''For other meanings, see Prince (disambiguation)
On the European continent
, notably in the German system, a prince
is something more than a mere noble, but not necessarily royal, which makes comparing it with the British system of royal princes difficult.
In the Russian system, "knyaz" (translated as "prince", e.g., Prince Potemkin) is the highest degree of nobility, and sometimes, represents a mediatization of an older native dynasty which became subject to the Russian imperial dynasty. Rurikid branches used the knyaz title also after they were succeeded by the Romanovs as the Russian imperial dynasty.
A prince or princess may be:
- The head of state in a monarchy which is too small to be called a kingdom. A present-day example is Prince Rainier III of the principality of Monaco. (I.e. a "Fürst" in German.)
- The child of a monarch (king or queen-regnant), and in the direct line of succession also other members of the Royal family, styled a "royal highness". The precise rules for the succession are fixed by law. (I.e. a "Prinz" in German.)
- The husband of a reigning queen is usually titled prince or prince consort.
- A member of the higher nobility in certain countries and periods. Foreign-language titles such as Italian principe, German Fürst, Russian kniaz, etc., are often rendered as prince in English. For example, one can talk about Prince Bismarck (Ger. Fürst B.).
- The term has also been used to describe the head of a feudal state; for example, it has been used as a synonym for duke at times.
- In a similar sense, those who held land and titles within the Catholic Church hierarchy were sometimes designated "princes of the Church".