Monday, November 28, 2011

When Is A Knight Not “Really” A Knight?

I was really tempted to do some kind of subject line with a punch line of “once a knight is enough,” but I manfully resisted the temptation. (The fact that I wasn’t able to come up with something on short notice that really worked well had nothing to do with it!)

Anyway, there was a story dated November 2, 2011, in the Greenwich, Connecticut Greenwich Time about Peter von Braun, who is running for election to the Board of Education there. There is, apparently, some controversy being stirred up by his opponents about the fact that he calls himself a knight.

What the controversy really boils down to is that Mr. von Braun has not been knighted per se, but is a Knight of Grace of the Order of St. John, a chivalric order headed by Queen Elizabeth II. So he can’t add “Sir” as a title to his name, but, yes, technically he is a knight.

The part of the story that interested me was the pictures, showing von Braun with the grant of honorary arms he received from the College of Arms in 1983, along with a close up of the grant alone. Even when the arms are pretty complex (and these seem to be pretty complex, quarterly with a checky fess), it’s always of interest to see someone’s grant of arms.

If you’d like to read the full story of the controversy, including what David White, Somerset Herald of the College of Arms in London had to say to inquiries about von Braun's knighthood, it can be found on-line at:


  1. Life is full of odd coincidences.

    Peter Carl Moore Stearns von Braun is a Sometime Chairman of the Party of the Right of the Yale Political Union, an organization of which I have the honor to be a Former Secretary-Treasurer. I have taken the liberty of posting a link to this story in the POR list so that other Yale alumni can benefit from the information.

  2. Great. Now I'm going to have that song, "It's A Small World" running through my head all morning.

    And yet, it does seem that it can sometimes be a very small world.