ducal perogative

Galen of Bristol pmitchel at flash.net
Thu Feb 20 19:52:07 PST 1997

dentim at mail.myriad.net wrote:
> greetings!
> Some postings on the Aten list raised a few questions which I am curious about.
> What is Ducal perogative? I've heard a few things like being able to enter
> crown list at *any* time, being able to enter court w/o previous permission,
> etc. Are these true? Do customs vary from kingdom to kingdom? What other
> privlages to those of royal rank have?
> just wonderin'
> timo
> littlescumsuckingmutantlefty

Duke Siegfried von Hoeflichkeit, of the West Kingdom, and one of
the founders of the SCA, explained it to me that there was a
tradition, which some of us still observe, that knights were
obligated to enter the Crown List.  I believe that the idea
of this is that anyone winning the Crown should have had
to defeat first-class opponents to do so.  Dukes, however,
were exempt from this obligation.  This was the origin of 
Ducal Prerogative.  Siegfried told me that in Atenveldt, this
evolved into a right to withdraw from the list at any time,
which is what we have in Ansteorra now.

It does get abused.  Also, I recall one occasion when a Count
simply walked off the field, just as if he were exercising
Ducal Prerogative.  "You can't do that," the King told him.
"I just did," the Count replied.  The effect of a forfeit is
indistinguishable from the effect of a Duke exercising his

I think that knights are obligated by tradition to enter the
Crown List if they can; and as Crystal pointed out, that includes
the Sword Oath, so they need to be able to take that oath.

If you are ready, willing and able to be King, I see nothing
wrong with entering Crown, even if your chance of winning is

But I don't approve of any circumstance that enables someone who
is not trying to win to eliminate someone who is trying to win;
that includes destructive byes as well as Ducal Prerogative.

Viscount Galen of Bristol, KSCA, CSM, etc.
Paul Mitchell, pmitchel at flash.net / "noblesse oblige"
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