comes from the soul: one’s actions make a person noble. This means
we must not confuse nobility with titles, even though great importance
has always been given to demonstrating having an illustrious surname or
belonging to a noble family, to avoid damaging the historic dignity the
family held over the years and because there is a society of symbols and
outward appearance where a certain type of exclusive belonging can often
help in improving social relationships.
Before 1861, there were various ennobling sources in Italy, with varying
criteria and principles in each State that formed our political set-up
at that time: after the founding of the Italian Kingdom, the Heraldic
Council ascertained the nobility of something like eight thousand people
A few more were ascertained or ennobled by his His Sacred Majesty, King
Umberto II, between 1948 and 1983.
It is also believed that there are around two thousand families holding
untrue titles or who are convinced they are nobles. The false nobles are
those who misinterpret the real and not acclaimed state of nobility, showing
off coats of arms and crowns that were obtained, often in good faith or
due to their lack of ignorance in the matter, from “princes”
with imaginary claims.
Once upon a time, noble families assumed the high offices and government:
it is difficult to give an exact definition to the historic role of nobility,
because for a certain time the course of history depended entirely on
them and, therefore, all heroism and honour, like all misdeeds, are attributed
Today, nobility only has a meaning if it continues the virtuous practice
of traditional values that it has always been an expression of: the recognition
of a noble title is therefore the consecration of pre-existing characters
(which cannot be created ex nunc), granting public honour and
being the starting point to create a new noble lineage.
Currently, granting a dative noble title in Italy (as opposed to a native
noble title, i.e. inherited and held from birth) takes place on the basis
of the recognised merits of the person and exercising the sovereign prerogative
of those, Pretender Princes according to history, right or legal ascertainment,
who are legally holders of titles.
This concept has always been followed by the reigning Houses: where there
is no debellatio, i.e. voluntary and spontaneous waiving any
right to claim, and the Princes are in order with the rules governing
inheritance according to each order, the figure of the Pretender Prince
to the throne arises, who has the following prerogatives:
• jus imperii, the power of command;
• jus gladii, which is the right to expect obedience from
• jus majestatis, which is the right to receive defence
• jus honorum, the right to award, grant honours, noble
dignities and knighthoods, or the faculty to invest others with the powers
to grant these honours.
All the dignities were granted by the sovereign, who was the source of
the honour: omnes dignitates procedunt a principe, tamquam a fonte
in qua omnes sunt.
In the event a Sovereign has abandoned or has been forced to leave his
country, he still conserves all those prerogatives which are not an obstacle
to the changed institution, while the others are suspended: according
to Italian magistracy – who applied the principles that were changed
by international law - jus honorum is an intangible right and
indefeasible from the Sovereign House.
This means that a noble title (like predicate, title and coat of arms)
that is granted today, if it is deserved, is not basically different from
those granted in the past (when they were dative and not native), because
they are the granting of a Sovereign prerogative (rex tantum nobilem
facere potest): the use and transmission of the prerogative are governed
by the executive deed of the investiture decree, which are the “Letters
In fact, those sentences that ascertained that the various descendents
in the different dynasties held the native right of pretender to the throne
granted them the prerogative of granting noble titles and knighthoods
in the Orders that their Sovereign House belonged to.
To reach this conclusion, Italian magistracy had to trace back to the
ancient orders and work forward, from medieval times, when, during the
height of the feudal system and subsequent fractioning into independent
monarchies, the legal system, based mainly on regulations that were not
fully and uniformly of the state, took on a specific character . With
amazing diligence a precise historic reconstruction was made of the creation
of sovereignty as an essential element of the State as a legal body; the
sovereignty of the Prince and dynastic prerogatives; of the special status
that a Sovereign enjoys, even after he has been dethroned, as he is legally
recognised and protected by international law as long as the sovereign
had not been subdued; of pretenders to the throne and the rights in Crown
Very singular and worthy dedication was also offered by our magistracy
to examine notions that are unknown to the current Republican order ,
which provides that noble titles (offices and annexed prerogatives) –
deprived of their legal value and, therefore, no longer subject to public
law – are maintained alive only as historic reminiscence with the
social value that is derived by the persisting customs .
We would point out that the pronunciations could only be made connecting
the particular status of the Sovereign and his prerogatives and claims,
not to the Republican order – which is indifferent to the use of
noble titles - but to International law: “Sovereign prerogatives,
of a personal nature, do not require confirmation or recognition, and
therefore disposition XIV of Transitory Regulations of the Italian Constitution,
which does not recognise noble titles, means that the regulation is only
valid for titles arising from a concession, conferred to subjects or citizens
of a nation, but not to sovereign qualities, which arise from a blood
These sentences, which were pronounced in a Republican period, roused
the attention of eminent commenters and jurists (like Professor E. Furnò,
Criminal Magazine in 1961, with the imprimatur of Professor E.
Eula, first President of the Court of Cassation, and Professor F. Ungaro,
illustrious historian and jurist, or Professor G. A. Pensavalle De Cristofaro
dell’Ingegno, “Questions being examined by the Magistracy”),
which, passim, I give below”
“The severity of this theory, which reaffirmed the ancient
teachings of the Prince’s sovereign rights, confirming their personal
nature, perpetuity and hereditariness, is gradually giving way to that
of “right of claim” (or pretension) whereby the Prince, if
he is not dethroned, conserves the valid right to be able to exercise
his power over the territory he was deprived of. This more considered
application is still approved of today.
“With reference to recent authors, such as Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano,
G.B. Ugo, Bascapè, Gorino Causa, and Zeininger, Renato de Francesco
writes: “The theory of legitimism, stripped of the extreme consequences
which some of its supporters have lead it to, is now understood as the
right to claim, that remains with the ex reigning Sovereign, and in fact
gives him “ jure sanguinis” by perpetual “native”
right, is perfectly acceptable and satisfies jurists’ needs and
peoples’ conscience, even in this dynamic and politically representative
“Internationally “sovereignty” is not attributed exclusively
to the State, no matter what its form. There are significant examples
of this, the most illustrious and convincing been that of the Roman Pope,
Head of the Catholic Church. If the figure of the Roman Pope were reduced
to Head of the State of the Vatican City, it would not only belittle his
existence but would deny it altogether, which would mean supporting an
inexact situation at international level. The Roman Pope, as Head of the
Catholic Church, has the maximum sovereign power in His person: to the
extent that, when the Apostolic Seat is vacant no-one could succeed to
the supreme power, which is passed directly onto the Pope’s heir
through moral continuity. It is evident in this case that the “sovereignty”
belongs to the person and accompanies the person everywhere, and is not
restricted to the territory, which for a State is a fundamental element.
No matter where he is, the Pope maintains all his powers which are recognised
as such, not only by millions of believers throughout the world, but also
by numerous different foreign powers, as is shown by the historic period
from 1870 to 1929 when, even though He had lost the territory of the State,
he maintained intact His great prestige in international relationships.
Even Italy, after being annexed to Rome, recognised the special position
by issuing Law no. 214 on 13 May 1871 called the “Guarentigie”.
“Prior to 1870, the Pope had the dual function of Head of the Papal
States and Head of the Catholic Church, thus becoming the representative
of two different bodies with other States: religious relationships as
Head of the church and legal and political relationships as Head of the
Papal States. Therefore in his dual function, he was the source of the
Nobility he created ”.
“In 1870, the Pope was deprived of his temporal power and only in
1871 was he returned his Sovereign honours in the Kingdom by the Italian
Government, maintaining the prominence of honour recognised him by the
Catholic Sovereigns, granted all the honorary prerogatives of sovereignty
and all the immunity he needed to carry out his High Ministry. However
among these honorary prerogatives, one of the most important, because
it integrates one of the highest attributes of Sovereignty – that
of granting noble titles and knighthoods, no mention is made in the law,
giving rise to the problem as to whether the Pope had the faculty to confer
noble titles, even after the temporal power had lapsed.
“Here we should remember that, even before 1870, the Pope did not
always grant honours and noble titles as Head of his States, because even
when he granted concessions to foreigners, He acted in his position of
Spiritual Leader of the Church, and awarded good actions towards the Church”.
“The position of the dethroned Sovereign must be considered at international
level, because only there can it be concretely justified historically
and politically, with motives that do not always coincide with its abstract
and philosophical justification. The legal problem is solved positively
rather than philosophically, considering the historic and political reality,
rather than forced ideals, despite their unquestionable value. But historic
reality, which is the effective existence of the phenomenon, is the driving
force in international relations, because it influences the legal aspect
with its mass of vital interests ”.
“The position of the dethroned Sovereign at international level
still finds confirmations of considerable importance, being concrete and
unequivocal. The first element is the treatment reserved to the ex reigning
Sovereign by other reigning Sovereigns who accept and respect the prerogatives,
given by right of birth and blood. The second important element arises
from the attitude of the States towards the Dynasties they have dethroned.
Normally the ex Sovereign is sent exiled from the country and not allowed
to return, together with his heirs, and for the resolution to be revoked
requires maximum renouncement of the right to pretend by the dethroned
Sovereign, except in the case of restoration. When an ex-reigning family
is ordered to leave and not return, the country involved affirms its sovereignty
and denies that of the dethroned dynasty, but at the same time recognises
their claim. If they did not, the orders the State issued would not have
any meaning, nor would it make sense to subordinate the return of the
Pretender and his family to the renouncement of his right to claim. In
fact, it would be absurd to request that he renounces a right that does
“Exile and forbidden return for the ex reigning family; peaceful
restoration of the monarchy requested by the State concerned; granting
the return to the country, subordinated to the rights to claim, always
involve a legal act which, in the first case is a unilateral act of imperio
but, in the other two, is settled with a agreement of will between two
distinct equal parties. The parity of the parties is shown by the fact
that each of them is independent from the other, resolving the contrast
between two claims to the same sovereignty. Contrast, which, in the case
of restoration, is settled in favour of the pretender, in the case rights
of claim are renounced (accomplished debellatio ), and is closed in favour
of the State”.
“The heraldic dynastic wealth, as already mentioned, is outside
the state’s order, even when the Sovereign is reigning, i.e. the
Head of State. Even more so when the Sovereign no longer reigns and conserves
his wealth, no matter where he moves to, for himself and his heirs. Given
its nature, it is unthinkable that it becomes any ordinary state order
or is transferred from one order to another, being changed each time,
depending on the contents and limits that are made by each nationality,
perhaps even disappearing to then return when a new legislature begins”.
Italian magistracy, in the mixture between Republic order and regulations
from the past nobiliary order, adapted the rights and nobiliary inheritances
to the current legislation.
• the right of all the male and female descendents to transmit
any prerogative, title, office or predicate, which they legitimately hold,
without rendering account – in contrast with art. 40 of Royal Decree
n. 651 of 7 June 1943, approved by the new Order of the Italian Nobiliary
state, which proceeds for inheritance to titles only for the male line
– allowing the transmission conditions given in the original concession;
• the ascertained fact is considered valid for civil status, not
with a value for a title or predicate, but part of the surname;
• prevalence, in inheriting titles, of rank over line (in contrast
with art. 54 of Royal Decree n. 1430 of 14 June 1928, which, in collateral
inheritance, preferred line over rank);
• the chance of supplying proof for legal action of legitimate possession
of a title (a hypothesis excluded from nobiliary orders);
• the right of the dethroned sovereign to grant titles that can
be transmitted to heirs as long as they are not subdued (and not centred
exclusively on the reigning Sovereign, whose position is tinged by the
failure to renounce right to claim, that the states where the Dynasties
that have exercised their sovereign prerogatives cannot nullify without
obtaining voluntary renouncement to the right, thus making the debellatio
All this shows that the dethroned Sovereign conserves a precise right
based on inheritance, which is identified in the claim to the lost throne,
which is what legitimates him granting noble titles, honours and knighthoods
belonging to the heraldic wealth of the dynasty.
These rights are ingrained in the concept of “Sovereignty”,
even only at a potential level, according to the principle formed by the
theory of legitimism. In fact, they form an authentic “privilege”,
which cannot have any theoretic justification outside “Sovereignty”
intended as “personal quality of the Prince”.
Italian magistracy recognised the jus honorum for dethroned
Sovereigns and their heirs, as long as they were not subdued and are in
order with the regulations governing inheritance according to the respective
Within the limits of its influence (i.e. the national territory), the
State can forbid the dethroned Sovereign from exercising his rights, but
this attitude only represents further recognition of the special position
of a dynasty that has not been subdued.
For the renouncement to the claim to be valid, it is not essential it
is made in writing but, according to affirmed law, it acquires legal relevance
when it is shown with a simple deed of public tribute to the Head of State
who has succeeded (thus declaring obedience and implicit recognition of
another sovereignty, ceasing the claim with this deed): the debellatio,
as it is included in the sphere of available rights, projecting its effects
onto future descendents as well.
The Count of Paris, pretender to the throne of France, had to abdicate
his rights of claim to be authorised to remain in the country. He was
asked to do so by the Republic of France, which, in 1886, had exiled the
reigning Family. The return to Austria of Prince Otto of Hapsburg, pretender
to the throne, was only allowed as the Prince had publicly renounced his
rights to claim.
The Italian Republic, which was generated from the fraud of the institutional
referendum on the 2nd June 1946, deprived the members and heirs
of that branch of the Savoy House, formerly reigning, of all electoral,
active and passive rights, forbidding access to public offices; the ex-King
, his consorts and male heirs were forbidden entrance and stays in the
national territory (Her Majesty, Queen Maria Josè was only able
to return to Italy after she was recognised the status of widow
and no longer consort).
Even in this hypothesis, while admitting that the person born as H.R.H.
Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, Prince of Naples, had not yet lost succession
to the throne for the unequivocal manifestations of the will of H.M. King
Umberto II, the heirs of the late, lamented King of Italy, were allowed
to return to Italy only after a declaration of loyalty to the Italian
Republic had been made by Vittorio and Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy and,
therefore, public renouncement to their rights to claim.
For clarity, each Sovereign House that has exercised its sovereignty
over all or part of the Italian territory has the same rights to it.
This long introduction aims at shown the presumption according to which,
by international law, nobiliary concessions are apart from the relationships
established with the public and the country the concessionaire belongs
to, and are reserved to persons who have distinguished themselves by actions
in favour of the Sovereign House, for independent acts of valour or for
recognition of good private or public deeds, which have moved the sensitivity
of the pretender prince.
Therefore, a Princely house, formerly reigning, maintains its nature
of a dynasty, and the current Head of Name and Arms conserves the titles,
prerogatives and dues of the last dethroned sovereign, with the name of
pretender prince, and now is treated as Imperial Highness, Royal Highness
or Serene Highness.
There are various Sovereign Houses in Italy with these prerogatives and
we would mention, among others:
Savoy – Aosta;
Hapsburg – Lorena;
Hapsburg of Austria of Este;
Bourbon – Parma;
Paternuense - Balearide;
of Altavilla ( seu d’Hauteville ) Sicily - Naples;
Angelo Comneno of Constantinople;
Paleologo of Bisanzio;
Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno De Curtis of Bisanzio Gagliardi.
On the throne of the Vatican States is His Holiness the Roman Pontiff.
Therefore, over the last decades, Italian law has established that the
descendents of any unsubdued dynasty possess the fons honorum,
and even if it is true that sentences only create status between the parties,
their heirs and assignees, the value of precedence is likewise indisputable
that decisions take on towards any similar case with respect to a specific
Here, just for an example, I report extracts of sentences issued in the
Regia and Republican era relative to sovereign houses that received approval
by jurisprudence: Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno De Curtis of Bisanzio
Gagliardi; Lascaris Comneno Flavio Angelo Lavarello Ventimiglia of Turgoville;
Paternò Castello of Carcaci; d’Altavilla (seu d’Hauteville)
Sicily Naples (there are numerous other pronouncements regarding other
Sovereign Houses, including Amoroso d’Aragon, etc.).
Thus, H.I.H. Don Antonio Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno De Curtis
di Bisanzio Gagliardi, Male descendent of the Constantine Line of Focas
Angelo Flavio Ducas Comneno, born in Naples on 15 February 1898 and deceased
in Rome on 15 April 1967, Imperial Prince of Bisanzio, Prince of Cilicia,
Prince of Macedonia, Prince of Tessaglia, Prince of Ponto, Prince of Illiria,
Prince of Moldavia, Prince of Dardania, Prince of Peloponneso, &c.
&c., Duke of Cipro, Duke of Epiro, Duke and Count of Drivasto and
Durazzo, &c. &c., was confirmed by the sentences 18-07-1945, n.
475, IV Section, of the Regio Civil Tribunal of Naples, and 07-08-1946,
n. 1138, IV Section, of the Tribunal of Naples (Italian Republic), heir
of Constantine I Magno Emperor and legitimate heir to the most ancient
living Imperial Byzantine Dynasty.
In fact, the Regia Sentence 475/1945, cit., decided that Prince Antonio
De Curtis-Gagliardi is “legitimate direct male heir to the Imperial
family of the Griffo-Focas ( … ), with the honours and rights of
Paladin Count, besides the other titles, honours and rights due for the
above inheritance ”
Sentence 1138/1946, cit., ordered the officer in the Civil Status office
of Naples to amend the birth certificate of Antonio De Curtis-Gagliardi,
noting at the foot that “the newborn child has the right to the
office of Prince and treatment as Imperial Highness, as direct, male legitimate
representative of the most ancient living Imperial Byzantine Dynasty.”
Later, Naples Tribunal, with a sentence dated 01-03-1950, defined H.I.H.
Antonio “heir and successor to the various Byzantine dynasties of
the Emperor Constantine the Great” ordering the Civil Status Office
in Naples to amend the birth certificate of the Prince “in that
it now reads: Focas-Flavio-Angelo-Ducas-Comneno De Curtis of Bisanzio
Gagliardi Antonio. ”
The above sentence 1138/1946 ordered “likewise the Civil Status
Officer in Rome to note at the foot of the birth certificate of the daughter
of Prince Antonio De Curtis, the position of Princess alongside her name
Finally, with sentence on 1st March 1950, Naples Civil Court, IV section,
ordered “the Civil Status Office in Rome to proceed with a similar
amendment to the surname of the Princess Liliana de Curtis Griffo Focas,
daughter of Prince Antonio”, so that it now reads “Focas Flavio
Angelo Ducas Comneno De Curtis of Bisanzio Gagliardi” stating that
“The Byzantine Emperors were successors and heirs of all the despotate
rights, honours and titles of the Emperors who preceded them. Therefore,
there is no doubt that the claimant, being the only living heir and successor
to the various Byzantine Dynasties, from Emperor Constantine the Great
on, receives in his person all the rights, honours and titles they enjoyed,
and has the uncontested right to reassume all the titles that their families
Similar considerations are valid for the extract of the sentence 10-09-1948,
n. 5143 bis, n. 23828/48 R. G., of the VII Section of Rome Magistrate’s
Court, that recognised His Imperial Highness Prince Don Marziano II Lascaris
Comneno Flavio Angelo Lavarello Ventimiglia of Turgoville the right to
the titles of Basileus titular of Constantinople; Head of the
Lascaris Comneno House; Despot of Nicea and Bitinja; Male descendent heir
of Nemanja Paleologo; Imperial Pretender to the throne of Bisanzio and
heir to the dynasty of the Scared Oriental Empire, or High Emperor Comnenia
of the Lascaris Princes, which is united to the Emperor Constantine the
Great, and the capacity to perform sovereign deeds as Male Descendent
and continuer of a Stately line formerly Sovereign (and also dethroned
without debellatio, which, besides granting knighthood ranks
of the Order of his patronage, grants noble titles and voluntary jurisdiction
In this sentence, the Magistrate’s Court also observed, regarding
the matter of continuity in the prerogatives of Sovereign families (families
long since dethroned), that the so-called Regia Prerogative is jure
sanguinis that only the King and Crown Prince hold, transmitting
it to their heirs even when, for various reasons, they are deprived of
their territory and is conserved over the centuries even when the dynasty
has practically lost the Throne and been legally dethroned. The sentence
continues, it is deduced that the Head of the Lascaris House, descendent
of the Flavio Comneno Ducas Dynasty, forcibly ousted, conserves even in
exile all the prerogatives of the Reigning Sovereigns and can perform
all deeds that he is allowed and said deeds have legal value.
Another extract from the sentence 27-06-1949, n. 114, n. 217/49 R. G.,
by the Vico del Gargano Magistrate’s Court, that recognises the
Imperial Family of Lascaris Comneno Flavio Angelo Lavarello Ventimiglia
of Turgoville, in the person of his H.I.H. Don Marziano, Basileus Titular
of Bisanzio, can grant noble investitures, because forcibly ousted Dynasties
conserve intact all their prerogatives and therefore have every right
to grant noble titles to their loyal followers or other worthy persons;
the sentence observes – the decree of appointment aids and supports
this, which is the potestative deed of bestowment; consequently as is
recognised in other cases of Italian Magistracy (Order dated 28 May 1947
by Naples Court) the Lascaride Angelica Flavia Comneno Ducas Dynasty,
forcibly ousted by the fastigium of imperial power, conserves all the
prerogatives of reigning sovereigns.
Three sentences regarding the Paternuense Balearide dynasty have confirmed
blood relationship with the d’Aragona – Majorca – Sicily
House and the legitimacy of the relative fons honorum.
The first, by the unified Magistrate’s Court of Bari, 03-03-1952,
n. 485, became irrevocable as a law, ascertaining that the “Princely
Paternò Family has its origins with James I the Conqueror, descendent
of the Guascoigne Counts, the King of Navarra and the Kings of Castilla”;
the second, 05-06-1964, n. 119, by the Criminal Court of Pistoia, single
section, expressly confirmed the legitimacy of the fons honorum
of the maximum representative of the Royal Paternò House, as the
legitimacy of the pretender of the Paternò family derives from
the legitimate proved descendence of a member of the Royal House d’Aragona;
the third arbitration sentence 08-01-2003, n. 50, declared executive by
decree by the President of the Ordinary Court of Ragusa 17-02-2003, n.
177, declared that the Head of the Royal House holds “the sovereign
prerogatives granted to the jus majestatis and the jus honorum,
with the faculty to grant noble titles, with or without predicate, coats
of arms, honours and knighthoods relative to family inheritance orders;
the quality of subject to international law and grand master of non-national
orders pursuant to Law 3 March 1951, n. 1978 ”.
The sentence by Naples Court, IV civil Section, 30-11-1949, n. B/4549/49,
and I civil section 30-07-1956, n. B/2337/56, confirmed that Princes Mario
and Cesare were qualified as “Royal Princes of Altavilla (d’Hauteville)
and direct male descendent Blood Princes, Royal Princes of Sicily and
Naples, Duke of Puglie, Duke of Sicily, Count of Lecce, Duke of Capua,
Prince of Taranto, Prince of Bari and Prince of Antiochia, and legitimate
pretenders to the throne of Naples and Sicily, with treatment as Royal
Highnesses, heirs and heads of the Imperial Royal Norman and Sicilian
Dynasty”, because “the Cilento (seu Cilenti, de Cilento) are
the genealogical and historic continuation of the surviving branch of
the Normans of Altavilla of Sicily and Naples, precisely descendents of
Williman of Altavilla, Count of Principate (the current Cilento region)
one of the sons of Tancredi d’Hauteville. As all this has been proved
in this seat, it means that the claimant is the Head of the Norman House
of Altavilla of Sicily and Naples and therefore he and his male and female
heirs have infinite right to the offices, attributions and treatments
they hold. Therefore the claimant has the right to the office of Princeps
Natus or Blood Prince, besides all the other titles and titlings he has
a right to as subject to international law, holding all the rights of
the family and is curator of his house, and has right to the thrones of
Sicily and Naples and Southern Italy”, the purview of the sentence,
amended by the civil status deeds, ordering that the claimant is now “H.R.H.
Royal Prince Cesare of Altavilla (seu d’Hauteville) Sicily-Naples”.
Finally, more than sixteen sentences issued by Magistrate’s Courts,
Tribunals, Regia and Republican Courts, have ascertained the legitimacy
of the Imperial House of Amoriense d’Aragona and its knighthoods;
more than ten sentences by republican tribunals have recognised titles
and predicates for the same House.
From this examination, we can reasonably conclude by declaring, on the
basis of declarations by Italian law, that a sovereign could be deprived
of his throne – and therefore banished from the State he reigns
– but he cannot be deprived of his native qualities: in this case,
the pretender to the throne has his origins, who maintains intact the
rights of sovereignty which, if exercised, are not an obstacle to the
changed legal-institutional position, including the jus honorum,
i.e. the right to grant noble titles and ranks of knighthoods, with transfer
of legacy and inheritance which are part of the dynastic wealth of the
family (besides being able to create new Orders).
Therefore, the opinion that only considers as authentic nobles those
who are registered in files, roles, gold books, etc, is totally unfounded,
because they are very often partial and incomplete.
In fact, each Sovereign House, at the time when it exercised its power,
expected that its noble subjects – for the recognition of noble
titles of another fons honorum – submitted to certain orders, subordinating
the reconfirmation of their title to their respecting other, including
The Kings of the Savoy House also requested a tax be paid. Sometimes,
despite the right, the payment of the tax was a discriminating factor
to ascertain their titles, and often fully legitimate persons were excluded
from the lists (which are still published by certain private associations).
It is obvious that the inclusion or otherwise of a title in any list
does not have supporting value, because on one hand nobility is not lost
but remains tied to the family over the centuries and, on the other, what
really counts is the confirmation of the title having been granted and
the legal possession by the person or family, which can be proved by historic,
genealogical, legal and canonical documents. Therefore they must possess
the potestative deed of concession (letters patent and decree) that shows
the right to claimed nobility.
Nowadays, registration in private lists holds no legal importance, including
the Gold Book of the Italian Nobility, edited by the Heraldic Council,
as the titles that are recorded pursuant to the order of the Italian Nobiliary
State are exclusively those that were granted or recognised by the Savoy
family (and by the Vatican, recorded further to the Agreement of 11th
Therefore, if the Republican Constitution intended that noble titles
remained just as a historic memory, or that the relative predicates only
counted as part of the name, the arbitrary and ordinary magistracy is
now the authority that has the job and power to ascertain legal existence
of noble titles for a specific family – and to declare on its rights
(coats of arms, predicates and offices) ancient or ex novo.
If there is no certainty of previous nobiliary wealth, but there are
sufficient clues, the possibility could be examined of proposing a deed
of indemnity to one of the previously mentioned Sovereign Houses.
However, if there is no previous noble recognition, the Italian Heraldic
Council – Marquis Vittorio Spreti Institute – with its specific
and widely proved experience that dates back to the first half of the
last century, could propose the ex novo concession of titles,
coats of arms, predicates and the office of Don and Donna to other Sovereign
Houses (whose Heads of Name and Arms, on the basis of the sentences, are
pretender princes to the throne and subject to international public law
and, therefore, legally holding the prerogative of fons honorum.
The deed of indemnity and the concession could be followed by a sentence
decreed by the International Arbitration Court, formed of arbitration
magistrates, 1st degree judges, with the job of ascertaining the title
and relative predicate, coat of arms and office.
In fact, as scholars of nobiliary law and careful keepers of the traditions
of our country’s history, we have managed to combine legal reality
with noble virtues: the International Arbitration Court, formed according
to the methods and terms of Italian and International law, ascertains
and issues a sentence regarding those who have the right to a noble title,
predicate, office and coat of arms. This milestone is an unquestionable
truth, rendering justice to nobility that claims an inheritance of honour
and a wealth of virtue.
In this event, the president of an ordinary court in the Italian republic,
after ascertaining the formal correctness of the procedure that recognises
the person holds the noble status de quo, approves the sentence
pronounced by the above international arbitration court and orders it
becomes executive, by decree, within the Italian Republic and also orders,
when requested, that it be published in the Official Gazette of the Region.
According to Italian law, the sentence pronounced by the International
Arbitration Court has the force of a first-degree sentence after the execution
decree is issued by the president of the ordinary court (pursuant to art.
825 of the Italian Civil Procedure Code). The extract of the sentence
and the decree by the president of the ordinary court may be published
in the Official Gazette.
This legal pronouncement, after it has become irrevocable under Italian
law, can be executed (except for those restrictions established by international
law) in the territory of the States belonging to the New York Convention
of 10th June 1958 (more than one hundred Nations), which became executive
in Italy with Law n. 62 of 19th January 1968. The sentence may also order
the title and noble predicate be recorded on the confirmation and baptism
certificates, as preferred and, in certain States, on other demographic
documents (passports and identity cards).
Therefore, the most certain procedure is by recognising or granting the
petitioner a noble wealth and ascertaining, through an arbitration sentence
and subsequent approval by ordinary Italian magistracy, that it is legally
due to the titleholder.
In our position as consultants, we hold certain mandates for some famous
noble titles (some imperial dynasties) which belong or belonged to non-national
knighthood orders and to ancient and famous families, which, through a
deed of noble family aggregation before a notary, can refuse the continuation
of a status corresponding to the relative noble titles, predicates,
offices and coats of arms, with possible magisterial actions.
We can also propose civil-legal adoptions, acquiring the surname of important
royal-imperial dynasties or of noble Italian and foreign houses. For this,
we have established an agreement with an important law firm with offices
in Berlin and Potsdam to carry out all the procedures for international
adoption, with civil effects, by important noble families, jointly regulated
by German law (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch BGB, §§
1767 - 1772 ) and the relative international agreement (concluded on 29th
The adoption is valid in all the States that signed the agreement de
qua (including Italy; the site http://hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=states.listing,
lists the member States), meaning the adopted family can use the surname,
including the noble title: in fact, after the Weimar Constitution, in
Germany the title is an integral part of the surname.
The list of noble adopting families (more than eighty: Freiherr means
Baron; Graf Count, Prinz Prince, etc.) is confidential: however we are
authorised to name a few (Graf Bernadotte af Wisborg, Swedish, relative
to the King of Sweden; Graf von Hardenberg; Graf von Thun und Hohenstein;
Freiherr Treusch von Buttlar-Brandenfels; Prinz von Schoenburg-Waldenburg
For example, if Count Bernadotte af Wisborg adopted someone, in the Italian
civil status registers and on the identity card the new name would appear
as Mario Graf Bernadotte af Wisborg Rossi.
After this lengthy introduction we can conclude by declaring that nobility
is alive and with us every day, in all its various forms: from restoring
a title to granting one ex novo; from refusing a title to legal
confirmation and publication in the Official Gazette, from including a
title in a surname to adding a predicate after adoption, acquiring the
surname of the adopting noble family.
No more secrecy and fear or a veto against approaching a noble title
or investigating the “proof of nobility”, rather freedom for
historic research, in a serious and legally untouchable manner.
Real freedom of thought and action, aimed at recovering a natural right
for a person and ensuring its continuance in the spirit of democratic