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Royal Guard

 Royal Guard


The Royal Guard is a historical continuation of a ceremonial guard that provides protection and service to H.M. the Mwami. Within the modern context of a title and honour, a grantee into the Royal Guard receives a hereditary knighthood or dameship, but the recipient does not belong to an Order. The Royal Guard is junior to all the official Orders of the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda. Nobility is not conferred upon the grantee.


Article 77

 Style of the Chevalier/Dame

A member of the Royal Guard is entitled to the style of “Son Excellence”.


Article 78

 Title and Address

The title and honour of Chevalier is granted to all male members of the Royal Guard. Similarly, the title and honour of Dame is granted to all female members of the Royal Guard. This honour does not confer nobility upon the member. There is no post-nominal that signifies membership in the Royal Guard, but a member may officially describe himself/herself as a “Member of the Royal Guard of H.M. the Mwami of Rwanda” or “Membre de la Garde Royale de S.M. Le Mwami du Rwanda”.


Article 79

 Regalia of Order

There is no regalia associated with membership in the Royal Guard.


Article 80

 Courtesy Spousal Title and Courtesy Titles for Children

There is no courtesy title for the lawful spouse or children of a member of the Royal Guard. Neither is the grantee, the lawful spouse, or children of the same noble.


Article 81

 Passage of Title and Honour

The titles and honours of the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda may only pass to another person in strict accordance with this document. They cannot be sold, transferred, or otherwise altered. Membership in the Royal Guard is hereditary. Unless the Letters Patent for a particular grantee specifically stipulates another method of transmission, the default method of transmission is bloodline absolute primogeniture springing solely from the original grantee. That is, the honour and title of Chevalier or Dame will only pass from a current substantive title-holder to the eldest child of the title-holder (or the next in line to the title and honour if there are no living descendants of the current title-holder but there are living collateral descendants elsewhere who spring from the original grantee of the noble title and honour) upon the death of the current title-holder, unless the current title- holder renounces the honour in accordance with Article 82. There may only be one inheritor of the title and honour at any time.


Written notice of each transfer of the title and honour should be made to the current Head of the Rwandan Royal House so that good record-keeping is maintained and registration occurs of the new holder of the title and honour. A small registration fee might be necessary to record this transfer. However, title passage will occur without the need for official blessing by a future Head of the Rwandan Royal House. For example, if a title holder dies, his heir according to either the individualized Letters Patent or this document immediately becomes the next holder of the title and honour. This ensures the smooth and immediate transmission of the title and honour. But notification to the Royal House is required after transmission so that proper record keeping can be maintained. If more than 100 years passes after a legitimate transfer of a title and honour and the Royal Rwandan House has not received notification and recorded the transmission, the title and honour becomes extinct and reverts back to the Royal Rwandan House. Only if the Head of the Royal Rwandan House then regrants the title and honour can it be restored after 100 years of lack of registration after it legitimately transfers.


In the event that the descendant lines of the original grantee of the noble title and honour all fail – that is, that each line eventually has no bloodline heirs left – the title will become extinct, as all possible heirs have died out. Similarly, the title becomes dormant if no person has claimed the title or no claim has been satisfactorily proven. A period of 100 years of dormancy results in the dissolution of the title with no restoration possible except for an explicit new grant from the Head of the Rwandan Royal House. In the event of a dispute regarding who is the true inheritor of the title and honour, the current Head of the Rwandan Royal House has ultimate jurisdiction as to the rightful holder of the title. Note, for purposes of this document, the word bloodline heir means all issue (descendants), not just the immediate children of the original Chevalier or Dame.


In the event that an inheritor of the title and honour resides in a domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence that prohibits the use of titles and honours at the time of receiving the title, or a current Chevalier or Dame moves into such a domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence, the title becomes honorary solely to allow the grantee to not violate the law in the place of residence. However, this honorary state exists and accords the Chevalier or Dame all rights accorded a non-honorary substantive title and honour. Put another way, the honorary title and honour are honorary in name only, but the title and honour still are substantive in the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda.  This state of the noble title and honour being honorary will exist until the current Chevalier or Dame moves into another domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence that recognizes titles and honours, the domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence changes its stance on titles and honours, or a new inheritor, residing in another domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence has a claim to the title through the previous title-holder dying or renouncing the honour. Under no circumstances is the title and honour of a hereditary Chevalier or Dame considered extinct until all possible heirs to it have died out. A foreign government cannot extinguish this title and honour as the title falls under the legal jurisdiction and protection of the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda.


Article 82

 Renunciation of Title

The title and honour may be renounced by the current Chevalier or Dame at any time and for any cause. The renunciation must be in writing and witnessed by two individuals not related to the current Chevalier or Dame. Both witnesses should sign and date the renunciation along with the renouncing Chevalier or Dame, and the document should be delivered to the current Head of the Royal House of Rwanda. Upon signing, the title and honour of Chevalier or Dame will pass by the rules of Article 81 as if the renouncing Chevalier or Dame died. Thus, a renunciation of the title and honour does not dissolve it; the title and honour merely passes to the next lawful recipient under Article 81 or the Letters Patent of the original grantee.  Per Article 81, only an extinction of the title and honour by the death or renunciation of all bloodline descendants springing from the original grantee, or all eligible recipients outlined in a specific Letters Patent if the specific Letters Patent outlines a different mode of title transmission, can effectively end its existence.


Article 83

 Armorial Achievement

Heraldry is not a significant part of the historic cultural tradition of Rwanda, but there are some precedents. For example, His Majesty King Kigeli V has a heraldic achievement with a Bantu-style shield. The coronet for a Chevalier or Dame will be an Or coronet surmounted by eight balls of pearl. The band of the coronet will display white and blue beading similar to the Crown of Rwanda. The heraldic representation for the Chevalier or Dame coronet will be:


 Grantees and inheritors of the title and honour may display their heraldry with a Bantu-style shield or else a heater-style shield, the above coronet, a helm, a torse, mantling, supporters, or a combination of these. Members of the Royal Guard may, but are not required to, display a gold (Or) spear on his or her escutcheon or crest. This golden spear reflects the weapon of choice for historic guards of H.M. the Mwami.


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