Monday, 7 March 2011

King and Queen of Norway to attend British royal wedding

The Norwegian Royal Court has today confirmed to the news agency NTB that the King and Queen will attend the wedding of Prince William of Britain and Kate Middleton in London on 29 April.
Apparently no-one else from the Norwegian royal family has been invited, but that was what I expected after Clarence House stated that 40 foreign royals have been invited. Given this number and the fact that there are nine other monarchies in Europe and that a number of non-European royal houses are also to be expected there would hardly be possible to invite more than two representatives of each country and this probably means that only the reigning couples from each country have been invited.
The Danish weekly Billed-Bladet has earlier claimed that Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik will also attend, but this has not yet been confirmed.
Meanwhile the British royal court has launched its official wedding website (external link), which contains information on the wedding, photos and biographical information.


  1. Would it not be more correct, sir, to refer to His Royal Highness as Prince William of Wales?

  2. No, not abroad. He is a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but is styled "Prince William of Wales" like his cousin is styled "Princess Beatrice of York" or his grandmother's cousin "Prince Michael of Kent". This indicates which part of the family they belong to, but such styles have little relevance outside Britain, where it is the most natural thing to refer to "Prince William of Britain" in the same way as one refers to "Prince Laurent of Belgium". Indeed it is one of the silliest things I see when I read that Gustaf VI Adolf "married a Princess of Connaught" - of course he married a Princess of the UK.

  3. I see your point, sir. And I might add that I may not have reacted in the same way had you used "of the UK [etc.]" instead of "of Britain."

    However, there are 15 other Crown Commonwealth realms. Also, Wales is a principality, albeit not a sovereign one, which makes the term "prinsen av Wales" and equivalent ones in languages that do have fyrst, Fürst, or something similar quite annoying.

    Kent, York, and Connaught are not principalities as far as I know.

  4. "Britain", unlike "Great Britain", is a synonym for "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

    While Elizabeth II has separate titles in each of the countries of which she is queen the other members of the British royal family do not, so I do not really see your point about the "15 other Crown Commonwealth realms". Prince William's title is "Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", not "Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and you name it".

    You will see from my books that I am one of the few Norwegian writers who actually use the correct translation "fyrsten av Wales" rather than "prinsen av Wales".

    The difference between Wales being a principality and Kent, York and Connaught being dukedoms is not very relevant here, as the courtesy suffixes "of Wales", "of York" etc. are used (in Britain) to indicate which branch each prince(ss) belong to without making any distinction between a principality or a dukedom - or indeed an earldom; unless the Earl and Countess of Wessex had wished that their children should be styled as the children of an Earl rather than as the prince and princess they really are, the children would have been "Princess Louise of Wessex" and "Prince James of Wessex".

    (And concerning Connaught (or Connacht in Irish): it has even been a kingdom once).

  5. Thank you for your clarification, sir! :-)

  6. Interesting. Do you think in Swedish it would be more correct to say "fursten" av Wales rather than "prinsen" av Wales? I know many Swedes call S. A. S. Prince Albert II de Monaco ,Prins Albert II in Swedish. I always thougt that was pure ignorance not knowing that the French or English "prince" should be translated "furste" for a ruling prince or a head of a former ruling princely house. Never imagined the same would apply for Wales, but of course Wales is not England. Still the title is in some way the property of the monarch of Great Britain and (Northern) Ireland, is it not?
    If " Prince Charles of the U.K. of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" is "the Prince (Fursten) of Wales" why would not his sons be princes of Wales at the same time as being princes of the U.K. The younger brother of the Duke of Kent is always referred to as Prince Michael of Kent. Why were the daughters of the Duke of Connaught in your opinion not princesses of Connaught at the same time as they were princesses of the U.K.,and of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and duchesses in Saxony?
    Martin Rahm

  7. Yes, the correct translation of "Prince of Wales" would be "furste av Wales" in Swedish (like in Norwegian, Danish, German and other languages which have separate words for "prins" and "furste").

    Prince Albert II of Monaco was "prins Albert" in Swedish until 2005; since then he has of course been "furst Albert" as he is now the principality's head of state. But we have the same problem in Norwegian that many (in the media) have either not yet gotten used to the fact that he is now "fyrst Albert" like his father was "fyrst Rainier" or simply copy from websites in English where there is no difference between "prins" and "fyrste". (But don't get me started about the media's ignorance - as late as earlier today I read in an online newspaper about how "the President of Japan" had reacted to the tsunami...)

    Wales is a principality and the Prince of Wales is just that *The* Prince of Wales, which should therefore be translated as "Fursten av Wales" rather than "Prinsen av Wales". The legend is that the King of England following the conquest of Wales promised the Welsh that they would get a prince of their own, which turned out to be his eldest son.

    "The Prince of Wales" is an actual title held by Prince Charles, while his sons are styled "of Wales" as a courtesy indicating which branch of the royal family they belong to. In their cases it is not an actual titles and I guess the simple reason for this is that Wales (like Orange or Asturias) is not an independent principality.

    Similarly Prince Michael is not actually a Prince of Kent, but styled as such to indicate which branch he belongs to - it works almost as a surname (which is also evident from how his sister Alexandra ceased being styled "of Kent" when she married and the suffix "the Hon Mrs Angus Ogilvy" (later "the Hon Lady Ogilvy" after her husband was knighted) was added instead of "of Kent".

    Your Crown Princess Margareta was styled "Princess Margaret of Connaught" before she married to indicate that she belonged to the Connaught branch, but her actual *title* was "Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland".

  8. I believe there are three main reasons for why Prince Albert II is mistranslated into Norwegian -- and Swedish and other languages for that matter -- as opposed to when it comes to Liechtenstein. They are:

    1. Of course, the lacking distinction in the English language, as mentioned previously in the comments.
    2. The main and official language of Monaco is French, where there also is no distinction. There is in German, which is the language of Liechtenstein.
    3. The Prince of Monaco is more in the media than the Prince of Liechtenstein.

    Your thoughts, sir?

  9. Yes, I agree, at least with the first two. I am a little more in doubt about the third. The Prince of Liechtenstein is indeed less in the Norwegian media than the Prince of Monaco, but when he is so it does happen that Norwegian journalists call him "prins Hans Adam" if they (as is their habit) have based their report on an English-language newspaper or website. But the main problem is, I believe, that "fyrst Albert" was "prins Albert" for so many years that many journalists refer to him as such out of old habit (or failure to put 2 and 2 together and get 4, i.e. realising that the passing of "fyrst Rainier" means that his son is now the "fyrste").

  10. I am sure we could be able to convince journalists and others that the heads of state of the principalities of Monaco and Liechtenstein should be called Fyrst/Furst in Norwegian and Swedish (particularly if one adds his number after the name) but for the Prince of Wales I think that would ,at least in the case of Sweden, acquire an impossible amount of persuasion. And I have never seen him numbered.Does the Norwegian court use the translation "fyrste" if they ever refer to the prince in Norwegian?
    Martin Rahm

  11. The problem about journalists in this matter is that they tend to rely on English-language websites and such and simply do not realise that "Prince" may be translated as both "prins" and "fyrste". Still some manage to get it right.

    I agree that it would probably be impossible to win people over for the translation "fyrste av Wales" (there is however one journalist in Aftenposten who uses that translation). It would of course also have meant that the woman generally called "prinsesse Diana" in Norwegian media following her divorce would have been "Diana, fyrstinne av Wales" and I cannot imagine journalists taking to referring to her as "fyrstinne Diana".

    The title of the Spanish heir, Principe de Asturias, should also be translated as "fyrste av Asturias" as Asturias is a principality, but I am uncertain about the title of the Dutch heir. One would think that "Prince of Orange" would be "fyrste av Oranien" in Norwegian as Orange was also a principality, but the Dutch themselves seem to use the term "prins van Oranje" although they also have the word "vorst" (which was for instance used by Willem I during those two years when the Netherlands was a principality before becoming a kingdom).

    Princes of Wales do not have numerals because they are not monarchs.

    When the Prince of Wales visits Norway the Norwegian court always uses the common translation "H.K.H. Prinsen av Wales". I would imagine the Swedish court would have done the same, but there are of course no recent examples as Prince Charles has not visited Sweden since the 1970s.

  12. Perhaps I should not prolong this exchange of thoughts but I did not recall earlier that in French there is a way of distinguishing between a "Prins" and a "Fyrst" although both are called "prince". Prince Albert II de Monaco is internally in Monaco as the present monarch only referred to as "S.A.S. le Prince Souverain" mostly without any name or number. Like I think the ruling monarch or crown prince in any monarchy internally is normally just referred by his or her title without name or number.
    Another story is that the oldest sister of "Le Prince Souverain" is known as "La Princesse de Hanovre" also without mentioning any christian name whereas the nièce of "Le Prince Souverain" is called Princesse Alexandra de Hanovre.
    Martin Rahm

  13. Yes, that is true and one may make that same distinction in English, like I do when I write "Sovereign Prince" of Monaco, Liechtenstein or Pontecorvo. (But of course it does not work when referring to current German Fürsts, who are not sovereigns...)

    The interesting thing about the title of Princess Caroline is that according to the new Monegasque succession law the person first in line to the throne, regardless of his or her relationship to the Sovereign Prince, does have the title "the Hereditary Prince(ss)". Yet Princess Caroline seems to prefer being known as "the Princess of Hanover" rather than as "the Hereditary Princess of Monaco".

  14. To be a Royal Highness is something more than to be a simple Serene Highness!! As for Monaco she is just in line for something in the future but as for Hanover she is already now " The Princess". By the way most princely houses have a number of titles to choose from, when need is.
    Unlike the German princes who abdicated in 1918 the Hanoverians never abdicated from that Kingdom even if they probably abdicated from Brunswick in 1918 together with the rest.
    By the way Sovereign Prince of Ponte Corvo, was there ever such a prince.? Do you mean Bernadotte before the principality was handed over to the Murats?
    Martin Rahm

  15. I disagree: being a Hereditary Princess to an existing monarchy is something more than being Princess of a non-existant country!

    The style one uses does not have to be linked to the title one uses, so nothing would have prevented Princess Caroline from using the name "HRH the Hereditary Princess of Monaco". The same, or rather the exact opposite, is the case with the Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein, who remains an HRH even though her husband is a mere HSH (the highest ranking prefix is always used, regardless of the status of the spouse - there are many other examples of this, including your Princess Maria, who was styled Her Imperial Highness Princess Maria while married to His Royal Highness Prince Wilhelm).

    Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was indeed Sovereign Prince and Duke of Pontecorvo from 1806 to 1810. He and Berthier were the only marshals who were given actual principalities to reign over as sovereigns; the other marshals who were created princes received the title, but not any principality to reign over, and their titles were mostly taken from battles they had fought, like Ney, who was Duke of Elchingen and Prince of Moskowa.

  16. Well if we agreed on everthing there would be no discussion.To belong to the House of Hanover,perhaps the oldest of all still existing princely houses, whose members over the centuries have been sovereigns of a number of European and even non-European states beats in my mind to belong to the presently ruling family of Monaco.
    I think the sister of the Prince Sovereign of Monaco has better taste and respect for her husband than to pitch " Royal Highness" from him and for the rest keep a name from her own family. And hopefully she will loose the title you suggested when her brother gets a child.
    As you pointed out there are many examples of princesses who marry princes of lesser rank and continue the use the H.I.H,H.R.H. or H.H.they had from birth even if married to princes who are not styled so. But right now I can not recall any case of someone doing as you suggested could have been done in the case of Princess Caroline.
    Back to Ponte Corvo. Interesting that Bernadotte was actually a sovereign prince. But duke? When Ponte Corvo was not a principality I understand it was an exclave of the Papal State in the Kingdom of the two Sicilies witout any specific ruler. And what about the dukes of Otranto, who go on living in Sweden under their French name, were the soveign dukes or was it just a title?
    Martin Rahm

  17. But both for reasons of protocol and for legal reasons being Hereditary Princess (or just an "ordinary" Princess, for that sake) of a reigning royal family, even though "only" of little Monaco, puts one above a princess of a deposed house, no matter how long or over how much of the earth the deposed family have reigned.

    In a legal context a Hereditary Princess of a country enjoys certain privileges, while the latter is simply a private citizen, Mrs Prinzessin von Hannover.

    When it comes to protocol the Hereditary Princess of Monaco outranks a Princess of Hanover. If Caroline had chosen to use the title which she is entitled to by Monegasque law rather than her husband's title she would have been seated with Charles of Britain, Haakon of Norway, Victoria of Sweden, Guillaume of Luxembourg etc. As Princess of Hanover her seat would be among other pretenders from deposed families, such as Prince Napoléon or Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia.

    So Princess Caroline is in fact using a lower title than she might have done and with that also a lesser rank.

    The reason for this might indeed be just the fact you point out: that she will loose the title as Hereditary Princess of Monaco if/when her brother has a legitimate child. And she might also have opted to avoid using that title so as not to "highlight" her brother's unmarried, heirless state.

    I too cannot think of any previous case of a Serene Highness and Hereditary Princess using the style Royal Highness derived from her husband. But that is not that strange, as Hereditary Princesses to principalities have been rather thin on the ground - the previous one was Princess Charlotte of Monaco - and none of those who have existed have been married to Royal Highnesses.

    Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's title was indeed Prince and Duke of Pontecorvo with the style Serene Highness. Pontecorvo had been part of the secular territory of the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino since the 12th century, but was conquered by Papal forces in the war between Naples and the Pope in 1463. It remained a Papal enclave until conquered by the French and became so again after the downfall of Napoléon. An independent Republic of Pontecorvo was declared in 1820, but Papal rule was re-established the following year and remained in force until Pontecorvo joined the Kingdom of Italy.

    For more on the history of Pontecorvo and its links with the Bernadottes I refer you to my article "The Principality of Pontecorvo - Bernadotte's Stepping Stone to the Throne" in Royalty Digest Quarterly, no 1-2010.

    Otranto was not a sovereign duchy, but a title which came with estates in Italy. Unlike Bernadotte and Berthier, Fouché was thus not a sovereign.

  18. Thank you Trond. You are really a source of knowledge. I shall subscribe to the Royal Digest Quarterly instead of bothering you unnecessarily with questions you have already replied to.Thank you anyhow. In your article of the Digest you may have explained how one can be a sovereign prince and duke of the same piece of land at the same time. I have visited Ponte Corvo a couple of times since it is a convenient place for a break when driving from Rome to Naples or back.No memories of its Napoleonic history there as far as I remember from those stops. But that was a long time ago.
    Going back to the Hereditary Princess of Monaco as compared to the Princess of Hanovre our different opinion probably stem from that I - although not a historian-am interested in the presently reigning royal families only as memories of their past.Part of that memory of course being their titles, their protocol, their crown jewels etc.which they still can use and do use to charm me and others.
    Thank you for explaining the title of Duke of Otranto for Fouché. What about Benevento for Talleyrand-Périgord? You do not have to reply!Martin Rahm

  19. I can warmly recommend a subscription to Royalty Digest Quarterly, which has become an excellent source of information for those of us who are more than averagely interested in royal history.

    No, I have not entered into any explanation of the title "Prince and Duke". That is the title one finds in Napoléon's patent and I don't know why he chose to make it "double", but anyway I think it is not entirely unique for Bernadotte to have held two titles referring to the same territory. Albert II is for instance legally both King of the Belgians and Prince of Belgium, because of the 1891 law which says that all male-line descendants of Léopold I are Princes of Belgium (no exception for the King). Interestingly Carl XIII chose to discard the old Oldenburg title "heir to Norway" when he became King of Norway, apparently because he found the older title superfluous when he had actually become the country's king (although in a way which had nothing to do with hereditary claims).

    I have myself been to Pontecorvo only once (three years ago) and ideed found few traces of its princely past, which is to a large extent due to the bombing of the town in 1943, which destroyed most of the it. But there is a "Via Giovanni Battista Bernadotte"! On the other hand there is also a "Via John Kennedy", although I cannot think of any link between JFK and Pontecorvo...

    (By the way the only Bernadotte to have visited Pontecorvo seems to have been Gustaf VI Adolf in 1949; I found some photos in one of his albums).

    The fates of the two Papal enclaves Pontecorvo and Benevento were closely linked and Talleyrand was indeed given the latter as a sovereign principality at the same time as Bernadotte got Pontecorvo (he quietly dropped it for the title Prince Talleyrand at the downfall of the Empire).

  20. Yesterday 14 april I read on the home page of the Swedish Royal family that the whole family (except of course Princess Lilian)is going to attend the wedding of Prince Albert II. Strangely enough the prince was referred to in a mixture of English and Swedish as "H.S.H. Prins Albert II"! I sent a remark to the webmaster.
    Martin Rahm

  21. Yet they still have not corrected it. But at least they do not write "Furst Daniel"...

  22. It has been corrected. At the same time they promoted the Prince in Swedish to H.H which I do not think is correct Swedish for H.S.H. But it is almost impossible to find a suitable translation. To call the Monegasque Sovereign H.D.(Hans Durchlaucht)would probably be correct but ridiculous.
    Martin Rahm

  23. The correct translation would be "furstlig höghet", but it seems the Scandinavian courts for some reason are not comfortable with that term. The Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburgs are also Serene Highnesses, but the Danish court always styles them "HH" and the Norwegian court follows suit.


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