Archive for April 2010


My wife has recently become a fan of the the reality show High Society on the CW. For those fortunate enough to not have been forced to watch it, this reality show revolves around a Manhattan socialite called Tinsley Mortimer and her friends/acquaintances/”frenemies”. Don’t ask me what’s Ms. Mortimer is famous for, because I don’t have a clue…

In any case, the reason for the inclusion in this blog is because Ms. Mortimer is/was dating a “Prince Casimir”. It appears that the “prince” really is a prince whose full name is His Serene Highness Prince Johann Casimir Ludwig Karl Andreas Maria Rudolf of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn.

The House of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn is a junior branch of the House of Sayn-Wittgensteing-Berleburg which, in turn, is a cadet branch of the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein.

The arms at the top of this post are those of Sayn (on the left) and of Wittgenstein (on the right), the “roots” of the House.

The two noble Houses have long histories that can be traced back at least 800 years on each of the individual lines of Wittgensteing and Sayn (through the parent House of Sponheim) and didn’t merge until 1605 with

However, just as Ludwig I Count of Sayn-Wittgenstein united the two Counties, he split the House for his sons.

The first, and senior line, is that of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg that was founded by the eldest son George. The arms of this now princely line are blazoned:

Quarterly: 1 and 4: Argent 2 pallets Sable, 2: Gules a Castle of two Towers Argent, 3: Sable on a bend sinister Argent three Boar’s Heads to sinister erased Sable. Overall on a shield of pretence Gules a lion double queued rampant guardant Or armed and langued Azure.

The junior line is that of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein, founded by the second son Ludwig II. The arms of this now princely line are blazoned:

Per fess in chief quarterly Gules a lion passant Or; Gules a castle of 2 towers Argent; Gules Barry of 3 Or; Argent a deer passant Sable and in base quarterly Barry Argent and Sable overall on a bend sinister Argent 3 boar’s heads to sinister erased Sable; Checquy Gules and Argent; Per fess in chief a base indented Gules and Argent and in base Azure 5 Oars(?) Argent 3 and 2; Per fess in chief Azure 5 Oars(?) Argent 3 and 2 and in base a base indented Gules and Argent.

The arms of the princely line of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn are identical to those of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg with the addition of a chief Azure a sword fesswise point to sinister Or.

For those who are interested in reading more about the family today, you can visit what appears to be their official site at

Also, an excellent resource for those who are interested in the heraldic history of the House of Sayn and all the offshoots of the family can visit this excellent site:

Phony nobility

Why, oh why are there so many people out there that feel the need to be “nobles”? Not only that, they’re not happy unless they’re “Highness”, “Prince”, “Grand Duke” etc.

I guess, if you’re going to reinvent yourself as nobility, might as well go all the way….

Anyone that delves into heraldry will inadvertently run into phonies, wannabes and “What the hell are they thinking?!”

There are those who wake up one day and either are delusional and truly believe they are the “Imperial Prince of New South East Narnia” or are con men. The latter are especially interesting as they quickly create “Orders of Chivalry” and charge obscene amounts for gongs and titles that gullible people with money from around the world are ready to pay.

The prime example is the infamous MacCarthy Mór & Niadh Nask scandal that rocked the Genealogical Office of the Republic of Ireland and even managed to hoodwink a King of Arms of the English College of Arms! As a side note, the man behind this fraud, Terence Francis MacCarthy, was also behind the ICOC (International Commission on Orders of Chivalry) the organization that is supposed to certify the validity of chivalric orders. Ironic no?

To be fair, the ICOC was changed radically later to purge itself from the Niadh Nask fellows but, some of the taint remains.

Another group of phony nobles are those that have a very remote relationship with royalty and many times that’s via multiple illegitimate lines.

An example of these would be someone that claims descent from Charlemagne (pretty much anyone of European descent alive today) to claim a title of the Holy Roman Empire.

Finally, you have those continue the tradition their father or grandfather started. What’s fascinating about these con men is how the claims to titles and thrones become more elaborate as time goes by, as if every generation becomes more savvy.

So, what’s the heraldic spin? Each one of these either come up with such complex arms, quartering all the royal arms of Europe or simply usurp someone else’s.

Here are some such “nobles” for your amusement (there are so many out there that you’ll need Google to keep a list of them all):

Order of Makarios III

The premier Order of Merit of the Republic of Cyprus is the Order of Makarios III.

About a year ago, I had written about another Cypriot Order related to His Beatitude the Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus and President of the Republic. The Order presented today is not related to that one in any way.

The Order of Makarios III is named after the first President of the Republic and national hero of Cyprus and is granted to those worthy individuals who have made significant contributions to society in general or to Cyprus in particular.

The Grand Master of the Order is the President of the Republic of Cyprus who grants this Order in one of six classes:

  • Grand Collar
  • Grand Cross
  • Grand Commander
  • Commander
  • Officer
  • Knight

The image (found on the Cypriot government site) at the top of this post is the medal of a Knight of the Order.

Some notable recipients of the Order:

  • Dr. Vassilios Skouris, President of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, Grand Cross, 2006
  • Dr. Barry R. Bloom, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, Grand Cross, 2007
  • Mr. Paul Sarbanes, US Senator (D-Maryland), Grand Cross, 2007
  • Dr. John Brademas, US Congressman (D-Indiana), Grand Cross, 2007
  • Dr. Ernest J. Moniz, MIT Professor of Physics, Grand Cross, 2008
  • Mr. Ivan Gašparovič, President of the Republic of Slovakia, Grand Collar
  • General Michel Sleiman, President of the Republic of Lebanon, Grand Collar 2010

The official page on the site of the Presidency of Cyprus is:

The Kenyan College of Heraldry is hiring

As has been reported in various heraldic venues, the Kenyan College of Arms is “seeking to constitute a Panel of Artists for purposes of designing Coat of Arms and engrossing Grants of Arms for applicants thereof”.

Whoever is interested can review the e-Advertisement of the Kenyan government on the website of the Kenyan Public Procurements Oversight Authority.

The arms at the top of this post are the national Coat of Arms of Kenya.

The direct link to the e-Advertisement is: