritance, else the dignity inures on]y to the grantee for lifer. For a man or woman may be created noble for their own lives, and the dignity not descend to their heirs at all, or descend only to some particular; heirs: as where a peerage is limited to a man, and the heirs male of his body by Elizabeth his present lady, and not to such heirs by any former or future wife.

Let us next take a view of a few of the principal incident attending the nobility, exclusive of their capacity as members of parliament, and as hereditary counsellors of the crown; both of which we have before considered. And first we must observe, that in criminal cases, a nobleman shall be tried by his peers. The great are always obnoxious to popular envy: were they to be judged by the people, they might be in danger from the prejudice of their judges; and would moreover be deprived of the privilege of the meanest subjects, that of being tried by their equals, which is secured to all the realm by magna carta c. 29. It is said, that this does not extend to bishops; who, though they are lords of parliament, and sit there by virtue of their baronies which they hold jure ecclesiae, yet are not ennobled in blood, and consequently not peers with the nobility. As to peeresses, no provision was made for their trial when accused of treason or felony, till after Eleanor duchess of Gloucester, wife to the lord protector, had been accused of treason and found guilty of witchcraft, in an ecclesiastical synod, through the intrigues of cardinal Beaufort. This very extraordinary trial gave occasion to a special statute, 20 Hen.VI. c.9 which enacts that peeresses either in their own right, or by marriage, shall be tried before the same judicature as peers of the realm. If a woman, noble in her own right, marries a commoner, she still remains noble, and shall be tried by her peers: but if she be only noble by marriage, then by a second marriage, with a commoner, she loses her dignity; for as by marriage it is gained, by marriage it is also lost. Yet if a duchess dowager marries a baron, she continues a duchess still; for all the nobility are pares, and therefore it is no degradation. A peer, or peeress (either in her own right or by marriage) cannot be arrested in civil cases: and they have also many peculiar privileges annexed to their peerage in the course of judicial proceedings. A peer, sitting in judgment, gives not his verdict upon oath, like an ordinary juryman, but upon his honour: he answers also to bills in chancery upon his honour, and not upon his oath; but, when he is examined as a witness either in civil or criminal cases, he must be sworn: for the respect which the law shews to the honour of a peer does not extend so far as to overturn a settled maxim, that in judicio non creditur nifi juratis. The honour of peers is however so highly tendered by the law, that it is much more penal to spread false reports of them, and certain other great officers of the realm, than of other men: scandal against them being called by the peculiar name of scandalum magnatum; and subjected to peculiar punishment by divers antient statutes.

A peer cannot lose his nobility, but by death or attainder; though there was an instance, in the reign of Edward the fourth, of the degradation of George Nevile duke of Bedford by a writ of parliament, on account of his poverty, which rendered him unable to support his dignity. But this is a singular instance: which serves at the same time, by having happened, to shew the power of parliament; and, by having happened but once, to shew how tender the parliament hath been, in exerting so high a power. It hath been said indeed that if a baron wastes his estate, so that he is not able to support the degree, the king may degrade him: but it is expressly held by later authorities that a peer cannot be degraded but by act of parliament.

The commonalty, like the nobility, are divided into several degrees; and, as the lords, though different in rank, yet all of them are peers in respect of their nobility, so the commoners though some are greatly superior to others, yet all are in law peers in respect of their want of nobility.

The first name of dignity, next beneath a peer, was antiently that of vidames, vice domini, or valvasors: who are mentioned by our antient lawyers as viri magnae dignitatis; and sir Edward Coke speaks highly of them. Yet they are now quite out of use; and our legal antiquarians are not so much as agreed upon their original or antient office.

Now therefore the first dignity after the nobility, is a knight of the order of St. George, or of the garter; first instituted by Edward III, AD 1344. Next follows a knight banneret; who indeed by statutes 5 Ric. II. st. z. c. 4. and 14 Ric. II. c. 11. is ranked next after barons: and that precedence was confirmed to him by order of king James I, in the tenth year of his reign. But, in order to intitle himself to this rank, he must have been created by the king in person, in the field, under the royal banners, in time of open war. Else he ranks after baronet who are the next order: which title is a dignity of inheritance, created by letters patent, and usually descendible to the issue male. It was first instituted by king James the first, AD 1611 in order to raise a competent sum for the reduction of the province of Ulster in Ireland; for which reason all baronets have the arms of Ulster superadded to their family coat. Next follow knights of the bath; an order instituted by king Henry IV, and revived by king George the first. They are so called from the ceremony of bathing, the night before their creation. The last of these inferior nobility are knights bachelors; the most antient, though the lowest, order of knighthood amongst us: for we have an in instance of king Alfred's conferring this order on his son Athelstan. The custom of the antient Germans was to give their young men a shield and a lance in the great council: this was equivalent to the toga virilis of the Romans: before this they were not permitted to bear arms, but were accounted as part of the father's household; after it, as part of the public. Hence, some derive the usage of knighting, which has prevailed all over the western world, since its reduction by colonies from those northern heroes. Knights are called in Latin equites aurati; aurati, from the gilt spurs they wore; and equites, because they always served on horseback: for it is observable, that almost all nations call their knights by some appellation derived from an horse. They are also called in our law milites, because they formed a part, or indeed the whole of the royal army, in virtue of their feodal tenures; one condition of which was, that every one who held a knight's fee (which in Henry the second's time amounted to 20 £ per annum ) was obliged to be knighted, and attend the king in his wars, or fine for his non-compliance. The exertion of this prerogative, as an expedient to raise money in the reign of Charles the first, gave great offence; though warranted by law, and the recent example of queen Elizabeth: but it was, at the restoration, together with all other military branches of the feodal law, abolished; and this kind of knighthood has, since that time, fallen into great disregard.

These, sir Edward Coke says, are all the names of dignity in this kingdom, esquires and gentlemen being only names of worship. But before these last the heralds rank all colonels, serjeants at law, and doctors in the three learned professions.

Esquires and gentlemen are confounded together by sir Edward Coke, who observes, that every esquire is a gentleman and a gentleman is defined to be one qui arma gerit, who bears coat armour, the grant of which adds gentility to a man's family: in like manner as civil nobility, among the Romans, was founded in the jus imaginum, or having the image of one ancestor at least, who had borne some curule office. It is indeed a matter somewhat unsettled, what constitutes the distinction, or who is a real esquire: for it is not an estate, however large, that confers this rank upon its owner. Camden, who was himself a herald, distinguishes them the most accurately; and he reckons up four sorts of them: 1. The eldest sons of knights, and their elder sons, in perpetual succession. 2. The younger sons of peers, and their eldest sons, in like perpetual succession: both which species of esquires sir H. Spelman entitles armigeri natalitii. 3. Esquires created by the king's letters patent, or other investiture; and their eldest sons. 4. Esquires by virtue of their offices; as justices of the peace, and others who bear any office of trust under the crown. To these may be added the esquires of knights of the bath, each of whom constitutes three at his installation; and all foreign, nay, Irish peers; and the eldest sons of peers of Great Britain, who, though generally titular lords, are only esquires in the law, and must so be named in all legal proceedings. As for gentlemen, says sir Thomas Smith , they be made good cheap in this kingdom: for whosoever studieth the laws of the realm, who studieth in the universities, who professeth liberal sciences, and (to be short) who can live idly, and without manual labour, and will bear the port, charge, and countenance of a gentleman, he shall be called master and shall be taken for a gentleman. A yeoman is he that hath free land of forty shillings by the year; who is thereby qualified to serve on juries, vote for knights of the shire, and do any other act, where the law requires one that is probus et legalis homo.

The rest of the commonalty are tradesmen, artificers, and labourers who (as well as all others) must in pursuance of the statute I Hen.V. c. 5. be stiled by the name and addition of their estate, degree, or mystery in all actions and other legal proceedings.





Americans are indecisive about royal and noble titles. While pretending to disdain titles and the titled, the fact is that Americans love them and are fascinated and captivated by them. For example, we have "king-size" beds (and queen-size, too). The "king-size" tube of toothpaste is the biggest one--usually. We have the prom queen, the movie queen, the porn queen, the king of the rodeo, the king of comedy. A friendly and helping man is "a real prince," a sweet-tempered woman is "a lady." There's Duke Ellington, Counts Basie and Chocula, the King of Swing and the Queen of Disco, Elvis the King of Rock, Michael Jackson the King of Pop, and we even have among us a mononymic rock star...Prince. When movie actress Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco, America swooned (Even if the rest of European monarchy and nobility didn't. Grace Kelley was considered a parvenu and somewhat vulgar because of her movie career, but she was never "vulgar," and embodied her name of Grace very well indeed.), and Grace's popularity soared. Yes, and millions of Americans arose at 2:00 AM one morning to watch the Prince of Wales marry Lady Diana--and they watch, now through the tabloids, with equal wonder at that marriage's difficulties. Let a foreign nobleman, noblewoman, or monarch come to America for a visit, and Americans will flock to each and all, especially if the titled visitor has a suave manner and an interesting accent--and, of course, that great entitler, money.

So, naturally, Americans aren't interested in titles. Certainly not. Oh no. After all, doesn't the American Constitution prohibit Americans from receiving, using, or even acknowledging titles? The answer is--no, it doesn't. What Article I: Section 9, Paragraph 8 of the Constitution says is this:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

The primary purpose of the Paragraph was to prevent the United States from creating a system of nobility, at least in the British style of the detested King George III. The secondary purpose was to prevent foreign royalty from coöpting an official of the United States government and to prevent royalty from using the promise of a gift of a noble title as a bribe to obtain preferment from a government official, at least not without the full knowledge and consent of Congress, the assumption being that the "Consent of the Congress" would not be forthcoming. This is the same section of the Constitution which prevents the President (or his wife), members of Congress, and Justices of the Supreme Court from personally accepting gifts from foreign governments, all such gifts being received by the President on behalf of the U.S. Government. Many such gifts are displayed at the Smithsonian. Note that the Constitution does not hold titles in contempt, nor does it reject them as worthless--just the opposite, the Constitution equates the noble title with any other valuable gift, that is, a title is seen as valuable property which can be given and used and which has such significant instrinsic worth that it has the power of currency and, therefore, cannot be recieved without an act of Congress.

The second part of the Constitutional prohibition is less rigid. That is, the Section does not apply to private citizens, nor does it prevent a private citizen from accepting or holding a royal or noble title, because the phrase "Office of Profit or Trust" in this Section is interpreted to refer to elected and appointed high federal officials and members of the armed services who, during their tenure of service, are prevented from accepting noble or royal honors. Once these persons are again private citizens, they are free to be honored, as, for example, the "honorary" knighthoods granted by Queen Elizabeth II to Former Presidents Reagan and Bush and to retired/retiring Generals Norman Schwartzkopf and Colin Powell. These honorees probably will not use the title "Sir," but, because they are members of Orders of Chivalry, i.e., they are knights, they can (and undoubtedly will) use the postnominals of the Orders they hold. Actually, there is no legal reason why these knights couldn't use the title "Sir." Even though the Constitution prevented the development of the traditional European honors model, the United States certainly has developed an honors system that in many ways resembles the establishment of nobility. For example, for its military, there is the Purple Heart, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and many others. For its private citizens there is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the annual awards given to performers at the Kennedy Center, and others. The key difference seems to be that, unlike European honors, American honors carry postnominals (single letter abbreviations after the name which denote the honor conferred), not prenominals which are titles before the name. Americans don't seem to mind postnominals such as "Ph.D." (Doctor of Philosophy) or "K.C." (Knight Commander) or "Bart." (more properly, "Bt.," Baronet). It's those prenominals that they balk at ("Sir So-and-So" or "Dr. Whatshisname" or "Lord Whosis").

The point is that while the Constitution prohibits the giving of a title of nobility by the American Government (Congress, the President, or the Judicial) or the receipt of the same "from any King, Prince, or foreign State" by high public officials during their terms of office, or by military personnel while enlisted, private American citizens, themselves, are free to accept and use titles of any kind whatever, noble or otherwise.


Citizens of the United States like to think of the U.S.A. as classless and untitled, cherishing these egalitarian concepts as marks of the unique American opportunity for upward mobility in class and power. In everyday practice, however, Americans are very much aware of how to create and use titles to establish class and wield power. A primary example of the importance of a title as a mark of power and status is the title "Ms." (rhymes with fizz), created some years ago by feminists for use in the place of "Miss" or "Mrs," both of which titles show a woman's relationship to a man. The title "Ms." is egalitarian in that it shows gender only, exactly as does the modern "Mr." (L.G. Pine, in The Story of Titles, discusses the original and modern uses of "Mister," a variation of "Master." Interestingly, like "Ms.," most royal and noble titles are themselves egalitarian in that they show gender only--for exampl,e a Queen is not necessarily the wife of a King, a Baroness is not necessarily the wife of a Baron.) The general acceptance and use of the once artificial "Ms." show that Americans clearly understand and acknowledge the value and importance of the title as an empowering device.


A legitimate noble title always has a legitimate royal source, called a fons honorum (Latin: "source of honor," the "fountainhead" from which the legitimate title is issued). What is important to know (and what Americans have to be firmly instructed in and regularly reminded about) is that noble titles do not come from governments, but from heads of royal families, called a "royal house." Thus, the royal house is a dynastic family holding hereditary royal title and prerogatives usually based upon modern or ancient geographical rulership; the royal dynastic family need not necessarily currently head a government or rule a nation. A government is not, of itself, royal, nor can a government declare itself royal--it is persons who are royal or noble, and it is the head of that government who is royal. Thus, a government as an entity is not and cannot be a fons for royal or noble titles (Which makes the American Constitution's prohibition perfectly proper.). In fact, the universal practice is that a government which prefers a royal head of state doesn't create it, but goes, instead, to one of the royal houses (in Europe or elsewhere) to find a monarch to reign. Observe the actions of the British Parliament when, in 1701, it became apparent that King William and Queen Anne were not going to leave any heirs in line for the throne. Parliament wanted, of course, a Protestant sovereign, but even the British Parliament had not the authority to create royalty, nor could the King and Queen declare an heir. Therefore, Parliament, understanding that governments do not beget royalty, began to carefully scrutinize Europe's royals, searching for a suitable candidate to come to the throne after King William's death. Having analyzed genealogies and religious proclivities, Parliament settled on the Electress of Hanover, who had the virtue of being the granddaughter of James I. However, the Electress died before the British throne became available, so the office passed to her son, George Ludwig who became King George I of England.

Of course, some countries in the Middle East have seen commoners elevate themselves to royal status, as, for example, Reza Pahlavi (1878-1944) a commoner and an army officer who seized power in Iran, declared himself Shah, and then--like Napolean--crowned himself. His son, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980) inherited the throne of Iran, but was deposed in 1979. There are other examples of colonels cum kings. Middle Eastern countries, being Muslim, don't go to the Christian royal houses of Europe for their rulers. They don't have to, there being sufficient Muslim royal houses. Even if there weren't, it is a fact that tanks and militia breed a potent throne and that a quantity of gunpowder, liberally applied, can make any blood blue. There is nothing new in this, as any student of medieval European history knows.

The terms "exile" and "abdication" also sometimes present problems for those who are unfamiliar with them. "Exile" occurs when a monarch leaves his or her country because of invasion, uprising, or because a democratic referendum establishes a republic. Merely because the monarch has relocated does not mean that he or she ceases to be royal (since royalty is vested in a person, not a government), nor does the person lose royal prerogatives, including the right and power to confer titles. A government can be taken away from a monarch, but royal prerogatives cannot be "taken away," not by vote, not by revolution, not by invasion. There are today legitimate royal courts in exile, headed by monarchs who have fled uprisings, invasions, or referenda, but who have not relinquished their royal rights, as for example, the royal court of Albania under King Zog (1895-1961), who, in 1939, was forced to flee Albania to avoid capture by Mussolini's invading Fascist army. After WWII, Albania became a communist satellite, and Zog remained in exile. Zog (the name means "Bird") never relinquished the throne of Albania, and when Zog died, his son, the Crown Prince, assumed the throne as King Leka of Albania, still in exile and still a king. Many exiled Albanians consider King Leka their king--and Burke's lists him as royal. Other examples of exiled royal courts could include those of King Michael of Romania (b. 1921), Humbert II (1904-1983), the King of Italy who was exiled by a 1946 national referendum that established Italy as a republic, and King Constantine of the Hellenes.

However, while royal prerogatives cannot be taken away, they can be relinquished. The relinquishing of royalty is called "abdication." When a monarch "abdicates," he or she gives up all royal rights and prerogatives in favor of the person next in line to the throne. After abdication, the ex-king (the only correct use of the term) cannot reclaim royal rights and cannot grant titles of nobility or confer knighthood. An important point established by international agreement is that abdication is not--and never has been--a "destruction" of the throne or a "dissolution" of the monarchy, but a passing on of the prerogatives of the throne to the person next in line of succession. Sometimes the ex-king receives titles of nobility from the new monarch, and sometimes the ex-king simply becomes a commoner and lives quietly in obscurity, as, for example, Alexander I, Tsar of Russia from 1801-1825, who gave up his throne and assumed the name and life of of a commoner, Feodore Kuzmich. (However, there is much mystery to this whole affair. See the Chapter on Alexander I in Stanley B.-R. Poole's book, Royal Mysteries and Pretenders.)

There are other royal courts, reigning and non-reigning, in many countries, including some residing in the United States. Some of these courts are remnants of the Western Holy Roman Empire, which certainly did not disappear in 1806 as historians often claim, and others are part of the Eastern (Byzantine) Holy Roman Empire founded by Constantine in xxx, several hundred years before the Western Holy Roman Empire. As Friedrich Heer says in his 1967 classic work, The Holy Roman Empire, "Francis II was called upon [by Napoleon] to divest himself of the imperial crown, in terms so threatening that he had no choice but to comply. He did so on 6 August 1806, and at the same time dissolved the 'Roman Empire,' an act for which he had no legal justification." When the Western Holy Roman Emperor "dissolved" the empire, the Byzantine Porphyrogenitus, as the ranking Byzantine (Eastern) potentate, considered himself as the successor, as did the Byzantine royalty and nobility, who eventually came together as the government-in-exile of the (Eastern) Holy Roman Empire.

The present Byzantine Emperor, Caesar Dominus Pius Flavius Johannes VII Daniel IV Alexander Augustus, came to the office as any emperor--he was born to it, of a distinguished royal lineage that ruled in the ancient Byzantine empire, which at one time even included parts of Italy. The Byzantine kingdoms and principalities tended to stay together, even though the royalty of the "German" Holy Roman Empire renounced rights and titles with abandon, so that only their monarchist followers were left hoping for restoration. Meanwhile, the Byzantines went right on with the idea of a non-political government "in exile," which is where they are today. Many monarchists are focused on the Western (read German) royalty, not the Eastern, and so many are intent upon the idea of a political restoration that the idea of a non-political, in-exile restoration that maintains and nurtures the ideals of royalty, nobility, and chivalry never occurs to them. And besides, the Byzantines learned long ago to just go about their business among themselves, and not stir up the hornet's nest of Germany. Certain imperial princes, especially those in exile in South America, denied any "dissolution" of the ancient empire by forming a "League of Princes of the Holy Roman Empire," just as Napoleon's imperial prince supporters had formed the Confederation of the Rhine. The Confederation vanished with Napoleon, but the League still exists today as the Byzantine Holy Roman Empire, in exile, headed by His Imperial and Apostolic Royal Majesty, The Emperor Cæsar Dominus Pius Flavius Johannes VII Daniel IV Alexander Augustus who has not relinquished his rights or powers.

A royal dynasty can be created by force of arms, by grant, and by creation. Some princely families (in America and elsewhere) have received letters patent from the Porphyrogenitors ("born to the purple"), Princes of the Blood Royal of the Byzantine Holy Roman Emperor who have, in modern times as in ancient, the authority to grant or create hereditary princes who then head ancient non-political principalities of the Holy Roman Empire. In creating a prince by grant, Porphyrogenitors assign a principality to the prince, and the prince then becomes the fons for his nobles and knights. The assignment of a non-political principality is an ancient practice, and, on occasion, the monarch further grants the principality in perpetuity and the prince is no longer a vassal prince, but is elevated to the rank of a sovereign prince, i.e., a monarch in his own right.

The non-political, or titular, principality is one which once existed, but which is currently extinct, having been in past centuries absorbed by force of arms into another country. However, if the Holy Roman Emperor never relinquished rights to the principality (and he rarely did), it is still considered by the "Holy Roman Empire-in-Exile" as within the provenance of the Blood Royal Princes, but "non-political." That is, the geographical boundary of the principality no longer exists, but the title to the principality continues as legitimate and is considered quite real not only by the League of Princes of the Holy Roman Empire-in-Exile, but also by many other European royalty and nobility.

Even some monasteries of the Holy Roman Empire were created principalities, and the abbot made a prince. The Roman Catholic Church also followed that practice, as, for example, the Abbey of San Luigi which was recognized by the Church and France as a principality on August 25, 1883 at Tunisia and Tripolitania, and the abbot, Fr. Henrice Pancomez was selected as the abbey's first Prince-Abbot. Also, the Pope, from time to time, creates a titular bishop who holds the authority of a See that has ceased to geographically exist. This practice was derived from the Holy Roman Emperor's practice of creating hereditary princes of ancient but extinct principalities.

Americans usually think of a prince merely as the son of a king or queen (deriving the idea from the world's most visible monarchy, the British), and Americans, again, have to be instructed and reminded that a prince can be a monarch in his own right--as, for example, Prince Rainier of Monaco who holds the title Serene, denoting his status as a sovereign head of a royal house, with all the rights and privileges of the sovereign, including the right to create nobles and knights for his royal houses. Unlike Rainier who reigns as well as rules, there are Americans who are themselves hereditary (and even sovereign) princes of non-reigning royal houses. A non-reigning royal house, just as a reigning one, may legitimately have a full complement of nobility and one or more Orders of Chivalry, and the head of the house, regnant or not, retains full powers to create legitimate nobles and knights as needed or desired.

Of course, Americans know about such titles as king, queen, prince, duke, marquis, earl (and its European equivalent, the count; for Americans, the most famous count is the fictional vampire Dracula, an identity which causes some problems for genuine counts.), viscount, and baron, but they think that these titles are strictly British and are issued only by the British Crown. But royalty and nobility are not only not "strictly British," they are not even primarily British--Britain's modern monarchy itself has a Continental source (Germany), and there are many other royal houses in Europe, Latin America--and even in the United States. Concerning the royal houses in the United States, Americans are usually astonished to discover that one can be a solidly patriotic American and yet still belong to a royal house or hold a legitimate hereditary title from the fons of a royal house. Perhaps Americans have the idea that the term democracy excludes the term royalty, but a hereditary and non-regnant royal house can exist very nicely within a democracy. For example, Italy is a democracy, yet an Italian can be a hereditary count. Likewise, America as a democracy can--and does--easily host hereditary American counts (and barons and marquis, and dukes) of princely royal houses headed by hereditary and legitimately titled princes who happen to hold American citizenship.

The idea that titles come from royal houses, not governments, is a very difficult thing for Americans to grasp--so difficult, in fact, that modern monarchs seldom attempt to explain the fact to Americans, whose heads are filled with fairy tale kingdoms and visions of cinematic "royalty." All those King Arthur movies have taken a toll on the real thing. Furthermore, Americans have complicated their ideas of royalty by readily granting royal status to cinema actors. The term "movie queen" is well known. Clark Gable was called "the king," and John Wayne was called "the duke." In music, Elvis Presley was "the king." The American press, otherwise so efficient in glorifying movie actors, has a particularly difficult time grasping the idea of noble titles as emanating from a royal house, not a government, so much so that royal houses in America simply avoid the press whenever possible. For example, the press can't seem to understand the fact that a prince is not necessarily the son of a king, but can also be a sovereign monarch in his own right with rulership over a geographic or hereditary principality.

The identity of royalty and government is so firmly fixed in the American mind that it takes a considerable amount of education and reeducation to help Americans to see that a royal house is not political or governmental, but familial--a family. Hence, Americans (because they have no experience in these matters) have to be instructed and regularly reminded that monarchies--including the royal house of England--come from Europe and Eastern Europe and exist there (or elsewhere in exile) to this very day. There are only some dozen or so "governing" European monarchs remaining today--which is odd, considering that until the early 1900s, the most common form of government in the world was the monarchy, a system that had survived from Old Testament days. But monarchies have fallen on hard times, and even surviving monarchies are, at most, constitutional. Americans are usually surprised to learn that such countries as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have monarchies.

Americans sometimes have some difficulty understanding the non-reigning, non-political, non-governmental royal house. In the case of noble and royal titles, Americans are not at all stupid, just unfamiliar with certain usages and customs, and an unruffled explanation of one's legitimate use of a noble title can suffice for the American who wants to know--otherwise, the title can simply be used without explanation. A common question from an American to a nobly titled American is, "Well, what do you do with a title? What does it mean?" The answer is, "Well, what does a book do with its title? It is used for self-identification and is clearly stamped on its binding so that it can be identified." The questioner could also be asked, "Well, what do you do with your title of 'Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr.'?" Usually, the questioner gets the idea. Titles are, in fact, personal property and are always used at the discretion of the holder (not the user, as some seem to think).


So, Americans are fascinated with titles, and for some Americans mere fascination is insufficient--they want a title. Once one understands that a legitimate title has a legitimate fons honorum, the problem for the title-seeking American becomes one of finding a legitimate fons--and then actually acquiring the title. Because of the influence of the Constitution, there are no laws at the federal, state, or local levels that control the acquisition and use of titles. Of course, one could merely assume a title, such as was done in the 19th century which abounded in "doctors" who never went to school and "professors" who never taught, but the possibility of being exposed as a fraud always made self-conferment a danger. Further, there were always laws against committing fraud, but these laws dealt with actual damages incurred, not to the use of a self-conferred title. There were (and are) no laws preventing the use of the titles "Dr." or "professor"--until the fake "Dr." takes out an appendix or the fake "professor" tries to conduct a class at university.

Americans are familiar with and are fairly comfortable with the titles of doctor, professor, and reverend, the American equivalents to life peerage titles. The "life peerage" is the British practice of granting a title of nobility that is vital, i.e., not inheritable, but ceases to exist upon the death of the holder. A famous life peer was Lord Laurence Olivier (or: Laurence, Lord Olivier), who held the title of baron. Upon his death, Olivier's title became extinct. The advantage to the British Crown of awarding life peerages is obvious--the great can be honored with a noble title without the need to distribute royal lands or wealth and without disturbing the peace of mind of the ancient hereditary nobility who may not welcome a parvenu. The life peerage is virtually unknown among the other European monarchies, whose titles, when granted, are invariably hereditary and whose patents of nobility usually ennoble the entire family. England considers the European practice extravagant, but Europe considers the British practice parsimonious.

The titles doctor, professor, and reverend are not inherited or granted from a sovereign, but, in true American fashion, they are personally earned through the application of the American work ethic (there is a certain amount of intelligence involved, of course, but it is also true that the Ph.D. can result as much from diligence as intelligence.). Americans like the idea of "working for" a title, so three organizations have evolved in America to fill the need for a "work ethic nobility"--higher education, fraternal orders, and religion.


From higher education come two coveted prenominals, the titles "Dr." and "Professor," both of which are, in some areas of this country, treated with as great a respect as any European title of nobility. (This is especially true in certain areas of the American deep South where, sometimes, a "Dr." or a "Prof." may not even have to produce a driver's license to pass a check.) The holder of a doctor's degree (whether the Ph.D., the Ed.D., the D.Psy., or the M.D., or any other variation) is granted the non-transferable, vital (non-inheritable) title "doctor," which makes the doctor's title an American equivalent to a life peerage. There are, however, two versions of the doctorate, the "earned" doctorate and the "honorary" doctorate, awarded honoris causa. The earned doctor's degree is a result of approximately ten years' of personal (well, not totally personal, since a scholar's spouse commonly participates in getting that degree, often by holding down two or more jobs and by providing free reading and editing services, not to mention acting as a sounding board for academic theory. The ten years are a total of four for the undergraduate, two for the Master's Degree, and four--sometimes five--for the doctorate). effort on the part of the scholar. The earned doctorate is the foundation of the true title of American nobility, the honorary doctorate.

As the titles granted by a reigning monarch, so the honorary doctor's degree (usually awarded during a university's commencement exercises) is an award for an individual's outstanding service to mankind in general and the university in particular--which, in one sense, means that the president of a university cloaks himself in the power of the state and takes on the role of the sovereign prince. (University professors generally agree that the real vestiges of the feudal system are not found in Europe, but in the halls of academe where the Chairman is Baron to the Dean, and the Dean is vassal prince to the sovereign president.) The honorary degree most often awarded is the "Doctor of Humane Letters." Does the holder of an honorary degree have the right to the title of "doctor"? Yes, absolutely, although writers of books of etiquette seem to think that the holder of the honorary doctorate should not use the title, which is utter nonsense and sheer snobbery on the part of "etiquetticians." Indeed, certain etiquetticians, apparently impressed by the physician's annual income, claim that only the M.D. should use the title "Dr." in public--which is not only further nonsense and snobbery, but also ignorance, since the title "doctor" means "teacher"--and medical doctors are not teachers. Furthermore, since the Ph.D. (and, in general, the other doctors) holds three degrees (B.A./S., M.A./S., Ph.D.) to the MD's two (B.S. and M.D.), there is no question that the Ph.D. has a firmer academic grip on the title of "doctor" than does the M.D.

While the title of "Dr." is derived from the degree, the title of "Professor" is derived from a profession, that of college/university scholar/teacher. It is believed in some university communities that the title of "professor" is a superior title to "doctor," and at many fine universities a professor is insulted if addressed as merely "doctor." (This is not usually the case in the American South, where the titles are often used interchangeably without giving offense.) Those outside the university setting usually don't know that there are three ranks of professor, those of assistant (usually granted upon being hired), associate (often granted after five to seven years if tenure is given), and full (granted at least after an additional five to seven years, although often longer), and that one is promoted to a higher rank not only after a passage of a lengthy period of time, but also only after measurable and outstanding contribution in the areas of scholarship (publication of articles and books), teaching, and university and public service. Unlike the nobleman who only has to please his monarch, the professor who wishes to be promoted must be approved first by his/her department, then the Chair of the Department, then the Dean of the College, then the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, then the President, and--finally--the Board of Trustees. The prestige and power attached to the ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor are actually limited to the university community itself, since, in general, the public doesn't use the title "professor," probably because the patent medicine hucksters of 19th century America appropriated the title and brought it into disrepute.


America's attempt to provide a fons of nobility for its people can be most clearly seen in its highly-developed fraternal order system, the primary example of which is Freemasonry. (The comments which follow also apply to such fraternal groups as the Oddfellows, the Knights of Columbus, the Woodmen of the World, and others.) Of course, Freemasonry is a British system, and many of the current royalty and nobility of England hold high offices in British Freemasonry--including Prince Philip who takes his Masonic duties very seriously. (It is more accurate to say that Freemasonry is Irish, since the first Grand Lodge in in the world was organized in London in 1717 by Irish residents who belonged to independent Irish lodges back in their home country. Prior to 1717, all Masonic Lodges were independent.) Indeed, the royalty and nobility of other European countries also have active roles in their respective Masonic Grand Lodges--the Grand Master of the Swedish Grand Lodge is King Charles XVI Gustav.

After 1717, Freemasonry consisted of three degrees (initiations), those of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason, and no more. It was in 18th century France that the "high degrees" beyond the first three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason developed, which development included the creation of whole systems of degrees that granted elaborate titles. Perhaps Frenchmen, having discarded all royal and noble titles in their Revolution, began to long for their heritage and fulfilled their longing by creating simulated noble titles for the Masonic "high degree" systems such as the "Emperors of the East and West," the "Rite of Strict Observance," and many others. The supreme achievement in degree-granting titles was the Masonic French Rite of Memphis-Misraim, which conferred some 186 degrees, along with 186 titles! Officials of this Rite granted forms of address which even the most power-mad monarchs would envy. "Sovereign Prince Commander of the Stars" is only one example among the Rite's many degree titles. The Rite of Memphis-Misraim is now considered "clandestine" (illegal and unrecognized) by all regular Masonic authority.

When the "high-degree systems" entered America, the titles came with them, and Americans took to them with relish. The Rite of Memphis-Misraim flourished in the American west, but then faded away, buried under its own weight and under the scandal of the selling of degrees. But when the Emperors of the East and West came to America, it underwent a transformation from a 25-degree system to a 33-degree system, renamed itself The Scottish Rite, gained respectability, and became the best-known of the two regular and legitimate Masonic "high degree" bodies (the other being the York Rite). Titles of royalty (but not nobility) abound in The Scottish Rite: "Prince of the Sun," "Rose+Croix Prince of Heredom," "Prince of the Royal Secret," and "Sovereign Grand Inspector General." Of course, Masons who belong to The Scottish Rite understand their Order to be a fraternal organization and do not presume to hold authentic titles of royalty. The York Rite confers neither royal nor noble titles, but does confer a title of knighthood, the Knight of the Temple. So too, members of the Masonic Order of the Temple understand their organization to be a fraternal Order, not an authentic Order of Chivalry, and these Masons do not claim to hold authentic knighthood.

The American comes to a Masonic title either by taking an initiation (for example, to be a Prince of Heredom, one takes the 18th Degree of the Scottish Rite), or by being elected to the dignity of a Masonic office. High Masonic dignitaries are usually shown the greatest of deference and respect by their Masonic members, and, like the monarchs of old, they are often feted at great banquets held in their honor. Actually, should modern monarchs insist on the same level of treatment that some Masonic dignitaries receive, they would be in danger of their thrones! No criticism of the system is intended, since Freemasonry is a fine and worthwhile philosophic and philanthropic institution whose officers serve without pay, often at great expense to themselves. But there is no doubt that Freemasonry is, for Americans, a dream fulfilled--a constitutional monarchy in which even a common laborer can rise to the position of, if not sovereign prince, then at least archduke.


The Church--whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant--also confers titles. In fact, in historical times, the Roman Catholic Church attempted to arrogate to itself the power to grant all titles, including that of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy See of Rome, as a city-state, today reserves to itself the right to grant the Papal titles of prince, marchese, and count which it occasionally bestows upon worthy Roman Catholics. The Holy See of Rome also grants to its clergy the title of Monsignor, which then supersedes the title "Father." Of course, both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches grant titles such as Archbishop and Patriarch, and so on. Generally, Protestant Churches grant the title of "reverend" to their clergy, although certain Protestant groups prefer "pastor" or "brother." The full range of ecclesiastical titles is covered well in L.G. Pine's The Story of Titles. However, Pine makes some rather snide comments about the Church's use of titles, saying that titles are incompatible with Christianity. In fact, Pine hadn't the faintest idea what he was talking about. The New Testament writers went to great length to show that Jesus was a Prince of the (non-regnant) Royal House of David, and royal titles abound in both the Old and New Testaments. Pine certainly knew about secular titles, but apparently he knew little about Biblical royalty, and even less about the royal titles of Jesus, who was not only considered "King of the Jews" by no less than Pontius Pilate, but "King of Kings" by Christians.


In the case of Orders of Chivalry, Americans have a truly difficult time. Most Americans are exposed to knights through old MGM movies or through news reports about the knighting of distinguished British actors such as Sir Richard Burton or Dame Edith Evans, or, more recently, Sir Anthony Hopkins. Generally, Americans have no trouble whatever in addressing these knights correctly--"Sir First Name." When European knights enter the scene, Americans again have some difficulty substituting "Chevalier" for the title "Sir." (Happily, the title for both the British and European knighted woman is "Dame," so confusion is less likely.) Of course, Americans can learn the proper address of a European knight when he or she has an accent and is obviously not an American, but when Americans are knighted in genuine Orders of Chivalry that follow the European custom (as most do), there are two problems.

The first problem is that Americans are so used to fraternal orders using the title of "knight" that the "Order of Chivalry" and the titles granted by it have little meaning and require explanation. It takes patience and a clarity of mind to explain that there is a difference between an authentic knight of an Order of Chivalry and members of the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Labor, Knights of Pythias, and--heaven forebear!--Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The second problem is that Americans are not accustomed to the idea that Americans can be knighted...and they can as, for example, when the Queen of England grants "honorary" knighthoods to distinguished Americans. Of course, the term "honorary" doesn't mean "but not really," but only is a gentle subterfuge used to prevent protests from those who might object to the (perfectly proper and legal) receipt of knighthood by prominent Americans who have thereby received grants of minor nobility and a minor noble title. The Queen of England rarely grants knighthoods to Americans. It is more common for other European Orders of Chivalry to be active in America, where are found various religious Orders of Chivalry as well as Dynastic (royal house) Orders. In the United States, authentic Orders of Chivalry headed by royalty or nobility include the Knights of Christ, the Order of the Noble Companions of the Swan, the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, The Religious and Military Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the Royal Order of the Three Crowns, the Order of the Crown of Lauriers, and others. The idea of an American holding an authentic knighthood is so far removed from the experience of most Americans that they find it difficult to grasp the meaning--or think that the legitimate American knight is kidding about the accolade, or, worse, is somehow deluded.


Americans are fond of the idea of equality, believing that "all men are created equal" and believing that eschewing titles and being on a first-name basis constitutes not only equality, but also friendliness. Undoubtedly, all men are created equal, but not all achieve equally, and using a first name without permission is not friendly, but rude, even in America. Of course, it is not possible in this small space to cover all possibilities; therefore, the reader should take note that the following usages are not prescriptive, but, in general, follow the European model.

The Knightly Gentleman of a European (non-British) Order of Chivalry in formal speech and in writing may be addressed as "The Right Honorable Chevalier John Smith," or "The Right Honorable Chevalier Smith," depending upon the usages of the Order to which the Knight belongs. Some Orders use the "Right Honorable" and some do not, but, in general, the phrase may be used without error. Informally he is titled Chevalier (sheh-vul-YAY; sometimes, shuh-VALL-yay) Christian name, thus: "Chevalier John." Even more informally, the Knight also may be simply addressed as "Chevalier." The untitled first name of a Chevalier is never used alone. In British usage, the title "Sir" is a prenominal to the first name only, so that there is a "Sir John," but not a "Sir Smith."

The Knightly Gentlewoman of a European (non-British) Order of Chivalry in formal speech and in writing may be addressed as "The Right Honorable Dame Mary Smith," or "The Right Honorable Dame Smith," depending upon the usages of the Order to which she belongs. Informally, she is titled Dame Christian name, thus: "Dame Mary," or very informally as "Dame." The title "Lady" is a courtesy that denotes the non-chivalric wife of a Chevalier and is not used to address a woman of knightly rank. The untitled first name of a Dame is never used. Note also that , in British usage, the title "Lady" is the equivalent of "Lord" and is used to address a female Peer.

Ecclesiastical rank and title take precedence over secular rank and titles. Clergy, therefore, often use only ecclesiastical prenominals ("Rev." or "Father" or "Bishop"), omit chivalric prenominals ("Sir" or "Chevalier"), and list postnominals only in writing. In some religious Orders of Chivalry, chivalric prenominals are formally combined with the ecclesiastical ones thus: "The Right Honorable Chevalier the Rev. first name and surname" or "The Right Honorable Dame the Rev. first name and surname. If a Priest, the formal title in some usages is "The Right Honorable Chevalier Rev. Fr." followed by the full name. If a Bishop, the formal title is "The Right Honorable Chevalier the Rt. Rev." and his full name, thus: "Rt. Rev. the Right Honorable Chevalier John Smith." When in doubt, it is always correct to address clergy with ecclesiastical prenominals, according to the usage of the denomination. The untitled first name of clergy is never used.

The non-chivalric wife of a Knight is often addressed as "Lady" as a courtesy. In speech and in writing, that is, informally and as a courtesy, she may be addressed "Lady" plus her Christian name, thus: "Lady Jane." The non-chivalric husband of a Dame is titled "Mr." unless he holds a title in his own right.

Titles of nobility of royal houses are those of baron, viscount , count, marquis, and duke. (Note: Some royal houses do not confer the title of viscount.) For the first three (or four) titles, it is proper to use the pre-nominal qualifier "His/Your Excellency" plus the titular designation which may be a surname alone or a surname with a place designation. Sir Anthony Wagner, Garter King of Arms, makes it quite clear in his book, A Herald's World, that a surname without a place designation is perfectly correct for a title of nobility, and that he often counseled new British peers how to keep their surnames intact as noble titles. If a place designation is used, Garter sees it merely as "an address." See Garter's book, pages 20-21 and 126-129. It is proper, in European (but not British) custom, to refer to "Baron Last Name," as in "Baron Smith." As the highest-ranking nobility, the duke's pre-nominal is "His/Your Grace." Note that the British usage for all peerage titles is "Lord" plus the titular (or last) name, as in "Lord Snowden," the titular name of Anthony Armstrong Jones, or "Lord Olivier," the titular name of Baron Laurence Olivier (Laurence, Lord Olivier). When signing documents, nobles use only the last name, and one may hear nobles speaking to each other using the last name only (a usage which close American male friends have adopted).

In formal occasions, where one holds multiple titles, the practice of "diminishing title" applies, where the highest to lowest titles come before the name. Titles are generally ranked in descending order, thus: quality title (His/Her Excellency or His/Her Grace), ecclesiastical title, noble title, academic title. For example, if John Smith were a Priest, a Knight, a Doctor of Philosophy, and a Baron, he would very formally be introduced, following the rule of diminishing title, as His Excellency the Rev. Baron Dr. Smith of Connor. (That is, in very formal presentational speech, as, for example, if Baron Smith were being presented at a formal evening dinner or at court. The complete title would also be used in formal writing, as, for example, an official invitation or an official letter or document. The full title might also appear on the envelope of a formal document such as an invitation.) Formal titles can prove unwieldy, so, for informal situations, single titles suffice. Thus, Smith could also be correctly addressed as His/Your Excellency or Baron Smith. However, since ecclesiastical rank may take precedence over secular titles, it also would be correct to address Baron Smith as Father Smith (but not "Father John"). Those who wished could address him in common conversation simply and correctly as Dr. Smith. Note that titles of nobility preclude and supersede the use of "Chevalier" or "Dame" when the noble is also a knight, so Baron Smith would not be addressed as Chevalier Smith.

Monarchs are usually addressed as "Your Majesty" if a king or queen, then, in conversation, the title "Sir" or "Ma'am" (while some authorities say the word rhymes with "harm," other more modern authorities say it rhymes with "jam") is used. The "Crown Prince" is usually the son of the king or queen and is the one designated to inherit the throne. The Crown Prince is the one usually thought of by Americans when the title of "prince" is heard. The correct form of address for the Crown Prince is established by the Monarch. In fact, the Monarch establishes all correct forms for his or her dynasty.

The Sovereign Prince is addressed as "Your Highness Prince X" or using the prenominal as established by the Royal Dynasty to which the Prince belongs. In conversation with the Sovereign Prince, "Your Highness" is used once, followed by the use of "Sir," although it is not incorrect to occasionally repeat the title of "Your Highness" during the course of the conversation. Unlike the Crown Prince or the Papal Prince, the Sovereign Prince exercises all sovereign rights within his dynasty.


American etiquette books are of little help in establishing the correct use of noble and royal titles, and, in some cases, are not only incorrect, but exhibit insufferable arrogance by pretending to limit and control legitimately owned titles, claiming a "correctness" that simply doesn't exist. For one wishing to find a useful guide for royal and noble etiquette, there are only a few reliable sources, mostly British, mostly difficult to obtain. One is Titles and Forms of Address: A Guide to the Correct Use, a standard work by "Armiger" now in its 14th edition (London: A.C. Black, 1971). Robert William Chapman's Names, Designations and Appellations (Oxford: Clarendon Press) is good, but outdated, its last edition being in 1936. Dorothy M. Newman's Forms of Address: Honours, Orders, Decorations, Medals, Religious Orders in Canada, Breat Britain, and the U.S.A. (St. Louis: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1980) is very inclusive. If available, a useful general guide is Debrett's Correct Form: An Inclusive Guide to Everything from Drafting Wedding Invitations to Addressing an Archbishop. Also, L.G. Pine's classic work The Story of Titles (republished by Barnes & Noble as Titles: How the King Became His Majesty) is very interesting and useful. These books are to be used as guides; the best procedure in any circumstance is to determine and follow the practice of the holder of the title.

There are also books about the honors system itself, including Michael De-la-Noy's The Honours System (New York: Allison and Busby, 1985); John Walker's The Queen has been Pleased: the British Honours System at Work (London: Secker and Warburg, 1986); James McMillan's The Honours Game (London: Frewin, 1969); and Cyril Francis James Hankinson's My Forty Years with Debrett (London: R. Hale, 1963).


Some titles are hereditary, and some titles are vital, but in every instance, a title is property, and, as with any other piece of property, the owner is perfectly free to use it, without apology, whenever he or she wishes, keeping in mind both propriety and requirements. The titled believe that the correct use of forms of address ennobles both the user and holder. In the mock modesty and ersatz intimacy of American culture, where unsanctioned first-name usage is casually assumed by the ignorant or the willfully rude, proper use of legitimate titles is an educating and stabilizing link with tradition in an otherwise uncertain and rebellious culture which so desperately needs to learn self-respect, as well as the respect of othe


Knighthood: A Brief History

Chivalry (derived through the French cheval from the Latin caballus) as an institution is to be considered from three points of view: the military, the social, and the religious. We shall also here consider the history of chivalry as a whole.


In the military sense, chivalry was the heavy cavalry of the Middle Ages which constituted the chief and most effective warlike force. The knight or chevalier was the professional soldier of the time; in medieval Latin, the ordinary word miles (soldier) was equivalent to "knight." This pre-eminence of cavalry was correlative with the decline of infantry on the battlefield. Four peculiarities distinguished the professional warrior:


  • his weapons;


  • his horse;


  • his attendants, and


  • his flag.


The medieval army was poorly equipped for long-distance fighting, and bows and crossbows were still employed, although the Church endeavored to prohibit their use, at least between Christian armies, as contrary to humanity. At all events, they were regarded as unfair in combat by the medieval knight. His only offensive weapons were the lance for the encounter and the sword for the close fight, weapons common to both light-armed and heavy cavalry. The characteristic distinction of the latter, which really constituted chivalry, lay in their defensive weapons, which varied with different periods. These weapons were always costly to get and heavy to bear, such as the brunia or hauberk of the Carlovingian Era, the coat of mail, which prevailed during the Crusades, and lastly the plate armor introduced in the fourteenth century.


No knight was thought to be properly equipped without at least three horses:


  • the battle horse, or dexterarius, which was led by hand, and used only for the onset (hence the saying, "to mount one's high horse"),


  • a second horse, palfrey or courser, for the route, and


  • the pack-horse for the luggage.



The knight required several attendants:


  • one to conduct the horses,


  • another to bear the heaviest weapons, particularly the shield or escutcheon (scutum, hence scutarius, French escuyer, esquire);


  • still another to aid his master to mount his battle horse or to raise him if dismounted;


  • a fourth to guard prisoners, chiefly those of quality, for whom a high ransom was expected.


These attendants, who were of low condition, were not to be confounded with the armed retainers, who formed the escort of a knight. From the thirteenth century the squires also went armed and mounted and, passing from one grade to the other, were raised finally to knighthood.


Banners were also a distinctive mark of chivalry. They were attached to, and carried on, the lance. There was a sharp distinction between the pennon, a flag pointed or forked at the extremity, used by a single chevalier or bachelor as a personal ensign, and the banner, square in form, used as the ensign of a band and reserved to the baron or baronet in command of a group of at least ten knights, called a constabulary. Each flag or banner was emblazoned with the arms of its owner to distinguish one from another on the battlefield. These armorial bearings afterwards became hereditary and gave birth to the complicated science of heraldry.


The career of a knight was costly, requiring personal means in keeping with the station; for a knight had to defray his own expenses in an age when the sovereign had neither treasury nor war budget at his disposal. When land was the only kind of riches, each lord paramount who wished to raise an army divided his domain into military fiefs, the tenant being held to military service at his own personal expense for a fixed number of days (forty in France and in England during the Norman period). These fees, like other feudal grants, became hereditary, and thus developed a noble class, for whom the knightly profession was the only career. Knighthood, however, was not hereditary, though only the sons of a knight were eligible to its ranks. In boyhood they were sent to the court of some noble, where they were trained in the use of horses and weapons, and were taught lessons of courtesy. From the thirteenth century, the candidates, after they had attained the rank of squire, were allowed to take part in battles; but it was only when they had come of age, commonly twenty-one years, that they were admitted to the rank of knight by means of a peculiar ceremonial called "dubbing." Every knight was qualified to confer knighthood, provided the aspirant fulfilled the requisite conditions of birth, age, and training. Where the condition of birth was lacking in the aspirant, the sovereign alone could create a knight, as a part of his royal prerogative.


In the ceremonial of conferring knighthood the Church shared, through the blessing of the sword, and by the virtue of this blessing chivalry assumed a religious character. In early Christianity, although Tertullian's teaching that Christianity and the profession of arms were incompatible was condemned as heretical, the military career was regarded with little favour. In chivalry, religion and the profession of arms were reconciled. This change in attitude on the part of the Church dates, according to some, from the Crusades, when Christian armies were for the first time devoted to a sacred purpose. Even prior to the Crusades, however, an anticipation of this attitude is found in the custom called the "Truce of God" (q.v.). It was then that the clergy seized upon the opportunity offered by these truces to exact from the rough warriors of feudal times a religious vow to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches. Chivalry, in the new sense, rested on a vow; it was this vow which dignified the soldier, elevated him in his own esteem, and raised him almost to the level of the monk in medieval society. As if in return for this vow, the Church ordained a special blessing for the knight in the ceremony called in the Pontificale Romanum, "Benedictio novi militis." At first very simple in its form, this ritual gradually developed into an elaborate ceremony. Before the blessing of the sword on the altar, many preliminaries were required of the aspirant, such as confession, a vigil of prayer, fasting, a symbolical bath, and investiture with a white robe, for the purpose of impressing on the candidate the purity of soul with which he was to enter upon such a noble career. Kneeling, in the presence of the clergy, he pronounced the solemn vow of chivalry, at the same time often renewing the baptismal vow; the one chosen as godfather then struck him lightly on the neck with a sword (the dubbing) in the name of God and St. George, the patron of chivalry.


There are four distinct periods in the history of chivalry. The period of foundation, i.e. the time when the Truce of God was in force, witnessed the long contest of the Church against the violence of the age, before she succeeded in curbing the savage spirit of the feudal warriors, who prior to this recognized no law but that of brute force.

First Period: The Crusades

The Crusades introduced the golden age of chivalry, and the crusader was the pattern of the perfect knight. The rescue of the holy places of Palestine from Moslem domination and the defense of pilgrims became the new object of his vow. In return, the Church took him under her protection in a special way, and conferred upon him exceptional temporal and spiritual privileges, such as the remission of all penances, dispensation from the jurisdiction of the secular courts, and as a means of defraying the expenses of the journey to the Holy Land, knights were granted the tenth of all the church revenues. The vow of the crusader was limited to a specified period. For the distant expeditions into Asia, the average time was two or three years.

Second Period: The Military Orders

After the conquest of Jerusalem, the necessity of a standing army became peremptory, in order to prevent the loss of the Holy City to surrounding hostile nations. Out of this necessity arose the military orders [note: the reference here is to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Knights Templar, and, later, the Teutonic Knights} which adopted as a fourth monastic vow that of perpetual warfare against the infidels. In these orders, wherein was realized the perfect fusion of the religious and the military spirit, chivalry reached its apogee. This heroic spirit had also its notable representatives among the secular crusaders, as Godfrey of Bouillon, Tancred of Normandy, Richard Couer de Lion, and above all Louis IX of France, in whom knighthood was crowned by sanctity. Like the monastic, the knightly vow bound with common ties warriors of every nation and condition, and enrolled them in a vast brotherhood of manners, ideals, and aims. The secular brotherhood had, like the regular its rule imposing on its members fidelity to their; lords and to their word, fair play on the battlefield, and the observance of the maxims of honour and courtesy. Medieval chivalry, moreover, opened a new chapter in the history of literature. It prepared the way and gave ready currency to an epic and romantic movement in literature reflecting the ideal of knighthood and celebrating its accomplishment and achievements. Provence and Normandy were the chief centres of this kind of literature, which was spread throughout all Europe by the trouv*res and troubadours.

Third Period: Secular Chivalry

After the Crusades chivalry gradually lost its religious aspect. In this, its third period, honour remains the peculiar worship of knighthood. This spirit is manifested in the many knightly exploits which fill the annals of the long contest between England and France during the Hundred Years War. The chronicles of Froissart give a vivid picture of this age, where bloody battles alternate with tournaments and gorgeous pageants. Each contending nation has its heroes. If England could boast of the victories of the Black Prince, Chandos, and Talbot, France could pride herself on the exploits of Du Guesclin, Boucicaut, and Dunois. But with all the brilliance and glamour of their achievements, the main result was a useless shedding of blood, waste of money, and misery for the lower classes. The amorous character of the new literature had contributed not a little to deflect chivalry from its original ideal. Under the influence of the romances love now became the mainspring of chivalry. As a consequence there arose a new type of chevalier, vowed to the service of some noble lady, who could even be another man's wife. This idol of his heart was to be worshipped at a distance. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the obligations imposed upon the knightly lover, these extravagant fancies often led to lamentable results.

Fourth Period: Court Chivalry

In its last stages, chivalry became a mere court service. The Order of the Garter, founded in 1348 by Edward III of England, the Order of the Golden Fleece (Toison d'or) of Philip of Burgundy, dating from 1430, formed a brotherhood, not of crusaders, but of courtiers, with no other aim than to contribute to the splendor of the sovereign. Their most serious business was the sport of jousts and tournaments. They made their vows not in chapels, but in banquet halls, not on the cross, but on some emblematic bird. The "vow of the Swan" of 1306, was instituted during the feast of the dubbing of the son of Edward I. It was before God and the swan that the old king swore with his knights to avenge on Scotland the murder of his lieutenant. More celebrated is the "vow of the Pheasant," made in 1454 at the court of Philip of Burgundy. The motive was weighty indeed, being nothing else than the rescue of Constantinople, which had fallen the past year into the hands of the Turks. But the solemnity of the motive did not lessen the frivolity of the occasion. A solemn vow was taken before God and the pheasant at a gorgeous banquet, the profligate cost of which might better have been devoted to the expedition itself. No less than one hundred and fifty knights, the flower of the nobility, repeated the vow, but the enterprise came to nought. Chivalry had degenerated to a futile pastime and an empty promise.

Literature, which had in the past so greatly contributed to the exaltation of chivalry, now reacted against its extravagances. In the early part of the fourteenth century this turning point becomes evident in the poetry of Chaucer. Although he himself had made many translations from the French romances, he mildly derides their manner in his "Sir Thopas." The final blow was reserved for the immortal work of Cervantes, Don Quixote, which aroused the laughter of all Europe. Infantry, on its revival as an effective force on the battlefield during the fourteenth century began to dispute the supremacy which heavy cavalry had so long enjoyed. Chivalry which rested entirely upon the superiority of the horseman in warfare, rapidly declined. At Cr*cy (1346) and Agincourt (1415) the French knighthood was decimated by the arrows of the English archers of Edward III and Henry V. The Austrian nobility at Sempach (1386) and the Burgundian chivalry at Morat (1476) were unable to sustain the overpowering onslaught of the Swiss peasantry. With the advent of gunpowder and the general use of firearms in battle, chivalry rapidly disintegrated and finally disappeared altogether.



"Who is a Knight?"

What is a real knight? For some time there has raged within the confraternity ‘community’ a debate concerning who is and is not a ‘real’ knight. Without question, those British Knights of the Garter and their brethren have inherited the title in an indisputable tradition extending unbroken back to Edward III in the 14th century. The Knights of Saint John also have an intact lineage, running all the way back to the 12th century. The various modern fraternal organizations based on the Templar romance have a more debatable connection. Then there are the Knights of Columbus and similar groups. Within the Society for Creative Anachronism and similar organizations lies yet another tradition now more than thirty years old. Lastly, many smaller groups use the concept of knighthood to inspire their members in some way and to build better people.

For me, all of these groups contain ‘real’ knights. In every instance the adoubement of knighthood now has little to do with the feudal structure and everything to do with a recognition of a particular kind of individual who has built their renown in the context of doing ‘right.’

When the Queen of England confers a knighthood, it is in recognition of deeds done in service of Crown and Commonwealth.  A Knight of Saint John, a Templar, and a Knight of Columbus are members of close fraternal organizations whose aims are to achieve good works in the world and to provide an internally consistent system of values based on core religious beliefs common to most of the worlds population. A knighthood conferred here also recognizes achievement--renown. Within the Society for Creative Anachronism knighthood is conferred based both on physical prowess in the system of martial arts practiced by the SCA and for renown based on a loosely understood effort to follow ‘chivalry.’

The common thread for all the groups above is their concern for the knights duty to pursue the ‘good’ in various ways through personal sacrifice, sincerity, and excellence displayed in profession and avocation alike.

To be a knight in much of the medieval period had little to do with adoubement or service to any ideal, it had to do with the possession of such equipment and skills as were requisite to the title. Skill with sword, lance and horse was the basis more than was a focus towards the ideal. From the earliest days of what might be called the chivalric tradition, any knight could make a knight, but there was honor to be gained in being knighted by a King of particular renown or by a powerful nobleman whose reputation as a knight sans reproche brought him fame. But there was no centralized registry of knights; any country knight could and did confer knighthood on soldiers they thought worthy. Nor was the ceremony an absolute requirement. If an armed man travelled far, and appeared a knight then de facto he was a knight.

The idea that a knighthood need be obtained through particular channels is a Renaissance one. English knights began to obtain their stations directly from the Crown, but by this time the station had changed from a tier in feudal society to an honorific title. Even so, the honorific use was to reward service to the Crown or state; a recognition, if you will, of renown in service.

As a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, some would say that I have little claim to the title of knight. Some view the encounter as primarily a social enterprise, a kind of theme party, while others focus on the development of the martial art. Others take it far more seriously, some to the point of fanaticism. Part of the problem with the Society, a simultaneous strength and paralyzing weakness, is in this diversity. There are knights of all varieties within the SCA. There are those who are attend to party, for whom the belt means privilege and an increased chance at the ladies. There are those for whom the fighting itself is the essence, they would just as soon drop the rest. There are those who live their entire lives trying to fulfill some kind of image or in seeking power within the organization. And there are those who believe that knighthood is largely a private path. All of these are true about the SCA. And yet, it does produce some real knights.

In the SCA only the King can confer a knighthood. But the king must himself must be a knight. There is a legend that one of the early SCA knights was himself a ‘real’ knight, and some have used this to validate all knights made since that date. I cannot ascertain the truth of this belief, but for me it doesn’t matter. I know of many within the SCA whose character and demeanor, both inside the Society and out, that they are knights in the pursuit of the ideal sense of the word. I know others who wear the white belt but who I cannot in good faith consider knights--I believe the same could be said for any group of men laying claim to the title in any time period.

I cannot agree with the modern knights who believe the only paths lie through their own organizations. I see the whole argument as a colossal waste of time--would not this time be better spent in the pursuit of deeds worthy of a knight rather than in trying to discourage others from pursuing the ‘right’ in their own way?

It is also true that someone cannot awake one morning and say, “I am a knight,” and become one. But why not? The reason is that the earning of a knight’s title lies, in every case, of the building of renown such that the title is earned through deeds. Through sincerity. Through dedication. It is not the title of ‘knight’ that makes a man a knight, it is his renown. Sometimes circumstances will recognize such a gentle with a formal title, and sometimes not.

Modern knights vary in quality as surely as did the medieval ones. As in the Middle Ages, some follow some kind of romantic ideal while others hold the attitude that only performance on the battlefield counts. Knights of both types all ultimately fail to achieve the perfection of their ideal, whether it be a purely martial image or a more philosophical one, but they can succeed in the betterment of themselves and of their world, and this is the function of knighthood.

The true essence of knighthood lies not so much in whether you believe you are a knight. The key is, do others believe you are a knight? If the answer to this question is yes, then I believe you can claim the title of knight. In so doing you also accept the duties towards acting with the right and striving towards the distant chivalric ideal. You thus become a brother to all those knights who have trod the road before and who will come after. Fine company indeed!

Within the SCA the knight is tested primarily through the practice of our martial art on the tournament field in what I have called the “crucible of virtue.” In England knights are tested in the political arena of Britain and the world. For the Fraternal orders the challenges are wrought in the common stuff of life and in various exercises designed to teach and to strengthen the mind. I do not know the testing and refining techniques of other groups who use the idea of knighthood to build people of quality, but I am sure they exist.

I believe that this essence of renown is a spark that burns brightly in those knights who share the common bond of seeking a distant ideal, and that this spark can be recognized instantly by others who travel the same road. Some of them are formally known as knights while others are not.  It is a comforting thing to know that it does not require an institution to continue the chivalric tradition, but is entrusted to a thing far more durable and pure--the human heart.

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The British Orders of Chivalry

The Knighthood of Governor Jonathan Belcher


By Capt. HOMANS from London, we are informed that His Majesty has been pleased to confer the Honour of Knighthood on His Excellency JONATHAN BELCHER Esq; who is appointed Governour and Commander in Chief in and over His Majesty’s Provinces of the MASSACHUSETTS-BAY and NEW-HAMPSHIRE; in NEW-ENGLAND; and that His Excellency intended speedily to proceed for his Government in one of His Majesty’s Ships of War.

— (From: The New-England Weekly Journal, No. 160, April 14, 1730.)




The origins of knighthood are obscure, but they are said to date back to ancient Rome, where there was a knightly class Ordo Equestris (an order of mounted nobles). Knighthood became an established military guild in many European countries, and it had certain characteristics: a would-be knight would undertake strict military training from boyhood, including some time as an assistant (an esquire, probably derived from the Latin scutifer; shield-bearer) to a knight with whom he rode to war. He would also have to prove himself worthy according to rules of chivalrous behaviour, such as 'faithfulness to his Saviour and his Sovereign', generosity, self-denial, bravery and skill at arms. In addition, he would be expected to have the financial ability to support the honour of knighthood, so that he could provide himself with arms, armour, horses and the required number of armed followers to render military service to his Sovereign for a minimum period each year.

In former times, no person could be born a knight (the use of the term 'knight' in England may have come from the Anglo-Saxon word cnyht or cnite, meaning 'military follower') - even monarchs and their heirs had to be made knights. Alfred knighted his grandson Athelstan; William I was knighted when he became king (although he had previously been knighted in Normandy); Edward III, Henry VII and Edward VI were all knighted, after coming to the throne, by one of their subjects.

The conferment of knighthood involved strict religious rites (encouraged by bishops who saw the necessity of protecting the Church, and of emphasising Christian ideals in order to temper the knights' ferocity), which included fasting, a vigil, bathing, confession and absolution before the ceremony took place. The first and simplest method of knighting was that used on battlefields, when the candidate knelt before the royal commander of the army and was 'stricken with the sword upon his back and shoulder' with some words such as 'Advances Chevalier au nom de Dieu'. (The action of touching the sword on the recipient's shoulder is known as dubbing.) The second method involved greater ceremony, which could include the offering by the knight of his sword on the altar.

Although the monarch's 'lieutenants in the wars' and a few others of high birth 'possessed of special royal authority' could knight others, over the years successive Sovereigns began drastically to limit the power to confer knighthood - particularly Henry VIII. Eventually, it became the custom for monarchs to confer all knighthoods personally, unless this was quite impracticable.

However, knighthoods were not necessarily sought after, as there were men who wanted to avoid an honour which compelled them (at great expense and personal inconvenience) to reinforce the Sovereign's armies. The alternative to knighthood was the payment of a fine instead of military service, and kings such as Edward II, James I and Charles I found such fines a useful source of income for the crown (this practice of fining was abolished in Charles II's reign). James I even instituted a new honour of baronetcy (a title which could be passed on to descendants) in 1611, so that he could raise money and valuable reinforcements for his army.

In extreme cases, when a knight was found guilty of treachery or treason, he could lose his honour by formal degradation - a public ceremony in which his accoutrements were taken off him. In 1468, Sir Ralph Grey was taken to Doncaster where, being guilty of treason, his 'gold spurs were hewn from his heels while his sword and all his armour were broken'. The last public degradation was in 1621 at Westminster Hall, when Sir Francis Mitchell was found guilty of 'grievous exactions' and had his spurs broken and thrown away, his belt cut and his sword broken over his head. Finally, he was pronounced to be 'no longer a Knight but Knave'.

Other more recent examples of degradation from honours are when Sir Roger Casement had his knighthood cancelled during the First World War for treason (he was subsequently executed), and in 1979 when Sir Anthony Blunt (a former Surveyor of The Queen's pictures) also had his knighthood withdrawn. Currently, a person may be stripped of his knighthood should he be convicted of a criminal offence by a Court of Justice.

Today, The Queen (and occasionally members of the Royal family on her behalf) confers knighthood in Britain. The knight-elect can be knighted at a public Investiture or privately. The ceremony is similar: after his name is announced, the knight-elect kneels on a knighting-stool in front of The Queen who then lays the sword blade on the knight's right and then left shoulder. After he has been dubbed, the new knight stands up (contrary to popular belief, the words 'Arise, Sir ---' are not used), and The Queen then invests the knight with the insignia of the Order to which he has been appointed (a star or badge, depending on the Order). By tradition, clergy receiving a knighthood are not dubbed, as the use of a sword is thought inappropriate for their calling.

Over the centuries, knighthood has evolved: it is no longer awarded solely for military merit, it cannot be bought and it carries no military obligations to the Sovereign. However, knighthood remains as a form of recognition for significant contributions to national life. Recipients today range from actors to scientists, and from school head teachers to industrialists.

Foreign citizens occasionally receive honorary knighthoods; they are not dubbed, and they do not use the style 'Sir'. Such knighthoods are conferred by The Queen, on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on those who have made an important contribution to relations between their country and Britain. Foreign citizens with knighthoods include the former US Secretary of State Caspar Weinberger, Chancellor Kohl and President Mitterrand. What are the Orders of Chivalry? How does somebody get a


Bond mailto:

Queen Elizabeth Presents New Seal

Wed Jul 18 17:33:05 2001

Wednesday July 18 11:20 AM ET

Queen Elizabeth Presents New Seal

LONDON (AP) - Queen Elizabeth II (news - web sites) presented the government with a new Great

Seal of the Realm on Wednesday - the second in her 49-year reign - continuing a tradition that has

endured for a thousand years.

The monarch gave the silver stamp to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, during a meeting of the Privy

Council at Buckingham Palace. As Britain's top legal official, the Lord Chancellor is also keeper of the


The seal dates from the 11th-century reign of Edward the Confessor, and is used to authenticate

important state documents. The new seal replaces one introduced in 1953, which had worn out.

Designed by James Butler, the new seal is six inches across and is engraved with an updated portrait of

the queen, wearing ceremonial robes and holding an orb and scepter. It bears the Latin inscription:

``Elizabeth II by the Grace of God of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and

Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.'' The reverse side features the

queen's coat of arms.

The Great Seal is used on variety of documents, including proclamations, electoral writs and letters

patent. One concession has been made to modernity, though - nowadays the impression is made in

cellulose acetate plastic, rather than wax, which is deemed too fragile.

Old seal:

Seal of Richard I by James Basire

(1730-1802). The Great Seal of the

Realm was used to authenticate state

documents. It was an essential tool

in the administration of grants and in

authenticating writs (actions at law).

The Great Seal is a two-sided wax

seal attached to the bottom of

important papers; it is changed with

each new monarch and it is still in

use today

© Royal Collection


Queen and the law/judiciary

Sovereign as 'Fount of Justice'

Queen and the law/judiciary in Scotland

Queen's role in the administration of justice

Queen's position in United Kingdom law

Queen's position in European Union law

Sovereign as 'Fount of Justice'

The rendering of justice is one of the oldest of royal functions.

From late Anglo-Saxon times, the concept of the Sovereign as

the 'Fount of Justice' grew in importance as it helped to ensure

that a single system of justice prevailed over competing local,

civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictions. Ethelbert's reign (560-616)

saw the first law code written in the vernacular; kings such as

Alfred the Great (reigned 871-99) extended the law codes by

codifying community custom, administrative regulations and

ancient law. Successive kings preserved and adapted the body of

English laws which had been accepted by the community and

which past kings had published, and case law supplemented

these law codes.

This accumulated legislative power placed responsibilities on

the king as a dispenser of justice to ensure order and punish

crime. From William the Conqueror (reigned 1066-87) onwards,

royal justice was more effectively enforced by the king's

appointment of local sheriffs, travelling justices and other

officials to administer justice in the Sovereign's name throughout

the kingdom. A chronicler of 1179 wrote of Henry II (reigned

1154-89): 'he appointed wise men from his kingdom and later

sent them through the regions of the kingdom assigned to them

to execute justice among the people ... This he did in order that

the coming of public officials of authority throughout the shires

might strike terror into the hearts of wrongdoers.'

The royal courts were therefore at the centre of the

administration of justice in both civil and criminal cases, and

Sovereigns themselves took an active part in their own courts,

with the king sometimes presiding over the proceedings. By the

fifteenth century, the central courts had settled at Westminster,

and the Courts of Justice remained housed at Westminster Hall

(built in 1097 and renovated in 1394) until 1882.

However, there were limits to royal enforcement of justice or

'the king's peace'. These limits included the geographical distance

of the more remote shires (particularly on the troubled borders

of the Welsh Marches and Scotland), the independent

jurisdiction of 'palatine counties' (where royal powers were

granted in franchise to an individual), ecclesiastical jurisdictions

and, above all, the Sovereign's reliance on local barons and gentry

to uphold the law in the regions - which was liable to break

down in times of civil war.

Moreover, as Parliament's legislative role grew and day-to-day

power came to be exercised by Ministers in Cabinet, so the

Sovereign's role in actually administering justice declined. The

Bill of Rights (1689) (in Scotland, the Claim of Right in the same

year) confirmed the fundamental constitutional principle that

the Sovereign no longer had any right to administer justice. The

Sovereign's responsibilities regarding the judiciary also waned -

under the Act of Settlement (1701), judges were to hold office

during good behaviour rather than by the Sovereign's will.

(Judges can be removed by the Sovereign on the advice of

Ministers, either following an address presented by both

Houses of Parliament or without an address in cases of official

misconduct or conviction of a serious offence). The Act

therefore established judicial independence.

Queen and the law/judiciary in Scotland

The Scottish legal system, and the Sovereign's role in it,

developed separately from the legal system in England. It was

not until 1603 that the Crowns of England and Scotland became

united when the Scottish King, James VI, ascended the English

throne. Until the Act of Union of 1707 (which established the

Parliament of Great Britain) Scotland had her own Parliament. In

the Act of Union, the continued existence of a separate legal

system in Scotland was expressly provided for.

The system of rule introduced to England by William the

Conqueror, was brought to Scotland by the Scots King, David I,

(reigned1124-53), and there too emerged the idea of the king as

the fountain of justice. In his reign, King David's court heard

important cases and appeals from the lower courts; justiciars

appeared as the King's delegates for the administration of justice

and they went on circuit to deal locally with cases not heard by

the King's Court. The office of Sheriff (appointed by and acting

on behalf of the King) was also established by David I, and

lesser cases were heard from time to time in the Sheriff's Court

in various places throughout Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament evolved some time in the 13th century.

It originally existed as a Supreme Court and was derived from

the King's Court sitting with counsel for discussion. In the

administration of criminal justice, the office of King's Advocate

emerged in the 15th century; the King's Advocate was entitled

to appear in cases to represent the King's interests in securing

law and order (at that time all but the most serious crimes were

pursued by the injured party). By an Act of the Scottish

Parliament of 1587 the Advocate was authorised to 'pursue

slaughters and other crimes although the parties be silent or

would otherwise privily agree', and the system of public

prosecution in Scotland, which exists to this day, was created,

allowing the Advocate to prosecute regardless of the private

interests of the parties. The Lord Advocate (or Her Majesty's

Advocate), as he is now known, is appointed by The Queen on

recommendation of the Prime Minister. He is responsible for

virtually all prosecutions in Scotland (which are on behalf of the


As in England, the role of The Queen in judicial matters has

become symbolic. The Claim of Right of 1689 established the

independence of the judiciary and provided for judicial office to

be held during good behaviour (as the Act of Settlement did in

England) rather than by the will of the Sovereign. Today,

Scotland's two most senior judges, the Lord President and the

Lord Justice Clerk, are appointed by The Queen on

recommendation of the Prime Minister. Other judges of the

Supreme Court, and Sheriffs, are appointed by The Queen on

recommendation of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Queen's role in the administration of justice

Today, the task of administering justice is carried out by others

acting in The Queen's name. The Queen's role in the

administration of justice is entirely symbolic; she does not

herself judge any case nor does she play any part in the judicial


By the coronation oath, and by common law and various

statutes, the Sovereign is required to cause law and justice with

mercy to be administered to all. In the United Kingdom, all

jurisdiction therefore derives from the Crown: the courts are The

Queen's courts; the judges are Her Majesty's judges and derive

their authority from the Crown; criminal prosecutions are

brought in the name of the Sovereign against those charged; the

prisons are Her Majesty's Prisons; and prisoners are detained

'during Her Majesty's pleasure'.

In the area of law, as in her other public actions, The Queen acts

solely on the advice of her Ministers. For example, although The

Queen appoints senior judges, she does so on the advice of the

Prime Minister. The prerogative of mercy (by which the

Sovereign may, for example, grant free or conditional pardons or

remit penalties) is also exercised on the advice of her Ministers.

Queen's position in United Kingdom law

Given the historical development of the Sovereign as the 'Fount

of Justice', civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against

the Sovereign as a person. Acts of Parliament do not apply to

The Queen in her personal capacity unless they are expressly

stated to do so.

However, The Queen is careful to ensure that all her activities in

her personal capacity are carried out in strict accordance with

the law. Under the Crown Proceedings Act (1947), civil

proceedings can be taken against the Crown in its public

capacity (this usually means proceedings against government

departments and agencies, as the elected Government governs in

The Queen's name).

Queen's position in European Union law

European Union law is enforced in the United Kingdom through

the United Kingdom's national courts; there is therefore no

machinery by which European law can be applied to The Queen

in her personal capacity. However, it makes no difference that

there is no such mechanism, as The Queen will in any event

scrupulously observe the requirements of EU law.

As a national of the Unit


Queen Elizabeth controls and has amended U.S. Social Security

Queen and the law/judiciary

Secrets of the Federal Reserve and the London Connection

The Federal Reserve Is A privately Owned Corporation

The Lawyers Secret Oath

Judge gets orders from England

The 545 People Responsible For All of America's Woes


The United States is Still a British Colony


Get That Gold Fringe Off My Flag

War Powers Act 1933


The Oath of Office  


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