Royal styles and titles: Files from the UK National Archives
introduction to the files cast of characters styles and titles of the British royal family


This is a volume bound in leather containing a number of letters.  The title on the spine is : "General. Foreign titles of nobility. 1822-75."

It contains, arranged chronologically, correspondance to and from the Foreign Office regarding petitions for royal licences to use foreign titles in the UK.  I have abstracted the particulars of each case as follows.

1822.  France, letters patent of 14 April 1821, hereditary title of baron to Mr. Brown Mill, doctor, for services rendered as to French emigres. referred to HO and turned down.

1836. query from the Austrian chargé d’affaires as to the rules on recognition of foreign titles borne either by British subjects or by foreigners naturalised.

letter from Garter (copy)
Oct 24, 1836
…an Austrian subject naturalized in England and possessing an Austrian title of Nobility recognized by the Ambassador or other diplomatic representation of His Imperial Majesty at the British Court, would be received and recognized by the King by such Title, and use it on all occasions ; and that a British subject, having been honored with a Title of Nobility by His Majesty The Emperor, and having obtained the King’s Royal Licence permitting him to accept such Title, would equally be recognized, and use it on all occasions, but I am not aware that any other advantage beyond such recognition would accrue to either of those individuals in right of their possession of the Titles in question ; since according to our established Tables of Precedency, there is no relative rank between a Foreign Nobleman and a Nobleman of this Realm, or any place or precedence in such Tables for a Person possessing Foreign Honours.
signed Ralph Bigland, Garter

Rothschild : This tile appears to have been approved without any referncec to the Foreign Office.  Licence dated Jun 16, 1838, gazetted.

1842. Peter Carey Tupper, British consul in Catalonia.  title of Spanish Baron, July 24, 1816. His nephew asks for licence.  referred to the HO.

unsigned note
Mr. A. J. Tupper’s application
As the regulations respecting foreign orders are not considered as having any reference to Foreign titles it has been the custom to refer all applications for such distinctions to the Secretary of State for the Home Department. This was done in the case of Capt. Napier RN when he was created count and viscount Cabo de San Vicente. 
June 20, 1842.

1845. Sir George Rose Sartorius, RN. viscount de Mindello in Portugal for services rendered in 1832-33.  suspended. [reason was objection from widow of Don Pedro because she used countess of Mindello as incognito.]

1846. Sir I. L. Goldsmid. baron of Goldsmid and of Palmeira in Portugal. accepted.
gazettted 6 June 1846.

1847. Rear admiral Sir Charles Napier. count in  Portugal, 10 Jul 1833, 17 Apr 1834, viscount do Cabo de S. Vicente and count Napier de S. Vicente (7 Dec 1842, change of name). refused : « it is not desirable that distinguished officers of the British Navy should bear foreign titles. »

1857. Charles Joachim Hambro, title of baron in Denmark.  refused

1854. Sir John Croft, bt. Baron da Serra da Estrella. turned down by HO.

1855. Jones, asking to be presented at court under the titles of Chevalier Count Joannes, granted to him in 1848 by the chief of the house of Sertorii of Bologna, by virtue of powers given in 1548 by Charles V to create two counts a year. turned down by HO.

1864. Rosario Messina, of Malta, naturalized, papal title of count.  it would be undesirable to afford any encouragement to the conferring of foreign titles on any of the residents in Malta.

1871. Sir Charles Lebright is found to have been using the title of baron conferred by duke Charles of Parma while duke of Lucca and signs C. L. DEverton, (styled Charles Lebright Baron d’Everton his nomination as KCMG).

Garter’s opinion
The mere introduction of a foreign title of nobility to the description of a person in a warrant to pass the Royal Sign manual, having for its object the grant of a distinct honor, could not, in my opinion (though a somewhat irregular proceeding) be held to give a valdi sanction from Her Majesty to its adoption, it being understood that no British subject is allowed to use a foreign title in this country without having first obtained the Royal Permission in the usual manner.
13 Mar 1871

1871. A. P. J.  Celli, baron (1810 by a prince of Salm-Kyrburg). asked for further proof.

1871. John Paul Alexander Prince  Sapieha, lt 5th dragoons guards, son of prince Eustace Sapieha, born 18 June 1847, Paris 1), should be so recognized in a commission ? Title in Poland 1512, HRE 17 May 1699, Poland 1767/68. (according to A. Niemann, editor of the Almanach de Gotha).  Authorized by ukase of 20 July 1874, restoring the title in his favor.  Not clear what happened then.

Mumm.  Widow and children Robert Julius, Arnold Ludwig, Bernhard Eduard, Julius Engelbert of Julius Engelbert Mumm (d. 9 Nov 1863), descended of Mumm of Schwarzenstein hereditary nobility plus arms confirmed . Garter sees no objection.

1874. Austrian Baron Worms. 27/3 /1871. approved.

1875. the Rajah of Sarawak asks to attend the next levée in his own uniform. signed C. Brooke, Raja of  Sarawak, Apr 4, 1874.  refused because British subjects are not received as ministers or ambassadors of foreign sovereign.  hethen asks to be introduced as « Mr Brooke (Rajah of Sarawak) », accepted.

return to Styles and Titles of the British royal family
British Heraldry Page | Search Heraldica | Heraldic Glossary | Contact

François Velde

Last modified: Oct 04, 2006