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Etola
05-21-2009, 06:26 PM
I have a question about titles and marriage into a royal family. Say a woman has no royal or noble blood, but she ends up marrying a prince. Does she automatically gain a title by virtue of the marriage alone? Or would a title have to be particularly bestowed on her by the royal family? I know that in Great Britain, such a person would be a Royal Consort if they married a king or queen, but I haven't found anything regarding marriage to a prince or princess. Diana became Princess of Wales, but I wasn't sure if that were a particular case because Charles is the Prince of Wales.

Setting is quasi-medieval secondary world fantasy. Thanks!

scarletpeaches
05-21-2009, 06:32 PM
Well. Like it or not, Camilla is now Princess of Wales because she's married to the Prince of Wales but for the sake of public opinion she styles herself Duchess of Cornwall, which she also is, by right of marrying the Duke of Cornwall.

If a commoner married into the royal family (as Sarah Ferguson did) wouldn't this be known as a Morganatic marriage? She wouldn't automatically become a princess, but in that case her husband was titled the Duke of York at his wedding (or just before I think) and Fergie was then able to style herself the Duchess of York.

Their daughters, being of the blood royal, were princesses from birth.

Tocotin
05-21-2009, 06:43 PM
Morganatic marriage is slightly different than that. It means that titles and privileges of the husband will not pass to the wife and children born of that marriage. Morganatic marriages don't exist in some countries (for example in UK; the mother of Elizabeth II was technically a commoner).

DeleyanLee
05-21-2009, 06:44 PM
Setting is quasi-medieval secondary world fantasy.

The simple fact that you're dealing in a Fantasy world means you can do whatever you want, as long as it makes sense and is consistent, regardless of what is done in our history or a select culture. England may do it one way, but other places in the world do it differently. Princess Grace and Queen Noor were both Americans who became royalty. Make it work within your story.

scarletpeaches
05-21-2009, 06:47 PM
Morganatic marriage is slightly different than that. It means that titles and privileges of the husband will not pass to the wife and children born of that marriage. Morganatic marriages don't exist in some countries (for example in UK; the mother of Elizabeth II was technically a commoner).

They do; one of her ancestors - well, okay, in the Victorian era - had a Morganatic marriage. Must do some research on this.

Tsu Dho Nimh
05-22-2009, 02:08 AM
A "morganatic" marriage merely means that the children will not inherit the throne .. it has nothing to do with whether the spouse is royal or commoner.

There are distinct differences in the way English titles indicate whether a female was born to the position or married it.

Princess Esmeralda of Xanax was born to the title ... Princess is the first word.
Esmeralda, Princess of Xanax got the title when she married the Prince ... it's appended after her name. (It was always technically Diana, Princess of Wales never Princess Diana of Wales)

Lady Esmeralda Henbane was born to a rank where the daughters are entitled to "Lady" as part of their form of address.
Sophronia, Lady Henbane married someone of a rank where wives are called "Lady ___"

Juneluv12
05-22-2009, 03:55 AM
Fergie became the Duchess of York because the Queen conferred the title on Andrew. Had she not, she would have become the Princess Andrew. It's the same with Princess Michael of Kent who married Prince Michael. The lower on the totum pole you go, that's what happens to you title wise.

There's also the fact that Earl Spencer, the title Diana's father carried and now brother, Charles does, is a higher rank than when you have The Earl of Spencer.

I guess you could say king and queen consorts are kinda sexists. Elizabeth's husband, Phillip, was already a Prince of Greece, so that's why he retained the title. However, she also gave him the title of The Duke of Edingurg. But her mother was the daughter of a Scottish Earl, but she became Queen upon Bertie(or George's) ascention.

Willowmound
05-22-2009, 01:05 PM
Say a woman has no royal or noble blood, but she ends up marrying a prince.

In the real medieval world, that simply wouldn't happen.

scarletpeaches
05-22-2009, 03:21 PM
In the real medieval world, that simply wouldn't happen.

It could, it would, and it did. Many times.

Willowmound
05-22-2009, 03:37 PM
Like when?

waylander
05-22-2009, 03:37 PM
In the real medieval world, that simply wouldn't happen.


Katharine Swynford

Willowmound
05-22-2009, 03:39 PM
It seems her father was a knight, i.e. noble.

Sarpedon
05-22-2009, 06:11 PM
Wasn't the Empress Theodora born a commoner?

Etola
05-22-2009, 06:35 PM
In the real medieval world, that simply wouldn't happen.

I'm well aware of the historical unlikeliness of this happening in our world :) But this is a fantasy world. 'Medieval' simply describes their level of technology, but culturally there are some significant differences. Hence, 'quasi-medieval.'


The simple fact that you're dealing in a Fantasy world means you can do whatever you want, as long as it makes sense and is consistent, regardless of what is done in our history or a select culture. England may do it one way, but other places in the world do it differently. Princess Grace and Queen Noor were both Americans who became royalty. Make it work within your story.

Good point! Still, it's good to hear about royal titles in general, as that gives me a firmer ground on which to make a consistent system.

But from what I'm reading, titles seem pretty darn confusing! ;)

Etola
05-22-2009, 06:42 PM
Princess Esmeralda of Xanax was born to the title ... Princess is the first word.
Esmeralda, Princess of Xanax got the title when she married the Prince ... it's appended after her name. (It was always technically Diana, Princess of Wales never Princess Diana of Wales)

Lady Esmeralda Henbane was born to a rank where the daughters are entitled to "Lady" as part of their form of address.
Sophronia, Lady Henbane married someone of a rank where wives are called "Lady ___"

So to clarify in that last example, "Henbane" is Sophronia's married last name? So if commoner Jane marries Lord John Smith, she'd become Jane, Lady Smith?

Willowmound
05-22-2009, 06:50 PM
Wasn't the Empress Theodora born a commoner?

Possibly. Of course, there will always be one or two instances defying the norm.

waylander
05-22-2009, 10:24 PM
It seems her father was a knight, i.e. noble.


According to this source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine_Swynford
her father was a herald knighted on his deathbed i.e. not quite noble, but around noble households.
So not exactly a peasant but hardly major nobility

mscelina
05-22-2009, 10:44 PM
Katherine Swynford was Lancaster's (John of Gaunt's) third wife. She had been his mistress for years.Her father, Payn de Roet, was a royal herald knighted by King Edward on the field just before he died. Her sister, Phillippa, was in the Queen's household and married Chaucer--yep, the Chaucer.

Katherine was not of noble blood. her first marriage to Hugh Swynford, was considered a mismatch and he was far, far lower than John of Gaunt on the nobility scale. She was considered a commoner; she was the governess to John's children by his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster and in the grand scheme of things was little more than a glorified servant in the opinion of the English aristocracy. What makes her so important is that through her, John of Gaunt fathered the Beauforts. She was the ultimate grandmother of the Tudors and the Stuarts through the Lancastrian claim to the Plantagenet throne.

Empress Theodora was not only a commoner, she was an actress. But, as she married a, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, it didn't matter a hoot what she started off as. It's what she ended up as that mattered--and that was a significant and important power behind the throne.

DeleyanLee
05-22-2009, 10:46 PM
It seems her father was a knight, i.e. noble.

FWIW, a knight is gentry, not noble.

DeleyanLee
05-22-2009, 10:49 PM
As for the confusion of royals, nobles and gentry in England, author Jo Beverly wrote up a great guide that makes it all clear: http://members.shaw.ca/jobev/title.html

Worth looking at.

mscelina
05-22-2009, 11:03 PM
Oh--morgantic marriage--I remembered what I wanted to say about that.

You should probably take a look at the Royal Marriage Act of 1772 in Great Britain. According to that act, any member of the royal family who married without the consent of the soveriegn would have their marriage considered invalid and, as a result, their children wouldn't be title holders. Probably the most famous incident of this was the marriage between Maria Fitzherbert and George IV. Because she was Catholic, the marriage was invalid according to British law.

Tocotin
05-23-2009, 06:56 AM
Oh--morgantic marriage--I remembered what I wanted to say about that.

You should probably take a look at the Royal Marriage Act of 1772 in Great Britain. According to that act, any member of the royal family who married without the consent of the soveriegn would have their marriage considered invalid and, as a result, their children wouldn't be title holders. Probably the most famous incident of this was the marriage between Maria Fitzherbert and George IV. Because she was Catholic, the marriage was invalid according to British law.

So it would mean that in this case the marriage itself was considered invalid, but not morganatic.

Stacia Kane
05-23-2009, 09:02 AM
If I'm not mistaken, morganatic marriages require an Act of Parliament. (I could be mistaken, but I don't believe I am.) Edward VIII suggested a morganatic marriage with Wallis Simpson but Parliament refused (and Wallis didn't exactly love the idea either).*

Interestingly, that marriage relates to your original question. On marrying Edward--a royal Prince, even after abdicating--Wallis, in the normal course of things, would have become Her Royal Highness, Princess Wallis. ["Royal Highness," btw, is an appellation, not a title.] Even after the "Duke of Windsor" title was created, Edward was His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor and Wallis would have been HRH the Duchess of Windsor, just as Andrew is His Royal Highness the Duke of York and Fergie was indeed Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York (now they're divorced she is simply "Sarah, Duchess of York," without the HRH). BUT. The royal family--and the people of England in general--so loathed Wallis they refused to give her the HRH appellation. Thus, she remained until her death "Her Grace the Duchess of Windsor," a fact which never ceased to infuriate her. She and Edward forced their servants to call her "Your Royal Highness" same as they did with him.)



*and a darn good thing they did, too, as Edward and Wallis were loathsome and insipid, and Nazi sympathizers to boot.