King of Arms of the Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

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December 2013 – Duke and Duchess of Castro received by Pope Francis at the Vatican

A King of Arms is a principal herald. Originally, a herald is an officer in medieval Europe charged with carrying messages to and from the commanders of opposing armies. In the late 14th century the authority of the heralds was expanded. When the crown ceased to grant arms directly, its powers were delegated to the heralds as commissioners, with authority to issue letters patent. In modern times, a herald is a professional authority on armorial history and genealogy. Heralds in Europe generally record arms and pedigrees, grant arms, take part in high ceremonial, and settle matters of precedence.

The Kingdom of Sicily did not have actual heralds (to grant coats of arms) in recent times, but rather a Commission for Titles of Nobility based in Naples until 1861.

Seal of the King of Arms of the Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Seal of the King of Arms of the Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

This Royal Commission was established by royal decree of 23 March 1833. By law of 26 April 1848 the responsibility for the Royal Commission was attributed to the ministry of the presidency of the Royal Council. By royal prescript issued by the Minister and royal secretary of state of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of 29 July 1853 it was determined that the Royal Commission was competent to determine, so as to remove all doubt, who among the nearest relatives was eligible to aspire to the succession to a noble title. Therefore, the Royal Commission concerned itself with administration of certain nobiliary institutions and recognition of titles of nobility, with little regulation of armorial heraldry (coats of arms). See also J. Debrett,  A Collection Of State Papers: Relative To The War Against France Now Carrying On By Great-britain And The Several Other European Powers, London 1794.

Appointment

Fernando Muñoz Altea is the current King of Arms of the Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. He is a Spanish/Mexican historian, specialised in the study of the aristocratic Spanish colonial families of the Americas. Muñoz Altea is born in Madrid (Spain) on 22 November 1925.

Fernando_Muñoz_Altea_with_the_Duke_of_Castro_and_Duchess_of_Castro

Fernando Muñoz Altea (left) with the Duke and Duchess of Castro.

Muñoz Altea was introduced to the study of heraldry, genealogy and nobility by Don José de Rújula y Ochotorena, Marqués de Ciadoncha, King of Arms of Spain’s king Alfonso XIII, Dean of the Corps of Chronicler King of Arms (Cuerpo de Cronista Rey de Armas), and by Don Julio de Atienza y Navajas, Barón de Cobos de Belchite, author of the well-known work “Nobiliario Español”. Both became his mentors and friends. On 10 November 1962 Muñoz Altea was appointed King of Arms of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies by HRH Prince Ranieri, Duke of Castro, Head of the Royal House. The Kingdom of Sicily did not have actual heralds (to grant coats of arms and issue certificates of nobility) in recent times, but rather a Commission for Titles of Nobility based in Naples until 1861. This commission concerned itself with the administration of certain nobiliary institutions, recognition of titles of nobility and heraldry. The appointment of the King of Arms continues this tradition. Certifications of arms and certificates of nobility issued by Muñoz Altea’s office in the name of the Royal House are, in effect, documents of a dynastic nature.

 Fernando Muñoz Altea (r) and the Queen consort of Spain

Fernando Muñoz Altea (r) and the Queen consort of Spain

The King of Arms of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies is the supreme officer of honour and counsel to the sovereign in all matters of armorial, genealogical, and nobility. He represents the Royal family in these matters. He does not have a governmental position but has the status of Private Officer of Arms.

In addition to his office as King of Arms, Muñoz Altea is delegate of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (Italian: Sacro militare ordine costantiniano di San Giorgio) being a Roman Catholic dynastic order of knighthood founded 1520-1545 by two brothers belonging to the Angeli Comneni family. The order is currently bestowed by the former royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies as heirs of the Farnese.

Historical work

Muñoz Altea is the author of several books, among them, the biographies of the 64 Viceroys of Mexico, The House of Los Pinos History (the Presidencial Residence of Mexico), the biographies of the Signers of the Independence Act, Los Virreyes de la Nueva España.

Fernando Muñoz Altea, signing a copy of Blasones y Apellidos.

Fernando Muñoz Altea, signing a copy of Blasones y Apellidos.

Muñoz Altea is also the author of Perfiles genealógico-biográficos and Blasones y Apellidos, first and second edition. first published his work which included approximately 250 last names. The books sold out in 10 days. The goal of its republication in 2016 is to preserve the original work and subsequent extensive investigation. The remastered three boxed set includes more than 750 names, genealogy, origin, code of arms, heraldry of Spanish, English, Italian and French settlers in Spain and Latin America. Muñoz Altea has also ordered and cataloged several historic archives of many municipalities in Spain. He is recognized as an important historian and one of the main genealogist in both Spain and Latin America.

Distinctions

  • 1951 Degree in History Hermanos Maristas de Madrid
  • Appointed Chronicler King of Arms of the Royal House of Borbon Two Sicilies since 1962
  • Commander with plaque of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, delegate for Mexico
  • Grand Officer of The Order of the Star of Ethiopia
  • Heraldic Advisor to the Cuban Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  • Knight of the Mexican Legion of Honor (Condecoración de la Legión de Honor Mexicano)  in the eminent grade
  • Consultant for the Mexican Mint House, Numismatic Division, for the commemorative emission of “Coins of the Federation” (2003)
  • President “Ad Vitam” and founder of the Mexican Academy for Genealogic and Heraldic Studies

Sources

Note

I also published this article on Wikipedia.

Legal Opinion: The Fons Honorum of the House of Paternò Castello

Antonino Paternò Castello, Marquis di San Giuliano (Catania, 9 December 1852 - Rome, 16 October 1914), Italian diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Antonino Paternò Castello, Marquis di San Giuliano (Catania, 9 December 1852 – Rome, 16 October 1914), Italian diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

1. Introduction

It may be safely said that the legitimate claimants to the headship of formerly reigning families can continue the prerogative to award their dynastic Orders and, to the extent that the last constitutions of those particular monarchies so permitted, enjoy the right to create or confirm titles of nobility. From a historical point of view, such creations should be in accordance with the legal requirements established before the fall of the monarchy. This may be a problem because it may not always be possible for a head of a dynasty to comply with the precise requirements of the dynastic law. The disappearance of an historic office or position however, is a fact that does not stand in the way of exercising the ancient dynastic rights, since these rights are connected to a specific family. To the extent that it is possible and practical, such requirements should be met and the various acts properly recorded (see for example: W.H. Jones, Granting of Orders and Titles by H.M. King Kigeli V of Rwanda) in order to make the awards of Orders and titles in accordance with its historical origin and therefore acceptable.

This article examines the Sovereign right (fount of honour or in Latin: fons honorum) to grant noble titles (see appendix) and create and administrate dynastic orders of three members of the well known Sicilian House of Paternò Castello, more in particular of prince Roberto II Paternò Castello and his two sons, the princes Francesco and Thorbjorn Paternò Castello. The House of Paternò claims dynastic rights regarding the ancient kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia. In an earlier article I studied what is meant by a person having the fons honorum to grant e.g. titles. The research question of this article is: to what extend do Roberto II Paternò Castello and his two sons have the right to grand titles of nobility and the right to administer dynastic knightly orders? My approach will be to examine the relevant documents and literature and to answer the question from both a historical (legitimate) and legal point of view.

2. Family background

The House of Paternò Castello is among the most prominent historical families of Italy. Over the course of the centuries the family held more than 170 main fiefs. The Paternò family were Peers of the Realm in Sicily until 1860, when the Kingdom of Sicily was annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia to form the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Since the beginning of the 18th century members of the family possessed five hereditary seats in the Sicilian Parliament.

Palazzo Biscari, a private palace in Catania, Sicily, was built by will of the Paternò Castello family, the princes of Biscari, starting from the late 17th century, lasting for much of the following century.

Palazzo Biscari, a private palace in Catania, Sicily, was built by will of the Paternò Castello family, the princes of Biscari, starting from the late 17th century, lasting for much of the following century.

The House of Paternò traces its origins to Prince Robert of Embrun and to the Sovereign House of Barcelona and Provence. The family arrived in Sicily in 1060 as part of the entourage of King Roger, seizing the castle of Paternò and assumed its name. The family obtained numerous honors and titles of nobility (see: Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana). Amongst the principal titles of nobility held by the house of Paternò are: Princes of Biscari, Sperlinga (1627), Manganelli, Val di Savoja e Castelforte (1633); Dukes of Carcaci (1723), Furnari (1643), Giampaolo, Palazzo (1687), Paternò, Pozzomauro e San Nicola; Marquises of Capizzi (1633), Casanova, Desera (1806), Manchi, Regiovanni, Roccaromana, San Giuliano (1662), Sessa, del Toscano; Counts of Montecupo (1772); Barons of Aliminusa, Aragona, Spedolotto Alzacuda, Baglia e Dogana di Milazzo, Baldi, Belmonte, Bicocca, Bidani, Biscari, Burgio, Capizzi, Castania e Saline di Nicosia, Cuba, Cuchara, Cugno, Donnafugata, Ficarazzi, Gallitano, Gatta, Graneri, Imbaccari e Mirabella, Intorrella, Manchi di Bilici, Mandrile, Manganelli di Catania, Marianopoli, Mercato di Toscanello, Metà dei Terraggi di Licata, Mirabella, Motta Camastra, Murgo, Nicchiara, Officio di Mastro Notaro della Corte Capitaniale di Catania, Oxina, Placabaiana, Poiura, Porta di Randazzo, Pollicarini, Pozzo di Gotto, Raddusa e Destri, Ramione, Ricalcaccia, Salamone, Salsetta, San Giuliano, San Giuseppe, Sant’ Alessio, Scala, Schiso, Sciortavilla, Solazzi, Sparacogna, Spedalotto, Terza Parte della Dogana di Catania, Toscano; Lords of Baglio, Collabascia, Erbageria, Gallizzi, Mandrascate, Sciari, Sigona, del jus luendi of Camopetro (see: Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana and real-aragon.org).

3. Criticism

The fons honorum of the House of Paternò is heavily challenged by Guy Stair Sainty, stating that as a junior member of a junior branch of the family don Roberto has no right to claim any prerogative pertaining to its chief, whether or not such prerogative actually exists (Guy Stair Sainty and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, World Orders of Knighthood and Merit 2006).

In 1973 Lt Col Robert Gayre published a booklet in which he states that “certain observations should be made which, in our opinion, destroy completely these historical claims. The Papal legitimation which is brought forward to allow the desired descent was, in itself, insufficient to transfer any title to the Crown of Aragon. Furthermore, as Aragon dit not have the Salic law, the descent of  the crown could pass through a female line. Consequently, even if the legitimization had put Don Pedro Sancho into the line of succession, that succession would have gone through a female line on the extinction of the male descent – and so to the house of Paternò would have been out of succession in any case.”. (…) It is clear that no matter how distinguished is the house Paternò, it cannot claim to be the heirs of the Kingdom of the Balearic Isles or of Aragon.” (Lt Col R. Gayre of Gayre and Nigg, A Glimpse of the Chivalric and Nobiliary Underworld, Lochore Enterprises (Malta) Ltd. Valetta, Malta, pp. 27-28).

Therefore, the question arises if the Paternò claims can be taken seriously (both legitimate and legal).

4. Legitimacy of the claims

The Crown of Aragon became part of the Spanish monarchy after the Marriage of Isabella I of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469. This dynastic union laid the foundations for the kingdom of Spain. It is considered a de facto unification of both kingdoms under a common monarch. The Decretos de Nueva Planta (promulgated between 1707 and 1715) ended the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia and Mallorca and the Principality of Catalonia, and merged them with Castile to officially form the Spanish kingdom (I. Ruiz Rodríguez, Apuntes de historia del derecho y de las instituciones españolas, Dykinson, Madrid, 2005, p. 179; Albareda Salvadó, Joaquim, (2010). La Guerra de Sucesión de España (1700-1714). Barcelona: Crítica. pp. 228–229. ISBN 978-84-9892-060-4). The Decretos de Nueva Planta were a number of decrees issued between 1707 and 1716 by Philip V, king of Spain (grandson of Louis XIV, during and shortly after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession by the Treaties of Utrecht (1713-1714). An important document in this respect is the will of James I.

Recognitions of the claims

At the end of the 18th Century, Ignazio Vincenzo Paternò Castello, prince of Biscari, a man who took a deep interest in history (see: Giuseppe Guzzetta, Per la gloria di Catania: Ignazio Paternò Castello Principe di Biscari), , made a visit to the Balearic Islands. The notes he made during this visit were the basis of the investigations of Francesco, duke of Caraci, in the succeeding century. The events that followed are described by the website real-aragon.org as followed (documents retrieved from mocterranordica.org):

A family conclave, on the initiative of the Duke of Carcaci Don Francesco Paternó Castello e Sammartino, was called on the 14th of June 1853, and held in Palermo in the palace of the Marchese di Spedalotto, head of one of the more senior branches of the family. After a review of the relevant evidence and a wide-ranging discussion, it was the finding of the conclave that the royal rights, which had been the subject of the debate, should be confirmed as belonging to Don Mario, son of the Duke of Carcaci’s younger brother Don Giovanni and his wife Donna Eleonora Guttadauro of Emmanuel Riburdone, the heiress of the House of Guttadauro. This conclusion which had in fact already received the assent of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies (in whose realm they resided), subject to ratification by the conclave, was reached on the recognition that Don Mario alone had the royal blood of Aragon in his veins from two sources, through the separate descents of both his mother and his father from King James the Conqueror. A family pact was then signed, registered on 16 June 1853 and sealed in the Chamber of Seals and Royal Registers of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It was decreed that during the minority of Don Mario, his father Don Giovanni should be Regent.

Important documents in this respect are the book “L’Ordine del Collare” by the 7th duke of Carcaci, Don Francesco Maria Giuseppe (1786–1854), 1849/51; the funeral eulogy for the 7th duke of Carcaci,  by Francesco Tornabene, 1854; the letter from the Attorney General of 18 May 1851 and the circular from the governor of the province of Catania, 30 March 1853.

The sealing of the family pact was but one of a series of events following the death of the last Prince of Cassano which determined and confirmed the dynastic rights of the House of Paternó Castello Guttadauro. The final endorsement came on 2nd February 1860 when the Royal Commission for Titles of Nobility recommended to the new king Francis II that a petition by the Most Excellent Lord Don Mario Paternó Castello Guttadauro of the Dukes of Carcaci be granted. The petition was that the Prince should receive all confirmation of the Sovereign’s assent for those “chivalrous distinctions” which he wished to bestow. On 11th February 1860 the king approved the recommendation of the Royal Commission and directed the Secretary of State for Sicilian Affairs to give effect to his approval.

Important documents in this respect are the communication of the Royal Secretary of State, Palermo, 8th March 1860, the decree of H.M. Francesco II, Gaeta, 16 September 1860 and the verification of authenticity regarding the decree, from the City of Padova

The designated Regent, Don Giovanni, worked vigorously to assert the dynastic rights of the family. In doing so he was crowning the work of his elder brother the great Duke of Carcaci who had died in 1854, having spent his life establishing his family’s Royal dynastic rights and regulating the succession.

This series of events shows that a number of members of the family established recognized claims regarding the dynastic rights of ancient independent kingdoms in Italy and Spain.

Succession

The line of succession is claimed by the House of Paternò as follows: After the death of the last Prince of Cassano the heads of the different branches of the Paternò family met in family council at Palermo and recognised that the family’s royal rights were vested in Don Mario Paternò Castello Guttadauro d’Emmanuel of Don Giovanni Paternò Castello iure maritale Prince of Emmanuel (son of Don Mario Guiseppe IV Duke of Carcaci) and his wife Eleanor Guttadauro, last of the house of the Princes of Emmanuel and herself a descendant of the Kings of Aragon (real-aragon.org). The succession of the claim follows both the male and the female line:

  • 1859-1906 Mario I Paternò Castello, Prince of Emmanuel, m. Anna Spitaleri e Grimaldi of the Barons of Maglia and had issue:

1.  Giovanni (-1900) sp.
2.  Felice (-1880) sp.
3.  Enrico Prince of Emmanuel d. 1908 and was succeeded by his sister
4.  Eleanora who succeeded her brother

  • Eleanora Paternò Castello, princess of Emmanuel  m. 1906 her second cousin Roberto I Paternò Castello, Regent 1908-1934 B. of Francesco Mario I (1850-1915) 9th duke of Carcaci and had issue:
  • Francesco Mario II Paternò Castello,  prince of Emmanuel (1913-1968) succeeded when of age in 1934 m. (1) 1932 Angela Reboulet and had issue:
  • Roberto Enrico Francesco Mario Gioacchino Paternò Castello (1937-1996) married (1) Maria of the counts Fattori and has issue:

1.  Aurora (1962-), Duchess of Palma
2.  Francesco Nicola Roberto Paternò Castello (1964-), duke of Gerona m. on Jul 1990 Nob Guiseppina Campesi. Issue:

– Maria b. and d. 17 Mar 1991
– Roberto b. 15 Jul 1992 Duke of Palermo;
– Domenico b. 4 May 2001 Duke of Ayerbe

Prince Roberto m. (2) Bianca Monteforte (1948-1990), marchioness of Montpellier and had issue:

1.  Thorbjorn Paternò Castello (1976-), duke of Valencia

Don Roberto Paternò Castello abdicated in favor of his first son as well as in favor of his second son. To his first son (Francesco) he left the claims to the prerogatives the ancient kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca and Sicily. To his second son (Thorbjorn) he left the claims to the prerogatives of the ancient kingdoms of Valencia and Sardinia (see documents below).

Following these lines of succession, the legitimacy of the fount of honor of the House of Paternò in present circumstances is backed by the prestige of being a descendant in the female line of the early rulers of the ancient kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia, as well as the recognition of the fount of honor by the King of the Two Sicilies.

5. Legality of the claims

The pretensions of the House of Paternò Castello where also investigated more than once by various judicial courts in the 20th and 21st centuries. The little known 20th century cases were described as an example of the concept of fons honorum in and important Leiden PhD-thesis of Dr. Hans J. Hoegen Dijkhof. This section of the present article is also based on this thesis.

The Fount of honour and the power to grant nobility played a role in the various Paternò cases in Italy. On 1 April 1952, the ‘Pretura Unificata di Bari’, evidently a court of first instance in criminal cases, had to decide a criminal case against a certain Umberto Z., a resident of Bari, who had publicly presented himself as Count of St. Ilarico. Z. was prosecuted for violating article 496 of the Italian Penal Code, as he was denounced by an anonimous person for having committed this crime.

Important document: judgment of the Court of Bari (13 March 1952).

Retaining the Fons honorum
His decisive defense was inter alia that this title had been validly conferred upon him by the ‘Prince Emanuel Francesco Mario Paternò Castello di Caraci’. It appeared after a full investigation of all relevant documents by the Court, that this Prince belonged to one of the first families of Sicily, a family who are descendants of William I, the Conqueror, descendants of the Counts of Gascogne, the Kings of Navarre and Castil and that the Prince was a direct descendant of the Kings of Mallorca and the Baleares and was still Pretender to this throne. The Court found that on these grounds, he had retained his full rights of fons honorum, which meant according to the Court, that he had the power to nobilitate, to grant and confirm coats of arms and to award predicates, taken from places in which his ancestors in fact had exercised sovereign powers, not to mention his right to constitute, resuscitate, reform and exercise the ‘Grand Magistry’ of the chivalric Orders of the dynasty, which are passed from father to son as an insupprimable heredity of birth, which in the ascendants of the Prince had found in fact also a confirmation by Francesco II of Bourbon, King of the Two Sicilies, in 1860. Z. was acquitted.

Legitimate power to grant honours
Then it was the Prince’s own turn. He was denounced on 14 July 1958 and prosecuted, as a resident of Brunate, before and condemned on 29 May 1962 by the ‘Pretore of Monsummano Terme’, the competent judge in first instance, to 4 months and 15 days imprisonment for having allegedly conferred false titles to a number of persons (Article 81 of the Penal Code and article 8 of Law 3.3.51 N.178.) but he was acquitted of several connected alleged counts (Articles 81cpv 640, 56, 640 of the Penal Code) for lack of evidence. He appealed with the ‘Tribunale di Pistoia’ and on 5 June 1964, this court of appeals confirmed his acquittal in first instance and annulled his condemnation in first instance. Basically, the Court said that the conferment to and acceptance of foreign honours, the honours conferred being foreign, by Italian citizens, was legal, while only the public use of these honours by Italian citizens was subject to authorisation by the President of the Republic, to properly safeguard the merits reserved to and represented by the honours bestowed by the Italian State. The Court had also investigated the fons honorum of the Prince and had found that he was the legitimate possessor of this faculty, which according to the Court was an expression of the honorific power of his house, which had been conserved by family tradition and had not suffered ‘debellatio’, the forced surrender of power. He was therefore entitled to grant the honours given by him, because the Court deemed that he had the legitimate power to grant these honours.

Important document: judgment of the Appeal Court in Pistoia (5 June 1964).

The quote from the website of the Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana Circolo Giovanilegt, section ‘Alcune domanda sulla nobiltà’, dated 24 December 2004, may further elucidate this point.

The Public Prosecutor did not institute cassation and it was therefore definitively established between the Italian State and the Prince that the Prince or his direct descendants, by using their fons honorum, can validly confer noble titles.

The courts involved had consulted independent experts who provided concurring opinions in arriving at their judgments. In this connection, reference can also be made to the well known legal  notion of res judicata (the principle that a matter may not, generally, be relitigated once it has been judged on the merits), which is based on the principle of public order of lites finiri oportet, the policy that there must be an end to litigation

6. Conclusions

Some critics regarding the dynastic claims of the House of Paternò lack objectivity. Their statements often do not express the idea that judging the Paternò-claims should not be influenced by particular perspectives, value commitments, community bias or personal interests, to name a few relevant factors. Stair Sainty’s remarks however are fully understandable. The question whether as a junior member of a junior branch of the family don Roberto had the right to claim any prerogative pertaining to its chief can be answered from both a legitimate and a legal point of view. From a legitimate perspective there are a number of cases where a junior branch came to eclipse more senior lines in rank and power, for example the Kings of Prussia and German Emperors who were junior by primogeniture to the Counts and Princes of Hohenzollern, and the Electors and Kings of Saxony who were a younger branch of the House of Wettin than the Grand Dukes of Saxe-Weimar. It is clear that the senior members of the House do not claim the any rights regarding the former kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia. Therefore it is perfectly legitimate that members of a cadet branch of the House pursue these claims.

Robert Gayre’s remarks concern the succession in the female line. He claims that succession is not possible in the female line. The House of Paternò’s claim is in accordance with the agnatic (or semi-Salic) succession, prevalent in much of Europe since ancient times. This succession is reserved first to all the male dynastic descendants of all the eligible branches by order of primogeniture, then upon total extinction of these male descendants to a female member of the dynasty. Former monarchies that operated under semi-Salic law included Austria (later Austria-Hungary), Bavaria, Hanover, Württemberg, Russia, Saxony, Tuscany, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Now that it clear that no male successors of the former kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia exist, the succession in the female line should also be considered as legitimate.

Over the last 60 years at least two independent judicial courts came to the conclusion that the fount of honor of the House is valid. It is very rare that the fons honorum of a family is backed by judicial decisions. As a matter of fact, the House of Paternò is one of the few royal Houses whose pretensions are not only raised by the family but also declared valid by the courts.

It is therefore surprisingly that in the 21st century the claims were again challenged in court in a matter regarding an interlocutory freezing order by an Italian public prosecutor. The seizure was lifted because the court (again) confirmed the fons honorum of the House of Paternò.

Important documents: Tribunale Ordinario di Roma dated 19 December 2013 and  A. Squarti Perla, Sulla sovrana prerogativa come patrimonio famigliare dinastico-titolarità delle sovrane prerogative e del patrimonio araldico della famiglia ex regnante spettanti, jure sanguinis, al re spodestato, purché non debellato, in «Studi della real casa di Savoia», Torino 2007..

The court explicitly states (appendix 2):

Well, on the basis of the voluminous documentation produced by the defense, the attribution to Paternò Castello of the power to confer honors, decorations and chivalric distinctions, cannot be doubted. The suspect is a descendent of the Paterno dynasty, whose consanguinity with the House of Aragon was recognized by numerous judicial findings; (…)

The House of Paternò Castello’s claims regarding the former kingdoms of Aragon, Majorca, Sicily, Valencia and Sardinia are therefore also perfectly legal.

Further reading

  • Abate, A. “Esequie del Duca di Carcaci” Catania 1854
  • Agnello, G. “Il Museo Biscari di Catania nella Storia della Cultura Illuministica del ‘700” in Archivio Storico della Sicilia Orientale, 1957, a. X p. 142
  • Amico, “Catana Illustrata”, 1741
  • Amico, “Sicilia Sacra” 1742
  • Maria Concetta Calabrese, I Paternò di Raddusa, C.U.E.C.M. 1998
  • G. Carrelli, Hauteville e Paternò, in Rivista Araldica, n.3, 1932
  • Enciclopedia Treccani Vol. XXVI, voce “Paternò”, curata dal prof. Giuseppe Paladino dell’Università di Catania
  • Francesco Gioeni, Genealogia dei Paternò, Palermo,1680
  • G. Libertini, Il Museo Biscari, Milano 1930.
  • V. Librando, Il Palazzo Biscari in Cronache di archeologia e di storia dell’arte, 3, 1964, p. 104 e ss.
  • Denis Mack Smith, “Storia della Sicilia Medioevale e moderna”, Universale Laterza (1970) pp. 367 e ss, 376-377.
  • Filadelfo Mugnos, Theatro Genealogico, 1650, s.v. “Paternò” p. 27
  • Filadelfo Mugnos, Teatro della nobiltà del mondo, 1654, s.v. “Paternò“, p. 297
  • Muscia, Sicilia Nobile, 1408, s.v. “Paternò
  • Scipione Paternò e Colonna, Storiografia della Casa Paternò, Catania. 1642
  • Francesco Paternò di Carcaci, I Paternò di Sicilia, Catania, 1935.
  • Vincenzo Notaro Russo, Genealogia della Casa Paternò, 1721, – Archivio Comune di Catania
  • Gaetano Savasta, Storia di Paternò, Catania, 1905
  • F. Ughello, Antonius Paternò, nobilis neapolitanus”, Palermo,1729
  • Bruno Varvaro, Nuove indagini sulla contea di Paternò e Butera nel sec. XII, in Rivista Araldica, n. 4 – dicembre 1931
  • Bruno Varvaro, Hauteville e Paternò in Rivista Araldica, n. 1 – 20 gennaio 1933 *G.E. Paternò di Sessa, F. Paternò, “Dell’origine regia e aragonese dei Paternò di Sicilia”, in Rivista Araldica Fasxcicolo n. 6, giugno 1913
  • Salvatore Distefano, Ragusa Nobilissima – Una famiglia della Contea di Modica attraverso le fonti e i documenti d’archivio, contributo alla Historia Familiae Baronum Cutaliae, Ancillae et Fundi S. Laurentii, Richerche (2006), 109-160, a pag.128 si ricorda che Eleonora Paternò e Tornabene, vedova Biscari, sposò Guglielmo Distefano, duca di San Lorenzo.
  • Librando, V. “Il Palazzo Biscari” in Cronache di Archeologia e di Storia dell’Arte, 1964, n. 3 p. 104 e ss.
  • Guzzetta, G.: “Per la gloria di Catania: Ignazio Paternò Castello Principe di Biscari” Agorà, Luglio- settembre 2001
  • Garuffi, Archivio Storico della Sicilia Orientale, anno IX, 1912
  • Garuffi, Gli Aleramici ed i Normanni, Palermo 1910, Vol. I
  • La Dinastia Sovrana Paternò-Ayerbe-Aragona – L Pelliccioni di Poli
  • 1956 Rome Nobiliario Internazionale – C Santippolito
  • 1985 RAM Messina Corpus Historiae Genealogicae Italiae et Hispaniae – J.W. Imhof 1702 Nurnberg
  • Los Condes de Barcelona Vindicados Cronologia y Genealogia – Prospero de Bofarull y Mascaro Secretario de SM Archivero de la Corona de Aragon
  • 1836 Barcelona Rivista Araldica 1922 p295-305, 343-346
  • Rivista Araldica 1913 p330-335
  • Anales de la Corona de Aragon by Jerònimo Zurita, Tom 1 libro IV cap.126
  • J Lee Shneidman, The Rise of the Aragonese-Catalan Empire 1200-1350, New York and London 1970

Websites

Credits

I wish to thank mr Stephen Screech for his contributions and help.

Appendix 1

A diploma of nobility, issued by Thorbjorn Paternò Castello typically contains the following considerations and conditions:

We, Our Royal Highness Thorbjorn I Paternò Castello di Carcaci Guttadauro di Valencia D’Ayerbe D’Aragona D’Emanuel etc… etc… For the grace of God and by right of hereditary succession, Sovereign Prince, Head of Line and Arms of the Royal House of Valencia and Sardinia, by land and by sea, to all those who will read the present paper, under the eternal protection of the Lord, Having evaluated the high merits and the illustrious and distinguished deeds of Faith, Virtue, Compassion, Feats and Intelligence and the worthy and beseeching requests by [name].(…)

We have decreed and proclaim, certain in science and out of our free will, with a decided and resolute spirit, for special grace and in the fullness of Our Royal Authority at every effect of the ius nobilitandi according to civil, religious, noble, heraldic and chivalric laws, and according to the ways and customs of any time and place, every Country and Nation, that We recognize, concede and bestow on [name] The title of [e.g. Count] with the predicate of [geographical name]. (…)

With the right to transmit them perpetually from male to male in order of primogeniture, and, in the absence of heirs, to the first born of the closest line, and, in the absence of males, una tantum to females. Both male and female collaterals have the title of “Noble of the“, as is the custom, and in any case, the title of “Don” and “Donna” to the most beloved Don [name] [title, e.g. Count] of [geographical name]of the Sovereign House of Valencia (…).

Appendix 2

N. 1080/2013 R.G. SEQ.

Ordinary tribunal of Rome
Section for appeal from attachment measures

Composed by the Messrs. Judges:
Dott. Filippo Steidi                                        President
Dott. Roberta Conforti                                  Judge
Dott. Laura Previti                                        Judge
Gathered in the council chamber, under dissolution of the reservation undertaken at the hearing of 19 December 2013, have pronounced the following

ORDER
on the appeal from a preventive attachment measure, presented on behalf of Paterno Castello Dei Duchi di Carcaci Principi d’Emmanuel Thorbjorn Francesco Giuseppe Nicola Roberto, dated 9 December 2013, regarding a decree issued with respect to the suspect dated 26 November by the GIP of the Tribunal of Rome
– – – – –

The objection is well founded and is admitted.
Paterno Castello Dei Duchi di Carcaci Principi d’Emmanuel Thorbjorn Francesco Giuseppe Nicola Roberto has instituted appeal against the decree indicated above, by virtue of which are subjected to preventive attachment the bank accounts with Cariparma in the name of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem with Branch 4 of Reggio Emilia and with Banca Intesa in the name of Delio Cardilli with branch Roma Ostia 12, in connection with the crime of forming a criminal association aimed at committing crimes of serious fraud through the constitution of a false chivalric order, of having committed continuous fraud in unison as well as the crime of illicit conferment of decorations under art. 8 of law 178/1951, better described in the provisional indictments which are deemed integrally inserted here.
The defense has contested the existence of suspicion of crimes committed, attaching a voluminous documentation, having examined which, the Court deems the exception well founded.
In the first place it must become clear that the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta O.S.J., according to the accusatory hypothesis mainly organized and promoted by Paterno Castello and used to confuse an indeterminate multitude of subjects, thus as to draw unjust profits through the conferment of false decorations, is a real order and operating at a supranational level falling under the list of the non authorized “non-national Orders”, as appearing from the annex C to f.n. M_D GMIL III 10 4/051891 of the Ministry of Defense, produced by the defense in Annex 7.
To correctly define the question, it is useful to recall the norms issued in the matter of conferment and use of decorations which were introduced after the birth of the republican order with law 178/1951 which, by instituting the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, sanctioned the general prohibition for Italian citizens if not authorized by the President of the Republic at the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to use in the Republic’s territory honors, decorations or chivalric distinctions conferred to them in non-national Orders or by Foreign States (art. 7).  The norm maintains the dispositions valid before with regard to the use of honors and chivalric distinctions of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Article 8 of the law cited on the other hand forbids the conferment of honors, decorations and chivalric distinctions on behalf of entities, associations and private parties.

On the basis of a systematic reading of the two norms, it appears that the subject law distinguishes with regard to the penal effects between the activity of conferment of honors and their use. In the case of Non-national Orders or foreign States, the conferment of honors, of which it may not be excluded this can also take place on the national territory, remains indifferent to the Italian national order which is only concerned with the use, which is prohibited, unless, it is repeated, the use is authorized. In all other cases (institutions and private parties) the possibility of conferment, with the measure of the criminal sanction, is fundamentally excluded
From this follows the permissibility, in abstracto, of the conferment of the honors granted by the O.S.J., being a non-national Order.
It remains in concreto to verify the possibility of Paterno Castello to confer these honors, or rather the entitledness of the suspect to the ius honorum (the faculty to create nobles and chivalric arms) which transfers itself iure sanguinis to the proper descendants, in the person of the Head of the Name and Arms of the Dynasty.
Well, on the basis of the voluminous documentation produced by the defense, the attribution to Paterno Castello of the power to confer honors, decorations and chivalric distinctions, cannot be doubted. The suspect is a descendent of the Paterno dynasty, whose consanguinity with the House of Aragon was recognized by numerous judicial findings; the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta, whose Grand Master was H.R.H. Prince Don Roberto II Paterno Castello di Carcaci Ayerbe-Aragona, ascendent of the present suspect, to whom the Grand Mastership was transferred by public act, is a branch historically derived from the original Hospital Order of Malta; from which follows that Paterno Castello as Grand Master of the Order and titulary to the fons honorum (including the ius honorum and the ius maiestatis) had and has the power to confer honors of the same Order.
Furthermore, in view of the existence of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, the question might be raised of induction in error of ignorant subjects beneficiaries of the honors, through taking advantage of the similarity (in the symbols and the insignia) with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, whose honors can be used on Italian soil.
However, this hypothesis can already be excluded by reading the document ” list of documents to be annexed to the request for admission” which is furnished to who wishes to become part of the order and wherein the difference between the O.S.J. and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is expressly set out.
In conclusion, the decree objected to, is annulled because of the non existence of suspicion of committed crimes with respect to the alleged crimes.

FOR THESE MOTIVES,
ANNULLS

The decree objected to and orders the Chancery to do the necessary
Rome, 19 December 2013
The Editing Judge

Deposited at the Chancery
Rome, 31 December 2013
The Chancellor

Lines of succession: the case of Faustin Soulouque, emperor of Haiti

soulouque-adelina2

Adélina Soulouque (b. c. 1795-after 1859), née Lévêque, was Empress Consort of Haiti from 1849 until 1859, as wife of Faustin I of Haiti.

The order or line of succession is the sequence of members of a royal family in the order in which they stand in line to the throne. The basis for the succession is often determined in the nation’s constitution. As a matter of personal interest, I have examined the line of succesion of the emperors of Haiti, starting with Faustin I.

Legal basis of the succession

The legal basis for the line of succession at the time that it was in force, was the Constitution of 20 September 1849.

The Constitution made the Imperial Dignity hereditary amongst the natural and legitimate direct descendants of Emperor Faustin I, by order of primogeniture and to the perpetual exclusion of females and their descendants. The Emperor could adopt the children or grandchildren of his brothers, and become members of his family from the date of adoption. Sons so adopted enjoyed the right of succession to the throne, immediately after the Emperor’s natural and legitimate sons (Les constitutions dHaiti, 1801-1885).
Art. 108. — La dignité impériale est héréditaire dans la descendance directe, naturelle et légitime, de Faustin Soulouque, de mâle en mâle, par ordre de progéniture, et à l’exclusion perpétuelle des femmes et de leur descendance.
Art, 109. — La personne de l’Empereur est inviolable et sacrée.
Art. 110. — L’Empereur Faustin Soulouque est proclamé sous le nom de Faustin 1er.
Art. 112. — L’Empereur pourra nommer son successeur, s’il n’a point d’héritier mâle et s’il n’a point de fils adoptif. Cette nomination devra être secrète et enfermée dans une cassette déposée au palais impérial de la capitale.
(…)
Art. 115.— A défaut d’adoption et de nomination par l’empereur, le grand conseil de l’Empire nomme son successeur. Jusqu’au moment où l’élection du nouvel empereur est consommée, le grand conseil exerce le pouvoir exécutif.
Art. 134. — Les princes et les princesses de la famille impériale ne peuvent se marier sans l’autorisation de l’Empereur.
Art. 135. — Les enfants mâles deviennent membres à vie du Sénat lorsqu’ils ont atteint l’âge de 18 ans.
Art. 145. — Il est institué un grand conseil de l’Empire, composé de neuf grands dignitaires choisis par l’Empereur. L’Empereur préside le grand conseil ou en délègue le pouvoir à un de ses membres.
Art. 146. — Les attributions du grand conseil sont :
1° D’exercer l’autorité exécutive dans le cas où il y aurait empêchement pour l’Empereur de l’exercer lui-même;
2° De nommer le successeur de l’Empereur et d’exercer le pouvoir exécutif dans les cas prévus par l’article 115;
3° D’élire le régent dans le cas de l’article 141 ;
4° D’être le conseil de la régence ;
5° De procéder à l’ouverture de la cassette qui renfermera le nom du successeur de l’Empereur, conformément à l’article 112.
tHoDOwZ

Sword with Scabbard of Faustin I (1782–1867), Emperor of Haiti. Inscription: Inscribed on the guard beneath the crowned coat of arms of Haiti: DIEU MA PATRIE ET MON EPEE LIBERTE INDEPENDENCE; on the obverse of the blade: HOMMAGE DU G•O•D’ HAITI; on the reverse of the blade: A L.’ ILL. FAUSTIN SOULOUQUE EMPEREUR D’ HAITI (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Genealogy

In order to see how the line of succession has developed, I have tried to make a fragment of the genealogy of the imperial family.

I. Marie-Catherine Soulouque. b. at Port-au-Prince, Saint-Domingue, 1744. A slave of the Mandingo race. She d. at Port-au-Prince, 9 August 1819.

IIa. H.I.M. Faustin-Élie Soulouque (Faustin I), by the grace of God , and the Constitution of the Empire, Emperor of Haiti. b. at Petit-Goâve, 1782. Freed by Felicite Sonthonax 29 August 1793. Fought in the War of independence as a private soldier 1803-1804, Cmsnd. as Lieut. and ADC to General Lamarre 1806, Lieut. Horse Guards under Presdt. Petion 1810, prom. Capt., prom. Maj. under Presdt. Rivière-Hérard, prom. Col. under Presdt. Guerier 1843, prom. Brig-Gen. and later Lt-Gen. and supreme commander of the guards under Presdt. Riche. Became President of the Republic of Haiti (*1) and took the oath of office 2 March 1847.

Crown Soulouque

Crown of Faustin-Élie Soulouque, decorated with emeralds, diamands, garnets, and other jewels. It had been exhibited in the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH)

Proclaimed as Emperor Faustin I, by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, and assumed the style of His Imperial Majesty, 26 August 1849. Crowned at Port-au-Prince, by the Abbe Cessens according to Episcopalian (Franc-Catholique) rites, 18 April 1852. Attempted to conquer, but failed to take, Santo Domingo in 1856. Founded the Military Order of St Faustin and the Civil Haitian Order of the Legion of Honour, 21st September 1849. Also founded the Orders of St Mary Magdalen and St Anne, 31 March 1856. Deposed 15 January 1859.

Founded the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1856. Fled to the French legation, seeking asylum, but was later taken into exile in Jamaica, aboard a British warship 22 January 1859 (1). Married at Port-au-Prince, December 1849, H.I.M. Empress Adélina (b. ca. 1795), raised to the title of Empress of Haiti with the style of Her Imperial Majesty 26th August 1849, Crowned with her husband at Port-au-Prince 18th April 1852, daughter of Marie Michel Lévêque. After the death of her husband, Adélina fled to the Dominican Republic and then went to Spain, where she was received by the King of Spain himself. She remained at the Royal Palace of Spain in Madrid from 1868 to 1874.

Adélina then left for France and remained there from 1875 to 1877. She ended her days in Rome, Italy in 1879, until her death at the age of about 84 years. She was buried first in Rome near the Vatican and then in Haiti near her husband in 1907, 28 years after his death (*2).

Daughter:
1) H.I.H. Princess Célita Soulouque, m. Jean-Philippe Lubin, Count of Petionville, who was very rich. Together they had four children: three daughters and a son who died at birth.
Adopted daughter:
2) H.S.H. Princess Geneviève Olive [Madame]. b. 1842 (quinze à seize ans in September 1858), d. 1936. Adopted by Emperor Faustin, raised to the title of Princess and granted the style of Her Serene Highness 1850. m. Amitié Lubin (b. ca. 1800), son of Jean Philippe Vil Lubin, Count de Pétion-Ville, by his wife, Elizabeth Ulcénie, née Amitié (*3). Princess Olive travelled around the world: France (1893-1894); Portugal (1894-1899) with her daughter Marie; Canada 1901; America (Philadelphia) (1902-1913); Dominican Republic (1913-1914); France (1914-1918); Dominican Republic (1918-1923); Thailand (1923-1927) as a guest of a friend of the Royal Family; Australia (1927-1929); Haiti 1929-1936) (*4) [Oliva Soulouque, Biografia].

Prince Mainville Joseph and Prince Jean Joseph Soulouque

Prince Mainville Joseph and Prince Jean Joseph Soulouque

IIb. (Prince) Jean-Joseph Soulouque. He d. after 1850, having had issue, eleven sons and daughters, including:
1. H.I.M. (Prince) Mainville-Joseph Soulouque, pretender under the name Joseph I, m. 1854 with Princess Olive (IIa,2). He did participate in some attempts to restore the monarchy in Haiti, without success and d. in 1891. Children:

a. “S.A.S. la princesse” Maria Soulouque, d. Portugal 1899.
b. H.I.M. (Prince) Joseph Soulouque, “prince impérial”, pretender to the throne as Joseph II, left for France with his mother in 1914, fought for the Allies in WWI, returned to the Dominican Republic in 1918 and lived there until his death on 18 June 1922. In 1930 Princess Geneviève Olive received a letter from the new pretender to the throne, her great grandson of 31 years told her that his wife was pregnant. Their names are unknown to me.
c. “S.A.S. le prince” Faustin-Joseph Soulouque, lived in the United States (Philadelphia) until his death in 1913.
d. Marie Adelina Soulouque, daughter of Mainville-Joseph Soulouque with Marie d’Albert. Daughter: Marie Adelina Soulouque, who married Johan Carl Sictus Weijgel Quast (*1), pharmacist [Santa Domingo].

Son?

De Curaçaosche courant 24-07-1852 delpher.nl

De Curaçaosche Courant 24-07-1852 delpher.nl

H.I.H. Princess Célita Soulouque is said to have been the only daughter of Faustin. It has been reported in the Curacaosche Courant of 24 July 1852 that Faustin made preparations for his son “Bobo” to marry the actress Lola Montez. In 1846, the actress arrived in Munich, where she was discovered by and became the mistress of, Ludwig I of Bavaria. Ludwig made her Countess of Landsfeld on his birthday, 25 August 1847. Along with her title, he granted her a large annuity. In 1848 Ludwig abdicated, and Montez fled Bavaria, her career as a power behind the throne at an end. From 1851 to 1853, Lola Montez performed as a dancer and actress in the eastern United States, one of her offerings being a play called Lola Montez in Bavaria.

Interesting comments by mr Christopher Buyers (FB 27 January 2016):

Bobo was actually an escaped galley-slave who had been “candidate” for president several times, but was persuaded to join Soulouque’s cause. After the latter became Emperor, Bobo was ennobled and created a Prince. In April 1851, while serving as Governor and C-in-C of the Northern Province, he was suspected of rebellion and summoned to court. Fearing a certain death, he fled. Later captured and executed along with some other generals the following year. He is mentioned by Helen O’Donnell Holdredge in her biography “The Woman in Black: The Life of Lola Montez”, Putnam, 1955. There, he is described on p 141 as Grand Chamberlain to Faustin I, sent by him to persuade Lola Montez to visit his court in Haiti. Prince Bobo had a son named Alexandre, who was in turn the father of Dr Pierre François Joseph Benoit Bobo aka “Rosalvo”, who was a leading politician, Secretary of State for the Interior, and leader of the revolution which toppled President Sam II in 1915, prompting the US to intervene and occupy Haiti to prevent him becoming president.

Sources

(*1) Website of Chistopher Buyers

(*2) ayudamosconocer.com

(*3) Roman Catholic Church Kingston (Jamaica) Marriages 1839-1869. Act of marriage: Pierre Joseph Amitie Vil Lubin, native of Haiti, lawful son of His Lordship Earl Philippe Vil Lubin and by his wife, Elizabeth Ulcénie. Lord Amitie Vil Lubin, maried on 26 December 1861 HSH Princess Geneviève Olive Soulouque, native of Haiti, lawful daughter of Emperor Faustin Elie Soulouque and Empress Adélina Lévêque. Witnesses: Alexandre Bravo, Charles Grant, widow Lubin, Amitie Lubin, widow of Louis Lubin, Elizabeth Grant, James Male, Jean Baptiste Vil Lubin, George Clermont, A.M. Lhoste, Felicite Faustin, Ameisima Amitie, Elina Mainvaille, L. Bedonet, Elizabeth Bourke, Caroline Crosswell. Source: website of Thierry Jean-Baptiste Soulouque Vil Lubin.

(*4) ayudamosconocer.com

(*5) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Pedigree Resource File,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:2:9HXC-TTG : accessed 2015-11-14), submitted by rcsimon2749685.

Literature

  • Alaux. Soulouque and His Empire: From the French of Gustave d’Alaux. 1861. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. Print.      
  • Facebook Almanach Royal d’Hayti
  • Constitutions of the World from the late 18th Century to the Middle of the 19th Century, The Americas. Multi-volumed work Constitutions of the World from the late 18th Century to the Middle of the 19th Century Sources on the Rise of Modern Constitutionalism / Quellen zur Herausbildung des modernen Konstitutionalismus.  Ed. by Dippel, Horst The Americas Vol. 10 Constitutional Documents of Haiti 1790–1860 / Documents constitutionnels d’Haïti 1790-1860 / Verfassungsdokumente Haitis 1790-1860  Ed. by Dubois, Laurent / Gaffield, Julia / Acacia, Michel
  • Hartog, [dr.] Johan Curaçao; From Colonial dependence to autonomy. Oranjestad, Aruba: De Wit publishers 1968 (Faustin’s exile on the island of Curaçao)

Discovery (1)

Proof that Soulouque was a free masonI recently discovered that Faustin I was a member of a Masonic lodge in France. This was in tradition with other Haitian leaders. In 1743, after the death of Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin , duke of Antin, Louis de Bourbon-Condé (1709-1771), count of Clermont, prince of the blood and future member of the Académie française, succeeded him as “Grand Master of all regular lodges in France”. He remained in office until his death in 1771. Around 1744 there were around 20 lodges in Paris and 20 in the provinces. Lodges in the provinces were most often founded by Masons out of Paris on business or via the intermediary of military lodges in regiments passing through a region – where a regiment with a military lodge left its winter quarters, it was common for it to leave behind the embryo of a new civil lodge there. The many expressions of military origin still used in Masonic banquets of today date to this time, such as the famous “canon” (cannon, meaning a glass) or “poudre forte” (strong gunpowder, meaning the wine). 

Discovery (2)

Imperial and Military Order of St Faustin

Imperial and Military Order of St Faustin

In France, only decorations recognised by the Chancery of the Legion of Honour may be worn publicly, and permission must be sought and granted to wear any foreign awards or decorations. Failure to comply is punishable by law. A non-exhaustive list of collectively authorised orders is published by the French government. According to a report in Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, XI, jan-jun-1859, pp. 150-152), the Order of Saint Faustin seems to have been recognized by the Legion of Honour. Further research is being conducted.

Who is entitled to the prefix of ‘Sir’?

Today, in the UK and in certain Commonwealth realms and in the Philippines, a number of men are entitled to the prefix of ‘sir’, including knights bachelor, knights of the orders of chivalry and baronets. The dignity of knighthood carries the prefix of ‘Sir’, but unlike a baronetcy it is only held for life. Although in the UK foreign nationals can be awarded these honours, they are explicitly excluded using the prefix. Instead they use the associated post-nominal letters. British nationals who have been awarded an honour by another country including countries of which the Queen is head of state, other members of the commonwealth and by all other foreign countries may not use any associated title, that the award might bestow, in the United Kingdom.

United Kingdom

  • Baronet (Bt.) is a British hereditary dignity, first created by King James I of England in May 1611. The baronetage is not part of the peerage, nor is it an order of knighthood. A baronet ranks below barons but above all knights except, in England, Knights of the Garter and, in Scotland, Knights of the Garter and of the Thistle. In England and Ireland a baronetcy is inherited by the male heir, but in Scotland ladies may succeed to certain baronetcies where it has been specified at the time of their creation.
  • Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG). The Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and was founded by Edward III in 1348. The Order, consisting of the King and twenty-five knights, honours those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally. The patron saint of the Order is St George (patron saint of soldiers and also of England) as well as of all orders of chivalry. The spiritual home of the Order is St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
  • Knight of the Order of the Thistle (KT). The Order of the Thistle represents the highest honour in Scotland. It is second only in precedence in the UK to the Order of the Garter.The Order honours Scottish men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life.The date of the foundation of the Order is not known, although legend has it that it was founded in 809 when King Achaius made an alliance with the Emperor Charlemagne.
  • Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (KCB/GCB). Originally membership comprised the British monarch, a great master of the order, and 36 knights. Membership regulations have undergone numerous changes over the centuries. Three classes of knights were instituted in 1815 to commemorate the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Corresponding classes were added in 1847 for a civilian division. The order currently includes the monarch, members of the royal family, foreigners (known as “honorary members”), and the classes of knights—115 Knights or Dames Grand Cross (GCB), 328 Knights or Dames Commanders (KCB or DCB, respectively), and 1,815 Companions (CB). Investiture into the two highest classes (Knight/Dame Grand Cross and Knight/Dame Commander) means induction into knighthood, if the candidate does not already hold that honour, and the right to the title of “Sir” or “Dame” as appropriate. (Knights and Dames Grand Cross, together with Knights of the Garter and of the Thistle, may be granted the use of supporters with their arms.) The officers of the order are the Dean (usually the Dean of Westminster), Bath King of Arms, Registrar, Usher of the Scarlet Rod, and Secretary. Ladies are admitted to all classes of the order.
    In 1725 King George I created a new military Order and called it the Order of the Bath; the civil branch was established in 1847. Broadly speaking, the Order is awarded to officers of the armed forces, and to high-ranking civil servants.
    The Order now consists of the Sovereign, a Great Master (presently the Prince of Wales, who was installed in 1975), and three classes of members, each of which is divided into civil and military divisions: Knights and Dames Grand Cross; Knights and Dames Commanders; Companions.
  • Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG/GCMG). William IV instituted the three classes of knights of the order, which (in descending order of rank) are Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GCMG), Knight Commander or Dame Commander (KCMG or DCMG, respectively), and Companion (CMG). Membership is limited to 120 Knights Grand Cross, 390 Knights Commanders, and 1,775 Companions. Conferment of the two highest classes of the order entails admission into knighthood, if the candidate is not already a knight or dame, and the right to the title of “Sir” or “Dame” as appropriate. (Knights and Dames Grand Cross may be granted the use of supporters with their arms.) The order’s officers are Prelate, Chancellor, Secretary, King of Arms, Registrar, and Gentleman Usher of the Blue Rod.
  • Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO/GCVO). The Royal Victorian Order is given by The Queen to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way. These may include officials of the Royal Household, family members or perhaps British Ambassadors who have helped organise a State Visit to a particular country. The Order was founded in April 1896 by Queen Victoria as a way of rewarding personal service to her, on her own initiative rather than by ministerial recommendation. The Order was, and is, entirely within the Sovereign’s personal gift. The anniversary of the institution of the Order is 20 June, the day of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.There have never been any limits on the number of appointments made. Today, people receive their award either privately from The Queen or another member of the Royal Family, or during an Investiture.
  • Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (KBE/GBE). The Order of the British Empire recognises distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds.Today the Order of the British Empire is the order of chivalry of British democracy. Valuable service is the only criterion for the award, and the Order is now used to reward service in a wide range of useful activities. Citizens from other countries may also receive an honorary award, for services rendered to the United Kingdom and its people. There are more than 100,000 living members of the Order throughout the world.
  • Knight Bachelor (Kt.). A knighthood (or a damehood, its female equivalent) is one of the highest honors an individual in the United Kingdom can achieve. While in past centuries knighthoods used to be awarded solely for military merit, today they also recognize significant contributions to national life. Recipients range from actors to scientists, and from school head teachers to industrialists. A knighthood cannot be bought and it carries no military obligations to the Sovereign. The Queen (or a member of the Royal Family acting on her behalf) confers knighthoods in Britain, either at a public investiture or privately. The ceremony involves the ceremonial dubbing of the knight by The Queen, and the presentation of insignia.

Antigua and Barbuda

In Antigua and Barbuda, Knights Companion of the The Most Distinguished Order of the Nation may use the prefix ‘Sir’ in front of their forename, and their wives may use the title ‘Lady’ in front of their husband’s surname. Similarly, Dames Companion of the Order may use the title ‘Dame’ in front of their forename. No specific privilege exists for their husbands. The Order of the National Hero was first established and constituted by the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda under the National Heroes Act 1994, in 1998 reestablished and most recently amended in 2015.

See for the use of an Antiguan knighthood by a British national in the United Kingdom an article in the Mail on Sunday.

Jamaica

  • The honour of the Order of National Hero may be conferred upon any person who was born in Jamaica or is, or at the time of his or her death was, a citizen of Jamaica and rendered to Jamaica service of a most distinguished nature. National Heroes are entitled to be styled “The Rt Excellent” and the motto of the Order is “He built a city which hath foundations”.
  • Knight Commander, Knight Grand Cross, or Knight Grand Collar of the Order of the Nation (KCN/KGCN/KGN). The honour of the Order of the Nation (ON) may be conferred upon any Governor-General of Jamaica and upon any person who has been appointed as Prime Minister of Jamaica, not being a person upon whom the honour of the Order of National Hero has been conferred. A member of the Order is styled “The Most Honourable” and the spouse of the member is also entitled to be so styled. The motto of the Order is “One Nation Under God”
  • Members of these orders are not entitled to the prefix of Sir, contrary to my earlier remarks.

Australia

  • Order of Australia (AK; for male Australian subjects only). The Queen is the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia and the Governor-General is the Principal Knight or Dame, as the case may be, and as Chancellor is charged with the administration of the Order. The Official Secretary to the Governor-General is the Secretary of the Order of Australia. From 1976 to 1986 there was provision for the appointment of Knights and Dames in the Order of Australia. On 25 March 2014, Knights and Dames were reinstated as the highest awards in the Order of Australia. Knights and Dames are already included in the Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards above Companion. Please note: this gain has been suspended by the current Prime Minister Mr. Malcolm Turnbull and his government in November 2015.

Barbados

  • Knight of St. Andrew of the Order of Barbados (KA). The Order of Barbados was instituted by Letters Patent on July 25, 1980, as part of the Barbados National Honours and Decorations System. The Knight or Dame of St. Andrew is the highest order given by the Queen of Barbados, and is awarded for “extraordinary and outstanding achievement and merit in service to Barbados or to humanity at large”.

New Zealand

  • Knight Companion or Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM/GNZM).The New Zealand Order of Merit was instituted by Royal Warrant dated 30 May 1996. The Order is awarded to those “who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and the nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions, or other merits”. On 10 April 2000 it was announced that The Queen had approved the discontinuation of titles (damehoods and knighthoods) within the Order. The new designations were principal companions and distinguished companions. The first appointments to the re-designated levels were made in The Queen’s Birthday Honours on 5 June 2000.
    On 8 March 2009 it was announced that The Queen had given approval for the reinstatement of the titles of Knight and Dame Grand Companion and Knight and Dame Companion. The first appointments to the redesignated levels were made in The Queen’s Birthday Honours on 31 May 2009.

Philippines

  • Knights of the Order of Knights of Rizal prefix Sir to their forenames and add the relevant post-nominal according to their rank at the end of their names while wives of Knights prefix “Lady” to their first names. The Order of the Knights of Rizal is a fraternal and cultural organization created to honor and uphold the ideals of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal. Established on December 30, 1911, the organization was granted a legislative charter by the President of the Philippines as a civic and patriotic organization on 14 June 1951 by Republic Act 646. Although the Order is not a state entity, it enjoys state recognition. This means the state recognizes the insignia corresponding to its ranks. The sword and kneeling ceremony during dubbing states: “Vested upon the By-Laws of the Order, I dub (name of new member) – By virtue of the Order (he taps left shoulder with sword). Arise, Sir (name of new member).” (excerpt by Sir Justo P. Torres jr., KGCR Supreme Commander, Manila, Philippines, December 30, 1985). The prefix is mentioned in the diploma of the recipient. Some notable members of the Order, such as King Juan Carlos of Spain, former American Foreign Secretary and Nobel peace prize laureate, Henry Kissinger and other noted Filipinos who are recipients of the Order’s decoration certainly give credence and dignity to it. The Archbishop of Manila is also a member of the Order dispelling any notion that the Order could be Masonic. The late Jaime Cardinal L. Sin was honored with the highest degree of the Knighthood. He also blessed the building where the Order established its international headquarters in Manila. Other famous members include:

H.E. Sir Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III – President of the Philippines

H.E. Sir Fidel V. Ramos, KGCR – Past President of the Philippines

H.E. Sir Joseph Estrada, KGCR – Past President of the Philippines

Sir Halario Davide Jr., KGCR – Past Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

H.E Sir Anwar Ibrahim, KGCR – Past Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

Sir Juan Ponce Enrile, KCGR – Senator

Sir Edgardo Angara, KGCR – Senator

Sir Jovito Salonga, KCGR – Senator

Sir Salvador H. Laurel III, KGCR – Senator

Sir Arturo Tolentino, KGCR – KGCR – Senator

Sir Cesar Virata, KGCR – Senator

Sir Feliciano Belmonte – KGCR, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Sir Jose H. Laurel III, KGCR – Senator

Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George

  • The first known British subject to be invested into the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George was Lieutenant Colonel John Pritchard in 1798. Captain Sir William D’Arley was also invested in 1801, receiving the decoration from King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In the same year, he obtained a Royal Licence from King George III of Great Britain which permitted him to be styled as “Sir William” and to wear the Order’s decoration at Court. However, please note that this is not currently being practiced.

Link

The Cabinet Office is part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)

Notes

I would like to gratefully and sincerely thank mr Kevin Couling, Lord of the Manor of Little Neston, for his contibutions.

Sources: The London Gazette of 1 June 2016, britannica.com, debretts.com, wikipedia.com, dpmc.govt.nz, gg.gov.au, royal.gov.uk, gisbarbados.gov.bb, Blog by Christoph S. Eberle, Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George

Note: I published this article earlier on the nobility news blog

Important update:

A protocol from Buckingham Palace and the Foreign Office preventing such usage of foreign knighthoods was published in The London Gazette of 1 June 2016. It states that in line with the long-established convention concerning foreign titles, British nationals who have been awarded an honour by another country may not use any associated title, that the award might bestow, in the United Kingdom. Only those British nationals, including dual nationals, awarded a British Knighthood or appointed to a British Order of Chivalry as a Dame, may use the title ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’ in the United Kingdom.

Comments by mr Christopher Buyers: You may like to check the Antigua & Barbuda section again. Commentary more relevant to Jamaica seems to have crept in. The 2016 Gazette notification does rely on some ‘smoke and mirrors’ and ‘eyewash’ to make its case. Perhaps because the writer knew that the reader would not necessarily understand the finer points of the Law. In English and British law there is, in fact, no such thing as a foreigner. There is only “subject” and “alien”. HM’s subjects from Commonwealth realms, indeed even those citizens of Commonwealth republics of which she is not Head of State, are not aliens in UK law. They are entitled to join the armed forces, be appointed to judicial positions, stand for parliament and take part in elections. The traditional exclusion regarding “foreign” titles is one that applied to aliens only.

I would like to gratefully and sincerely thank mr Christopher Buyers, for his contibutions.

Studie over echte en minder echte ridderorden

Op de website van de Rijkuniversiteit Groningen wordt vermeld dat de Jhr. Ing. Tom Versélewel de Witt Hamer bezig is met een interessant promotie-onderzoek, genaamd: “A sociological study of the functioning of contemporary Orders of Chivalry in the Kingdom of the Netherlands“. In deze aankondiging, waar natuurlijk inhoudelijk niet al te zwaar aan mag worden getild, staat vermeld (mijn onderstreping):

“Nowadays, the Dutch orders of chivalry are the recognized successors of the old religious military orders from the time of the crusades, not to be confused with orders of knighthood, which are state merit orders. Chivalry is a criterion of the Dutch Supreme Council of Nobility. It refers to a noble order which has formulated a clear admission policy in its charter like the Order of Saint John in the Netherlands and the Order of Malta. Any organization in the Netherlands is free to call itself an order of chivalry, although the guidelines of the Supreme Council of Nobility state that it will belong to the unrecognized orders.”

Is dit wel juist, kan men zich afvragen?

Johanniter Orde

Het is in deze blog wat onzinnig om diep in te gaan op de geschiedenis van de verschillende Orden die zich als Orde van Sint Jan presenteren (of iets wat hier op lijkt) omdat hierover al zeer veel is geschreven. Eigenlijk is in verband met betrekking tot oorsprong van de Johanniter Orde in Nederland een enkel feit van belang. De Johanniter Orde in Nederland bij Koninklijk Besluit no. 33 van 5 maart 1946 gesticht, na het verbreken van de banden met de Duitse Johanniter Orde. Een opvolger van de Orde die in de middeleeuwen bekend stond als Orde van Sint Jan is het zeker dus niet. Het is niet integer dat de Orde de illusie propageert een oude Orde te zijn. Eerlijker zou het zijn om te spreken van een Orde die de ridderlijke traditie probeert hoog te houden. Daarvan zijn er echter honderden.

SMOM

De “Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta” (Italiaans: “Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta”) wordt door de onderzoeker (voorlopig althans) kennelijk ook gezien als een opvolger van de Orde uit de tijd van de kruistochten. Naar de SMOM andere Orders van Sint Jan is diepgaand onderzoek verricht door mijn confrère Hans Hoegen Dijkhof. Hij komt tot de navolgende conclusie in zijn proefschrift: The Legitimacy of Orders of Saint John (p.218):

“The interim conclusion is that the original Order founded around 1050, carried on till 1154, respectively 1798 and in the course of its history, Anglican and Protestant split-offs occurred. In 1798, Napoleon dissolved this original Order. Czar Paul I was then validly elected in 1798 as Grandmaster of what States and Priories have seen as the original Order continued. Then in 1803, a ‘coup d’état’ by Pope Pius VII, facilitated by Czar Alexander I and a marionet provisional Sacred Council, took place and this started a new Papal Order in 1803. The new Order started in 1798 under Czar Paul I, in principle legally remained established in St. Petersburg and carried on somehow in Russia during the rest of the 19 th century.”

Napoleon heeft deze antieke Orde dus in ieder geval in 1798 opgeheven. In 1803 heeft de Paus een nieuwe Orde gesticht met een andere naam. Ook de SMOM is dus geen rechtstreekse opvolger van de oude middeleeuwse Orde. Wel kan worden gesteld dat zij in de traditie hiervan treedt, maar daarin is de SMOM niet exclusief, zoals blijkt uit onderstaande jurisprudentie.

In 2012 verloor de SMOM een belangrijke dispuut (door de SMOM zelf getart) over de rechtmatigheid van het exclusieve gebruik van het witte Maltezer kruis. Inzet was dat de SMOM de oudste rechten op het merk- en beeldrecht had. De US Federal Appeals Court heeft in zijn uitspraak (kort samengevat) bevestigd dat de Russische en de Vaticaanse Orde van Sint Jan, voorafgaande aan 1798 dezelfde wortels hebben en dat de SMOM heeft gefraudeerd bij de registratie van haar merken en schrapte de desbetreffende registraties. De SMOM had dus niet de exclusieve historische rechten; zie:

Autoriteit?

De Hoge Raad van Adel is ingesteld bij Besluit van de Soevereine Vorst van 24 juni 1814, nr. 10. De Wet op de adeldom van 10 mei 1994 (Staatsblad 360) regelt de samenstelling en bevoegdheid van de Raad. Als vast college van advies over de uitvoering in zaken van bestuur van het Rijk (ingevolge art. 79 van de Grondwet) adviseert de Raad (www.hogeraadvanadel.nl):

  • de minister van Algemene Zaken over naamgeving, titulatuur en wapenverlening van leden van het koninklijk huis, het Rijkswapen en de Nederlandse vlag;
  • de minister van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties over adelszaken en de samenstelling en wijziging van de wapens van publiekrechtelijke lichamen;
  • de minister van Justitie over verzoeken tot naamswijziging, waarbij de namen van adellijke geslachten of van heerlijkheden betrokken zijn;
  • de minister van Defensie over ontwerpen van emblemen en medailles van de krijgsmachtsonderdelen.

Op het gebied van erkenning van Orden heeft de Raad dus geen enkele wettelijke taak. Het probleem hier is dat er geen enkele staatsautoriteit bestaat. De Kanselarij der Nederlandse Orden gaat hier immers ook niet over, zoals wellicht gedacht kan worden. De Kanselarij is bij Koninklijk Besluit (KB) van 3 juni 1844 ingesteld. Zij is de overheidsorganisatie die adviseert over voordrachten voor Koninklijke onderscheidingen en verantwoordelijk is voor het beheer en de uitgifte van Koninklijke onderscheidingen. De Kanselarij heeft de volgende taken:

  • adviseren aan de regering over het instellen of wijzigen van onderscheidingen en herinneringstekenen;
  • ondersteunen van het Kapittel voor de Civiele Orden en het Kapittel der Militaire Willems-Orde bij het adviseren over voordrachten voor Koninklijke onderscheidingen;
  • registreren en archiveren van verleende onderscheidingen;
  • verwerven, beheren en verstrekken van orde- en herinneringstekenen en bijbehorende oorkondes;
  • innemen van ordetekenen en registratie.

Het instellen van Ridderorden is dus geen taak van de Hoge Raad van Adel of de Kanselarij der Nederlandse Orden. Zij hebben dus ook geen autoriteit op het gebied van de erkenning hiervan. Maar wie is dan wel de autoriteit op dit gebied?

Echte ridderorden

Nederland kent twee soorten orden: orden die door de regering en orden die door het hoofd van de regerende dynastie persoonlijk worden toegekend. Bij het verlenen van onderscheidingen uit de eerstgenoemde categorie is het ministerieel contraseign vereist, bij de tweede categorie, de zogenoemde huisorden, niet. Hoewel de tekst dit niet uitdrukkelijk bepaalt, heeft art. 111 Grondwet (“Ridderorden worden bij de wet ingesteld.”) alleen betrekking op de eerste categorie. De drie momenteel bestaande ridderorden in deze zin zijn de Militaire Willemsorde (ingesteld bij wet van 30 april 1815, Stb. 33), de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw (ingesteld bij wet van 29 september 1815, Stb. 47), en de Orde van Oranje-Nassau (ingesteld bij wet van 4 april 1892, Stb. 55).

Behalve ridderorden bestaan er ook andere koninklijke onderscheidingen – niet zijnde ridderorden –, die sinds 1817 zijn ingesteld. Deze onderscheidingen dienen in het algemeen ter beloning van of  ter herinnering aan een bepaalde daad of een bepaald feit. Zij worden ingesteld bij koninklijk besluit. Een reëel verschil tussen de bij wet ingestelde ridderorden en de bij koninklijk besluit ingestelde koninklijke onderscheidingen bestaat vooral hierin dat deze laatsten geen ‘ridderorden’ in de zin van de wet zijn (zie www.nederlandrechtstaat.nl).

De Johanniter Orde, de Orde van Malta en de Duitse Orde behoren tot de door de Nederlandse regering erkende ridderlijke orden (zie: Besluit draagvolgorde onderscheidingen van 25 juli 2013). Het zijn nieuw opgerichte Orden, hetgeen destijds door de overheid bij de oprichting uitdrukkelijk werd vermeld (zie: E. Renger de Bruin, p. 599). Het zijn ook geen ridderorden.

Conclusies

Mijn conclusie is dat geen van de hiervoor genoemde Orden eerlijkerwijs kan stellen dat hij een rechtstreekse historische opvolger is van de Orde van Sint Jan uit de tijd van de kruistochten. Dat deze pretentie wel bestaat, is (diplomatiek gezegd) niet correct (www.johanniterorde.nl): “De Johanniter Orde is een Ridderlijke Orde met een protestants-christelijke grondslag. De Orde is bijna duizend jaar geleden door kruisvaarders gesticht als de Ridderlijke Orde van het Hospitaal van Sint Jan en heeft dan ook een rijke historie.

Naast de officiële ridderorden die door de wet zijn ingesteld, zijn alle “Orden” min of meer in gelijke zin legaal. De veronderstelling in de samenvatting van het onderzoek van Versélewel de Witt Hamer is dus niet correct. De Johanniters en de SMOM zijn geen “erkende” opvolgers van de oorspronkelijke orden uit de kruistochten, hoewel de Johanniter, Maltezer en Duitse Orde door de Nederlandse regering als ridderlijk zijn erkend.

Er zijn – naast de orden met enig indirect historisch fundament – veel fantasie-orden, zonder enige historische grondslag. Deze zijn (vanuit een internationaal perspectief) deels opgesomd in het standaard (maar niet foutloze) werk van Stair Sainty. De vraag naar de historische legitimiteit is dus wel interessant. Wellicht dat Versélewel de Witt Hamer hier op doelt. Het is te hopen dat de onderzoeker de moed heeft om een transparante en vernieuwende kijk op het fenomeen “ridderorde” te geven, zonder te vervallen in het nakwekken van gekleurd onderzoek van anderen. Gelet op de uitstekende reputatie van Versélewel de Witt Hamer, acht ik de kans van slagen groot.

Belangrijkste literatuur

Is het in Duitsland strafbaar om ten onrechte een adellijke titel te voeren?

Duitsland, dat moet worden beschouwd als rechtsopvolger van het Heilige Roomse Rijk der Duitse Natie, heeft de adel als stand in 1919 bij wet afgeschaft. Artikel 109, derde lid, tweede volzin, van de Grondwet van de Republiek Weimar van 1919 Weimarer Reichsverfassung) luidt immers als volgt: “Öffentlich-rechtliche Vorrechte oder Nachteile der Geburt oder des Standes sind aufzuheben. Adelsbezeichnungen gelten nur als Teil des Namens und dürfen nicht mehr verliehen werden”. Openbare voorrechten van geboorte en stand zijn middels deze bepaling sedertdien blijvend opgeheven. Onder meer de voorheen adellijke titel “Freiherr” maakt vanaf 1919 uitsluitend onderdeel uit van de geslachtsnaam. De overgang van dit onderdeel van de naam wordt in Duitsland niet beheerst door adelrechtelijke bepalingen, maar door regels van naamrecht, zoals geregeld in het Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. De vraag kan worden gesteld hoe het zit met het onterecht voeren van adellijke titels in Duitsland. Lees verder

Lex Salica

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

Verspreiding van de Lex Salica

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

De term “fons honorum”

In de literatuur over adel wordt regelmatig de term “fons honorum” gebruikt. Uitgereikte (adellijke) titels en decoraties worden pas als “echt” gezien als de verlenende persoon of instantie een fons honorum heeft. Mij is nooit geheel duidelijk geworden wat hieronder binnen een juridische context wordt verstaan. In een Italiaanse zaak, de zogenaamde Paterno-case, wordt wel duidelijk dat het al dan niet hebben van een fons honorum van groot belang is als het gaat om misleiding en fraude bij het verlenen van onderscheidende kwalificaties als “baron” en “ridder in de Orde van (…)”.

Juridische positie

De term “fons honorum” ben ik niet tegengekomen in nationale of internationale wetgeving. De verschillende definities hebben dan ook geen actuele juridische grondslag. Fons honorum is naar mijn mening gekoppeld aan het internationaal staatsrechtelijke beginsel van soevereiniteit omdat het recht om eerbewijzen te verlenen naar zijn aard een vorm van erkenning impliceert door een staat. Voor een definitie van het begrip staat wordt vaak artikel 1 van de Conventie van Montevideo aangehaald (Convention on the rights and duties of states; Montevideo, 26 december 1933 (165 LNTS p. 19). Het betreft hier de bekendste formulering van de criteria voor het ontstaan van een staat; Werner 2007, p. 166):

The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations.

In de onderlinge relaties tussen staten betekent soevereiniteit dat staten niet in een hiërarchische verhouding tot elkaar staan, maar dat zij in juridische zin aan elkaar gelijk(waardig) zijn (zie ook: art. 2, eerste lid, Handvest van de VN: “De Organisatie is gegrond op het beginsel van soevereine gelijkheid van al haar leden”). Lees verder