The Dukedom of Swabia
The Dukedom of Swabia and its precursor titles, the Duchy of Swabia and the Duchy of Alemannia, have existed off-and-on since the Sixth Century CE, having outlasted the numerous kingdoms and empires that ruled the region. The most prestigious holders of the Duchy of Swabia were members of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty, who held the title from 1079 - 1268 CE. With the death of Konrad IV in 1254, the Great Interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire began. His son's death (Konrad II of Sicily, also known as Conradin) with no heirs also fell during the interregnum, which prevented the titles from being passed to the closest heirs. With the election of Rudolf I, Count of Habsburg, in 1273, the Hohenstaufen hereditary lands and titles were illegitimately claimed as imperial possessions, having been abeyant for about five years since the death of Konrad II of Sicily, and practically abeyant since his father's death nearly 20 years prior at the start of the interregnum. Rudolf I gave the Duchy of Swabia to his son, Rudolf II of Swabia, whose only heir, Johann, killed his own uncle, King Albrecht I of Germany. Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich VII of Luxembourg placed him under imperial ban and confiscated his lands and titles. Rather than return the titles to the rightful heirs to the Hohenstaufen dynasty, Heinrich VII kept them. The members of the House von Hohenstaufen were illegally denied their claims to their ancestral lands and titles and coerced into hiding and not pressing their claims for fear of retribution. Despite this unjust robbery, the modern descendants of House von Hohenstaufen claim their rightful titles, though they do not dispute claims to non-abeyant titles or the titles or lands of any of the successor states that arose after the fall of the Duchy of Swabia.
The proven direct descendants of the Hohenstaufen dynasty organized themselves and researched the legitimate descendants of the dynasty to determine valid dynastic members and title claimants. After years of professional genealogical research, they had successfully traced the individuals with the strongest claims to the titles. The House von Hohenstaufen Association was founded and a Dynastic Council convened for the purpose of examining all the potential claims. On 20 July 2017, the Dynastic Council of the HVHA designated the current Duke of Swabia as the only rightful claimant to and holder of the ducal titles based on proven direct descent from Rudolf I von Habsburg and the Hohenstaufen Dukes of Swabia, as well as being a proven direct descendant or close blood relative of all of the Dukes of Swabia and Dukes of Alemannia back to 539 CE, making His Highness' right to the title indisputable.
Since the fall of the German Empire in 1918 with the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II at the end of the Great War and the dissolution of noble titles during the Weimar Republic, the responsibilities for administering the claims to hereditary titles falls to other organizations and the families to whom the titles belonged. The Dynastic Council of the HVHA, therefore, has the following responsibilities, some of which are carried out in conjunction with the Private Ducal Council:
- Determining the rightful Duke of Swabia
- Examining claims of direct descent from the House von Hohenstaufen for membership in the HVHA
- Arbitrating claims to the hereditary titles held by the House von Hohenstaufen
- Governing application of appropriate ducal and comital styles and forms of address
- Establishing and amending when necessary the rules of inheritance and succession for each of the titles
- Restricting membership in the dynasty to those with valid, documented, direct descent from the Hohenstaufen Dukes of Swabia.