Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (royalty and nobility)

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Proposed restrictions on styles & titles of former royals[edit]

A proposal is now pending to !vote to ban use of titles, honorifics and styles historically associated with titled members of no longer reigning families or to require that wherever such titles are mentioned in a Wikipedia bio, article or template that a disclaimer must be attached informing the reader that the title/style is not legal or is a courtesy title only. You may read opinions and express your views here. FactStraight (talk) 22:47, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

There currently doesn’t seem to be such discussion and I also didn’t find it in that page’s archives. — Christoph Päper 08:28, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Former titles[edit]

This page is lacking a guideline for naming articles about persons whose nobility has been revoked by civil law, e.g. when aristocracy was abolished as a whole – and so is WP:MOSBIO. See for instance Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biography#Former noble names of Germans. — Christoph Päper 08:28, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

The guideline is "For claimants to titles which have been suppressed, as with the dukes of Bavaria, follow the general article titling policy." DrKiernan (talk) 09:09, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Which one is that? WP:ON, WP:UCN. If reliable sources – and I’m speculating here, wildly – from the UK tend to use aristocrat titles and such from the US don’t, even WP: is relevant.
That’s saying, you’re right that we don’t always have to choose the legal name as a lemma, but the descendants of such families are not “free to style themselves by their title”; doing so would even be a punishable offense in Austria (but not in Germany) as far as I know, because they just don’t have a title (unlike people from aristocrat countries like the UK). The only source that would apply such outdated titles is the “yellow press”, hardly what I would consider reliable. Anyway, we also don’t always have to choose the name the individual applies to themself.
In conclusion, we should use the lemma as uncontroversial as possible and that is not to include any titles, so I’ll state it more precisely: Konrad von Sachsen-Meiningen is preferable over Konrad Prinz von Sachsen-Meiningen. Comma notation must be reserved for actual nobility. — Christoph Päper 11:19, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
The words "general article titling policy" in the guideline are linked to the same page as UCN. Sorry, I should have carried the link over when I copied the text above. I wasn't disagreeing with or commenting on your post in my reply, merely pointing at the current wording for cases of this sort. DrKiernan (talk) 09:01, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

New example needed[edit]

Sir Arthur Dean is now Arthur Dean (judge) and is no longer useful as an example of a title that includes the word "Sir" as a disambiguator. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:06, 2 May 2014 (UTC)


At House of Frankopan, we currently have the description of the Croatian medieval nobility (which should be the primary topic for the term), as well as a description of a British Frankopan family that claims descendence from the former, but which is disputed. Regardless of this dispute, the latter could have an article of their own, which would reduce the focus on that dispute in the main article. But how should a new article be named? House of Frankopan (United Kingdom)? Frankopan family (United Kingdom)? Something else? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 20:04, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Anglicizing names[edit]

Colonies Chris moved dozens of articles today with the edit-summary stating "unanglicised name", and I reverted a number of the moves as they had not been properly discussed. Apparently, Colonies Chris had started a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Biography#Anglicising_names_of_nobles three days before and, unsurprisingly, received no response. Should names of the medieval members of the House of Hohenzollern be anglicized? Surtsicna (talk) 22:32, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Indeed, they should be anglicized. GoodDay (talk) 23:22, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I see little reason to Anglicize names of articles for royalty prior to the 19th century and none after the 20th unless the royal in question was well-known via English sources and known by an Anglicized name. As a rule of thumb, I would Anglicize the names of those whose native name is likely to be so unfamiliar to most English-speakers that it is traditionally translated, e.g. Baldwin V, Count of Flanders (rather than Baudouin) or John IV of Portugal. The other exceptions might be for cased where the royal is famous enough to have a sobriquet, so William the Silent, and his father would be William the Rich, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, while the latter's father could remain Johann V, Count of Nassau-Vianden-Dietz. Why call William the Silent's brother ??? when probably never in his life was he called by that name and seldom written of by that name either. FactStraight (talk) 03:13, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
That was my thinking. There's no reason to anglicise someone's name unless there's clear evidence that they're well known by the English name. In the changes I made, I consciously decided not to touch familiar names such as William the Silent or Frederick the Great. And I agree about using the English version of more obscure names such as Baudouin. My changes applied to names with close equivalents such as Philip/Philipp, Frederick/Friedrich, Charles/Karl, Albert/Albrecht, William/Wilhelm. There are some bizarre anglicisations - for example, in Wilhelm IV of Eberstein, Kunigunde, the name of his mother and one of his daughters, had been inexplicably anglicised to Gwendolyn. Colonies Chris (talk) 08:18, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I generally agree we shouldn't be doing Anglicizations unless they are well supported by sources, although on the other hand, if we're writing about someone as William because he's well known as such (when he was originally Wilhelm), then it may seem odd or confusing if, in the same article, we refer to some other less well-known relative as Wilhelm rather than William (or even as Friedrich rather than Frederick). But I suppose that problem doesn't really apply to the titles of articles. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:37, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree, these articles should be treated on a case-by-case basis. Deb (talk) 10:33, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Query about sorting by surnames[edit]

I've noticed that several royals and nobles such as Antoinette de Bourbon have "de", "von" "van" where an "of" would be in English. Should it sorted with the first name first as articles with "of" in the name are, or with "de Whatever" or "van Whatever" be placed first the surname, as is the case with non-nobles with foreign words (like Dick Van Dyke meaning "of" in their names are? Should it vary by time periods, such as placing the first name first in time periods where surnames were not formally recognized as such? Its very confusing and I'm trying to sort royalty and nobility articles and I'd like to do it properly. Asarelah (talk) 15:16, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Generally, I'd use an untranslated particle in noble titles of persons when the particle is likely to be familiar to English encyclopedia-readers (e.g. de, von, van, af, di, du, della, zu, etc.), except when English generally accords an English-language particle with the name (e.g. "Mary of Teck" not "Mary von Teck", "Daisy of Pless" not "Daisy von Pless", "Joan of Arc", not "Jeanne d'Arc", but "Marquis de Sade", "Baron von Steuben", Vicomte de Turenne, "Marquis de LaFayette, etc. These particles should not be translated when treated purely as a name (i.e., not preceded by a title). When a territorial designation is preceded by a title, noble particles still shouldn't be translated but should be sorted neither by title nor particle, but by the territorial designation ("Merode, Prince Emmanuel de" not "De Merode, Prince Emmanuel" and "Lesseps, Ferdinand, vicomte de". For royalty, all particles should be translated into English, since normally their territorial designation will have been the realm ruled by their dynasty (but note, whereas Herzog in Bayern translates "Duke in Bavaria", Prins til Danmark and Prins av Danmark both translate as "Prince of Denmark"). FactStraight (talk) 01:37, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I tend to agree. It's an age-old problem and there's no easy answer. Deb (talk) 15:15, 28 August 2014 (UTC)