Dame

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Dame is the female form of address for the honour of a Damehood. It is the female equivalent for Knighthood, which is traditionally granted to males, but there have been numerous female knights throughout history. A Dame can also be known as a female Knight and her Damehood is commonly called a Knighthood just like it would be for her male counterpart. There have also been entirely female Orders of Knighthood and such practice continues to this day. Interestingly, in the Principality of the Northern Forests precedence in granting Knighthoods is given to women.

History

A Female Knight wearing red Brigandine & Plate Armor.

The Order of the Ermine founded by John V, Duke of Brittany in 1381, was the first order of chivalry to accept women; however, female knights existed for centuries in many places in the world prior to this.[1] Like their male counterparts, they were distinguished by the flying of coloured banners and generally bore a Coat of Arms. One woman who participated in tournaments was Joane Agnes Hotot (born 1378), but she was not the only one.[2][3] Additionally, women adopted certain forms of regalia which became closely associated with the status of Knighthood.[4]

Dames also took part in medieval battles and commanded battalions of soldiers against their enemies. Joan of Arc of France being the most famous. Some wore armour, others commanded troops, and some were members of an official Order of Chivalry. One woman to wear full armour into battle was the Duchess Gaita of Lombardy, who rode beside her Norman mercenary husband, Robert Guiscard.[4] She was a knight in her own right.[4][5] Another was Petronilla de Grandmesnil, Countess of Leicester; wearing a mail hauberk with a sword and a shield, she defended her lands from King Henry II of England. She and her husband participated in the rebellion in 1173 against King Henry II of England.[5] Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke showed her intelligence and powerful Military Leadership when she lead a defensive force against a upraising in the absence of her husband whilst in Ireland.

Granting Knighthoods

In the Principality of the Northern Forests Damehoods are granted to mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, Damehoods were considered a class of lower Nobility and this tradition is followed by The Royal Family. Dames of the Principality are expected to adhere to the Code of Chivalry of the Principality of the Northern Forests and enjoy their titles at the Princess's pleasure. Dames make up Military Officers in the Royal Army. The only person authorized to grant any titles of Nobility in the Principality of the Northern Forests as of 2020 is Her Royal Highness The Princess. however, she does from time to time grant the Grand Duchess such authority in granting lower titles. The Royal Family of the Principality of the Northern Forests grants Damehoods from two Royal Orders of Knighthood. Admission to the order is just as complex and demanding as gaining entry to any other Royal Order of Knighthoods from current day Monarchs around the world.

Dynastic Honors of the Royal Family

Form of Address

The title of Dame is the official equivalent of a Knight. She is addressed as Dame Firstname and if she has a husband he is addressed as Mr. Surname, in other words, her husband does not share the distinction of his wife, she holds it alone and by her own person. Damehoods in the Principality of the Northern Forests can be either for the life of the person or hereditary. The Letters Patent and them alone will state it.

References

  1. Ackermann, G. A. (1855). Ordensbuch sämmtlicher in Europa blühender und erloschener Orden und Ehrenzeichen. Rudolph & Dieterici.
  2. F.S.W. (1886) Dame Heraldry. Boston, MA: D. Lothrop and Company.
  3. Starling, E. (1856). Noble Deeds of Woman. Phillips, Sampson.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 De Marly, D. (1986). Working dress: a history of occupational clothing. Holmes & Meier.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kasparek, R. (2014). Knight of the Grail Code. WestBow Press.