A medieval prince was a male monarch who was a member of the ruling family and generally became the future king of the country. During the medieval times in Europe, the title of prince was hereditary and thus the prince would become the king upon the demise of his father. During the lifetime of the king, the medieval prince was generally given a certain area in the Kingdom to act as a ruler.
Definition of a Medieval Prince
There can be various definitions for a medieval prince since the title has served to signify different roles and responsibilities throughout the medieval times. The word originated from the Latin word “princeps” which was used in the late Roman law to signify the ruler of a territory with complete or partial sovereignty. By the end of the medieval times, however, the title of medieval prince was mainly used for the rulers of relatively smaller and weaker territories.
What was a Medieval Prince Duties
The duties and responsibilities of a medieval prince varied depending on the usage of the title. If the title signified the ruler of a state, his foremost responsibility was to ensure the sovereignty of his state and the welfare of his people. When, on the other hand, the title of a medieval prince was used for the son of the king, his responsibilities were much less. Usually he could be given the charge of a certain area for which he would be responsible to the king. He could also be given an important post in the military.
A Young Medieval Prince with a Duchess
Medieval Prince Education
Just like all other aspects of life, special attention was paid to the education of a medieval prince. From an early age, the medieval prince would start learning the manners and customs of being a royal person. After a certain age, his instruction in formal education would commence for which the services of a teacher could be hired. The medieval prince would also be educated in various martial arts and outdoor activities such as horse riding, hunting, and others.
Medieval Prince Daily Life
The daily life of a medieval prince also largely depended on the kind of responsibilities he had to bear. However, there are some elements that can be called an essential part of the life of a medieval prince. This include hunting, meeting with the officials particularly if he was responsible for a certain area, and such.
Medieval Prince Quick Facts:
A medieval prince would be trained in the art of warfare from a very early age
Knights and other military staff would help train a medieval prince in swordsmanship
A typical medieval prince would have to learn how to use an assortment of medieval weapons
Horsemanship was also a very important skill that a prince had to learn in medieval times
A medieval prince would have several important teachers that would guide his training
Most medieval princes would be taught in the highly regarded art of hunting and hawking
Hunting and Hawking was a medieval sport but also importantly provided food for the table
Medieval Prince Clothing
The common accessories used in the dressing of a medieval prince included tunic, cloak, trousers, and leggings. Leggings were worn in pairs and acted as a protection for the legs. Usually belts were also worn at the hips to provide support to the trousers. In the official capacity, the medieval prince could also wear wrap-over coats which were decorated like chain-mail.
Medieval Prince Key Facts:
A prince could be a future king so he would have to take a keen interest in matters of Government
A prince would also need to take a keen interest in the management of the estate he would inherit
A prince could inherit his own castle and estate and would have to manage the estate in later years
Defense of his estate, well being of tenants, food, water and sanitation would be important issues
Piety was an important part of the life of a prince and princess they would attend daily mass
The oldest son of a king was usually the most important prince as he was next in line to be king
If the oldest prince died the line of succession would be passed to his first son if he had one
If the oldest prince died with no son succession would be passed down to the next oldest king’s son
A prince would have many servants for example:
Waiting staff – chamberlain, Chaplain, stewards etc.
Cooking staff – head cook, scullions, waiting staff etc.
Military – Men at arms, Archers, Gatehouse soldiers etc.
Other Staff – huntsman, Falconer etc.
Medieval Prince Summary
The title of a medieval prince is a very general one and could be used to signify various kinds of rules. Thus a medieval prince could be the son of the ruling monarch or a monarch of a certain area within a kingdom himself, although in the later case the area was generally not large. The king could also make the medieval prince responsible for a certain area within his kingdom.