Sovereignty: Part Four: The Position of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry


The International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (ICOC)[i] is a private, non-governmental body established on the initiative of the late “Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg” (1907-96) in 1960. Gayre (born George Robert Gair) was a fraudster who lied about his ancestry and asserted that he was the chief of a Scottish clan of his own invention[ii]. In 1950, he managed to have a bogus pedigree recorded in Ireland and subsequently published in a number of reference works that clearly failed to check his bona fides.[iii] Although obvious and hardly sophisticated, his fraudulent pedigree was not exposed until 2017, some twenty-one years after his death.

Gayre’s principal tactic was to try to establish himself as an arbiter of whether an Order of Chivalry was legitimate or not. The ICOC was the leading vehicle for this activity, and it published a list of Orders considered legitimate by Gayre. Gayre was a leading promoter of the revived Order of St Lazarus, and when it became obvious that he intended to use the ICOC for that purpose, many of the European aristocrats who had initially been involved with it resigned[iv]. Gayre also understood that an effective way to bolster his status was to attack other Orders. He was notoriously litigious, and any attempt to enquire into his own position was met with legal threats. In addition, he held strong views on racial matters, and stated his opinion to be that “blacks were worthless”. In consequence, the ICOC considered chivalry outside Europe to be entirely beyond its remit.

According to James J. Algrant, the former Secretary General of the ICOC, “Gayre, now supported by a loyal following on the Commission, set criteria for the acceptance of orders that were arbitrary and ignored the different historical development of honors systems in different countries. For instance, he had the Commission endorse the proposition that, “Every independent State has the right to create its own orders or decorations of merit and lay down, at will, their particular rules. But it must be made clear that only the higher degrees of these modern state orders can be deemed of knightly rank, provided they are conferred by the Crown or by some pro tempore ruler of some traditional State.” Gayre gave no reason for imposing this criterion which was in effect an attempt to impose the structure of the Order of the British Empire on those of the rest of the world…

Following the publication of the Register, the Commission was deluged by requests for recognition by various “chivalric” bodies, each more apocryphal than the next. The Commission conscientiously examined and turned down all of these petitioners. It was as if Gayre were saying, “Now that we’re on board pull up the ladder”[v]

It will be clear that at least in some cases we disagree with Algrant as to what was apocryphal and what was not. In practice, perfectly legitimate Orders with distinguished histories and memberships found themselves blackballed by the ICOC for no good reason.

We would be entering into the realms of speculation were we to discuss exactly why Gayre was so vehemently opposed to any idea of ecclesiastical sovereignty and so hostile to any expression of the Catholic Church beyond the Holy See, but in his controversial work The Knightly Twilight[vi] he presents his largely unsupported opinion on these matters, describing the smaller Catholic and Orthodox churches unfairly and pejoratively as a “social underworld syndrome”, and referring to them only by means of works hostile to them[vii]. This is a polemical and in places ignorant book; it is not a work of scholarship, offers no serious examination of legal or canonical argument, and simply seeks to discredit any Order or individual who is opposed to Gayre’s views. Certainly its contents on these matters include libellous statements.

Gayre never fully explains why he is so convinced that sovereignty is exclusively attributable to states, and that only states can grant valid honours and titles. He cites the ICOC rules on the matter, but does not explain their basis other than as one of opinion[viii].

One of the most arbitrary of these rules is given thus, “Although at one time – many centuries ago – private people of high standing could and did create some independent Orders of Knighthood, some among which came, in due course, to gain considerable prestige and obtained formal validity from the Church and the Crown, such rights of creation of Orders have long since fallen into desuetude and, nowadays, Orders of Chivalry as we understand the term must always stem from or be – by long standing uninterrupted tradition – under the protection of Chiefs or of Houses of recognized sovereign rank.”[ix]

There is nothing that supports the contention that any such rights have fallen into desuetude. Orders have continued to be created by private people of standing, and there is no reason why they could not be so today. Indeed, the early to mid-twentieth-century was a leading period for such activity, possibly then resulting in the backlash provided by the ICOC. One leading example of an Order created purely on private initiative, the Order of St Joachim, was founded in 1755, and received official recognition from the British government and others well into the nineteenth-century[x].

We have already established that rights of the type of which we speak are not extinguished merely by the effluxion of time or by the decision of their holders not to exercise them. It seems, rather, that the decisions to exercise the rights to create or revive Orders in the twentieth-century had reached the point where they offended their Establishment opponents who sought a monopoly on Orders and titles. Since any response was to be subjective, based on contentious interpretations of history and theory, it was necessary to give these expressions of opinion some appearance of authority.

Amongst the monopolists was the Holy See, which in the 1950s had begun to issue lists of Orders which it did not recognize. This process culminated, as we have seen, with the 2012 statement in which all Orders not placed directly under Papal jurisdiction were explicitly unrecognized. And yet, as we have seen, non-recognition by the Holy See is not enough to make an Order cease to be Roman Catholic in essence. Nor does non-recognition have any substantive consequence; Roman Cardinals still serve as protectors of “non-recognized” Orders, and both ordained and lay Roman Catholics accept membership in them without any limitation or official censure. Bander van Duren, writing in 1995, took the view that “the Holy See is bound by international law only to recognise on an internationally mutual basis the Orders of Knighthood and of Merit of other sovereign states with which it entertains diplomatic relations.”[xi] And yet the Holy See clearly does not see that there is any such obligation in international law. It recognizes only the Papal Orders and no others whatsoever, irrespective of whether they are conferred by a state or by anyone else. That hardly means that such non-recognition is to be interpreted pejoratively, lest it in fact affect the vast majority of Orders bestowed by Catholic monarchs today and regarded by many Catholics as a more than worthy accolade.

The ICOC feels that nowadays, Orders of Chivalry “as we understand the term” – a decidedly flexible phrase – “must” be created by or under the protection of those of “recognized sovereign rank”. Why? Such a decision is purely arbitrary; it has little to commend itself in historical example and nothing whatsoever to commend itself in law. And who does the “recognizing”? In theory, the recognition of sovereigns, or the interference in disputes between pretenders as to their claims to thrones, is well beyond the ICOC’s remit, though as we shall see, the ICOC has periodically intervened in such matters in an entirely arbitrary manner. The danger with all such private “commissions” is that they allocate to themselves powers and rights that aim to give themselves an authority that they neither possess in practice nor should possess in theory. Sovereigns can do as they will within the laws of their countries or, if pretenders, within their constitutions and/or the rules of their dynasties (as limited by the law of the country in which they reside). They do not need to be lectured on what they “should” do by self-appointed “experts” – particularly not when those “experts” are far from impartial, having agendas of their own, or indeed are blatantly fraudulent, as in the case of Gayre.

The recognition principles of the ICOC have been robustly criticized by R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast in his article “The position of the ICOC principles with respect to fundamental principles of international law”[xii] which in turn examines Cox’s 2009 research paper The principles of international law governing the sovereign authority for the creation and administration of Orders of Chivalry”[xiii] Quast concludes, “The principles of the ICOC are in breach with the fundamental rights of association, assembly and freedom of speech. The ICOC should revise its task and should not concern itself with the question ‘who has the right to create orders of chivalry‘, since, in a democratic society, this is legal question that is answered by law and by independent and impartial judges; not by a commission of private individuals.” In practice, the legal right to create an order of chivalry is a right that is not restricted in many countries, and may then be exercised by any person who holds the fons honorum or indeed by private citizens. It is absurd to criticize people for doing something that the law permits and that may serve a high moral and cultural purpose.

The ICOC was headed by a fraudster not once but twice. Gayre in his latter years promoted one Terence MacCarthy, who claimed, again on the basis of a fraudulent pedigree registered in Ireland, to be an Irish chief, the MacCarthy Mor, Prince of Desmond. MacCarthy succeeded Gayre as ICOC President on his death, and as of 1996, six out of the eight members of the Board of the ICOC were members of MacCarthy’s invented pseudo-chivalric order, the Niadh Nask[xiv] (Gayre had served as “Constable” to MacCarthy in that organization). In 1999, MacCarthy’s bogus ancestral claims were exposed by the Sunday Times and as a result the Irish Genealogical Office withdrew its former recognition of him as a chief[xv].

That should have been the end of the ICOC, at least in terms of anyone taking it seriously. After all, it had set itself up as an arbiter of what was genuine and what was false, but had spent the entirety of its thirty-five year existence under the presidency of outright fraudsters. The ICOC shouted its condemnations of others the more loudly because it had so much to hide itself. Nevertheless, it had proved that this strategy was effective and this suited not only Gayre and MacCarthy but others who found that ICOC support bolstered their perception of being legitimate and conveniently kept their rivals at bay. It supported the concept of chivalry as being a narrow, exclusive European aristocratic club whose members saw their product increase in prestige and value the more it was the subject of artificial scarcity and the devaluation of any alternatives. Moreover, it supported the positions held by the Holy See and by the Order of Malta and its “False Orders Committee”. As such, it was undeniably useful to certain parties who were not without significant power and influence.

The ICOC has continued under the Presidency of Pier Felice degli Uberti. degli Uberti had served as Chairman of the ICOC under MacCarthy and was a member of the Niadh Nask.

During 1997-98, MacCarthy brought a legal case in an Italian civil court (MacCarthy vs. Horak, Arbitral Court of Casale Monferrato) in order to establish the legitimacy of his claims to the fons honorum, in which he was successful[xvi]. The certification of MacCarthy’s bogus pedigree by the Chief Herald of Ireland was among the items presented to the court. We are told that “the judges and the defendant were associates of Dr Pier Felice degli Uberti, sometimes styled Count of Cavaglià, Chairman of the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry, and indeed Dr Pinotti [one of the judges] was his father-in-law.”[xvii] It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the involvement of the Chairman of the ICOC in MacCarthy v. Horak was hardly that of a disinterested party. Whatever justification degli Uberti and others may subsequently have advanced for their involvement, the facts here speak eloquently for themselves. After the verdicts, a book was published that purported to include the judgements in full, accompanied by various claims as to the high significance of those judgements.[xviii]

The court can only offer a judgement on what, to employ R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast’s phrase, is “judicial truth”[xix]. It follows established rules on evidence. Here, we know that it emerged after the case that the key piece of evidence presented as proof of MacCarthy’s ancestral claims was false. According to degli Uberti, the defendant Dr Horak subsequently returned to the court, providing them with this information, and a declaration of annulment of its previous judgement was issued in Casale Monferrato on 28 December 1999.[xx]

This, however, stands as confirmation of the integrity of the court process. Where error exists in a judicial ruling in Italy, as in MacCarthy v. Horak, there is an established and effective judicial process for correcting it. It comes as a surprise, therefore, that while there are many Italian court judgements affirming the rights of Byzantine and other dynasts to grant Orders and titles of nobility, the ICOC accepts none of them, nor has contested any of them through due legal process. In doing so, it places itself quite literally above the law.

Some might opine that in order to maintain scholarly independence, those occupying high office in a body such as the ICOC should not accept membership in any Orders, and should resign from any existing appointments in order to avoid any perception of a conflict of interests. This, however, has never been the ICOC way. The current President is a member of the Order of Vila Viçosa, awarded by Dom Duarte Pio, pretender to the Portuguese throne and Patron of the ICOC, and a Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great of the Holy See, amongst many other chivalric distinctions[xxi]. He was created Marquis degli Uberti in 2007 by the exiled King Kigeli V of Rwanda. His wife, Dr Maria Loredana degli Uberti Pinotti, was created Marquise degli Uberti in her own right by King Kigeli in the same year. Alfredo Luigi degli Uberti, his father, was further created Marquis degli Uberti by King Kigeli in 2006, a year before his death. degli Uberti and his wife were also created Knight and Dame Grand Collar respectively of the Rwandan Order of the Drum by the successor of King Kigeli V, Yuhi VI[xxii]. The Rwandan Orders, all of which were created in exile by King Kigeli many years after he was dethroned, are not listed in the ICOC Register, which excludes any non-European Orders.

An interesting context to the Rwandan honours is seen in comments by degli Uberti, “Some critics, such as well-known nobiliary scholar Dr. Pier-Felice degli Uberti, President of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry, find that because of his personal poverty, King Kigeli’s practice of occasionally granting titles of nobility for services rendered to the Royal House of Rwanda was “very sad.” Indeed, it is intimated in an online article of The Economist, dated 28 September, 2013, that some of these titles might even have been granted in exchange for monetary contributions to one or other of the late King’s charities.”[xxiii]

Money is certainly one factor, and to that we might be tempted to add influence and acceptance among a particular group that might be seen as powerful and useful.

degli Uberti is a founding fellow and President of the Istituto Araldico Genealogico Italiano (IAGI). Among the other founding fellows as of September 2020, we see the names of Riccardo Pinotti, father-in-law of degli Uberti and a judge in MacCarthy vs. Horak, Maria Loredano Pinotti, his daughter and the wife of degli Uberti, and Marco Horak, the defendant in MacCarthy vs. Horak.[xxiv] Horak is also Deputy Chairman of the ICOC, and Maria Loredana Pinotti its Secretary General. We may also note among the names of the Members of the ICOC (Marchioness) Bianca Maria Rusconi, judge in MacCarthy vs. Horak.[xxv] It is difficult to escape the conclusion in our view that not so much has changed at the ICOC since the MacCarthy years, and also that degli Uberti’s family members have more influence in the senior positions of the body than would be thought usual in an organization that seeks to be regarded as impartial.

It is also significant to note which of the Royal Houses are supporters of the ICOC. Among the Patrons, as of September 2020, we note the names of Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, who is one of four pretenders to the throne of Portugal, and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, who is one of three pretenders to the throne of Russia[xxvi]. In both cases, these individuals are the most prominent and most widely supported pretenders to their thrones. Moreover, they assert the right to bestow the Orders of their dynasties. Yet, if impartiality is to be assured, surely the ICOC should refrain from the appearance of having chosen between claimants to disputed thrones, or else should make clear and public its reasons for preferring their claims over those of their rivals[xxvii]. It is notable that the list of patrons of the ICOC does not contain a single reigning monarch, nor any pretender whose claim is not disputed.

There are some further connexions. The Constantinian Order as bestowed by Prince Pedro, Duke of Calabria (one of the two claimants to the Headship of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies) numbers among its Grand Officials Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, and among its Knights Grand Cross of Justice degli Uberti and his father[xxviii]. The Order is restricted to Roman Catholics.

The Constantinian Order’s Vice-Grand Chancellor is Guy Stair Sainty, an art dealer and the grandson of an English bus driver, who is also a Fellow of the ICOC and a member of the “False Orders Committee” of the Order of Malta. Over the years, Sainty has produced some highly polemical writings on the subject of the legitimacy of Orders. He holds strong opinions on the subject, and expresses them aggressively as if they are fact. In a video presentation Sainty calls the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi an “awful organization” and with his customary disregard for accuracy asserts that the Abbey-Principality is “claiming its legitimacy on the basis of a grant by King Peter II [of Yugoslavia]”.[xxix]

In recent years, yet another body has been created from similar origins. This is the “Prester John Institute” which apparently owes its impetus to Dom Duarte Pio. Little information is provided about this body and its methods, but it seems to operate on similar principles and in a similar manner to the ICOC.[xxx]

In 2016, the ICOC finally gave some acknowledgement to some of the Orders that have been created on ecclesiastical authority other than the Holy See. Its statement read as follows, “As there has been a substantial increase in the number of Ecclesiastical Decorations being worn socially, the Commission, after some hesitation, has decided to include in the Register a list of such decorations as are currently bestowed directly by the Patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, or by the heads of Autocephalous or Autonomous Churches of that rite, and by the Archbishop of Canterbury as Primus Inter Pares of the Anglican Communion. It is to be clearly understood that the decorations listed below are not considered by the Commission to be Chivalric in nature even though several may use the term “Order” in their styles and imitate Chivalric titles. We invite these Authorities to use more proper terms for any future creations of awards. Nevertheless, the Commission accepts that these Ecclesiastical Decorations possess full validity as awards of merit or honours within the respective Churches which have instituted them. However, as none of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchal Sees possess any type of direct Sovereignty, nor indeed does the Archbishop of Canterbury, the decorations instituted by them may not be deemed as equivalent to those bestowed by the Roman Pontiff not only in his Spiritual Capacity but also in his temporal position as Sovereign of the Vatican City State.The Commission will include in this category of the Register only those decorations actually bestowed directly by the High Ecclesiastical authority in question. None of those bodies, which are often created as a purely private initiative, and which subsequently place themselves under the “protection” of a Patriarchal See or Archbishopric may be included in the Register. Protection is an attribute of Sovereignty, which none of these Sees actually possesses. The following is a provisional list which may be augmented in the future.”[xxxi]

The ICOC is wrong concerning the matter of ecclesiastical sovereignty, which we have discussed previously. It is also wrong to restrict its list of ecclesiastical decorations to those bestowed by the larger churches. Size and prominence are not preconditions for the validity of a church according to Catholic canon law. A small church may maintain validity just as a large one does, and with that validity comes the ecclesiastical fons honorum. Presumably it does not wish to acknowledge any Old Catholic or Traditional Catholic body for fear of offending the Holy See. But this position compromises any claim to independence of judgement as well as denying the true and legal position whereby such Orders exist and are a part of the chivalric world today.

The impression that is gained, and here we recall Cox’s conclusion regarding the Order of Malta, is that the ICOC is clinging to a set of arbitrary definitions that never completely matched the historical or present facts, and this dissonance is making itself more strongly felt with time. One might ask why, if the ICOC does not believe in ecclesiastical decorations, and indeed describes them in quite a pejorative manner, it should include them at all. The answer is surely that at some point, it becomes impossible to hold back the tide of reality. The ICOC is determined to give the minimum of ground, but in doing so it lays bare both the limitations of its principles, and the truth that those principles were never anything more than inexact opinions and prejudices given overmuch promotion and importance by some.


[i] retrieved September 23 2020.

[ii] Anthony Camp, George Gair (or Sutherland) alias Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg, in Genealogists’ Magazine, vol. 32, no. 8 (December 2017) pp.324-328. Gayre also claimed to be “Baron of Lochoreshire” on the basis of the purchase of a church in 1971, but this barony appears to have had no existence before his claim.

[iii] “Supplement to Burke’s Landed Gentry” (1952), “Burke’s Landed Gentry of Great Britain: the Kingdom in Scotland” (2001) and, in an abbreviated form, in “Burke’s Peerage” (2003).

[iv] See James J. Algrant, The International Commission on Orders of Chivalry published at Caltrap’s Corner, retrieved from October 18 2020, “Many viewed Gayre’s creation of the Commission as a ploy to justify the existence of the Order of St. Lazarus, a view borne out by the appearance of that order in the Commission’s Register as a “semi-independent” one along with such bodies as the Spanish military orders, the Teutonic, the various Johanniters and the British Order of St. John. It is not clear how Gayre managed to convince his distinguished colleagues to back him initially, especially as the Third International Congress of Genealogy and Heraldry in Madrid in 1955 had condemned the Order of St.Lazarus of which Gayre was a high official and assiduous promoter. Inclusion of St Lazarus in the Register resulted in a number of members quitting the Commission. Their places were taken by individuals who were members of the Order of St. Lazarus and loyal to Gayre. The effect of the resignations from the Commission was negligible as the Register was published with a list of its original members, including the departed illustrious names, and with St Lazarus among the approved orders. The implication the unsuspecting reader was likely to draw was that all the original members agreed that the Order of St.Lazarus was no different than any of the other semi-independent orders listed. Since there was a long period of time before a new edition of the Register in which the prestigious names did not appear, the Commission enjoyed a certain authority for a number of years.”

[v] Algrant, op. cit.

[vi] Gayre, op. cit.

[vii] Gayre, op. cit., p.14.

[viii] Gayre, op. cit., p.8.

[ix] ICOC Rule 4, cited in Gayre, op. cit., p.8.

[x] retrieved September 23 2020. “The Order of Saint Joachim was also closely examined at the request of the British Crown before Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was allowed to accept the award of the Cross of a Knight Grand Commander. The Order of Saint Joachim passed the strict scrutiny and requirements for a knightly order set down by the English College of Arms, which was confirmed by the King’s Warrant in 1802, and granted Nelson permission to accept and wear the honour…The Royal Warrant of King George III was also issued for at least three other English contemporaries of Admiral Nelson to accept and wear the insignia of a Knight Grand Commander of The Order of Saint Joachim. These included Viscount Trafalgar (son of William, Earl Nelson), General Sir Charles Imhoff, and Philippe D’Auvergne, Prince de Boullion, Rear Admiral of the Blue…General Sir Charles Imhoff was granted the Royal Warrant to accept and wear the Grand Cross of The Order of Saint Joachim on May 18, 1807 on the recommendation of the English College of Arms, and the right to be recognized as “Sir” in England by virtue of the award. The Order of Saint Joachim and the continued use of the post-nominal “KJ” by its knights is evidenced in several contemporary English references, including Debrett’s and various guides to the British Parliament. In 1813 legislation was passed in England to limit the recognition of any new awards of foreign knighthoods generally, although those who had acquired one prior to that date continued to be able to be recognized as such. Nonetheless, The Order of Saint Joachim was recognized as a genuine order of knighthood again by the English College of Arms’ Windsor Herald, Francis Townsend, Esq., FSA, in 1828 in his”Calendar of Knights”, listing all knighthoods and orders of knighthood recorded in the English College of Arms’ records.”

[xi] Bander van Duren, op. cit., p.36.

[xii] retrieved September 24 2020.

[xiii] retrieved September 24 2020.

[xiv] “Recognized” by the ICOC in 1984, as discussed by Algrant. According to degli Uberti, “the coat of arms of Niadh Nask was registered on 23rd 1983 by the Bureau of Heraldry of South Africa and on 3rd May 1984 the “Nobiliary Order of the Niadh Nask” was registered as “a body corporate and politic” by the Deputy Registrar General of Canada and in April 1986 protected properties as copyright by letters patents granted by “the patent and trade mark office” of USA.” ( retrived September 24 2020) It is not clear why what was claimed to be an Irish entity was not simply registered and protected in Ireland.

[xv] See Sean J. Murphy, Twilight of the Chiefs: The MacCarthy Mór Hoax, Academica Press, 2001; ISBN 1930901437

[xvi] Sean J. Murphy, “Here are summaries of the two verdicts: 1. The judges Messina, Rusconi and Pinotti arrived at a verdict on 19 December 1997, which was in favour of the plaintiff MacCarthy and against the defendant Dr Marco Horak. The Court declared that MacCarthy was entitled to bear his various titles, to exercise the prerogative of Fons Honorum, to dispose according to his own wishes of those Gaelic feudal lordships vested in the Royal Eóghanacht Royal House of Munster, and to bear the full coat of arms of the said Royal House. 2. On 19 June 1998 the same judges rejected the plea of the Defendant Horak and once again upheld the complaints of the Plaintiff MacCarthy, declaring that the Niadh Nask ‘must be considered in international law as a dynastic honour of the Royal House of Munster’, that the Republic of Ireland had ‘no jurisdiction in any matter determined by Brehon Law’, and that the plaintiff as chief of the Eóghanacht Royal House had the right to use the arms of the Niadh Nask, ‘surmounted by the Ancient Royal Crown of Munster’.” retrieved September 24 2020.

[xvii] See retrieved September 23 2020. The author says of MacCarthy vs. Horak “It is of course now clear that the MacCarthy versus Horak case was completely contrived, a device which has not been uncommon where a bearer of a questionable title is seeking to have it validated… Indeed it is not clear if any kind of formal court proceedings ever took place in Casale Monferrato, whether all the participants actually met face to face, and it would not be unreasonable at this juncture to describe the case MacCarthy versus Horak as in itself a hoax.”

[xviii]  Peter Berresford Ellis, J. Michael Johnson, Mitchell L. Lathrop, David V. Brooks, Marchioness Bianca Maria Rusconi  A New Book of Rights: being a complete transcript of the verdicts of the Courts of the Republic of Italy concerning the heraldic rights, status and privileges of The MacCarthy Mór, Prince of Desmond (Gryfons, Little Rock, 1998). The book summary reads as follows, “The reality of an indigenous Irish nobility is not much understood or accepted inside Ireland itself, much less in the rest of the world. As the victors write the history, too much Irish history has omitted any reference to the fact that Ireland had its own kings and nobles well before the Norman-English intruded on the scene. To this day the claims of persons such as the MacCarthy Mor to royal status are met with skepticism; relevant to this book, one individual expressed this skepticism so openly as to warrent a suit before the Italian courts. This lawsuit offered the MacCarthy Mor to present to a court of experts his credentials as Head of the Royal House of Munster, as Chief of his Name, and as rightful bearer of the coat of arms of the MacCarthy Mor. The Court carefully reviews and expounds on the evidence presented, and the ruling presents in detail the Court’s rationale for fully supporting the MacCarthy Mor’s claims. This book is a must read for any student of Irish history, modern aristocracy, chivalry, or heraldry.” degli Uberti subsequently claimed that the section of the book by Rusconi, one of the judges in the case, was in fact a forgery.

[xix] R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast, The relation between genealogical and judicial truth (2017) retrieved September 24 2020 from

[xx] retrieved September 24 2020.

[xxi] See biography at retrieved October 19 2020.

[xxii] Listings in Saint-David, op. cit.

[xxiii] Stewart Addington Saint-David, Grace and Favor: The Foreign Honorific Peerage of the Royal House of Abanyiginya of Rwanda (1959-2019), pp. 16-17. At the time of the publication of this quotation, it was not generally known that degli Uberti and members of his family had themselves been awarded titles of nobility by Rwanda, nor was this fact mentioned in the Economist article. Saint-David goes on (p.17) to give examples from the past in Britain of titles of nobility being granted in return for money, but opines that this practice “has never diminished the prestige, nor the social standing of these sorts of honors and noble titles.” Saint-David himself holds a Rwandan marquisate.

[xxiv] retrieved September 24 2020.

[xxv] retrieved September 24 2020.

[xxvi] retrieved September 24 2020. We have discussed the Portuguese position previously. The other current pretenders to the Russian throne, at least so far as the House of Romanov is concerned, are Prince Andrew Romanoff and Prince Karl Emich von Leiningen.

[xxvii] This criticism of the ICOC’s policies, referring to Gayre, is also made by James Algrant in his article cited previously.

[xxviii] retrieved September 24 2020. We do not endorse the connexion made by the blog author between the Order and the “New World Order” but his comments about the relative ranking of Orders, in which he posits that the Constantinian Order acts as a superior Order to the Order of Malta, are interesting.

[xxix] retrieved July 19 2020. Sainty is a former supporter of Terence MacCarthy. In a letter of 12 June 1997 he stated “I full and unreservedly accept that you have established your right to the title of MacCarthy Mor, and the tradition and style of Prince of Desmond…..with all the surviving rights that such title implies…. I want to make it clear that any sentiments to the contrary that may be attributed to me in any communication bearing my signature or elsewhere do not reflect my true opinion.” Quoted at retrieved October 20 2020.

[xxx] R.A.U. Juchter van Bergen Quast writes at (retrieved September 25 2020) “The ‘Instituto Preste João / Prester John Institute’ is a Facebook page run by the Portuguese “Centro de Informação do Castelo de Ourém“, which, in turn, has a separate web page that has been “under construction” for years.  The Facebook page also states that the ‘Institute’ is recognized by the “CIAN-International Confederation of Nobility Associations”, a seemingly non-existent entity. It further states that the ‘Institute’ is a “Royal and Imperial Council of Foreign Nobility”. The meaning of this designation remains unclear, but the Facebook page lacks authority in these matters.”

[xxxi] retrieved September 24 2020.