COURT CEREMONIAL, certain forms of international etiquette or usage, which have arisen in Europe during modern times. No independent state can actually have precedence of another; but as the weaker seek the pro tection and friendship of the more powerful, there arises a priority of rank. The origin of elaborate formalities is to be traced to the Eastern nations, who for ages have practised various forms expressing reverence for exalted personages. By a gradual establishment of dignities, rank and acts of respect to states, their rulers and representatives, (in contra distinction to the internal etiquette of a state) an international ceremonial has been formed, that has been the source of confusion and war, to its observance far more considera tion being often paid than to the fulfilment of the most sacred contracts. Louis XIV carried this folly further, perhaps, than any one before or after him. To this international ceremonial belong: 1. Titles of rulers. Accident made the im perial and regal titles the highest, and thus con ferred advantages apart from the power of the princes. After Charlemagne, the emperors of the Romans were considered as the sovereigns of Christendom, maintained the highest rank and even asserted the dependence of the kings on themselves. For this reason several kings in the Middle Ages, to demonstrate their inde pendence, likewise gave their crowns the title of °imperial." England, for example, in all its public acts, is still styled the °imperial crown." The kings of France received from the Turks and Africans a title equivalent to emperor of France. In progress of time the kings were less willing to concede to the imperial title, of itself, superiority to the royal.
2. Acknowledgment of the titles and rank of rulers. Formerly the popes and emperors arrogated the right of granting these dignities; but the principle was afterward established that every people could grant to its rulers at pleasure a title, the recognition of which rests on the pleasure of other powers and on treaties. Some titles were therefore never recognized, or not till after the lapse of considerable time_ Thiswas the case with the royal title of Prus sia, the imperial title of Russia, the new titles of German princes, etc.
3. Marks of respect conformable to the rank and titles of sovereigns. To the °royal" pre rogatives, so called (conceded, however, to various states which were neither kingdoms nor empires, such as Venice, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the electorates), pertained the right of sending ambassadors of the first class, etc. In connection with this there is a much contested point, namely, that of precedence or priority of rank, that is, of the right of as suming the more honorable station on any occasion, either personally, at meetings of the princes themselves, or of their ambassadors, at formal assemblies, etc., or by writing, as in the
form and signature of state papers. There is never a want of grounds for supporting a claim to precedence.
As the councils in the Middle Ages afforded the most frequent occasion of such controver sies, the popes often intervened. Of the several arrangements of the rank of the European powers which emanated from the popes, the principal is the one promulgated in 1504 by Julius II, through his master of ceremonies, in which the European nations followed in this order: (1) the Emperor of the Romans (Em peror of Germany); (2) the King of Rome; (3) the King of France; (4) the King of Spain; (5) of Aragon; (6) of Portugal; (7) of Eng land; (8) of Sicily• (9) of Scotland; (10) of Hungary; (11) of 'Navarre; (12) of Cyprus; (13) of Bohemia; (14) of Poland; (15) of Denmark; (16) Republic of Venice; (17) Duke of Bretagne; (18) Duke of Burgundy; (19) Elector of Bavaria; (20) of Saxony; (21) of Brandenburg; (22) Archduke of Aus tria; (23) Duke of Savoy; (24) Grand-Duke of Florence; (25) Duke of Milan; (26) Duke of Bavaria; (27) of Lorraine. This order of rank was not, indeed, universally received, but it contained a fruitful germ of future quarrels; some states, which were benefited by the ar rangement, insisting upon its adoption, and others, from opposite reasons, refusing to acknowledge it. To support their claims for precedence the candidates sometimes relied on the length of time which had elapsed since their families became independent, or since the intro duction of Christianity into their dominions; sometimes on the form of government, the number of crowns, the titles, achievements, extent of possessions, etc., pertaining to each. But no definite rules have been established by which states are designated as being the first, second, third, fourth, etc., rank. Rulers of equal dignity, when they make visits, concede to each other the precedence at home; in other cases, where the precedence is not settled, they or their ambassadors take turns till a compro mise is effected in some way. In Great Britain and France far less ceremonial is observed, in the official style, than in Germany. Emperors and kings mutually style each other °brother," while they call princes of less degree The °we,* by which monarchs style themselves, is used either from an assumption of state or from a feeling of modesty, on the supposition that °I" would sound despotical, while (we" seems to include the whole administration, etc. The French Revolution destroyed the too elab orate ceremonial of the French court; it was revived to a degree by Napoleon, and still fur ther after the Bourbon Restoration, but dis appeared entirely on the establishment of the Third Republic. In England court ceremonial was considerably abridged under Victoria, but was restored under Edward VII and continued by George V.