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Dear fellow collectors,

When doing some research I came across the title Fürst and the title Prinz, which in English is translated into prince (Fürstlicher Hausorden von Hohenzollern/ Princely House Order of Hohenzollern). However, in Germany there are Fürsten (Fürst zu Bentheim und Steinfurt) and Prinzen (Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein). Although these titles are translated to the same rank in English, are these ranks essentially the same? What makes them different and what was the different standing of the Fürsten and the Prinzen?

And the follow-up question, is the Dutch rank of Vorst equal to the German rank of Fürst?

Kind regards and thanks in advance, Laurentius

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I would say a Fürst translates better as an Earl.

Head of a little state or /  and head of a family, while a Prinz is usually the son of a royal or ducal house.

 

Best,

Daniel 

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Fürst is the title of the head of a house whereof the younger members are either princes or counts. E.g. Fürst Bismarck, other members are of comital rank; Fürst zu Sayn-W-H, younger members are princes. All depends on how, when and through whom the title of Fürst was initially acquired, either with primogenitur or not

Edited by David M
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I think fürstliche Häuser (princely houses) with "princes" as family members, despite the head are only those houses which held a "reichsunmittelbares" territory in the holy roman empire (which was more or less a sovereign state with only the emperor above him, who had only limited power over these territories)or stayed sovereign (Fürst von Lippe etc.). I think later created titular "Fürsten" (Britain for example has despite the prince of wales (?), Duchy of Cornwall(?) only titular titles?) aren't existing with family descendent as princes. I would be happy to hear of a counter example.

The german / holy roman rank system is very very complicated. I think you have to spend very much time into it to understand every facette. There were also the "Reichsritter" (imperial knights) and even Reichsdörfer (imperial villages) with super small semi-sovereign territories.

Edited by Utgardloki
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11 hours ago, laurentius said:

Dear fellow collectors,

When doing some research I came across the title Fürst and the title Prinz, which in English is translated into prince (Fürstlicher Hausorden von Hohenzollern/ Princely House Order of Hohenzollern). However, in Germany there are Fürsten (Fürst zu Bentheim und Steinfurt) and Prinzen (Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein). Although these titles are translated to the same rank in English, are these ranks essentially the same? What makes them different and what was the different standing of the Fürsten and the Prinzen?

And the follow-up question, is the Dutch rank of Vorst equal to the German rank of Fürst?

Kind regards and thanks in advance, Laurentius

The late consort of Queen Juliana , Bernhard was Prins and not Vorst . but his father Bernhard van Lippe Biesterfeld was Vorst ;Furst :

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On 08/08/2020 at 03:39, Bayern said:

Bernhard was Prins

Bernhard was born a 'Graf', he got the title 'Prins' on the day of his wedding, together with the predicate 'Koninklijke Hoogheid'.

On 07/08/2020 at 18:13, VtwinVince said:

German and English titles are not directly comparable. Consider the titles Freiherr, Reichsfreiherr and Baron, all used coincidentally in Germany.

It would seem they aren't comparable, simply because the English language seems to miss a certain depth. It's the same with castles really. In English you have Castle or Palace, whilst in German there are a 1001 ways to describe such buildings.

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Its somewhat more complicated than that. Bernhards parents marries morganatically. His mother was made a Countess of Biesterfeld at her wedding and both sons got their mothers name at birth. His mother and he and his brother Aschwin got the princely title in 1916 from his uncle the last reigning prince of Lippe-Detmold with the predicate of Durchlaucht. Subsequently at his wedding with Juliana he became HRH The Prince of the Netherlands.

A Reichsfreiherr was made by the HRR emperor before the desolution of the empire in 1806. A Freiherr was made by any other kind of german souvereign at any given point in history before 1918. Barons were used mainly by the baltic germans and often had a russian or swedish grant as origin. To make things easier, in some periodes of time Baron used to be the speakingtitle for a Freiherr

Edited by David M
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Additionally to mention: Reichsfreiherr was never an official title. It was just used, as stated above, by houses lifted into the Freiherrenstand during the HRR, cause it was more prestigious than a later title. Officially they are also just Freiherrn.

You can also use the term Reichsfreiherrn when you talk about the group of Freiherrn which held a reichsunmittelbares (imperial immediate) territory (analog to Reichsfürsten, Reichsgrafen and Reichsritter) if you wish to distinguish them from the immediate imperial knights without the title Freiherr. 

Edited by Utgardloki
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Laurentius ,Its as you says , In my previous post I keep short and not explain these a bit more complicated that you have post Thanks !

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On 09/08/2020 at 19:35, laurentius said:

Bernhard was born a 'Graf', he got the title 'Prins' on the day of his wedding, together with the predicate 'Koninklijke Hoogheid'.

It would seem they aren't comparable, simply because the English language seems to miss a certain depth. It's the same with castles really. In English you have Castle or Palace, whilst in German there are a 1001 ways to describe such buildings.

Well, these titles are not fully comparable not because "English language seems to miss certain depth" (Shakespeare wouldn’t agree as do I) but because HRE and England/ United Kingdom are/ were not comparable legal entities. In England/United Kingdom there are not any sovereigns but the King/Queen and in HRE it was in contrary, with many sovereign ducal, princely and even comital families, vast majority of them mediatized in 1806 (and without real power for centuries). “Prince” in English means either son of monarch or lesser sovereign of smaller state, not equal or below to king. Welsh rulers were considered “princes” and now it’s reflected in title “Prince of Wales”. Latter one is the reason why “Fürst” as originally sovereign ruler who held imperial immediacy of smaller Imperial state in the boundaries of the HRE is translated to English as “Prince”. Sons and grandsons of English monarch also held the title of “Prince” since their birth so probably the best translation of German “Prinz” as a son of “Fürst” or “Herzog” (sovereigns in HRE) is also “Prince”.  There is also a title of “duke”, firstly created for sons of Edward III to distinguish them from other “earls” of non-royal origin. However in German it would translate as “Herzog”, which is not the same as “Fürst”. German “Herzoge” were (mostly, not always) effective and real rules of large domains in HRE. By the way, Peerage system (5 of them indeed – English, Scottish, Irish, of Great Britain and of United Kingdom) with barons, viscounts, earls, marquises and dukes with the system of courtesy titles + landed gentry of baronets and knights is also very complicated.

 

Concerning observation about “castle or palace” here I would recommend to find out what expressions like “manor house”, “abbey house”, “mote house”, “hall house”, “yeoman house” etc. mean. In English there is also 1000+ ways how to describe these buildings.

BTW…I am not British  😉

Regards,

tifes

 

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Well written,

with saying the system is complicated, i did not mean it is anyhow "better" than any other one. I rather wanted to point out it is more inconsistent, with more irregularities.

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15 hours ago, tifes said:

By the way, Peerage system (5 of them indeed – English, Scottish, Irish, of Great Britain and of United Kingdom) with barons, viscounts, earls, marquises and dukes with the system of courtesy titles + landed gentry of baronets and knights is also very complicated.

Thank you very much for your explanation Tifes.

I feel a quote from the Dowager-Countess Grantham would fit very good here. 'If I were to search for logic, I would not look for it among the English upper class.'

Thank you all for your help, although I fear the subject is too large and complicated for us to be done justice.

 

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Good day to everybody,

I glad that you find my contribution useful. One more thing what Laurentis asked:

On 07/08/2020 at 16:06, laurentius said:

And the follow-up question, is the Dutch rank of Vorst equal to the German rank of Fürst?

If you look at the title of rulers of Lichtenstein and Monaco now, both are translated as „Fürst“ in German and “Vorst“ in Dutch, however this title didn’t/ doesn´t  exist in Netherlands as I know.

On 09/08/2020 at 19:35, laurentius said:

Bernhard was born a 'Graf', he got the title 'Prins' on the day of his wedding, together with the predicate 'Koninklijke Hoogheid'.

Concerning prince Bernhard he became Prince-Consort of Netherlands with address “Koninklijke Hoogheid“ on a day of his wedding with the Queen Juliana, which is very much true but since his birth he was „Prinz“ not „Graf“. I have checked English version of Wikipedia and it’s not correct there.

It´s quite mess and it has to do with so-called "Lippischen Erbfolgstreit" – Fight for Lippe´s ruling claim. To cut this complicated story short: Last ruler of main line of House of Lippe, Fürst Alexander zur Lippe, was mentally ill and without heir and according House of Lippe law the next ruler should have came from oldest, most senior branch. There were 3 branches, one princely and 2 comitals. There was a legal fight but at the end comital as the most senior branch, Lippe-Biesterfeld, prevailed and Leopold Graf (count) zur Lippe-Biesterfeld became Leopold IV Fürst zur Lippe in 1905. This act also immediately elevated his younger brother, count/Graf Bernhard senior (father of Bernhard, future Prince-Consort of Netherlands) from comital rank to princely rank and he became “Prinz”. His kids were then consequently born with titles of “Prinz”/ Prinzessin”, which is the case of Bernhard, Prince-Consort of Netherlands, born 1911. 

Regards,

Tifes 

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6 hours ago, David M said:

No he was not because Bernard jr was born from a morganatic marriage as stated above.

Morganatic marriage is correct. Therefore "Graf" by birth as issue of morganatic marriage (honestly, I didn’t know) but in 1916 his uncle Leopold IV as reigning Prince raised Bernhard, his brother and his mother to Prince and Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld (Prinz/ Prinzessin zur Lippe-Biesterfeld), thereby retroactively according his parents' marriage dynastic status. In a time of his marriage he was German “Prinz" for sure (just check his full name in any period document) . In fact this is new cadet princely line “Lippe-Biesterfeld”.

Best,

t.

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Right. As I stated before 🤣

9 minutes ago, tifes said:

Morganatic marriage is correct. Therefore "Graf" by birth as issue of morganatic marriage (honestly, I didn’t know) but in 1916 his uncle Leopold IV as reigning Prince raised Bernhard, his brother and his mother to Prince and Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld (Prinz/ Prinzessin zur Lippe-Biesterfeld), thereby retroactively according his parents' marriage dynastic status. In a time of his marriage he was German “Prinz" for sure (just check his full name in any period document) . In fact this is new cadet princely line “Lippe-Biesterfeld”.

 

Best,

t.

Right. Thats what I said in my previous post. Well copied 🤣

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