Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Titles 2

I've been reading about Egypt at the time of the first dynasty (in Joan Grant's Winged Pharoah- wonderful book, read it, read it, read it!) at which time titles meant exactly what they said. They were job descriptions. If you were Vizier of Whereveritwas it meant you resided in that place and managed its affairs and if you bungled the job you could be removed from office. No title was honorary, no title- except perhaps that of Pharoaoh- was hereditary (and even then the job had to be trained for and worked at). The idea that someone could call themselves Vizier of Whereeveritwas and reside in the Ancient Egyptian equivalent of Monte Carlo would have been considered absurd.

Modern titles are a mixture of the functional and the preposterous. The Archbishop of York does in fact have ultimate responsibility for the running of the Diocese of York- and a palace in that city, but the Duke of Devonshire has his ancestral seat in Derbyshire. The titles the Queen hands out to her nearest and dearest are particularly absurd- by which I mean non-functional. The Duke of Edinburgh has no particular connection with Edinburgh- and no responsibilities towards it- and the Duke of Cambridge didn't even go to Cambridge University. To his credit the current Prince of Wales has always taken his geographical responsibilities seriously, owns property in the Principality and, I believe, speaks a few words of the language.

According to the latest information the Duke and Duchess of Sussex- who so far as I know have no property in Lewes or Chichester (or even Arundel- which is owned by the Duke of Norfolk) are about to take up residence in Canada.
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