Grand Duke

Within Westarctica, the title Grand Duke (female equivalent: Grand Duchess) is the title held by the Sovereign in their capacity as the national Head of State. The Grand Duke of Westarctica is the font of honor from which all peerage titles are bestowed.

Grand Duke Travis of Westarctica

Though constrained in certain respects by the nation's Constitution, the title and office wields enormous personal power, including the power to appoint and dismiss members of the Royal Council.

History of the title in Europe

One of the first people to bear the title of Grand Duke was Count Gonçalo I Mendes of Portucale in northwest Portugal. In 987, he adopted the personal title of Magnus Dux Portucalensium ("Grand Duke of the Portuguese") and rebelled against his feudal lord, King Bermudo II of León. He was defeated by the royal armies but nevertheless obtained a remarkable autonomy as a Magnus Dux (Grand Duke), leading ultimately to Portuguese independence from the Spanish Kingdom of Castille-León.

Another example was the line of self-proclaimed Grand Dukes of Burgundy in the 15th century. Philip III, Duke of Burgundy (reigned 1419–67) assumed the subsidiary, legally-void style and title "Grand Duke of the West" in 1435, having previously brought the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg as well as the counties of Holland, Zeeland, Friesland, Hainaut and Namur into his possession.

The first reigning monarch ever officially titled grand duke was the Medici sovereign of Tuscany. This official title was granted by Pope Pius V in 1569.

Napoleon I awarded the title extensively. During his era, several of his allies (and de facto vassals) were allowed to assume the title of grand duke, usually at the same time as their inherited fiefs (or fiefs granted by Napoleon) were enlarged by annexed territories previously belonging to enemies defeated on the battlefield.

Style and forms of address

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg

Most often, a sovereign grand duke was styled as "your/his/her royal highness" (abbreviated "HRH"), possibly because of the connection of many grand-ducal houses to royal ones or as the highest style beneath that of a king (which would be "your/his/her majesty", though "royal highness" is also used for such persons).

The heir to the throne (a hereditary grand duke) was sometimes styled as "royal highness", but otherwise as "your/his/her grand ducal highness" (HGDH). Junior members of the family also generally bore the lower title of prince or princess with the style of "grand ducal highness."

The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg styles all its members as "Royal Highness" since 1919, due to their being also cadet members of the Royal and Ducal House of Bourbon-Parma as male-line descendants of Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

Notable Grand Dukes

As of 2023, there have been three Westarctican Grand Dukes:

Other notable Grand Dukes include:

Ranks in the Peerage of Westarctica
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