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.
There can be various definitions for a medieval prince since the title has served to signify different roles and responsibilities throughout medieval times.
The word originated from the Latin word “princeps” which was used in the late Roman law to signify the ruler of territory with complete or partial sovereignty.
By the end of medieval times, however, the title of medieval prince was mainly used for the rulers of relatively smaller and weaker territories.
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.
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.
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 included hunting, meeting with the officials particularly if he was responsible for a certain area and such.
The common accessories used in the dressing of a medieval prince included a tunic, cloak, trousers, and leggings. Leggings were worn in pairs and acted as protection for the legs. Usually, belts were also worn at the hips to provide support to the trousers.
In an official capacity, the medieval prince could also wear wrap-over coats which were decorated like chain-mail.
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 latter case the area was generally not large. The king could also make the medieval prince responsible for a certain area within his kingdom.