Culture

The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History  

Jacob Shelton
4.7k votes 884 voters 73.1k views 17 items

List Rules Vote up the strangest, silliest, and most insane titles held by royals and nobility throughout history.

The concept of nobility is kind of silly. Just because your great-great grandfather was a Duke doesn’t mean that you should get a fancy title yourself. But some people just need an official nickname to make themselves feel important, and that kind of thinking is why there are so many weird royal titles floating around. Some of the titles were placed on the heads of the nobles by their family members, and some of the funny royal titles were given by their constituents and friends who were critical of their policies – and the names kind of stuck. If you’re tangentially related to nobility and need some inspiration for what to call yourself, check out these weird royal titles in history and get to brainstorming.

There are all sorts of silly nicknames and titles in the world of royalty, but some members of the royal family of England have taken their weird noble titles too far – so much so that some can't even be shared in print. As you’ll soon come to find, there’s one modern royal who has so many titles that it would take a paragraph just to type them all down. There are definitely some head scratchers in these weird titles of nobility, and the less effectual the noble is, the more sarcastic the title sounds. As you read these silly nobility titles, think about what you’d like to be called and share it in the comments.

Vote on the strangest, silliest, and most insane titles held by royals and nobility throughout history.

list ordered by
1
Kim Jong-il is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Kim Jong-il had A LOT of nicknames, most of them developed by the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea.

2
Hugh "Wearing a Cape" ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History
Hugh "Wearing a Cape" Capet of France

Crowned King of France on July 3, 987, Hugh was the first of the Capetian dynasty to rule France and apparently he really liked to wear capes. Even if it was only a one-time thing, the people of France got the idea of a cape-wearing Hugh stuck in their minds because it's the only thing people remember about him now.  

3
Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

According to the State of Nebraska, where the government has been handing out unusual titles for decades, Queen Elizabeth shares the title of Admiral of the Nebraska Navy with such luminaries as Bill Murray and Ann Landers.

4
Charles II of England is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

People did not like Charles II. He took taxpayers' money and spent it on his mistresses and illegitimate children, and he was even exiled from England for a little while. He was such a blight on England that he had a little rhyme written about him after he died: "Here lies our mutton-eating king, Whose word no man relies on; He never said a foolish thing, And never did a wise on."

5
Charles, Prince of Wales is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Prince Charles has more than a few titles, but this one is the most eye-catching. He was given the name by a Maasai tribe in Tanzania when he visited the country in 2012. It's a name of great honor to the tribe, who raise livestock.

6
James I of England is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

According to Sir Anthony Weldon, James I of England was "wise in small things, but a fool in weighty affairs." It seems like Weldon is referencing James' preference for hunting over dealing with foreign policy, but modern historians have reevaluated James I's reign of uninterrupted peace as something that seems all but impossible to accomplish now. 

7
Ketill "Flatnose" Björ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History
Ketill "Flatnose" Björnsson

Flatnose was a 9th century Norse King of the Isles, and even though his name is well known, there's little else known about him or his nose. Many scholars believe that Björnsson may actually be Caittil Find, a leader of a contingent of Norse-Gaels also from the 9th century. 

8
Henry VII of England is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Henry VII was good with his finances, and he knew that if the people of England prospered, he would make even more of killing as their King. While he worked out a pretty ingenious tax system, he also began an illicit trade deal with the Turks that saw England become the heart of a secret wool trading network. 

9
Frederick, Prince of Wales is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History
Frederick, "Poor Fred," Prince of Wales

The Prince of Wales had many a title and nickname, but "Poor Fred" seems to fit him the best. While he was alive, Frederick was heir apparent to the throne, and he seemed happy to wait out his father until he could be King.

The only problem with that plan was the part where he died of a pulmonary embolism while his father was still alive and kicking.

10
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaug... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Sorry everyone, but if you want to be most high, mighty, or illustrious like Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, you have to be born a duke of the Blood Royal. That's been a royal naming rule since at least 1677, and it doesn't seem like there's any way to change the policy.

11
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinbur... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Or, to be more accurate: "His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration, Lord of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom."

12
Æthelred the Unready is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

This title may seem unnecessarily mean, but at the time of Æthelred's ascension to the throne of England he was somewhere between ten and thirteen years old. The rightful successor to the throne, Æthelred's brother Edward, was murdered in a plot by the Danes who were trying to it more difficult for the new king to rally his army against their military raids. 

13
Louis the Stammerer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Louis II was briefly the King of France from 877–879, and historical documents describe him as "physically weak." Poor Louis only outlived his father by two years, didn't have any children, and had virtually no impact on the politics of his day.

14
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

The 10th Duke of Hamilton didn't seem to make many friends. One of Alexander Hamilton's obituaries read: "Timidity and variableness of temperament prevented his rendering much service to, or being much relied on by his party ... With a great predisposition to over-estimate the importance of ancient birth ... he well deserved to be considered the proudest man in England."

15
Gaston of Foix, Duke of Nemour... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History
Gaston of Foix, Duke of Nemours, "The Thunderbolt of Italy"

Gaston likely earned the colorful title of "The Thunderbolt of Italy" after he arrived in the country and won a number of battles against the Spanish military. And much like lightning, he was only on the earth for a short amount of time – he was killed at the age of 23 while leading a charge against Pedro Navarro. 

16
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Though many of the titles on this list are silly, this is undeniably a cool nickname. The 1st Duke of Wellington was given this title on a trip to Spain after King Ferdinand decided that the title of "Generalissimo" would be too ephemeral.

17
Mary of Teck is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Ridiculous Titles of Nobility in History

Being known as the most serene raises a lot of questions about the person's true temperament. But perhaps Princess Mary of Teck, was known as serene because she endured the deaths of two of her husbands with as little complaining as humanly possible.