Much like feudal society, the SCA has a similar system of hierarchy and rank. All titles in the Society are earned by knowledge, skill and deed. The following is a list of the main dignitaries:
The KING & QUEEN are the monarchs and absolute rulers of our Kingdom. Their reign lasts six (6) months and They have the authority to make Society laws and dispense awards. They are addressed as “Your Majesty”, “Your Grace”, or “My Lord King/Lady Queen”. Two other forms of address include “Sire” and “My Liege”, but should only be used if you have sworn fealty. Collectively known as the CROWN, the SOVEREIGN is chosen by combat at a Crown List which is held twice each year, in the Spring and Fall.
The CONSORT is a person of the opposite sex for whose honor and favor the Sovereign fights. It is courteous to bow or curtsy when addressing Them or passing nearby.
The CROWN PRINCE and PRINCESS are successors to The Crown and will soon assume the reign as King and Queen. They are the most recent winners of a Crown List and are representatives of The Crown for three (3) months prior to assuming reign. They are addressed as “Your Highness” or “My Lord Prince/Lady Princess”.
There are two subgroups which make up the Peerage: the Royal Peers and the Orders conferring a Patent of Arms. Royal Peers are Dukes and Duchesses, Counts and Countesses, and Viscounts and Viscountesses. These, together with Barons and Baronesses, are referred to as the Nobility.
Patents of Arms are conferred by membership in one of the four Society orders: Knights, Masters of Arms, Laurels and Pelicans. There is no difference in precedence between members of these four orders. They are referred to as Peers and rank in precedence before Court Barons and Baronesses and after the rest of the Nobility.
The title of DUKE or DUCHESS is a permanent rank and indicates a Lord or Lady has reigned two or more times as King and/or Queen. They wear a coronet with strawberry leaves on it and are addressed as “Your Grace” or “My Lord Duke/Lady Duchess”.
A COUNT (sometimes called EARL) and COUNTESS are also permanent titles and the title is bestowed upon a Lord or Lady who has reigned once. Their coronets are usually embattled and are addressed as “Your Excellency” or “My Lord Count/Earl or Lady Countess”.
A VISCOUNT and VISCOUNTESS are those who have served as Prince or Princess of a Principality. They wear a coronet with six semi-circles equally spaced along the top edge.
The general requirements for receiving any Patent of Arms are: courtesy, chivalry, hospitality, courtly behavior (knowledge of period dancing, music, heraldry and chess), and knowledge or skill equal to that of the members of that Order. In addition, they must be willing to share their knowledge with others. A candidate’s qualifications for one of these Orders is discussed by the Crown and members of the Order in a meeting called a Circle.
There are four (4) established orders:
KNIGHTS are outstanding fighters who have received recognition for their fighting skills, as well as, their achievements off the field. They are the very models of Courtesy and Chivalry. Only a Knight is permitted to wear a solid white belt, plain gold chain and gold spurs. They are addressed as “Sir (name)”. A knight who chooses not to swear fealty to the Crown is known as a MASTER AT ARMS and wears a white baldric. They are addressed as “Master/Mistress (name)”.
The Order of the Laurel: MASTERS & MISTRESSES of the LAUREL are honored for their quality and excellence in a craft or trade, be it an ART or a SCIENCE, and who share their knowledge by teaching their skill to others. They wear a laurel wreath medallion around their neck. They are addressed as “Master/Mistress (name)”.
The Order of the Pelican: MASTERS & MISTRESSES of the PELICAN are candidates who have provided long-standing service in an administrative capacity to keep the Society functioning. Members wear a “pelican in her piety” medallion around their neck. In addition, Pelicans have the right to wear a Chapeau, a fitted cap trimmed in fur. They are addressed as “Master/Mistress (name)”.
Barons & Baronesses are of two (2) types: Barons/Baronesses in fief, and Court Barons/Baronesses. Those in fief are also referred to as Landed or Territorial Barons/Baronesses. They hold a Barony of the Kingdom for the Crown and are in fealty to them. Court Barons/Baronesses hold no lands and are given that rank by the Crown. They both wear a flat-topped coronet. Those in fief may wear a coronet with charges from the Baronial Arms upon it. In addition, a Baron/Baroness in fief may bear the Baronial Arms in canton upon their shield.
It was previously mentioned that the CROWN rules the Kingdom with the assistance of numerous ministers and advisors. In keeping with feudal tradition, Officers are appointed, not elected. Within the scope of his/her Office, each Officer has virtually unlimited authority and is answerable only to his superiors. A Kingdom Officer is generally warranted to hold an office for two (2) years.
These Officers of State, as they are known, include: the Kingdom Seneschal, the Triton Herald, the Earl Marshal, the Minister of Arts & Sciences, the Kingdom Exchequer, the Kingdom Chronicler, the Kingdom Chatelain(e), and the Kingdom Chirurgeon. All Great Officers of State report to the Crown and their Corporate counterpart for the execution of their duties.