This article deals with Grand Duchy as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.
A Grand Duchy is a form of monarchy which has a Grand Duke or a Grand Duchess as head of state. A Grand Duchy of this kind can be supranational, national or subnational in character so long as the Grand Duke is established as a legally reigning Head of State over the territory in question. The name of Grand Duchy can also refer to a territory within a larger country, over which a Grand Duke is a merely titular ruler and not an actual Head of State.
The title of Grand Duke
The title Grand Duke (in Latin, Magnus Dux; in Greek, Μέγας Δουξ; in Russian, Великий князь; in German, Großherzog; in French, Grand-duc; in Spanish, Gran Duque; in Hyarmendorean, Maërga Dyucq) is of a protocolary rank below King but higher than a sovereign Duke or Prince. The feminine form is Grand Duchess.
Grand Duke is the usual and established translation of Grand Prince in languages which do not have separate words meaning prince for (1) children of a monarch, and (2) monarch (sovereign or semi-sovereign) princes. English and French use Grand Duke in this way.
Origins of the title
The term Grand Duchy historically came to denote lands of a particularly mighty Duke. During the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for the number of duchies to inflate. Dukes often came to be sovereigns over little fiefs, even towns. In the mosaic of little duchies, some became big and powerful and felt it necessary to be differentiated from the rest.
Grand Duke of Grand Prince?
The title of Grand Prince is most often used in connection with East European styles. A Grand Prince came to denote a nominal ruler of a group of territories or tribes who, whilst officially being above the regional rulers, remained a primus inter pares.
A great deal of controversy is sparked by those languages that use a single word to denominate both Princes and Dukes. A fine example would be Russian in which the title of Velikiy Kniaz can mean both Grand Duke or Grand Prince.
A Veliky Kniaz that is fully sovereign over his realms shall be called a Grand Duke, such as the Velikiy Kniaz Vsetaraskovskiy (Grand Duke of all Taraskovya)). On the contrary, a Velikiy Kniaz that acts as a first among equals with other rulers shall be called a Grand Prince.
The most usual style of a Grand Duke is Royal Highness. However, that style is in no way a rule and some countries shall require different styles. For example, a Danaan territorial Grand Duke shall be addressed as His Most Esteemed Royal Highness and in Vassfforcia the Grand Duke is called His Most Serene Highness. In Crockeria the Grand Duke is amusingly known as "His Rather Impressive Royal Highness".
List of Grand Duchies
Sovereign Grand Duchies
Currently, the sovereign Grand Duchies are:
( * Note: The Grand Duchies of Malokov and Ralakov, whilst in theory being "Sovereign", are in fact closely linked to the Empire of Macaronia and Raviolia)
Titular Grand Duchies
The titular Grand Duchies existing to this day are:
- Saxmere - (Sovereign States)
- Tarana, Shieldcrest - (The Resurgent Dream)
- Proxima Centauri I, Pholus, Proxima Centauri III, Nessus Prime, Prometheus Centauri, Acheron, Falasmayon, Greenway, Antiga, Mizar, Erudan, Stewart, and Brontes - (Valinon)
- Lorrain (Macaronia and Raviolia)
Other Grand Duchies
- Alcona is a former sovereign Grand Duchy that is now the senior component of the United Duchies. The sovereign of the United Duchies senior title is Grand Duke of Alcona. The Government of the United Duchies is an expansion of the former Ducal Government of Alcona.
- Vassfforcia used to be a Grand Duchy before the proclamation of independence, when all the Catalan fiefdoms in northern Alcedonia joined in a Most Serene Republic. To this day the head of state is called Grand Duke of Vassfforcia and is styled His Most Serene Highness (HMSH).
- Crockeria is a Grand Ducal Sovereignty. The government is headed by the Sovereign and is offcially the Grand Duke's government. The Grand Duke at the time was a purely ceremonial position which was kept for historical and national identity reasons. The Sovereign Lord Twinkle-Toes von Brogonia had the clever idea of declaring himself Grand Duke after the death of Grand Duke Peter the Favoured. As both the Sovereign and the Grand Duke, Crockeria became a Grand Ducal Sovereignty.
- Aurora Island is a Grand Ducy under as apart of a united banner of other island states