Every noble activity makes room for itself




The title of nobility of Sub-Chief has historically been given only to males, but, in the modern era, a female may also become a Sub-Chief. Since Sub-Chiefs have political responsibilities beyond the title and honour, His Majesty King Kigeli V has not appointed any Sub-Chiefs while in exile. Although the history is oral and cannot be confirmed in written form, the role of Sub-Chief in the Kingdom of Rwanda is believed to date back at least to 1350 AD. The title and honour of Sub-Chief has these following characteristics:


Article 43

Style of the Sub-Chief


The title and honour of Sub-Chief is entitled to the style of “L’honorable”.


Article 44

 Title and Address


The full name, title, and style of a Sub-Chief is “L’honorable Sub-Chief First Name Middle Name Second Middle Name [if any] Surname”. A territorial designation may be attached. If the Letters Patent for a particular recipient contains a different style, title, and address than the above, the Letters Patent will triumph only for that particular recipient.


Article 45

 Courtesy Spousal Title and Courtesy Titles for Children


There is no courtesy title for the lawful spouse or children of a Sub-Chief. However, the lawful spouse of the Sub-Chief is noble for as long as the spouse is married to the Sub-Chief or is the widow/widower of the same. Yet, the children of the Sub-Chief are not noble.


Article 46

 Passage of Title and Honour


The title and honour of Sub-Chief is not hereditary. 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 47

 Renunciation of Title


The title and honour may be renounced by the current Sub-Chief at any time and for any cause. The renunciation must be in writing and witnessed by two individuals not related to the current Sub-Chief. Both witnesses should sign and date the renunciation along with the renouncing Sub-Chief, and the document should be delivered to the current Head of the Royal House of Rwanda. Upon signing, the title and honour of Sub-Chief ceases to exist.


Article 48

 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. There is no coronet for the title and honour of Sub-Chief. Instead, the Sub-Chief is authorized to use a lion or crested crane on the shield of his or her armorial achievement as an indicator of service to the Head of the Rwandan Royal House.


Grantees of the Sub-Chief title and honour may display their heraldry with a Bantu-style shield, helm, a crest of seven spear points radiating from the shield, and supporters or a combination of these. In accordance with the original vision of H.M. King Mutara III, leopard skin may be used as a manteau. Grantees and inheritors also had the right, beginning with H.M. King Mutara III, to decorate their battle shields, and this is akin to a heraldic system.


A sample leopard skin manteau image may be seen below:

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