This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Substantive title" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

A substantive title is a title of nobility or royalty acquired either by individual grant or by inheritance. It is to be distinguished from a title shared among cadets, borne as a courtesy title by a peer's relatives, or acquired through marriage.


Current monarchies

The main titles of heirs apparent to a monarchy are treated as substantive titles.

Of European dynasties, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Norway do not grant substantive titles to family members.

Granted titles

In countries where titles have been inherited by primogeniture, these are substantive titles (e.g. France, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the titles of sovereigns in Europe post-1800). These may be contrasted with titles inherited by all sons or male-line descendants of the original grantee (Austria, Bohemia, Germany except Prussia, Hungary, Poland, Russia and some titles in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia).

Although official, titles shared by members of a dynasty are non-substantive, the Almanach de Gotha historically recording them as prefixes to the given name, whereas substantive titles usually followed the titleholder's given name. Substantive titles are often granted to royalty in honour of an important dynastic occasion: with the baptism of a new dynast, coming of age, or an approved wedding. A recent example is Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. The Almanach de Gotha treated similarly titles used by dynasties of abolished monarchies:[3] the head of the house bearing a traditional title of the dynasty in lieu of or after the given name (e.g. Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza), while cadets shared a princely title as prefix in addition to any suffixed substantive title accorded them as individuals by the head of the house (e.g. Infante Miguel, Duke of Viseu and Aimone di Savoia Aosta).

Titles of former ruling houses

In accordance with a tradition dating back to the reign of Napoleon I, titles in pretence were treated by the Almanach de Gotha as if still borne by members of reigning dynasties,[3] with the exception that titles exclusively borne by monarchs (e.g. Emperor, King, Queen, Grand Duke (Grossherzog)), their consorts, and heirs (Crown Prince, Hereditary Prince) were restricted to the last dynast who held the title during the monarchy and borne for the duration of their lifetimes.

The spouse of a monarch, heir apparent or titleholder may or may not share usage of the substantive title, but when this is the case the spouse holds the title derivatively (e.g., Carlos Zurita, Duke of Soria). In European monarchies, the dynastic wife of a male monarch shares her husband's rank and bears the female equivalent of his title (i.e., Empress, Queen, Grand Duchess, Duchess or Princess). The husband of a female monarch, however, does not acquire the crown matrimonial automatically. Only in Monaco has the male equivalent (Prince) of the dynast's title been conferred upon the husband of an heiress presumptive since the nineteenth century. In the medieval era, the husband of a female sovereign in Europe usually took the title, rank and authority of his wife jure uxoris. Later, the husbands of queens regnant were usually, but not automatically, elevated to the wife's ruling status, sometimes as co-King and sometimes as King consort (e.g. John III of Navarre, Philip II of Spain, Francis II of France, Henry, Lord Darnley (later Duke of Rothesay, etc.), William III, Pedro III of Portugal, Ferdinand II of Portugal, Francis II of Spain), etc.

See also


  1. ^ Pierre-Yves Monette, Beroep: Koning der Belgen, 2003
  2. ^ Earl of Wessex, Count of Barcelona or Count of Flanders
  3. ^ a b de Diesbach, Ghislain (1967). Secrets of the Gotha. UK, pp. 23-24, 29, 37: Chapman & Hall.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location (link)