Catholic monarch

The Latin title Catholicissimus, rendered as Most Catholic Monarch prior to Charles V and Most Catholic Majesty afterwards,[1] is awarded by the Pope as head of the Catholic Church to monarchs who in the eyes of the papacy embody Catholic principles in their personal lives and state policies. The title remains attached to monarchs descended from the original bearer in perpetuity, unless withdrawn by a Pope.


Among the reigning monarchs of Europe, the title is currently carried by the sovereigns of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Spain. The present king chose not to relinquish the ancient titles of the Spanish crown, but he does not use them.[2]

The current King of Lesotho, the Prince of Monaco and the Prince of Liechtenstein have not been awarded the title despite being Roman Catholics; the monarchs of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Tonga, and the United Kingdom are Protestant; and the remaining world monarchs are of other religions.

One of the rights of a "Most Catholic" queen either regnant or consort is the privilège du blanc, meaning that she may wear white when meeting the Pope rather than the normal black used by other consorts and heads of state.

The best-known example of this title is the Catholic Monarchs (Los Reyes Católicos), used solely in reference to Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.

In the past, some monarchs with this title have also been granted the right to other specific styles:

  • Hungary: His Apostolic Majesty (awarded c. 1000, renewed in 1758)
  • France: His Most Christian Majesty (awarded c. 1380)
  • Portugal: His Most Faithful Majesty (awarded in 1748)

See also


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