Frequently Asked Questions
A dukedom is the title or status of nobility at the rank of duke (sometimes called a "titular duchy"). A duchy is is the geographic region controlled by a duchy. These may be combined or separate. Since the abolishment of titles of nobility in Germany, all duchies would now technically be dukedoms, as they no longer have possession of or political control over the lands previously associated with the titles. In German and many other languages, however, the term is the same for both dukedoms and duchies (herzogtum in German), so the difference is only a technicality in translation to English. All but two dukes in the United Kingdom actually hold dukedoms rather than duchies, the exceptions being the Duchy of Lancaster, held by Her Majesty The Queen, and the Duchy of Cornwall, held by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
Since the laws enacted that abolished noble titles in various regions of Germany during the period of the Weimar Republic after the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II at the end of the Great War, no royal, noble, or aristocratic titles are legally recognized in Germany, although many maintain their claims and titles through dynastic organizations. Historically, the rank and status of nobility was considered intrinsic by right of birth, and could not be stripped from anyone. A noble could be stripped of titles and lands in cases of grave crimes (such as the regicide committed by Johann the Parricide). However, in all other cases the rank and status of nobility by right of birth was considered immutable. Most ruling nobles at the time were allowed to legally adopt titles as their surnames, though this did not apply to the nobles of Austria or those who claimed titles.
His Highness the Duke of Swabia's claim to the titles of the House von Hohenstaufen is as valid as the claims of any other former nobles or royals. Many claimants, traditionally called 'pretenders', exist in countries in which noble and royal titles were abolished. For example, Prince Henri, Duke of France (House of Orléans) claims the Kingdom of France; Archduke Karl von Habsburg (House of Habsburg-Lorraine) claims Austria-Hungary; Duke Duarte Pio (House of Braganza) claims the Kingdom of Portugal; Prince Andrew Andreyevich (House of Romanov) claims the Empire of Russia; Prince Georg Friedrich (House of Hohenzollern) claims the Empire of Germany; and numerous distinguished former nobles of Germany and their descendants claim their princely, ducal, comital, and baronial titles. Many of these appear in the Almanach de Gotha, a book listing the nobility and royalty of Europe. However, as the book was first published in 1763, and the titles of Swabia and the House von Hohenstaufen were in abeyance prior to its being published, their claims will not be found there.
Historically, governments had no right to revoke noble status, only lands and titles. This is particularly true in the case of the Holy Roman Empire and subsequently, the German Empire, where some titles historically were born by all members of the family (such as the Duke of Saxony title born by all male members of the ducal family, even though only one was the Duke of Saxony and head of the family). Rather than denoting one's position or power, the title actually denotes the rank of nobility inherent to the family. Thus, a duke is always a duke, even if his lands are taken and his titles not recognized by the government. The government can revoke and null the power of the noble person, but cannot revoke their nobility.
While the majority of title claimants do not seek political power, the maintenance of such titles is extremely important for preserving the traditions, legacy, family history, and future of these great and noble houses. The duke only seeks to use his ancestral titles to pass on his family's legacy, heritage, and traditions, not to seek celebrity status or political power. For this reason, the Duke strives to keep his family's information private and off of reference sites like Wikipedia. The family's absence online and from the Almanach de Gotha has been favorable for Their Highness' desire to maintain the family's heritage privately and without pretense.
Absolutely not. Titles of nobility and knighthoods cannot be bought and sold, and can only be conferred by a monarch or high-ranking noble. If a title claimant is offering noble titles or knighthoods for sale or in exchange for donations, membership fees, or application fees, then the individual's claims should be treated with suspicion. Unfortunately, there is no reputable international organization for determining the legitimacy of chivalric orders. While the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (ICOC) was founded for this purpose, they are no longer recognized by many nations, monarchs, nobles, or organizations due to this private organization's history of egregious ethical violations and rampant fraud perpetrated by its executives and 'scholars'.
High-ranking nobles do have the right to create and grant lesser titles of nobility, such as knighthoods. Many German dukes have and still do confer knighthoods based on historical, recreated, or newly created chivalric orders. These orders are now considered dynastic orders, also called house orders, since they are no longer associated with heads of state. Some of the other dynastic and ducal orders granted in Germany are The Order of Albert the Bear (House of Anhalt), the Ducal Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House Order (House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, created in 2006), and the House and Merit Order of Peter Frederick Louis (House of Oldenburg), among many others.
As the head of the House of Bourgogne von Hohenstaufen, the Duke confers the titles of knighthood of the Most Noble Order of the Three Lions (Hochedler Orden der Drei Löwen), the dynastic order of chivalry associated with the Dukedom of Swabia. Titles are conferred solely on the basis of outstanding service (to the Dukedom of Swabia, the House of Bourgogne von Hohenstaufen, or humanity) or outstanding merit (recognized excellence in an area of expertise that is of benefit to humanity). While the Duke confers the knighthoods, the High Council of the Order is responsible for advising His Highness in selecting worthy recipients. Not the Order, the Dukedom, the Duke, nor anyone else receives any compensation or remuneration of any sort, monetary or otherwise, prior to, in exchange for, in return for, or in response to receiving the knighthood. No donations, fees, political or economic favors, nor any other compensation of any form will be accepted for consideration for the Order.
You may E-mail the Dukedom of Swabia and address your E-mail to the appropriate member of the Ducal Family. Their Highnesses are always happy to read and reply to the communications received. Should you wish to follow the traditional formal styles of Their Highnesses, you may use the titles and styles listed on this page.