Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
HSH is an acronym for His Serene Highness or Her Serene Highness. The style of HSH appeared at the front of the princely titles of members of German ruling families. The style is also used today by the ruling family of Monaco and Liechtenstein.
The reigning Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II of Monaco, is styled His Serene Highness and his sisters Caroline and Stéphanie are also styled as Her Serene Highness. In French, both male and female versions are Son Altesse Sérénissime (S.A.S.), which translates literally to "His/Her Most Serene Highness".
The style Serene Highness was mainly used by the children and grandchildren of the reigning dukes and princes of the small German states that survived after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire. It was also given to several morganatic branches of German ruling family. Queen Mary, the consort of King George V used the style Her Serene Highness as a Princess of Teck. (The dukes and princes of Teck were a branch of the Royal House of Wurtemberg). In the Republic of Venice, also called the Serene Republic, the Doge was known as "Serenissimus".
In most of Europe, the style of Serene Highness was considered to be lower in rank than Highness, Grand Ducal Highness, Royal Highness, and Imperial Highness. If a woman with the rank of Royal Highness married a man with the rank Serene Highness, the woman would usually retain her pre-marital style. Queen Victoria did however create those German princes and dukes who married her daughters Royal Highnesses. Their children remained Serene Highnesses.
In Germany, the styled used is Durchlaucht. Although this is usually translated into English as Serene Highness it would be more correct to translate it as Transparency. The incorrect translation results in the inconsistency (to English speaking minds) of a mere Highness outranking a Serene Highness.
There is some evidence that in pre-Revolutionary France, a Serene Highness would outrank someone who was merely a Highness without any modifier. Those members of the Royal House of France who were not children or grandchildren of the king used the style Most Serene Highness. In fact, that style was introduced into France by Gaston d'Orleans the son of Henry IV and younger brother of Louis XIII.
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