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Jongleur
10-24-2001, 01:01 AM
Ok, this is probably a stupid question, but I was reminded of this when Rudolph Giuliani was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Now, I know that this is an honorary title, but according to the Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Now, doesn't this mean that anyone holding public office should require the Consent of Congress before accepting an honorary title? I mean, it's kind of silly, but I've been on a Constitution kick lately and this just hit me.

So, what do you think?

hajario
10-24-2001, 01:06 AM
They are honorary knights which isn't really a title. It's really an award of recognition like a Nobel Prize. The "knighthood" can't be passed down to their children and they don't get to be called Sir.

Haj

evilhanz
10-24-2001, 01:11 AM
The title is honorary andh as no real value. It is not a title of nobility and carries no privileges or responsibilities. Congress automatically approves honorary titles if it is only a mark of courtesy. I'm sure this has been addressed in the past. Check the archives.

Earthling
10-24-2001, 01:15 AM
Sir John Templeton was born a U.S. citizen but was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and yes, he gets to be called Sir. But he doesn't hold any public office (that I know of), and I don't know if he remains a U.S. citizen or not. See his bio here (http://templeton.org/sirjohnbio.asp).

Northern Piper
10-24-2001, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by hajario
The "knighthood" can't be passed down to their children and they don't get to be called Sir.
Minor quibble - knighthoods are not hereditary in any event.

Jongleur
10-24-2001, 09:03 AM
I actually checked the archives before posting, but came up with nothing. It's a pretty crappy search interface, though, so perhaps this HAS been addressed before. Anyway, I know what honorary titles are, but the Constitution is pretty clear in saying "of any kind whatever" which certainly does include honorary titles. However, if congress has passed some type of de facto legislation that automatically approves honorary titles, that would answer my question. Can anyone point me towards that?

Labdad
10-24-2001, 09:20 AM
According to this article (http://slate.msn.com/Assessment/97-06-07/Assessment.asp), "The Templeton Prize helped its founder win a knighthood in 1987. In the '60s, Templeton had moved to the Bahamas--a tax haven--abandoned his U.S. citizenship, and become a British subject."

As I understand it, becoming a full-blown knight, and therefore entitled to be addressed as "Sir," requires the recipient to swear fealty to the British crown, something a U.S. citizen cannot do without relinquishing citizenship.

friedo
10-24-2001, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by Jongleur
I actually checked the archives before posting, but came up with nothing. It's a pretty crappy search interface, though, so perhaps this HAS been addressed before. Anyway, I know what honorary titles are, but the Constitution is pretty clear in saying "of any kind whatever" which certainly does include
honorary titles.

You're missing the point. Because it's honorary it specifically isn't a title, thus the Constitution doesn't apply here.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
10-24-2001, 02:05 PM
Another point: the mayoralty of New York is not a federal office, ergo the quoted passage from the Constitution does not appy even if the honorary knighthood was a "real" title.

ftg
10-24-2001, 02:05 PM
1. A regular British knighthood is basically honorary.
2. So Guiliano, et alia, got an honorary honorary title.
3. Hello, Lady Opal!

It's weird how getting an honorary title is bad but getting an honorary honorary title is okay, constitution-wise.

bmerton
10-25-2001, 12:13 AM
It is not true that knighthoods are not hereditary. An hereditary Knighthood is called a baronet and the baronecy passes to the eldest son, who is allowed to style himself as 'Sir'.

The original American constitutional quote is interesting. From the British point of view, you are not meant to style yourself as 'Sir' unless you are a UK citizen. I say 'not meant to' because you can style yourself however you like but it will not be officially recognised. It is called an 'honorary knighthood' because you are not a UK citizen but, as was highlighted by Hajario, it is merely a form of paying tribute to aliens who have served Her Majesty.

In the UK, a knighthood is not a peerage and, therefore, a knight (or baronet) is theoretically not an aristocrat. Until very recently a peerage entitled you to vote in the UK's upper house (House of Lords).

Ladbab raised a very interesting point. I am both a US and a UK citizen, having been born in the US but being entirely English by blood. Were I to inherit or earn the distinction of a title, would I therefore have to give up my US citizenship even though I am entitled to keep both now? I shall endeavour to find out.

Northern Piper
10-25-2001, 12:29 AM
Originally posted by bmerton
It is not true that knighthoods are not hereditary. An hereditary Knighthood is called a baronet and the baronecy passes to the eldest son, who is allowed to style himself as 'Sir'.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica (http://britannica.com/eb/article?eu=13601)Baronet

British hereditary dignity, first created by King James I in May 1611. The baronetage is not part of the peerage, nor is it an order of knighthood. A baronet ranks below barons but above all knights except a knight of the garter. The baronetcy is inherited by the male heirs of a baronet.

Knights and baronets are both called "Sir" but that does not mean that a baronet is a knight.

bmerton
10-25-2001, 12:42 AM
Fair enough.

APB
10-25-2001, 05:39 AM
Originally posted by ftg
A regular British knighthood is basically honorary...It's weird how getting an honorary title is bad but getting an honorary honorary title is okay, constitution-wise.

A 'regular British knighthood' may be an honour, but that isn't the same thing at all as being honorary - as titles go, they're as real as any other.

The whole baronetcy thing is a side issue as they are now almost never granted to British subjects, never mind U.S. citizens. Apart from the baronetcy granted to Denis Thatcher in 1990, none has been awarded, IIRC, since the early 1960s.

Whether a baronet is a knight is something of a vexed question which the Encyclopedia Britannica article cited by Northern Piper doesn't necessarily resolve. The baronetage is indeed not an order of knighthood, in the sense that the Garter, the Thistle and the Order of the British Empire are ones, but not all knighthoods are attached to an order. There is a very technical reason for saying that a baronetcy is not a knighthood, but that really would take us far from the OP.

Originally posted by bmerton
Ladbab raised a very interesting point. I am both a US and a UK citizen, having been born in the US but being entirely English by blood. Were I to inherit or earn the distinction of a title, would I therefore have to give up my US citizenship even though I am entitled to keep both now? I shall endeavour to find out.

Not unless you hold an 'Office of Profit or Trust' and then all you would presumably be required to do is to surrender the office, not your citizenship. My reading of the clause is that it doesn't bar the inheritance of titles, but I can see that a wider interpretation might be possible. Has this ever come up as an issue? There have certainly been plenty of cases of American citizens inheriting British and other foreign titles. In such cases, the holder is allowed to use the title in Britain.

The British rules about accepting grants of foreign titles are in fact not entirely unlike those in the U.S. Constitution - British subjects are supposed to accept such titles only if they have permission from the monarch. In both cases, the reasoning is the fear that acceptance of a title might create a sense of loyalty or obligation to a foreign power. Of course, in both cases, this reasoning is now a bit out of date.

Izzardesque
10-25-2001, 07:37 AM
As I understand it, while a knight is not necessarily a baronet, a baronet is ALWAYS a 'knight', as you have to be knighted in order to gain the title.

Very little to do with the original post, sorry

don willard
10-25-2001, 08:57 AM
Above someone said that many Americans have inherited titles. What if such an American was a teacher, is this an office that gets paid with public remuneration, and therefore the person would have to resign his or her teaching post? I would hate to think that if I suddenly became the Count of Marmaduke or something, upon the death of fourth cousin Count Rodney that I would have to resign from my professorship at Mediocrity U.

Northern Piper
10-25-2001, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by APB
Whether a baronet is a knight is something of a vexed question which the Encyclopedia Britannica article cited by Northern Piper doesn't necessarily resolve. The baronetage is indeed not an order of knighthood, in the sense that the Garter, the Thistle and the Order of the British Empire are ones, but not all knighthoods are attached to an order. There is a very technical reason for saying that a baronetcy is not a knighthood, but that really would take us far from the OP.

APB, what's wrong with totally side-tracking a thread? You've got me interested - what is the very technical reason?

APB
10-25-2001, 11:52 AM
OK, Northern Piper, but I do warn you that it is very arcane.

The only time when the question of whether baronets were knights has made any sort of practical difference was during the late 1620s when Charles I imposed fines on those gentlemen who had failed to present themselves to be knighted at his coronation in 1625. Not unreasonably, some baronets argued that they should be exempted from the fine because, as baronets, they had been knights already. My recollection is that this was overruled on the grounds that possession of a baronetcy was not the equivalent of a knighthood. Whether this ruling still applies is, of course, one of those questions that no one in their right mind would ever bother thinking about.

friedo
10-25-2001, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by don willard
Above someone said that many Americans have inherited titles. What if such an American was a teacher, is this an office that gets paid with public remuneration, and therefore the person would have to resign his or her teaching post? I would hate to think that if I suddenly became the Count of Marmaduke or something, upon the death of fourth cousin Count Rodney that I would have to resign from my professorship at Mediocrity U.

Teahcers are not officers of the government, they are employees of it.

don willard
10-25-2001, 01:28 PM
But the Constitution says no person holding office or trust, which in legal terminology and in those days meant any employe. I mean office in those days meant any position. I think....

Northern Piper
10-26-2001, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by APB
OK, Northern Piper, but I do warn you that it is very arcane.

The only time when the question of whether baronets were knights has made any sort of practical difference was during the late 1620s when Charles I imposed fines on those gentlemen who had failed to present themselves to be knighted at his coronation in 1625. Not unreasonably, some baronets argued that they should be exempted from the fine because, as baronets, they had been knights already. My recollection is that this was overruled on the grounds that possession of a baronetcy was not the equivalent of a knighthood. Whether this ruling still applies is, of course, one of those questions that no one in their right mind would ever bother thinking about.

Ahh, the Stuarts! what fun they were!

I should have guessed - so many odd bits of constitutional law came about because they pushed things to the limit.

Primaflora
10-26-2001, 01:49 AM
Just another bit of trivia - Commonwealth citizens can use the title evne though they are not UK citizens.

Dave Stewart
10-26-2001, 03:33 AM
Quite so. Sir Richard Hadlee is a New Zealand cricketer.

The only exception that I know of is Australia. Australians are no longer knighted - they now get the Order of Australia.

Does anyone know if the Queen still does the thing with the sword on the shoulders? I wouldn't have thought she'd do it to every knight - every judge (but not magistrate) in England gets an automatic knighthood.

APB
10-26-2001, 05:40 AM
Originally posted by Dave Stewart
Does anyone know if the Queen still does the thing with the sword on the shoulders?

Yes, although not in the case of honorary knights such as Giuliani. The number of knights created in any one year is not large, even including high court judges, and the dubbing only takes a couple of seconds, so any extra effort involved is not a major burden on Her Majesty. This is usually done at the large-scale investitures held several times each year at which she dishes out all sorts of medals and honours. The sale of videos of these ceremonies to the recipients has become a nice little earner for the Royal Household.

The phrase 'Office of Profit or Trust' presumably does have a precise definition. The only comment I can add is that it derives from the older English notion of 'an office of profit under the Crown' which pretty much meant any government position with a salary or entitlement to fees.

Northern Piper
10-26-2001, 09:44 AM
Originally posted by Primaflora
Just another bit of trivia - Commonwealth citizens can use the title evne though they are not UK citizens.

Originally posted by Dave Stewart
The only exception that I know of is Australia. Australians are no longer knighted - they now get the Order of Australia.

This isn't quite right. Each Commonwealth country decides for itself if it wants to allow the Queen to give titles to its citizens.

For example, at Canada's request, the Crown has not given titles to Canadian citizens since around 1920. There have been a few exceptions, but generally speaking Canadian citizens cannot receive titles. If they really want a title, they have to renounce their Canadian citizenship and acquire British citizenship.

We discussed the issue as a side-bar last spring in this thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=76012), and also in this other thread. (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=75764)

Note that Canada's position is that the Crown will not give titles to Canadian citizens. If a Canadian citizen happens to inherit a title, I believe it is still valid.

Izzardesque
10-26-2001, 10:05 AM
Iím not sure but I think that holds for the States too (I did UK Constitutional Law for my law degree and Iím sure this was mentioned). Titles can be inherited but not given. However, IIRC it is only the title that can be assumed Ė any benefits that may go with the title cannot be had unless you give up your US citizenship yadda yadda yadda

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