Saturday, November 17, 2007

Royal Flush

Being the would-be imperialist that I am, issues and titles concerning royalty and nobility are always of interest for me. But before I launch my rant, let's review the basic established terms:

King - male monarch (usually of a country), predominantly European.
Queen - female monarch, predominantly European.
Prince/ss - legal offspring of a king or queen.
Prince/ss Consort - Royal spouse, of non-royal blood. (purely honorary title, as "Princess Diana")
Emperor - male monarch of an Empire. Historically used to describe extravagant tyrants, as France, China, Japan.
Empress - female monarch of an Empire.
Tzar - Russian male monarch. (also spelt czar)
Emir - African/Arabian ruler or chieftain

So, as we can see from above, relatively contemporary examples are more accepting of foreign terms than in the past, (as seen in the appellation of Emperor for Chinese and Japanese monarchs, but the adoption of Tzar and Emir for Russian and African rulers). Or perhaps it's a regional/linguistic discrimination. It'd certainly be less communicable to English ears to use "huangdi" than "Emperor".

Why, then, is it that contemporary African rulers get the English titles instead of adopting indigenous ones? I'd also like to draw attention to the definition of Emir, which uses "ruler" and "chieftain", decidedly less regal terms than monarch. A quick look on wikipedia will show a pretty complete list of titles for sovereigns and rulers in the world.

The "Kingdom" of Jordan, for example, is one that I find somewhat odd. Clearly, their titles were created during a time before the blind adoption of foreign words had become popular. And yet, I can't help but think that emir might be a more fitting title than "king". And, more specifically, the peripheral addresses should be adjusted as well.

I was reading on a friend's blog, who mentioned Queen Noor of Jordan, later using Her Majesty, and the Queen to refer to her. When I first read those terms, my thoughts leapt immediately to the Queen of England. After all, when one speaks of the Queen in English, there really is only one. Moreover, if we are to be true to English convention, this "queen" or Jordan is really nothing more than a princess consort. Such ludicrous ballooning of one's status is near-heretical.

Royalty in our age of equal rights and dubious election strategies has little place to exist and breathe. Even though being born to a King no longer means a mandatory education in leadership and governing, the media is still fixated on you and your every action, as being representative of your culture and country.

With the French, they committed mass regicide, so no problems there (since the dead don't speak), but with England and Japan, they're trapped in glass castles. Personally, I think they should all go into witness protection programs. Go back to being normal people, and then the only people who get media attention are those who work for it -- fools, idiots, and actors.

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