The Abbey-Principality has published several responses as a result of the actions of the so-called “International Commission for Nobility and Royalty”, a now-defunct Nevada for-profit corporation, and its principals Donald Edward Goff and Peter Harradine. In doing so, we are concerned to ensure that the stance of the Abbey-Principality regarding these individuals is made abundantly clear. While the Abbey-Principality generally seeks to avoid involvement in online controversy, we also believe that a didactic purpose has been served in addressing the points that they raise in some detail and thereby exposing the falsehood of their position.
Our original response from December 2012 can be found at the link below.
Two subsequent responses have been published:
Since the publication of the last of these responses, Mr Harradine has indicated that he does not wish to accept the terms offered by us, and consequently those terms have been withdrawn.
Update – July 2015
During July 2015 some enquiries were made by an independent third party who was interested to establish for himself the underlying motivation of this “commission” in attacking us on their websites and through Wikipedia. After some discussion of our position with Harradine, which produced a repetition of the positions we have previously addressed in our briefings above, our enquirer was surprised to receive an unsolicited email from him. This email and the replies to it are reproduced below:
Dear Sir, it occurred to me that part of the reason you investigated was because you were interested in becoming a knight is a true order of chivalry as opposed to a fake one. If you are interested in such, there are some authentic and genuine orders under true legal sovereigns that are open to membership.
I did not know this was possible without being ‘invited’ to accept a bestowal of a title from whichever chivalrous order might be interested in doing so. I assumed an order might only wish to do this as a recognition of some kind of service on my part. The only orders I am aware of that are open to membership tend to sell fake titles.
What genuine orders do you know of that would be open to my becoming a knight of their order, and what is the process by which I would obtain it?
There is a number of them, but my recommendation is through the Royal House of Georgia through His Royal Highness Prince Nugzar or through His Majesty the King of Rwanda. There are different kinds of legitimate knights — one through merit and one through oath and promise of goodness. These two are through potential and desires. Everyone that I know of has an oblation or requirement to contribute.
What country do you live in? With that information, I can direct you to the appropriate delegate of the House. You can then inquire of them to find out what you need to know.
How wonderful. I would be interested in taking this further.
I live in the UK.
May I ask how the Commission has settled on the view that the titles bestowed by His Majesty the King of Rwanda and His Royal Highness Prince Nuzgar of Georgia are legitimate and valid? How does their status differ, for example, from the situation of the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi, in your expert view?
Contact G… P… on the titles and orders that spring from HM the king of Rwanda: g…@yahoo.com [details redacted].
Knighthood from a true fons honorum (a true sovereign) is one of the greatest honors a man can receive in this life.
We note that an article in The Economist states as follows: [King Kigeli] “now lives in social housing in Oakton, Virginia, surviving on handouts from well-wishers. But he has a business sideline, too. The orders and titles of nobility he issues do not have anything as plebeian as a price tag. But the recipients (70-odd so far) are “asked for donations”, according to his “secretary-general”, Alex Montague, a financial adviser in Miami. Cash payments usually range from $1,000 to $8,000, he says…Pier Felice degli Uberti, president of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry, an academic body, finds Kigeli V’s trade in titles “very sad”. He has warned the ex-king that the titles do not form part of his historical tradition and should not be awarded. His majesty declined to comment but his secretary-general responded: “Who has the right to question his authorities but God and his countrymen?”
Our correspondent informs us that alongside several Orders, the titles of duke, marquis, count and baron are among those currently conceded by the King.
A predecessor to the King’s current secretary-general would certainly seem to be questioning his authorities in an idiosyncratically-expressed statement made in February 2007, from which we quote:
“These people believe incorrectly that the King has placed himself into a position whereby he grants titles of nobility. This belief is incorrect and absolutely false. This can be understood by reading and understanding the concession documents signed by the King.
The King of Rwanda is perfectly acquainted with the law in His Country and does not desire to, nor does He grant to individuals any European noble title (baron, count or marquis). To do so would be against the tradition of His reign as King of Rwanda and against the laws and culture of the country of Rwanda.
However, it does not prohibit the Monarch from the granting of the honors that in this moment of time and space only have value to the inside or membership of his dynasty and between his diligent and loyal supporters. This does not however have any official value but reveals only a term of endearment.
In the document the King of the Rwanda engages himself with His word or promises as King to render these honors in Rwanda valid upon a day of the King’s return as Monarch to the throne, and obviously in that case He will change also the law in his Country in order to allow the full legal acknowledgment of these honors – honors that will perhaps then will also possess the European denomination of count, marquis, etc. King Kigeli is not the first African monarch who has adopted European denominations for noble titles, as has already happened in the Empire of the Central Africa to the times of the Bokassa Emperor.
But – I repeat – this is only a promised [sic] by the King and the honor will only have any value in the moment in which the King returns to the throne in Rwanda.”
So, then, we learn from one of the King’s former senior officials that the King does not grant substantive honours, but merely the equivalent of promissory notes, that do not have any “official value” but that might perhaps become effective in the (sadly unlikely) event that he was to be restored to the throne which he last occupied for eighteen months during the period 1959-61. This does not adequately explain the position whereby the King has created a number of chivalric Orders de novo while in exile, but we shall have to let that matter rest for now. One wonders whether those who have presumably donated substantial sums in return for such awards are aware of these remarks denigrating their status. The content of those remarks was certainly not conveyed in the ensuing correspondence with Mr Georgiou.
Others have no need of this tortured logic. Titles and honours granted, for example, by the late King Peter II of Yugoslavia in exile and by the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi in exile, are not “promissory notes” but substantive grants, made in full possession of the jus honorum, in exactly the same way as are other chivalric and nobiliary honours conceded by the various formerly regnant European Royal Houses – the House of Savoy, the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the House of Bragança, etc, etc. Indeed, there is no reason why the honours granted by King Kigeli, an exiled monarch who never abdicated his throne, would not have been regarded similarly as substantive by those with an informed understanding of these matters, had it not been for the peculiar justification employed above. Perhaps in time His Majesty will come to choose his advisors more wisely.
We reflect that the dubious agenda of this “commission” has now been made transparent. This, then, is the moral high ground from which these individuals presume to defame and abuse us, doubtless hoping that by doing so they may attract the gullible to their own wares. As ever, we can only present the relevant facts and advise the public that caveat emptor should be their watchword in all such matters.