When it comes to royal titles, typically the higher-ranking members of an established royal family can claim the largest number of individual titles. The rule of Primogeniture tends to favor the eldest members of the family, so those whose birth elevates them within the royal line of succession customarily entitles them to the various hereditary titles and ranks passed down through families over many generations.  

The age of a lineage can also influence how many royal and noble titles are acquired and inherited by the newer family members. For example, some of the oldest royal families in the world have been accumulating regal and aristocratic titles for centuries. Whereas some of the relatively new royal lines are likely to have far fewer titles. 

It’s also not uncommon for those in the highest social ranks to enjoy both royal and noble status. For example, the kings, queens, princes and princesses of the ages have often held aristocratic ranks in addition to their regal styling, with additional titles such as Duke and Duchess, Count and Countess or Earl and Lady. 

As a result, it’s possible, and quite common, for royals to have more than one title, originating from regal ranks and historical aristocratic estates, as well as gifts from foreign nations and Honorary awards from Knightly Orders. 

Which Royal Or Noble Titles To Use? 

When members of the royal family or aristocracy have numerous titles, it can get quite confusing, especially in terms of official ranks, formal address, and legal identities. It can be even more complex when royals don’t use a surname, preferring instead to the royal family line or ‘House’ that they belong to. 

Generally, when a royal has multiple titles, they style themselves with the highest-ranking title. For example, the Queen of England used by her most senior title, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It’s not surprising that Her Majesty opted for this styling, as it is one of the most iconic and ancient of all royal titles. 

Official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II before the start of her 1959 tour
Official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II before the start of her 1959 tour – Library and Archives Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While this was her usual form of address, her official title was much longer, with the full version in her native land being; Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

This is quite a mouthful, but even this doesn’t include the full extent of her royal and noble title collection. Other titles held by Queen Elizabeth II included Duke of Lancaster, Duke of Normandy, Fount of Honor, Fount of Justice, and perhaps one of the most enigmatic of all noble or royal titles; Seigneur of the Swans. (Traditionally, monarchs have been the official owners of their kingdom’s swans as they were the most prized birds when it came to royal feasts.) 

Most people will be familiar with the title Queen of England but relatively few will realize she was one and the same person as the Duke of Normandy or some of the titles she held such as Duchess of Edinburgh, Baroness Greenwich, and Countess of Merioneth. 

Noble Titles And Knightly Orders

Along with her royal status, land holdings and aristocratic titles, Queen Elizabeth II also had numerous official titles from various noble and knightly orders, both within the United Kingdom and around the world. 

Given that Queen Elizabeth II was approaching centenarian status, it’s perhaps not surprising that she had accumulated such a vast collection of royal and noble titles over her record-breaking reign. And in her role as the Queen of England, it wasn’t uncommon for her to be gifted honorary titles from other orders and noble systems around the world, in particular the commonwealth, as well as the imperial colonies of the past. 

A few of the noble titles and Knightly Orders held by Queen Elizabeth II were; the Order of the Garter, Order of New Zealand, Order of Australia, Order of the Aztec Eagle, Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Order of the Southern Cross. 

Which Royals Have The Most Titles? 

While the Queen of England may have held an impressive collection of titles – the result of both her sovereign status, her land holdings, her ancient lineage and the longevity of her reign – it’s possible that in terms of the number of titles, she may not be the ultimate ruler. 

Many people may be surprised to learn that the Queen of England’s husband, the late Prince Philip, held an astonishing number of titles – quite possibly holding the record as the royal with the most titles. 

He may be well known throughout the world as Prince Phillip, and many of his fellow UK citizens will also know him by his official title as the Duke of Edinburgh, yet the devoted husband of the Queen also had an impressive range of royal and noble titles. 

According to an account of the Prince’s funeral, his official collection of titles also includes; Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order upon whom had been conferred the Royal Victorian Chain, Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, One of Her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council, Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal in the Army and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Husband of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

Prince Philip’s military career alongside his decades of service beside his wife account for an impressive array of awards, honors, and titles. While his position as the consort of the Queen of England no doubt led to a great number of his many titles, it’s clear that his life of ambassadorial contributions also helped him garner so many titles, culminating in an impressive legacy and painting a fascinating picture of his unique role in history.