Readers of this weblog will be well aware that I have grave concerns over the lack of any lawful authority behind the acts of the so called Chief Herald of Arms of Malta and up to now I have confined my criticism to the office rather than the individual; I have resisted, up until now, any direct criticism of the office holder.
Today however, I have received, from a proud armiger (whose permission I have to reproduce it here), a copy of the first page of a Certification of Arms issued and signed by Charles A, Gauci, "Chief Herald of Arms of Malta" and countersigned by Raymond M. Cassar, "Registrar, Office of the Chief Herald of Arms of Malta".
There can be no doubt that Dr. Gauci is fond of titles* but I find it extremely strange (from a Maltese marketing point of view) that the first mentioned "title" on the Certificate is that of "Hereditary Noble in the Noblesse of Scotland" which is a "title" that doesn't really exist. Dr. Gauci has, with an undoubted overinflated sense of pride, used a now obsolete and discredited term from the Letters Patent of his Scottish grant of armorial bearings viz: "by demonstration of which ensigns armorial he and his successors in the same are, amongst all nobles and in all places of honour, to be taken numbered, accounted and received as Nobles in the Noblesse of Scotland".
The clause was undoubtedly popular with many and especially so with those living abroad and of foreign nationality who had purchased a piece of Scottish foreshore and petitioned the Lyon Court for a grant of arms so that they could proclaim themselves to be “Scottish armigers” taken numbered, accounted and received as Nobles in the Noblesse of Scotland.
Prior to the demise of this nobility clause, there had been much debate amongst Scots armorists and some of it had become quite heated with one commentator stating that “This ahistorical nonsense was started by a Lord Lyon with a bee in his bonnet about nobility”; the same commentator wondering “Why is there such a preoccupation with this subject? By now it is pretty sterile, and there cannot be much to say about it that is original. Besides which, until the terms noble, noblesse and nobility are authoritatively and legally defined in a Scottish context, the nobiliary clause in patents of arms is meaningless.”
As I reported way back in 2008 this clause has now been quietly dropped from all new grants of arms issued by the Lord Lyon.
I also note that, immediately after the boast of being a "Hereditary Noble in the Noblesse of Scotland", Dr Gauci recites his somewhat dubious comtal title (also used in the announcement of his appointment as an employee of Heritage Malta in the Malta Gazette). Again, he uses a somewhat doubtful non-Maltese title in what should be (had it had any lawful standing at all - which it does not) a prestigious legal Maltese document. A title which, according to Mr Guy Stair Sainty, well known commentator on nobility and royal genealogy, is "explicitly prohibited by law from being used [in Malta] in any official documents". Mr Sainty recently commented that "The announcement in the (Malta) Gazette included the use of the title "Count" for Mr [sic] Gauci, despite the fact the use of titles of nobility are explicitly prohibited by law from being used in any official documents. Furthermore this "title" was created by two rival "self-styled" princes who improbably claim to be heirs to the Byzantine imperial throne."
It is a pity that Dr. Gauci could not be content with the fact that he is a Doctor of Medicine; that at least is something he could justifiably be very proud of. After listing all of his titles, the fact that he claims to be Chief Herald of Arms of Malta is listed almost as though it is an afterthought.
* The list of his titles and post-nominals on the certificate ends with &c. (etcetera). Here is a list of his titles and post-nominals taken from elsewhere:
Lt.Colonel the Chev. Dr. The Count Charles A. Gauci KHS KLJ (j) OLM MD FRCA FIPP FFPMRCA FSA.Scot RAMC (Retd.).