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Under ennobling (also called ennobling , ennobling or status elevation ) one understands the elevation to the nobility . It is only possible in states with a monarchical form of government and can only proceed from a sovereign monarch. The right of ennoblement is the right that a monarch (usually the king or emperor ) has to raise a person to the nobility.


A distinction is made between the conferment of personal or staff nobility and that of hereditary nobility . In the latter form, the title is hereditary, i.e. that is, it also applies to the descendants of the ennobled; in the case of the former, it is only bound to the person who has been ennobled and is not passed on to the descendants. Examples of personal nobility are the British titles Knight or (female) lady .

legal form

In the German Reich, until 1918, the nobility received a nobility diploma ( nobility letter from the aristocracy) as a certificate of elevation . The administration of all nobility and especially nobility matters is incumbent on a nobility or heraldry in monarchical states ; This also existed in Prussia until 1920.

Some high ( merit ) orders were or are associated with the award of personal nobility, for example the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown , the highest levels of the Order of the British Empire and the various princely house orders in Germany up to the renunciation of the throne of all ruling German princes in the course of November 1918. The award of the Black Eagle Order was even linked to the elevation to the Prussian hereditary nobility.

Practice in the UK

In the United Kingdom , twice a year (on New Year's Day and on the Queen's official birthday) and when the government is voted out of office, lists of the names of all who receive an order, including those newly ennobled by the monarch, are published (so-called Honors List, see British nobility ).

Special forms

Special forms of ennobling, the pronunciation of which were reserved exclusively for kings and emperors, was or are the elevation to the prince status ("prince") and, usually the highest possible level, the appointment to duke ("duke").

  1. Otto von Bismarck, for example, was raised to the rank of count by King Wilhelm I in 1865 and to the rank of prince in 1871; In 1890 Emperor Wilhelm II granted him the title of "Duke of Lauenburg" on the occasion of his dismissal ad personam .
  2. Remarkably, the 1881 is considered by the Prince Heinrich XIV Reuss jL. , Carried out survey of the bourgeois born and in 1879 ennobled by the Prussian king banker Adolf Wilhelm von Kessler in the Reuss hereditary title of count (the only ones which the houses Reuss created outside their own family); his son Harry Graf Kessler became an important documentary of his time through the publication of his diaries, which lasted from 1880 to 1937.
  3. Wilhelm Liebermann von Wahlendorf's father Adolf Liebermann (1829-1893) was raised to the Austrian nobility in 1873 by the then Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I as "Knight Liebermann von Wahlendorf" . In view of his services as an art collector , he was allowed to use the title of nobility in Prussia .


In a figurative sense is ennobling formerly also for the "Ehrbarmachung" trivial , " vulgar " objects, facts and people employed, such as the "ennoblement of Comics".

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: ennobling  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations