Sunday, 10 January 2016

Dictionary of Royal Terms

List in Alphabetical order. Some of these terms may have slightly different meanings, when used in non-royal contexts. Feel free to comment with any word you would like to see added.

Crown Prince/ss - Used to denote the heir apparent to the throne, also used for their wife. Some Monarchies don't use this term, instead they have a specific title that denotes the heir apparent:
  • Duke/Duchess of Cornwall (England and Wales)
  • Duke/Duchess of Rothesay (Scotland)
  • Prince/ss of Asturias (Spain)
  • Prince/ss of Orange (Netherlands)
  • etc.
Duke of York -  This is a title traditionally, but not automatically, given to the 2nd son of the British Monarch. The title is for life, and there can only be one Duke of York at a time.

Grand Duchy - A Monarchy ruled over by a Grand Duke/Duchess. Luxembourg is the only remaining Grand Duchy. 

Heir - The person who is next in line for the position. Usually the eldest son or daughter, but if there are none, the closest eligible relative. 
  • Heir Apparent - The person who is 1st in line to the throne, who could not be displaced by a birth.
    • The eldest child/son of a Monarch. 
  • Heir Presumed -  The person who is 1st in line for the throne, but who could be displaced by a birth.
    • Queen Elizabeth II was never the Heir Apparent, because there was always the chance her father could have had a son, who would become 1st in line to the throne. 
  • Spare - The 2nd child, who would inherit the throne should the 1st child be unable to. 
Hereditary Prince/ss -  See Crown Prince/ss

Infante/a - Used in Spain (and other defunct monarchies) to denote a son or daughter of the monarch (or former monarch). The English equivalent would be a Prince/ss. Spain doesn't use the term Prince/ss, in the way other monarchs do They use Princess almost exclusively for the heir apparent, The Prince/ss of Asturias.

Jubilee - A milestone anniversary in a Monarch's reign. Usually celebrated on these anniversaries:
  • Silver Jubilee - 25th anniversary
  • Ruby Jubilee  - 40th anniversary* 
  • Golden Jubilee - 50th anniversary
  • Diamond Jubilee - 60th anniversary
  • Platinum Jubilee - 70th or 75th anniversary
*Celebrated in some counties

Line/ Order of Succession - The order of people in line to the throne.

British Order of Succession: 
  1. Prince Charles
  2. Prince William
  3. Prince George
  4. Princess Charlotte
  5. Prince Harry
  6. Prince Andrew, etc. 
Order of Precedence - Commonly called the pecking order. This denotes the seniority of each royal for official events. Unlike the Line of Succession, this includes spouses. This is used to determine: 
  • The order in which royals arrive at an official event, 
  • Order in which they will lay wreaths,
  • Who they must bows/ curtsy to who, 
  • etc.
Their are separate order of precedences for men, women and for when couples are together. 

Patronage - A patronage is a charity or orgininzation that a Royal officially supports, and publicly connects themselves with. The royal usually becomes their Patron, but could also become their President, Vice Patron, Ambassador, etc.

A Patronage is not for life, but a set period of time. Often for 3 years, 5 years, an appeal or special project. After that it may be renewed. What exact title a Royal has in a Patronages is decided by the Charity or Organization.
  • Patron - A patron supports the charity or organization's cause and will visit from time to time to help them celebrate achievements, raise funds, raise public awareness, etc. A patron is a honorary position. They do not have any responsibilities in the day to day running.
    • Royal Patron - means the same thing as Patron. The term Royal Patron is typically used for a Royal when the organization or charity already has patrons. This way they can distinguish the Royal Patron from the other  Patrons.
    • Joint Patron - This is used when there are two or more Royals who share a Patronage (usually couples).
    • Vice Patron - This is used when there are two or more Royals who share a Patronage, but one is more senior. The Senior Royal is the Patron, the Junior one the Vice Patron.
      • E.g. The Queen is Patron of over 600+ organization and charities. Since the Queen is unable to give all of her patronages the attention they need, her children and grandchildren help, often as Vice Patron or President.
      • Besides supporting the Queen's Patronages, and Joint Patronages between couples, charities usually only have one royal supporting them, so that the royal family can support as many causes as possible. 
  • President - This is a less common position for Royals. A President may have more of a hands on role in the charity or organization, but it is quite similar to a Patron. 
  • Ambassador - A smaller role than Patron, usually used to denote a more general level of support in instances where there are numerous ambassadors. 
Primogeniture - Who has the right to succeed the throne, or inherit.
  • Absolute Primogeniture
    • The eldest child inherits the throne, regardless of gender. 
  • Male-Preferance Primogeniture
    • Sons, and their descendants, rank above daughters,  
      • Meaning a younger son displaces his older sister in the line of succession. 
      • I.e. Crown Prince Jacques of Monaco is 1st in line over his older twin sister Princess Gabriella. Princess Gabriella will be pushed further down the line of succession by younger brothers and any children her brothers may have. 
  • Agnatic Primogeniture - Only males can inherent the throne. Females and their descendants are not included in the line of succession. 
Prince Consort -  A Queen's husband. The term Prince consort is not always used, sometimes the Queen's husband is just referred to as Prince.

Prince/ss of Wales -  This is a title traditionally, but not automatically, given to the heir apparent to the British Monarch. The wife of the Prince of Wales traditionally uses her husband's title and is Princess of Wales.

  • This title has never been held by a women in her own right.  Before the change in succession in 2015, a women was never considered the heir apparent, only the heir presumed. 
  • Prince Charles is the current holder of this title. His wife Camilla, is correspondingly Princess of Wales. Camilla uses her lesser title Duchess of Cornwall out of respect for Princess Diana, the previous holder. 

Princess Royal -  This is a title traditionally, but not automatically, given to the eldest daughter of the British Monarch. The title is for life, and there can only be one Princess Royal at a time. 
  • Queen Elizabeth II never held the title as her aunt, Princess Mary, held the title and was still living.
  • The current title holder is the Queen's only daughter, Princess Anne. 

Principality - A monarchy that is ruled by a Prince/ss, opposed to a King/Queen.

Queen Mother/Mum - a former reigning, Queen who is mother of the current monarch, which could be either a King or a Queen.
  • Not always used.
United Kingdom - The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK or Britain) is a country. The UK is made up of four lesser countries England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. 
  • England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are not independent countries.
    • Although they are often represented individually, for things like sports. 
  • Great Britain
    • Great Britain refers to the Island containing England, Scotland and Wales.
      • Can also contain smaller offshore islands such as England's Isle of Wight, Wales' Anglesey, Scotland's Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands.
    • In some contexts Great Britain refers to the whole United Kingdom. (E.g. the UK's olympic team is called Great Britain)


  1. since UK and Commonwealth changed the rules last year. I didn't heard anythings of future princess of wales uses. I mean if George's first child is a girl, will she be princess of Wales in her own right? I didn't read anything says that.

    1. If George was a girl, when William became king, she could be granted the title Princess of Wales.

      You probably didn't read anything about, because no one really thought about the fact we haven't had a Princess of Wales in her own right yet. Seeing as how we've changed the rules to allow women to hold their place in line and not get pushed down by brothers, I don't see how anyone would think a women can't hold the title Princess of Wales.

      We also haven't had a Duchess of Cornwall or a Duchess of Rothesay in their own right, because of before now a Women could never be the Heir Apparent.

      You see the same things in other countries that just switched over to Absolute Primogeniture. Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands is the 1st Heir Apparent to be the Princess of Orange.

    2. The succession rights to the Duchy of Cornwall need to be changed too since as it is now, no woman can inherit the title. But I assume this is going to happen well before George's possible daughter even borns.

  2. Such an interesting post! Great job :)

  3. Hi Gertrude, Thanks so much for this post and your explanations. What a great page!