Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


Titles are indicators of function. If a person has "Doctor" in front of their name it tells the world they have expertise in some particular area- most commonly medicine. And if a person has "Captain" in front of their name it indicates that they can probably be entrusted with the care of a ship or an aeroplane.

Titles also confer a certain status. This makes sense within the sphere in which the person's expertise is exercised. For the sake of the smooth running of the organisation to which they belong it makes sense for the private soldier to defer to the sergeant- but if they meet down the pub after retiring from the service there's no reason for that deference to continue. It needs to be added that titles are only the roughest guide to a person's competence- and the world is full of title-holders who are not really up to the job.

A royal personage exercises a particular function within a polity. In the past that function was clearer than it is today- but it's still understood that a person with HRH in front of their name should be available to do certain jobs. If that person withdraws their labour there's no earthly reason why they should continue to use the title. The world has long agreed that there's a certain pathos to persons who cling to titles and status they're no longer working to sustain...
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