Lectio Magistralis: the nobility in 2022

I am grateful to my anonymous defamer to offer me the opportunity to express my thoughts once again, elaborated in over 40 years of study on the theme “Nobility” which, perhaps because the generation that lived it in the Kingdom of Italy, has today become a not too clear memory for the descendants of the nobles and for those who want to deal with it, also because the truth has never been told in full on this issue that represents the history of the European elites from Charlemagne to the present day.
We live in 2022, in a social reality that has now forgotten what nobility was in past centuries and for this reason almost all people are unable to understand well what it is in today’s reality of the Italian Republic, where according to XIV transitory and final provision[1] from 1 January 1948 is not recognized, which means that for the legal order of the state it does not exist.
What I wrote is the harsh truth: there are no nobles, because nobility has always been a dignity of a public character[2] with the characteristic of always having privilege[3] and publicity linked to it[4].
The nobility has never had a value or recognition of a private nature, because its fundamental characteristic was the public recognition that placed its owners, even if only formally, in a condition of at least moral superiority towards others.
Please note I do not want to say that there is nothing left of the nobility, but I specify that there are only the descendants of the nobles, referring to the nobility of the Kingdom of Italy, and referring only to those belonging to families recognized and inscribed in the Golden Book of Italian nobility (Central State Archives); obviously I cannot forget the small number of still living nobles enrolled in the Golden Book of the Italian nobility (Central State Archives in Rome), who personally obtained recognition during the Kingdom of Italy, but we must consider that the youngest of them are about 80 years old, while the others who appeared in the Lists but without the asterisk can be considered in the best of cases belonging to the nobility of the Italian Pre-unification States from which they came. The same goes for those few noble families who, for various reasons (even just lack of interest), did not register in the Lists and still less to ask for recognition (which was nothing more than a permission of use of nobiliary ncharacter)[5].
Another theme to keep in mind is that relating to the nobiliary laws proclaimed during the Kingdom of Italy, which due to the sentence of the Constitutional Court no. 101 of June 26, 1967, filed with the registry on July 8, 1967 are declared unconstitutional[6].
It follows that even private associations that claim to recognize the nobility of the families of their associates in the private sector, carry out a completely useless and questionable activity under the aspect of a nobiliary recognition and the recognitions made serve more to mutual self-censorship than to validate legally (which is legally impossible) a nobiliary status. It is ridiculous that the private sector wants to replace the state in attributing a privileged status recognized by the authority, and I want to specify that I fully agree with what Dr. Carlo Mistruzzi of Frisinga, who was my predecessor in the office of Secretary General of the Junta de Italia of the Asociacion de Hidalgos a Fuero de España, writes in his Treaty on Italian Nobiliary Law, v. III, on pp. 459-462.
Given the complexity that required the recognition of the State[7], these associations without legal personality applying for admission the Nobiliary Law coming from the laws declared unconstitutional, obviously are using unconstitutional laws. As well as unconstitutional are the apparently nobiliary sentences issued by judges of the Italian Republic which gave value to the nobility, forgetting the XIV transitory and final provision of the Constitution which entered into force on January 1, 1948 and Sentence 101 of July 8, 1967 of the Constitutional Court.
Finally, we must not forget that the nobiliary laws have always followed the civil laws (contained and updated in the Civil Code), but with the institutional change and the entry into force of the Constitution, the nobiliary laws remained frozen on 31 December 1947, while the Civil Code has been updated with the consequence that, if the last nobiliary order in force until 31 December 1947 were applicable, there would be no certainty on the inheritance law referring to nobiliary titles, for the entry into force first of all on 18 December 1970 of the Divorce Act which regulates cases of dissolution of marriage: in fact, for the nobiliary laws that did not provide for divorce, the children born from a second marriage (if the death of the spouse has not occurred or the marriage has not been declared null) would be adulterous, while for the civil laws they are fully legitimate. Similarly, the subsequent law no.151 of 19 May 1975 on the reform of family law would create uncertainty, because it is allowed the recognition of adulterous children and the equal rights and duties for legitimate and natural children and the admissibility of unlimited judicial research of the natural paternity. And the entry into force of law 10 December 2012, n. 219, which eliminates the residual distinctions between legitimate children and natural children from the legal system, affirming the principle of the uniqueness of the legal status of the children. I also add that even the adopted are now entitled to a kinship relationship with the family of the adopting parent (Constitutional Court, Sentence March 28, 2022, n. 79) in relation to the constitutional legitimacy judgment of art. 55 of the law of 4 May 1983. And finally, the forthcoming application of gender equality should be mentioned.
This is the reality of the nobility in the Italian Republic today. But there is also a widespread misconception that admission to a nobiliary or ennobling Order of Chivarly is the right way to obtain recognition of the nobility or an Italian nobiliary title. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case for at least 2 factors. The recognition of an Italian nobility could only take place with a decree of the King or the Ministry (or then the President of the Council of Ministers), in the absence of which there can be no recognition of the nobility of the Kingdom of Italy. For example, the Sovereign Military Order of St. John known as of Malta still carries out admission today in certain categories called nobiliary (honour and devotion and grace and devotion) upon presentation of proofs of nobility. Certainly, if accepted, the evidence presented demonstrates a clear nobility, which however cannot be confused with that of the Kingdom of Italy, due to the difference in the evidence necessary for admission into the SMOM, which clearly demonstrates that it is a specific chivalric nobility and not from Italy (even if the family is Italian). This is also because His Most Eminent Highness has full authority over the Order, but certainly not over the nobiliary decisions applicable in the Kingdom of Italy, and if the completeness of the evidence is lacking, the necessary amnesty to affirm that it is of an Italian nobility, it should (which is impossible) be issued with Royal Patent Letters by Grace issued by H.M. the King of Italy. Obviously, the Grand Master has the full authority to grant all the amnesties that he deems useful to the new Knight with full validity.
As for the ancient Pre-unitary Dynastic Orders of Chivalry, I would like to underline that we are faced, now, with a “private” nobiliary recognition valid only within the Sovereign House to which the Order refers and at the same time to a private nobiliary recognition that cannot have legal effects in the aristocratic sphere, precisely because of the lack of public recognition.
I conclude by recalling another erroneous belief: during the Kingdom of Italy the nobility enjoyed public evidence with the publication of the names and surnames of noble families in the Official Lists of the Italian nobility, but the last publication dates back to 1937 or 85 years ago. On the part of an increasing number of small publishers, however, the commercial idea of publishing repertoires that they call nobiliary has been valid due to the fact that together with representatives taken from ancient nobiliary repertoires of the State they also include Families that are judged noble for private lucubrations of the same publishers. Similarly, this also happens in other product sectors, for example painters have the possibility of being included in special repertories, as well as historic places, luxury hotels etc. I would like to reiterate the scientific uselessness of these publications without the public sources from which the data are derived (in the Lists the checks were rigorous and carried out by the State Archives and the Police Bodies), even if they are generally captivating publications to be shown to guests in the house and perhaps create that aura of importance that the family has not always had in the past. However, in the myriad of these publications I must outline an exception, the Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana, published by the Libro d’oro srl (which gathers as members the descendants of noble families recognized during the Kingdom of Italy), born in 1910 in the monarchical era when the nobility enjoyed the recognition of the state, and which has practically maintained the same editorial criteria of the past, without ever declaring itself a scientific publication, but a set of useful data to provide information to friends on births, marriages and dead, and which maintains a rigorous updating of the Families contained, which cannot be found elsewhere. I could still provide many other demonstrations of what nobility really is in Italy, but I don’t want to bore the reader who can complete the subject, if he wants to, by listening to my 2 conferences on this topic, held in Madrid at the III International Colloquium on Nobility in 2019 and at the IV International Colloquium on Nobility in 2022.
[1] It is written: “Nobiliary titles are not recognized. The predicates of those existing before October 28, 1922 are valid as part of the name. the Mauritian Order is preserved as a hospital and functions in the ways established by law. The law regulates the suppression of the heraldic council “. It should be noted that the predicates existing before 28 October 1922 have a surname character and certainly not a nobiliary one.
[2] The nobility could be displayed in everyday life only if it had the public recognition of the state.
[3] It was only the right to have affixed the nobiliary title on the civil status documents.
[4] It was the only name and surname entered in the book of the nobility published by the State [in 1921 the “Official List of noble and titled families of the Kingdom of Italy” was approved, which reported an asterisk next to the surname if the Family had obtained the decree royal or ministerial recognition and had been included in the Golden Book of the Italian nobility (now preserved in the Central State Archives in Rome). With royal decree n. 1990 of 7 September 1933 a second “Official list of the Italian nobility” was approved with an annexed list of nobiliary predicates and then again with royal decree no. 173 of February 1, 1937, the supplement to the Official List of the Italian nobility relating to the years 1934-1936 was approved. I remember that those enrolled in the Italian nobiliary official lists: 1921-1933 and suppl. 1934-36, if within three years they did not present the documentation for registration in the Golden Book of the Italian nobility, they were canceled by them; thus in the 1933 List disappeared many non-extinct families listed in the one published in 1921.
[5] As is the radio-television subscription, the hunting or fishing license, and so on today.
[6] For these reasons the Constitutional Court declares the constitutional illegitimacy of the R.D. 11 December 1887, n. 5138, of the R D. July 2, 1896, n. 313, of the R D. 5 July 1896, n. 314, of the R D. L. March 20, 1924, n. 442 (converted with law no. 473 of 17 April 1925), of the R.D.L. 28 December 1924, n. 2337 (converted by law 21 March 1926, n. 597), of the R D. 16 August 1926, n. 1489, of the R D. 21 January 1929, n. 61 and of the Royal Decree 7 June 1943, n. 651, within the limits in which they are applied for the addition to the name of predicates of nobiliary titles prior to October 28, 1922 but not recognized before the Constitution entered into force; as well as to the extent that they subject the aforementioned right and the related judicial protection to a discipline other than that established by the legal system for the right to a name. So decided in Rome, in the seat of the Constitutional Court, Palazzo della Consulta, on June 26, 1967.
[7] I remember that it was not enough to be the genealogical heir of a nobiliary title to obtain a secure succession to the title, but it was necessary to have a high social position that did not create disgrace to the nobility, and an impeccable morality, which is why there are cases of non-succession in nobiliary titles by various families.

Pier Felice degli Uberti: “Nobiliary titles are not recognized (XIV transitory and final provision of the Constitution): their residues protected by law, and the nobiliary-themed judgments of the Italian Republic” III International Colloquium on Nobility Madrid (2019).

Pier Felice degli Uberti: “The impossibility of recognizing nobiliary titles in the Italian Republic, and legal possibilities to be protected for the descendants of the Italian nobility” IV International Colloquium on Nobility Madrid (2022)


Having said that, I can only agree with my anonymous defamer stating that today in the Italian Republic I am not noble, as indeed are not noble all those who had nobiliary recognition during the Kingdom of Italy, but born after the 1st January 1948, and those who were in the Lists without having requested the due recognition of the nobility, and also those descendants of nobles belonging to Pre-unitary nobiliary orders.
Today the nobility in Italy can be rightly and correctly boasted only within those private and rigorous exclusive circles in which, being basically one’s own private home, it makes sense that the obsolete nobiliary title is used as may please; or within Orders of Chivalry where the tradition of the nobility is still maintained. But out of these cases, the use of a nobiliary title, if you are under 80, rather demonstrates a certain insecurity of those who do not feel fulfilled enough in today’s society.
As it can be clearly seen from the above, which I have been repeating for years, the knowledge of this ANONYMOUS on the nobility in Italy is limited, revoking obsolete sources referring to other times, giving proof of a education lacking in scientificity. If he studies more, he will better understand this topic in which he seems to have an interest.