Duke (DK)


A duke is an individual who holds the highest title of nobility. This recognition, superior to that obtained by a marquis, is usually granted by a monarch to express gratitude to him or to distinguish descendants of the royal family who are not heirs. According to abbreviationfinder, DK stands for Duke.

The etymology of duke leads us to the French duc, itself derived from the Latin dux (which can be translated as “general”). The dukedom is the lordship of the duke, the female version of which is duchess.

A duke is an individual distinguished by a monarch.

Duke’s Treatment

Members of royalty must be appointed in a particular way, with a specific treatment that reflects the importance of their position and distinguishes it from those below it (if we think of judges, for example, we cannot call them by their given name nor is it advised to use their full names, but “Your Honor”). In the particular case of the dukes in Spain, people should address them as “Excelentísimo Señor”.

Protocol treatments have been used in monarchies for centuries to refer to the occupants of different roles, such as being the monarch (which could be an emperor or empress, a king or queen, a reigning prince or sovereign, a great duke, etc.), but also those who are part of the royal family (the queen consort or her consort, the prince or princess who will inherit the crown, the rest of the children and also the grandchildren) and some of the members of the nobility (grandes, lords, dukes, marquises, counts, viscounts, barons and lords, among others, depending on the country and the time).

Dukes are members of the nobility.

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Noble recognition

In Roman times, the doge was the one who led the army. As lands used to be given to those generals who triumphed in war, the title began to transform into a noble recognition. The division of territories into counties left the dukes as the most important nobles of various regions. The title was also made hereditary in numerous places.

Currently, noble titles are symbolic and have an honorary character. In the United Kingdom and in Spain, for example, the dukes are still part of royalty.

Other titles similar to Duke

In addition to the duke title, properly speaking, we find other forms that contain this word but refer to different noble titles:

* Grand Duke, for example, is a title above Prince, though below Grand Prince and King;

* The noble title of Archduke was used in Austria to designate a position superior to that of Duke and was granted to all descendants of the Habsburg family. Only kings and emperors surpassed him in importance;

* In third place we have the title of Count-Duke, which is formed by merging one of Count with a new one, of Duke.

Some examples

Prince Edward is the Duke of Kent, a title he inherited in 1942 on the death of his father (Prince George). The Duke of York, meanwhile, is Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth II.

In Spain, we can mention the Duke of Alba de Tormes (Carlos Juan Fitz-James-Stuart y Martínez de Irujo), the Duke of Marchena (Juan Jacobo Walford Hawkins y Borbón) and the Duke of Seville (Francisco de Paula Enrique de Borbón y Escasany), among others.

Benito Mussolini, the Italian nationalist leader who served as President of the Council of Royal Ministers from 1922 to 1943 and then led the Social Republic until he was assassinated, called himself “The Duke”. The regime that he was in charge of was of a totalitarian type and was framed in the period of Italian fascism, one of the most unfortunate in history.