Did the Duke of Wellington Receive More Honors Than Any Other Person in History Who Was Not Royalty?

May 2018
646
Michigan
#1
I recently came across the giant "wall of text" that comprises all honors, titles and military ranks bestowed upon the Duke of Wellington:

Arthur,Duke and Marquess of Wellington,Marquess Douro, Earl of Wellington,Viscount Wellington and Baron Douro,Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter,Knight Grand Cross of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath,One of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, andField Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces.Field Marshal of the Austrian Army,Field Marshal of the Hanoverian Army,Field Marshal of the Army of the Netherlands,Marshal-General of the Portuguese Army,Field Marshal of the Prussian Army,Field Marshal of the Russian Army,andCaptain-General of the Spanish Army.Prince of Waterloo, of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Duke of Ciudad Rodrigoand Grandee of Spain of the First Class.Duke of Victoria, Marquess of Torres Vedras, and Count of Vimiera in Portugal.Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of the Golden Fleece, and of the Military Ordersof St. Ferdinand and of St. Hermenigilde of Spain.Knight Grand Cross of the Orders of the Black Eagle and of the Red Eagle of Prussia.Knight Grand Cross of the Imperial Military Order of Maria Teresa of Austria.Knight of the Imperial Orders of St. Andrew, St. Alexander Newski, and St. George of Russia.Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Portuguese Military Order of the Tower and Sword.Knight Grand Cross of the Royal and Military Order of the Sword of Sweden.Knight of the Order of St. Esprit of France.Knight of the Order of the Elephant of Denmark.Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order.Knight of the Order of St. Januarius and of the Military Order of St. Ferdinand andof Merit of the Two Sicilies.Knight or Collar of the Supreme Order of the Annunciation of Savoy.Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Military Order of Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria.Knight of the Royal Order of the Rue Crown of Saxony,Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit of Wurtemberg.Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of William of the Netherlands.Knight of the Order of the Golden Lion of Hesse Cassel,andKnight Grand Cross of the Orders of Fidelity and of the Lion of Baden.

As far as I can tell, Marlborough, Winston Churchill, Horatio Nelson, Bernard Montgomery, Napoleon Bonaparte and many monarchs didn't receive so many honors. Its also arguable that Wellington fairly "earned" all of his as opposed to having them bestowed simply for being born a royal.


I'd be interested if anyone here can find a non-royal who received anywhere near the number of honors bestowed upon Wellington.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,009
Netherlands
#3
Wellington received more honors than any other British person who was not royalty. As for the he entire world, I don't know enough to.say, but it i
Seems very likely
Methinks some (commie) dictator would have a lot more titles.
And mind you titles were a part of diplomatic (and sometimes personal) discourse, just like it is now.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,751
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#4
How do you define royalty?

Is royalty limited to persons with the title of king or queen, and their spouses, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, grand nephews and nieces, great grand nephews and nieces, uncles & aunts, granduncles and grand aunts on the royal side of the family, etc., etc., etc., and their spouses?

Is royalty limited to persons who are officially listed as members of the royal family of a kingdom?

Is royalty limited to kings & queens & persons who have the title of prince or princess of a kingdom?

Does royalty include all members of a royal dynasty, no matter how distantly they are related to the monarch, so that, for example, you would count all Bourbons or even all Capetians alive in 1700 as French royalty? Would you count Adolf (1817-1905), Duke of Nassau from 1839-1866 and Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1890-1905, as a member of the Dutch royal family even though he was a 17th cousin once removed of King William III of the Netherlands, because they were both members of the House of Nassau?

If you define what you mean by royalty that will help others answer your question.
 
Last edited:
May 2018
646
Michigan
#5
How do you define royalty?

Is royalty limited to persons with the title of king or queen, and their spouses, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, grand nephews and nieces, great grand nephews and nieces, uncles & aunts, granduncles and grand aunts on the royal side of the family, etc., etc., etc., and their spouses?

Is royalty limited to persons who are officially listed as members of the royal family of a kingdom?

Is royalty limited to kings & queens & persons who have the title of prince or princess of a kingdom?

Does royalty include all members of a royal dynasty, no matter how distantly they are related to the monarch, so that, for example, you would count all Bourbons or even all Capetians alive in 1700 as French royalty? Would you count Adolf (1817-1905), Duke of Nassau from 1839-1866 and Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1890-1905, as a member of the Dutch royal family even though he was a 17th cousin once removed of King William III of the Netherlands, because they were both members of the House of Nassau?

If you define what you mean by royalty that will help others answer your question.
What it really boils down to is whether or not the recipient of the honor could be considered to have fairly "earned" their honors, as opposed to honors being given solely because someone was a member of a nation's ruling/royal family. Or attaining the honor/title by inheritance.

As the younger son of an Irish peer, Wellington didn't inherit a single title. Although he far from "earned" his promotions from Ensign to Lieutenant-Colonel (his brother paid for them), all his promotions from Colonel to Field Marshal were arguably earned on the basis of merit. Certain titles (such as Viscount Wellington) were earned as the direct result of winning a battle.

As far as the definition of royalty goes, it would be whether or not someone was 1) Born Royalty and 2) Were the titles they gained given solely because they were Royalty, or for a trivial justification reason?

Wellington himself could be construed as royalty (he was Prince of Waterloo in the Neterhlands), but that title was obviously earned for his victory at Waterloo (unless he was the son of some "King of Waterloo" to which I am unaware). The whole point of discounting "royalty" is to remove from contention individuals who could not have arguably earned their honors or titles.

However, if there was a prince, queen or king (such as Frederick the Great, perhaps?) who could have arguably earned all their titles and honors, they would be a valid contender.
 
May 2018
646
Michigan
#6
Methinks some (commie) dictator would have a lot more titles.
And mind you titles were a part of diplomatic (and sometimes personal) discourse, just like it is now.
The second part is an excellent point (assuming that the commie dictator indulged in self-award of titles/honors in regards to the first point). I'd have to parse all of his honors, but on the surface, I'd say that at least the majority of his honors were bestowed as a reward for victory in battle or some other military accomplishment.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,009
Netherlands
#7
The second part is an excellent point (assuming that the commie dictator indulged in self-award of titles/honors in regards to the first point). I'd have to parse all of his honors, but on the surface, I'd say that at least the majority of his honors were bestowed as a reward for victory in battle or some other military accomplishment.
Well it is a bit of both. He wouldn't have gotten his titles if he hadn't won in Waterloo and Spain/Portugal. On the other hand a lot of the titles came from kings that were dependent on the Brits or at least needed to be on friendly terms with them and Wellington was a perfect "target" for that. So I would say that 2/3 of the reason is for achievement and 1/3 of the reason diplomacy/expediency. That also explains why Blucher got less honors from Waterloo for example. He was Prussian and old (and not too healthy).
 
Oct 2018
26
Belgium
#8
Wellington himself could be construed as royalty (he was Prince of Waterloo in the Neterhlands), but that title was obviously earned for his victory at Waterloo (unless he was the son of some "King of Waterloo" to which I am unaware).
That's Prince as a stand-alone title, not a royal one. The current Duke of Wellington is also still Prince of Waterloo, which is considered a title in both the Dutch and Belgian nobility. It's got nothing to do with being the offspring of a monarch. There are lots of Princes who aren't, to name one prominent example: all Princes of Orange until 1815, when the Prince of Orange also became King of the Netherlands. People who only have the title Prince because their father is a monarch are sometimes called Princes of the Blood (or of the Blood Royal) to make the distinction. In German, a non-Royal Prince tends to be called Fürst rather than Prinz, so if the Kingdom of the Netherlands had been German-speaking, they'd probably have made Wellington 'Fürst von Waterloo'. English doesn't have the two separate words available.
 
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MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,751
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#9
...Wellington himself could be construed as royalty (he was Prince of Waterloo in the Neterhlands), but that title was obviously earned for his victory at Waterloo (unless he was the son of some "King of Waterloo" to which I am unaware). The whole point of discounting "royalty" is to remove from contention individuals who could not have arguably earned their honors or titles...
You made an error about the meaning of the word prince, which has many meanings. When I was 16, I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, and was surprise by the title of Prince of Dol Amroth used by a Gondorian nobleman. The only type of princes I knew of at that time were royal princes.

Many European countries had and some still have the noble title of prince. In some countries the title of prince was below duke, and in others it was above duke.

In the Holy Roman Empire the title of furst or prince was below herzog or duke. A number of different ranks were collective considered to be princely ranks. I think that in ascending order they were princely count, landgrave, margrave, count palatine, prince, duke, grand duke, and archduke. The German word prinz means a royal prince.

The word prince is also used to mean a ruler. Thus in old treaties a king will be described as "that high and mighty prince" followed by his name and title. And thus the title of Machiavelli's book The Prince.

The English word prince comes from the Latin princeps which has many meanings. It was a title of Roman Emperors, so princeps sometimes means emperor.

Prince - Wikipedia
 
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May 2018
646
Michigan
#10
You made an error about the meaning of the word prince, which has many meanings. When I was 16, I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, and was surprise by the title of Prince of Dol Amroth used by a Gondorian nobleman. The only type of princes I knew of at that time were royal princes.

Many European countries had and some still have the noble title of prince. In some countries the title of prince was below duke, and in others it was above duke.

In the Holy Roman Empire the title of furst or prince was below herzog or duke. A number of different ranks were collective considered to be princely ranks. I think that in ascending order they were princely count, landgrave, margrave, count palatine, prince, duke, grand duke, and archduke. The German word prinz means a royal prince.

The word prince is also used to mean a ruler. Thus in old treaties a king will be described as "that high and mighty prince" followed by his name and title. And thus the title of Machiavelli's book The Prince.

The English word prince comes from the Latin princeps which has many meanings. It was a title of Roman Emperors, so princeps sometimes means emperor.

Prince - Wikipedia
I agree with everything except the last sentence: Princeps is commonly held to mean "first citizen". Roman Emperors until Diocletian were still officially "first citizens" and Rome still had the veneer of a Republic. Emperor comes from imperator, which means "victorious general." Although, the title of imperator was considered to be the most important title held by Roman "princeps."
 

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