Talk:Rita Jenrette

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European Titles[edit]

I have noticed the discussion on the validity of the title of Prince born by Prince Nicolo Boncompagni-Ludovisi and of that of Prince of Piombino. The view taken here that the use of European titles is somehow improper and that therefore their bearers should be ridiculed, or at best referred to as styled, displays a mistaken and factually incorrect view of history and, indeed, the present day legal treatment of such titles. It seems that the editor of the page on Prince Nicolo’s wife does not accept that her husband should be given the title Prince on the pages of Wikipedia – although he is so referred to on other parts of the English language Wikipedia and also in other language Wiki sites. Such an attitude reflects a personal bias that is inappropriate in a source which purports to be authoritative.

The first point is that these titles were created by lawful authorities with the right to pass to descendants according to various forms. In the case of the title of Prince Boncompagni-Ludovisi, the Holy Roman Empire was a lawful authority, the title was created according to the proper forms and passed to all descendants in the male line (and to females until marriage). There has never been any form of retroactive law to repeal the grant of this or any other Holy Roman Empire title and indeed, since the abolition of the Empire in 1806, no body exists that could effect such abolition. The title of Prince of Piombino was granted as an immediate sovereign fief of the same Empire and continued to be held by the heirs of the first grantee, but as a feudatory along with Elba, of the Crown of Naples, after passing to the Boncompagni-Ludovisi family by inheritance, until Piombino was confiscated by the French in 1799. It was then promised to be returned to the Boncompagni-Ludovisi heirs at the Congress of Vienna but, instead, was ultimately incorporated into Tuscany (Article 100 of the Acts of the Congress of Vienna of 9 June 1815), with the title of Prince of Piombino consistently recognised for the head of the Boncompagni-Ludovisi family by the Powers. This title descends by male primogeniture (as do the other Boncompagni-Ludovisi titles of Prince of Venosa and Duke of Sora and Arce, etc).

These titles have never been abolished; the Italian Republic does not recognise their use but has not attempted to deprive the descendants of the grantees of such titles of their titles, which have never been abolished or suppressed in Italian law – Italian law merely provides that they cannot be used in official documents as they are not recognised; despite, this a junior member of the family who received the grand cross of Merit of the Italian Republic was accorded the use of the title prince in the diploma and on the official web site of the Order of Merit. The Italian Republic does recognise legal predicati, and those of the Princes Boncompagni-Ludovisi, including that of Piombino.

The Holy See, however, continues to recognise titles granted by past Popes and, indeed, these and other titles granted by lawful authority are used at the Papal Court. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta whose sovereign status is recognised by 103 states, including Italy, also recognises legitimately accorded noble titles and uses them in official acts (and members of the Boncompagni-Ludovisio family who are knights of Malta have been accorded the title of Prince on their diploma and in other official acts).

GuyStairSainty (talk) 10:12, 7 September 2009 (UTC) Guy Sainty, ( - for the entry on the Boncompagni-Ludovisi family see

Thank you for your contribution. I've changed the article accordingly. --NeilN talkcontribs 13:12, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
And I'm changing it back. Wikipedia requires reliable sources, and just having somebody post on the talk page, insisting his own self-published website is reliable, posting a personal attack on an editor who disagrees with him, and ignoring all elements of the discussion that don't help his argument isn't good enough -- not to mention trying to purge the article of its only solidly documented facts regarding the individual in question. It's too bad that Jenrette and her friends don't like conforming to Wikipedia's requirements regarding verifiability and reliability sources, but that desn't provide any basis for setting them aside. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 14:55, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how your version is any better sourced. The Boncompagni-Ludovisi family's existence and descent from the princes of Piombino is easily discoverable in any source on European royal/noble genealogy, and we normally call people by how they call themselves - note a rather large number of articles on the German nobility, for example. Sainty's site may not be a proper reliable source, but he knows what he's talking about on royalty/nobility related subjects, and I see no reason to dismiss his arguments so cavalierly. Especially since the edit you reverted consisted merely of calling the guy "Prince," which seems perfectly appropriate, and taking out some nonsense which implies that he isn't actually descended from the family which ruled Piombino. The only sources provided in either version do in fact refer to him as a prince. It's one thing to revert material sourced to something that's not technically a reliable source when the previous text is actually based on a reliable source. But that isn't true in this case. john k (talk) 04:00, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Excuse me. Exactly what in my preferred text qualifies as "nonsense" or carries the implications you suggest? As I pointed out below, the language I added is consistent with Wikipedia practice in the area (note the pages I cite), and is no worse than agnostic on the questions involved. At this point, the main question is whether claims can be included in a BLP without reliable sourcing, and nobody has explained why this particular claim is somehow entitled to an exception. If Jenrette's current husband is who she describes him as, the leader of a prominent family entitled to the title she ascribes to him, there out to be a reliable source out there. His own site doesn't count, nor does a self-published genealogy site using vanity press books as references. This is a simple sourcing question, and there's no exception in Wikipedia policy for princes, self-described or legally recognized. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 04:26, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually Guy Stair Sainty has his own wikipedia entry and seems to be something of a recognized expert on European nobility. I think his site can qualify as a reliable source. --NeilN talkcontribs 04:45, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
WP:BLP says it can't, because it's self-published; whatever WP:RS leeway exists for recognized experts doesn't extend to sourcing information about living persons. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 05:25, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
So we are using BLP to instead say things that the subject of the article apparently doesn't like? That's kind of bass-ackwards, isn't it? The whole point of BLP is to be more protective of living people, not to piss them off. At any rate, your version is not any more reliably sourced than the alternative. john k (talk) 16:28, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Exactly what in the text I wrote is not reliably sourced under BLP? Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 16:31, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
The implication of saying that he "claims" descent is that that claim is false. That is certainly problematic. Calling him a "perfume entrepeneur" is also problematic - his status as such seems to have emerged after his marriage. He is an Italian aristocrat, first and foremost. john k (talk) 21:19, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
"Claims descent" carries no such implication, and is used without that implication in other Wikipedia genealogical articles like Clan Gregor, Clan Nicolson, and El-Umari. In articles where the claim is questioned, a separate statement regarding the dispute of the claim is made, as in Clan MacFarlane and in Cantacuzino family. Like "styled," it's a standard, neutral-at-worst Wikipedian usage. I don't understand why the "perfume entrepreneur" statement has become such an issue; as others have noted, it's the most solidly established, reliably sourced fact regarding him so far, and his involvement in a perfume business has been mentioned in virtually every online source regarding the wedding. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 21:54, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Hmm...I'll concede that "claims descent" can be used in an NPOV manner without making such an implication. That was silly on my part. I do think that saying that they "style themselves" in such a way is a bit problematic. As far as "perfume entrepeneur," I think the issue would be not with saying that he is one, but implying that that is mainly what he is. The man is nearly 70 years old, and apparently only started making perfume recently. More important is his status as a member of the aristocratic family, I think. (Note that, via Google Books, I've found a reliable genealogical source below, a book on the descendants of Popes.) john k (talk) 22:10, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Guy Sainty credentials[edit]

I see a person described as "Hullaballoo Wolfowitz" has questioned my credentials in regard to my comments below on the titles of Prince Nicola Boncompagni-Ludovisi; my web site is widely cited (including as a source on Wikipedia) and is compiled from a variety of sources - in the case of this particular family, the Almanach de Gotha (the last entry on this family was in the 1943 edition, where on page 390 the birth of Prince Nicolo to Prince Gregorio and his wife is recorded), the Starke Genealogisches Handbuch der Furstlichen Hauser, volume XIV 1991, Ruvigny Titled Nobility of Europe, 1914, the Enciclopedia Storico-Nobiliare Italiana, by Vittorio Spreti Volume II, and the Libro d'Oro della Nobilta Italiana (most recent edition XXIII, volume XXVII, 2005-2009) all of which I have in complete sets in my library. In addition I am a member of the Royal Academy of Heraldry and Genealogy in Madrid, and have published articles on nobility and royalty in numerous scholarly magazines. I have never seen or even heard of any person by the name of Hullaballoo Wolfowitz ever publishing anything on European nobility or royalty and am bemused at this suggestion that such matters as genealogy are matters of opinion, rather than fact.

Emphasis on key points[edit]

  • To say that Jenrette is perhaps best known for her salacious revelations and Playboy pictorials is mealy mouthed.

This article[1], a puff piece, says as much.

  • "some of the events that transpired during their marriage"? Puhleez! Why so circumspect? Say it plain - she had sex on the Capitol steps and got nekkid in Playboy.
  • Who really cares about some report on world hunger that she co-authored? That's in her bio to make her seem like less of a gold digger.
  • Isn't a timeline format poor wiki style? Decade titled sections carry almost no info. And the decade division shoehorns her Fox news in with her nudie pics. It should be in a different phase of her bio. 05:46, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
    • It was rude, libelous, and wrongheaded for me to use the word "gold digger", but the report she contributed to on world hunger is of minor significance to her biography. 19:50, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Content dispute[edit]

It has been widely substantiated that Rita does not possess a Harvard MBA. It would be good to list the ISBN number for her books. — Preceding unsigned comment added by StyleIcons (talkcontribs) 21:05, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

I feel that I am "the coward that edited this page."

Since the editor, User:Princessrbl, claims to be Jenrette herself (see previous link), then she represents a conflict of interest and has taken a decidedly uncivil tone.

Princessrbl, please post your concerns with the article here (and in a civil tone) so that they can be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Your attack against me, or anyone else, does not help. Nor does blanking the page.

As for the admin that protected the page, I'd like to request that you also protect the image of Jenrette. If she is willing to disrupt Wikipedia by page blanking and name calling, it follows that she may try to blank the image page on Commons as well. If you are not an admin on Commons, I'm requesting that you ask an admin there to protect it for us. Thanks, Dismas|(talk) 05:49, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Please assume good faith about Princessrbl's contributions and remember that our policy on biographical articles about living people indicates that we need to be sensitive to their concerns. Please try not to assume negative comments were directed at you personally.
The Commons image should be just fine without further protection.
I have asked Princessrbl to participate here in good faith discussions about specific issues with inaccuracy or unbalanced presentation overall. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 06:30, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
There are several different things going on here. First of all, User:Ghosts&empties made significant inappropriate edits to to the article; his goal, as stated pretty clearly in his initial (unsigned) comments here, was to portray Jenrette in an unfavorable light ("golddigger") and emphasize the "salacious" aspects of her biography. That version of the article apparently prompted Jenrette's return to editing.
Jenrette, however, shows very little interest in standard editing, and simply wants her Wikipedia article to function as an authorized biography. When she was editing simply as "Jenrette," she inserted an utterly unsourced description of her ancestry going back to the twelfth century and detailing such tenuous family connections as an undescribed relationship to George Washington. Her current run of edits includes several apparently counterfactual changes related to her career as a realtor (I say counterfactual because they contradict all the news reports I've located, and uniformly portray her in a more favorable/significant light; curiously, her edits omit the undisputed fact that she lost the initial round of litigation then settled for a reported token amount.) She's never participated in any discussion.
And, of course, I'm involved, trying to clean up the article generally, and pissing off Jenrette by describing her new husband in more neutral terms than she fancies appropriate, but terms that are consistent with Wikipedia usage in articles on other pretenders to no-longer-existing thrones (I avoided saying "pretender" because although accurate it seemed likely to antagonize her, a futile choice). Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 15:10, 24 August 2009 (UTC)


While there's a complete lack of high quality sources for Jenrette's second marriage (no doubt because of its marginal notability), I suppose we have to use something. How about this: [2]? And is anyone completely opposed to leaving "prince" in? --NeilN talkcontribs 00:04, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, I'm opposed to leaving "Prince" in without any qualification. He's not a "prince" in any real-world sense, and there are no reliable sources backing up his claims. (Is he actually, for example, the "ruling" prince, or is he descended through noninheriting younger sons?) When you look at various other pretender families, there's lots of backbiting and infighting ging on over the medievally-created succession laws and their effects on these silly claims. For all we know, the good "Prince," under the laws that he invokes to claim the title, may have lost the title by marrying a divorced American commoner (assuming his claim is really legit, rather the pipe dream of a rich dude with illusions to indulge). (And what does being a "prince" like this mean, beyond being descended from a particularly successful medieval war criminal/mass murderer?) The way I phrased things here [3] was, I think, consistent with Wikipractice in other articles and more than fair to the happy couple. There is, after all, something very loopy about twenty-first century people claiming to be princes (or princesses) of the Holy Roman Empire.
I don't know about the wedding reference you suggest. It never actually identifies the bride.Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 04:11, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Looks good. I put your version back in, minus the bit about the price of the perfume - it's an unnotable piece of trivia, I think. --NeilN talkcontribs 04:29, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Okay, for the most part, I've tried to just stay a passive observer, but this is getting to be too much. This article is discussing a living person, WP:BLP applies everywhere, even this talk page. Can we please not make unnecessary comments like "a rich dude with illusions to indulge" and "loopy" when referring to people? This article has seen BLP problems in the past. If anyone is unable to be sensitive to such concerns, my suggestion would be to not edit BLPs. Additionally, some of the things I'm seeing make no sense at all. One sentence is apparently undue weight and the source is spam when its added by a new user, but 2 sentences, including the "spammy" source, are fine? Mr.Z-man 04:47, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Well do you have any specific suggestions on how to improve the problematic areas of the article? That's what most of us are after. --NeilN talkcontribs 04:58, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Mr Z-Man generally about BLP issues, but I phrased (or tried to phrase) my comment a bit more carefully than he's interpreting it. The first quote was something I was assuming not to be the case; the second was not directed at a specific person, but at the general phenomenon involved. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 05:26, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Rita Jenrette: A Dear Friend[edit]

I have known Rita for almost two decades. We first met through the theatre and while Rita was appearing on stage in one play, she graciously agreed to do a staged reading of one of mine.

Thereafter, Rita and I became close friends and we shared many experiences--some filled with joy and laughter and others less happy. So what's new?

Rita's notoriety has frequently been the source of pain for her. I have observed that many women, in particular, are prone to saying unkind things about her without any real basis in fact. The fact that Rita is an extraordinarily beautiful woman hasn't made her life any easier in many respects.

Throughout our long friendship, I have found Rita to be honest, generous, and reliable. I am proud to have her as one of my dearest friends.

--Gordon Osmond (talk) 13:49, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Do you have any specific suggestions on how to improve the article? With all respect, we discuss the article here, not the subject herself (a subtle but very important distinction). --NeilN talkcontribs 14:15, 30 August 2009 (UTC)


I'm not trying to be controversial or libelous, but calling her second pictorial "semi-nude" would be stretching common definition of nudity. Google image searches don't lie. Every contemporary newspaper article I found about the pictorial using Google news search, referred to it as nude.

Calling it simply a "pictorial in Playboy" conveys the message without provoking a controversy. G&E (talk) 18:10, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

September 2009. Why not accepting clearly proven historical facts?[edit]

Why for heavens sake does only one of our good old notorious authors (see history of this article) delete at least twice a day all well and 100% referenced historical facts about the noble italian family of Jenrettes husband Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi (see chapter "Second marriage") and about her own clearly stated descent from a noble english family (see chapter "Family history"), or her degree obtained at Harvard Business School and finally the awards she won as a stage actress etc? Why has all of this this daily been replaced by historically wrong, slanderous and libelous details or completely deleted as pretended "poorly referenced", whilst instead clearly and 100% proven by a multitude of best and first class references?! If people are not familiar with these evident facts on europeen nobility that can be looked up easily in each library (also in the US, of course) or in the internet (google books etc.), why do they have to be deleted and replaced by libelous and completely wrong pretensions like "the couple styles themselves as Prince and Princess..." or her husbands "claims to be..."? Sorry to insist from a professional point of view as a historian, but they a r e Prince and Princess Boncompagni Ludovisi even though these titles are of no particular political meaning nowadays! Why is it ignored, by deleting the whole chapter over and over again, that noble titles were restituted to all italian nobility after the Congress of Vienna in 1815 (Art. 100), after having taken away from Napoleon only temporarily in 1806? What about reading the books proposed in the annotations instead of replacing right things by completely wrong ones? What about those ten thousands of hits under the name of Boncompagni Ludovisi at google?! Why has the following link been deleted at least 25 times by o n l y that one and only specific Wikipedia author who claims himself to be, let's say God or whatever even if it proves easily and undoubtedly the royal descent of that family and as well of Jenrettes husband:

This is all slightly disappointing and obviously rather weird...

Or: Why insisting constantly that Prince Boncompagni Ludovisi should be called a "perfume entrepreneur" for it is completely evident, that he just comissioned a fragrance only once in his lifetime on the occasion of his wedding with Rita Jenrette in 2009? Only try to find a second fragrance he presumingly has created! Nothing, sorry....!! All of this is absolutely ignorant and absurd.

I want to have your clear opinion on this subject, hopefully from serious authors not fighting a private battle against a living person or claiming themselves as kinds of Sheriff of the Internet. This has to be stopped right now! That controversial author in question states on his page being in the past that much in conflict with other authors that he therefore once retired from Wikipedia for a long, long, long time to keep, as he writes, his grandchildren instead!! Good gracious... Probably he is a good guy who enjoys his retirement in his 60's somewhere in the midwest but as his contributions on this page shows too clearly, he's absolutely destructive and ignores all best proven facts, printed in a thousands of serious history books, published on a thousands of web-pages etc. ets...(just get on his talk page to see his obstructions on many other Wiki pages, and mostly against all comprehension and logics!!!)

My suggestion: man has never landed on the moon and the earth is a disk. Easy to ignore 500 years of science and history if you just insist long enough on Wikipedia! Sorry this is not my level...poor world...

As I can see right now all of my references and text has been completely removed by this author once again: all of my well proven and clearly researched historical facts concerning unquestioned history of one of the best reputed italian noble families. His explanation: "generally referenced by self-published/vanity presssources"!!! This is, there is no other explanation in sight, obviously mad... calling references of the leading historical and genaelogical reviews and compendiums (held for example by Library of Congress etc. etc) "self published"!!! Help!!!!!! Please help by your contributions to verify the true facts and protect them against stupid obstruction!!

(please all of you, excuse my unperfect english, I'm unfortunately no native speaker...hope you got the clear purpose of my message even so...thanks a lot!) Heinsteindesign (talk) 17:32, 5 September 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Heinsteindesign (talkcontribs)

Given that Heinstein prefers to ignore the discussions I've engaged in above and to fling insults and shabby dimestore innuendo, I'm not going to review his comments in detail. However:
  • Heinstein isn't telling the truth when he says I've removed the information about Jenrette's Harvard degree; if you check the edit history, you'll see I've repeatedly added back the specific degree information (which Jenrette herself has for some odd reason deleted on several occasions)
  • The key reference in the (Jenrette) family history section (and who really cares which medieval warlords are lurking in her family tree; the number of Wikipedia biographies which include such nonencyclopedic information is all but nil) is a self-published, vanity press book. [4]. It can't be used as a source in a BLP.
I agree that self-published books and books from vanity presses are worthless as sources. Uucp (talk) 18:54, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia isn't bound by the dictates of the Congress of Vienna. Nobody else is, so far as I know. But even according to the sources provided regarding that conclave of oppressors of the common folk, whatever titles were involved went only to the descendants of the then-current royalty, not their descendants' spouses, so there still wouldn't be any reliable source for identify Jenrette as a "princess."
Seriously? Come on, don't be perfectly dense. In the western world, a wife is entitled to be called by her husband's titles. What law says that John Smith's wife is to be referred to as "Mrs. John Smith"? For that matter, what law says that the wife of the Duke of Somerset is entitled to be called the "Duchess of Somerset"? I assume you wouldn't dispute either of those things, though. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
There are plenty of genealogical websites online, which do not simply "republish user-submitted content" which note the title. Beyond Sainty's site,I can point you to Paul Theroff's Online Gotha and to Leo van de Pas' Genealogics' site. The latter, in fact, gives references to real reliable genealogical sources - the Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels and A.C. Addington's The Royal House of Stuart. I agree that using "styled" is fine, but we shouldn't say that they "style themselves" that. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
This is convincing to me -- can any supporters of the "Prince" and "Princess" title point us to an objective third party source that discusses Ludovisi's regal status? Uucp (talk) 18:54, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
See above - also, he has no regal status. He has a princely status. There are thousands of princes in Italy. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
  • If Ludovisi doesn't like being (accurately) as a "perfume entrepreneur," he shouldn't set up a personal website describing his perfume business at length, or issue press releases promoting that business and hawking its products [5], or give interviews to websites covering the perfume business in general [6], or announce plans to issue an entire "series of fragrances." [7] It would have been inappropriate, even genuinely derisive, to identify him as the "unemployed pretender" to a long-defunct European, throne, there being no apparent evidence that he was otherwise engages in gainful employment. His involvement in the perfume business is the only solidly sourced information about him in any version of the Jenrette article.
Don't be purposefully dense. Aristocrats who don't work are not "unemployed" - they are wealthy and don't need to work. This is all rather irritating to those of us who are not wealthy aristocrats who don't need to work, but doesn't justify us in describing them as unemployed. Those who are unemployed are seeking employment. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
I basically agree. How can anybody look at and conclude he isn't a "perfume entrepreneur"? Uucp (talk) 18:54, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
I think it's problematic to describe Jenrette as marrying a "perfume entrepeneur" for two reasons - firstly, the perfume enterprise appears to have largely begun after the marriage (correct me if I'm wrong on that, though); secondly, because it is misleading about who the guy is. Most importantly, the guy is an Italian aristocrat from a rather old and distinguished aristocratic family. I think mentioning the perfume business somewhere would be fine, but I think the particular wording is awkward. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Finally, The Big Bad Wolfowitz notes with malice aforethought, Wikipedia coverage must be balanced and neutral. If the article is going to include Jenrette's glorious colonial ancestors, it must also cover their involvement with slavery and the slave trade; if we're going to cover her husband's claimed noble family and heritage, we must also cover its surprisingly well-documented involvement with Mussolini and the Fascisti. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 03:00, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Discussing Jenrette's ancestors seems problematic to me, as it moves in the direction of OR. Also: who cares? What does it have to do with her life? On the other hand, Boncompagni-Ludovisi is from a high aristocratic family in Italy. Mentioning this is pretty basic to understanding who the guy is - even in European countries that have abolished the aristocracy, the aristocracy is a real thing, and noting that someone is a member of a pretty significant aristocratic family is not POV - it's just a basic fact about the person. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Question 1: how are we defining "Prince" and "Princess"? Several different definitions seem to be at play here. Some editors believe that anybody who calls himself a Prince, is a prince. This seems absurd to me. I can call myself "Archdeacon of the Manhattans," but that doesn't make it true. Some believe that if you belong to a line of succession that would have resulted in your being a prince, but the monarchy in question has fallen, you can still be called a prince. This is the theory behind "Prince Pavlus" of Greece using his title. This riles my democratic instincts, but is less insane than theory 1. The most conservative editors believe that you have to be a prince in a country that still has princes in order to call yourself "Prince". Does Wikipedia have a policy on this? Uucp (talk) 18:47, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, Mr. Sainty above suggests that another member of the family was given an award by the Italian Republic that called him a "prince." The Italian Republic does not officially recognize noble titles, but apparently has not formally abolished them either. But, really, Wikipedia's policy is to follow the usage of reliable sources. These seem to be fairly thin on the ground here, but all the sources that we do have call him "Prince Nicolò Boncompagni-Ludovisi". Until you find reliable sources that deny him the title, I don't see that you have any ground to stand on. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Question 2: Did Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi use a different name in the past? When one googles for him, almost nothing comes up except for the perfume and self-reported genealogy sites. Uucp (talk) 18:58, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean about "self-reported genealogy sites." All the reputable royal/noble genealogy sites on the internet have information about him which is the same. None of them, perhaps, qualifies as a Wikipedia reliable source, although many of them are effectively used as such in numerous other Wikipedia articles. If you actually cared about verifying this, you could look in the Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, and other such genealogical sources. The Google results are admittedly pretty poor - most just seem to be rehashes of the perfume press release. But I've managed to find a few other bits. For instance this which apparently finds him writing to the New York Post to denounce some socialite as a fraud for claiming to be connected to his family. There's also George L. Williams, Papal Genealogy, which certainly seems to list our Prince Nicolo as a member of the family. john k (talk) 21:52, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, BTW, another source tending towards confirming Prince Boncompagni-Ludovisi's identity - a column from the Spectator describing the Boncompagni-Ludovisi's son's marriage to Lewis H. Lapham's daughter back in 2005. This conforms with the supposed letter from NBL to the New York Post, where he calls on Lapham as a character witness for who he is, and with the various genealogy sites, which list just such a marriage as taking place in 2005. The name given for the bridegroom's mother also conforms to the name given by the various genealogy sites - Benedetta Barberini-Colonna. I'm all for verifying things with proper reliable sources, but this ultra-skepticism isn't good for anyone. It is pretty clear that the husband of the subject of this article is the head of the Boncompagni-Ludovisi family which once ruled Piombino. We may not yet be able to source that properly, but that doesn't mean we should pretend on the talk page that that status is in any real doubt. john k (talk) 05:12, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for this discussion, which is quite helpful. I think the fairest phrasing might be something like "Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, who styles himself Prince Boncompagni Ludovisi by reason of his descent from the ruling family of Piombino, an Italian principality dissolved under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte." This acknowledges his desire and justification for using the title without requiring us to verify his line of descent or the validity of the the title itself, and per discussion above, seems to be normal elsewhere on Wikipedia.
As for the perfume, the current phrasing on the main page is "to commemorate the marriage, Ludovisi commissioned the recreation of a fragrance originally devised for one of his royal ancestors, and offered it for sale through his website," which seems a bit misleading to me, as it seems to suggest that the perfume was essentially an artistic exercise. I don't think the phrase "perfume entrepreneur" is needed, but given how aggressively the stuff seems to have been marketed, it would sit better with me if the article presented the perfume as an entrepreneurial exercise, rather than primarily an artistic one. Uucp (talk) 16:29, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Why can't we simply call him Prince Nicolò Boncompagni-Ludovisi? I would agree with you on the perfume issue. john k (talk) 20:02, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

I, for one, am thoroughly bemused by this manufactured controversy over the use of titles. The grant of noble titles were by legal acts of the legal authorities of states. Such acts were merely a small part of a vast amount of laws and legal acts by these states. Some of these acts have been specifically repealed or amended but a vast amount of past laws, if not repealed or amended, are still valid. The grant of titles of nobility by states unless that grant is specifically repealed are still valid; the fact that some countries have repealed the privileges attached to such titles does not affect the continuity of the title (most states repealed nobiliary privileges but none cancelled past grants of titles). Individuals may be prissy about this and decide, rather discourteously, that they are not going to "recognise" a legal title merely because they object to the concept of hereditary nobility, but such prejudices cannot affect the legal reality and the obligation of Wikipedia, if it hopes to be authoritative, in giving genuine titles where they are genuine and dednying the use of false ones where not. If Wikipedia aspires, as I believe it does, to be an accurate reference source, then it needs to consult with people who actually know something about this instead of relying on ill-informed guess work.

As a simple analogy one might take the title of professor, which is a "title" and which in the US is given very widely but in the UK is customarily restricted to the "chair" of the academic department. Should a British commentator therefore legitimately withhold the title of professor from a US person who is generally considered worthy of the title, because that is not British pactice?

The British royal Court Circular customarily uses royal and noble titles, when genuine, for citizens whose titles are not recognised or used by the state of which the individual is a citizen. To give one example, the birthday of King Constantine of the Hellenes is announced, every year, in the official Coirt circular as "Toay is the birthday of HM King Constantine II of the Hellenes". The Greek government at one time complained about this, but the British Royal Household simply ignored the complaint. Similarly the birthday of "HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia" is announced in a similar fashion. In fact the Crown Prince now lives in the royal palace in Belgrade and is universally referred to as such, even as Alexander II (which would be his regnal title), in the press, and indeed by the government, - this despite the fact that Yugoslavia no longer exists and the monarchy was abolished in 1946 and neither royal nor noble titles are recognised in Yugoslavia or the successor states thereof. Another example would be that of Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna of Russia - everyone knows what happened in Russia in 1917-18, and Russian law does not recognise either noble or royal titles. However, in 1991 the Union of the Russian Nobility was given the building of the former Museum of Marxism-Leninism in St Petersburg and the Grand Duchess is not only officially invited to functions in Russia with her imperial titles (and at the recent enthronement of the Patriarch of Moscow she was given a special place, and seated just across the table from Prime Minister Putin at the official luncheon), but the Order of St Nicholas the Miracle Worker, founded in 1924 in exile by her grandfather, is officially authorised by the Russian state and the Duma, or Council of this Order, is actually situated in the Russian Ministry of Defence.

The Holy See, a sovereign state, accords noble titles to Italian citizens despite their non recognition (but not abolition, by the Republic); for example, the title of Prince is given in the Annuario Pontificio to the hereditary Assistants to the Papal throne, Prince Colonna, Prince of Paliano, and Prince Torlonia, Prince of Fucino, etc. When Marquess Sacchetti was an offcier of the Papal household his title of Marquess was likewise given in the Annuario Pontificio and announcements in the Acta Apostolciae Sedis when the heads of formerly reigning families are granted audiences, use the proper royal titles. Italy, needless to say, does not object to this practice. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, likewise a sovereign entity in International law, also recognises noble titles and usaes them in its official functions; indeed, when officers of the Order with Italian titles are received or invited to official Italian ceremonies, their Italian noble titles are used because they are recognised by the SMOM and the invitations are accorded to them by virue of their functions in the SMOM.

The bigger problem is the use of false titles; perhaps Wikipedia editors might pay greater attention to this misuse. Guy Stair Sainty