Text Box: Elphberg.jpgText Box: Traditionally, noble titles have been awarded to individuals as a reward for services to the Crown.  This is still a common practice in Ruritania. 
In medieval times, such service might consist of some heroic act or feat of arms and was usually awarded to those persons the Crown felt could best preserve order, defend the borders and guard the citizenry from both foreign incursions and simple banditry.  These nobles would raise private armies in order to accomplish their duties and were required by their oaths of fealty to the Crown to provide either  troops  for the Crown to use in war  for a certain number of days each year, or money  which the Crown could use to buy the services of mercenaries instead of soldiers.  As time passed, such private troops became less and less important.  The Crown maintained a standing army with an undivided loyalty to the Crown and the money paid in lieu of troops became taxes.
Naturally, titles were still awarded for services to the Crown, but, as available lands diminished, the idea of “unseated” titles gained popularity.  These are the same titles, with all the same privileges and status, but are awarded without lands.  Throughout Europe since the Renaissance, titles of nobility have been awarded to deserving persons, of good character, who are willing to contribute to the Crown monetarily, based upon the same laws allowing a medieval noble to substitute money for troops.  These are primarily “vanity” titles since they do not imbue the invested noble with the responsibility of caring for properties and the people living on those properties, or maintaining the laws of the nation.
Unseated titles may be used on correspondence and calling cards and allow the holder to be introduced as “Baron Glockenspiel” or “Lady Bountiful”.  Ruritanian titles, both seated and unseated, confer Ruritanian citizenship and dignity on their owners, are inheritable under Ruritanian law by the heir of the noble regardless of gender, and are recognized within the borders of Ruritania and by all nations with whom Ruritania has diplomatic relations.  Ruritanian nobility are included in the Roll of Honors and are entitled to attend the Royal court and all social functions at the Royal palaces or held by Ruritanian Embassies and Consulates*.  Ruritanian nobility is also allowed to request* a familial (may be used by all members of the noble family, in perpetuity) Coat of Arms from the Royal College of Heraldry or to submit their own design.  (Please note that the United States and several other countries do not recognize either dual citizenship or titles of nobility awarded to their citizens.)
The bearers of Ruritanian titles and their children may always be addressed as “my Lord” or “my Lady”, this is true even of Knights of the Realm or officers in the Royal Cuirassiers and their Ladies.    Dukes and Duchesses and above are also addressed as “Your Grace”.  Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses, Princes and Princesses are members of the Royal Family and are addressed as “Your Highness,” or “Your Royal Highness”.  The King and Queen of Ruritania are addressed as “Your Majesty”. 
The Orders of Nobility, below the Royal House of Elphberg, are, descending in order from highest to lowest, as follows:
Duke or Duchess,
Count or Countess,
Baron or Baroness,
Knight of the Royal Order of Henry the Lion (KROHL),
Knight of the Blue Primrose (KBP),
Knight of the Royal Cuirassiers (KRC)
Once granted by the King, nobles of the Realm receive a package including Letters Patent with the Royal seal affixed, signed by the King, and an Oath of Fealty to the Crown.  Both are beautifully printed and on the highest quality parchment, ready for framing, if desired.
* Although invitations are usually sent to the entire Roll of Nobility, presentation of a Patent of Nobility is always acceptable at Royal functions.
* A fee is charged for design and/or registration of a Coat of Arms by the Royal College of Heraldry.
Text Box: College of Heraldry