1. BruMeister

    BruMeister Member

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Regarding Royalty

    Discussion in 'Research' started by BruMeister, Sep 18, 2011.

    I'm working on a medieval fantasy piece and, although it is fantasy, I'd like to have some proper base knowledge of medieval times. I know a few basic key things that will suit me just fine, but I have a question about royalty.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but families typically got married amongst nations as signs for an alliance correct? Well lets say a prince marries a girl, she becomes a
    princess, and then the prince dies. What happens to the princess?

    Also on a side note, does a princess/queen take the last name of the prince/king when married?
  2. mugen shiyo

    mugen shiyo New Member

    Apr 8, 2011
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    New York, NY
    Yeah, traditionally, the woman will either take the name of the male, or the name is added to her own if her own family is a high family or great house or whatever. For instance.

    Marie Bourdan of Castille is married to Joseph Reigns of France.

    If her house was a srong house, she may insist on keeping her name, and she would be

    Marie de Bourdan de Reigns

    or something like that. Or she could simply be Marie Reigns, followed by whatever titles.

    Princes did not have to be kings. Some princes had the rank of governors or dukes and ruled small states within the nation (Germanic Princes). In other places, every male born from the king is a prince, and every girl a princess. But these are things that you can play with or completely change. It's your world and your story.

    But if the prince dies, it depends on the customs of the nation. In some places, women might no be allowed positions of authority or the ability o own land and property. In others, noble woman are allowed to assume control of the house and her husbands assets should he die. Again, these are things you can decide on.
  3. Mallory

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Jun 27, 2010
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    Tampa Bay
    Like Mugen said, it's going to vary depending on setting. If it's a fantasy story, make the rules up yourself. If it's realistic historical fiction, do research specific to that nation and time period.
  4. cruciFICTION

    cruciFICTION Contributor Contributor

    May 18, 2011
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    Brisbane, Australia
    Well, yes. Even in Europe, there were a lot of arranged marriages. To my knowledge, it wasn't as enforced as the Indian sort of arranged marriages, but it was more like, "You and you, meet each other. LOVE EACH OTHER." If they don't like each other, they have the option of getting out of it, but yeah, alliances played a BIG part in it.

    Now, as for inheritance, it depends on the family. As mugen said, sometimes women aren't even allowed to own land or offices. They just hold titles and look pretty, basically. Pride and Prejudice is a good example of this. The main part of the conflict in the novel is that if Mr. Bennet dies, none of his daughters or his wife can inherit the house because it's against the family rules or whatever it was. So, if Mr. Bennet dies, it goes to Mr. Collins, which is why everyone is so insistent that Elizabeth marries him.
    It really depends on family rules mostly, though it does depend on country rules and such also.

    The last name, on the other hand, is very much as mugen said. However, I'm certain it would be Marie Bourden de Reigns, with only the one 'de'.
    Really, what you need to keep in mind is the way that titles work and the way the royal hierarchy is "formatted", for want of a better word.
  5. NikkiNoodle

    NikkiNoodle Active Member

    May 11, 2011
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    In some cases it would depend on whether or not she had a child who would be heir. If so then she might hold a regency until the heir comes of age. If not, she would probably be returned to her family and the title would pass to the male next of kin.
  6. Lothgar

    Lothgar New Member

    Aug 31, 2010
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    If the girl was a princess from another royal family, she remains a princess regardless of her husband's state of health. If the prince had married a commoner (Possible, but unlikely) or a noble woman (daughter of a baron, duke, count, etc. which is more likely) the widow would typically default back to simply being Lady whats-her-name. Joining the royal family is a big deal, in terms of wealth, political power and political alliances. Relations are not as simple and open as they are in common families. Even in present day England, the Queen's husband is NOT the king, he is merely the Queen's Royal Consort, as being born to the royal blood line counts for everything.

    Of course, specific traditions and policies vary from country to country.
  7. Gallowglass

    Gallowglass Contributor Contributor

    May 2, 2009
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    Loch na Seilg, Alba
    It depends. There was no single idea that prevailed in medieval times - there were different ideas all across Europe. That said, all marriages to kings and heirs to the throne signified an alliance if they were to a woman of similar or slightly lesser rank: anything else could signify an alliance at the discretion of the families involved. If a woman became a princess through marriage and the prince was killed, she would cease to be a princess, although more often than not she would keep her actual titles (if the prince was a duke, she would still be a duchess, for instance). Women among the upper classes (not the lower classes - they cared less for surnames, and women had a lot more respect amongst the peasants) would take the surname of the man they were married to, but it was hardly ever used - they were usually given or continued to use a placename ('Eleanor of Aquitaine'). Kings and queens tended to regard each other as equals in diplomatic affairs.

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