Real name: Prince Roger Nelson
Birthdate: June 7, 1958
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The term prince, from the Latin root princeps, is used for a member of the highest ranks of the aristocracy or the nobility.
In many other languages besides English, there are at least two separate words for these two distinct notions.
In some monarchies, e.g. the kingdom of France, this appellation is a specific title in its own right, of more restricted use. There the notion of prince du sang is restricted to paternal royal descendants. Depending on national tradition, the appellation may have restricted scope or not, often no further than one or two generations after the monarch and / or the line of succession, or it may be allowed to run into very high numbers, as is often the case in oriental dynasties.
To complicate matters, the style His Royal Highness, a prefix normally accompanying the title of a dynastic prince, of royal or imperial rank, that is, can be awarded separately (as a compromise or consolation prize, in some sense).
Over the centuries foreign-language titles such as Italian principe, French prince, German Fürst, Russian kniaz, etc., are often translated as prince in English.
Other titles are unique to one dynasty, even though the ruler's title is not, such as Moulay (French form; also Mulay in English) in the Sherifian sultanate (now kingdom ruled by a Malik) of Morocco,
On the other hand, an existing style can be used without retaining any of its intrinsic qualities, e.g. Sultan for ordinary members of the Ottoman dynasty (ruler mainly styled Padishah)
Yet a style can be reserved for members of the dynasty meeting specific criteria, e.g. French Emperor Napoléon I Bonaparte created the style Prince français ('French prince') for the princes of his house in line for the imperial succession, which excluded notable his adoptive stepson Eugène de Beauharnais, who meanwhile was Prince de Venise in chief of Napoleon's other realm, Italy.
Confusingly, there are instances where a title suggests close kinship but actually only expresses a similar position in the line of succession, e.g. Filius Augusti 'son of the Augustus' in the Roman Tetrarchy. Furthermore, terms of kinship are sometimes used as a protocollary style, even for biologically unrelated digitaries, not unlike the practice of members of the clergy being addressed as 'father' and addressing laymen as 'my son/daughter', or even several ecclesiastical titles originally meaning father (notably Pope, Abbot, partially Patriarch) or brother (e.g. Fra).
In the same tradition some self-proclaimed monarchs of so-called micronations establish themselves as virtual princes:
- Roy Bates calls himself Prince Roy of the Principality of Sealand
Tthough these offices must not be reserved for members of the ruling dynasty, in some traditions they are, possibly even reflected in the style of the office, e.g. prince-lieutenant in Luxembourg repeatedly filled by the Crown prince before the grand duke's abdication, or in form of consortium imperii.
In Poland specifically, the titles of prince dated either to the times before the Union of Lublin or were granted to Polish nobles by foreign kings, as the law in Poland forbade king from dividing nobility by granting them hereditary titles. For more information, see The Princely Houses of Poland.
See Prince of the Church for the main Christian versions. Also in Christianity, Jesus Christ is sometimes referred to as the Prince of Peace, and Satan can be called the Prince of Darkness.