The young Spanish King presenting the heir to the throne, to the Grandees and other dignitaries assembled.
Grandees of Spain...
Curious Hat Etiquette That Mark Their Three Classes
A Grandee of Spain enjoys the privilege, granted him many hundreds of years ago, of remaining “covered” in the presence of his Sovereign. This custom dates from the period when, according to the theory then held, the King was “the first among equals.” The ancient formula, always at the Coronation of the Kings of old Spain was, “We, your equals, choose you to reign over us.” And the King assented in this declaration of his Nobles.
There was a time when all Grandees of Spain wore their hats in the presence of the King, but in time, the idea of caste began to prevail even among the Grandees, with the result that they were eventually divided into three classes, and these classes were distinguished by the hat etiquette. The first class entered the Royal presence covered; the second class entered uncovered, and, after an advance of a few steps, put on their hats, unbidden by the King, and the third class also entered uncovered, but did not “cover” until requested to do so by the King. Then, according to the etiquette, “all were equal.”
There have been Grandees who were not Spaniards, notably the Duke of Wellington, upon whom the Cortes conferred the honor in recognition of his services to the State. – Mariposa Gazette, 1918
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