Some time ago I received a message from one of my relatives informing me that from that day on he was the new Marquis of Pánuco, a Spanish nobility title that has been in our family since 1772 (Granted to Francisco Xavier de Vizcarra Moreno, my seventh grandfather). It was a title that became vacant in 2002 after the death of its last rightful bearer don José Cervantes Knight, the 7th Marquis of Pánuco, third cousin of my paternal grandmother, and a true gentleman.
As an expert I realized that something was very wrong with the message since the rehabilitation was not announced in the BOE which is the Boletín Oficial del Estado – The Official Gazette of Spain where all the legal announcements, norms, legislation and so on are made publicly, including the succession and rehabilitation of nobility titles.
The process of rehabilitation is a lengthy and expensive process that includes also a notification in the cited BOE for the intention of rehabilitation giving a determined period of time for other people, that may have a better right of succession, to claim their rights to the title. Naturally this did not happen. This also made me raise an eyebrow since my relative belongs to one of the youngest branches of our large family, meaning that he has circa 100 people or more with more right to the title than him; myself, my father, brother and sister included since we belong to the eldest branch of the Palomar y Vizcarra.
I asked him about how he obtained the rehabilitation of the Spanish title and he said that it was confirmed by a tribunal in Monferrato, Italy. (I see…) then I inquired more and asked who recommended him to do this sketchy process.
The “prince” of H was the answer.
Ah! Now it all made sense: Ignobility. Greed. Ego. This is what is behind the fake rehabilitations and false nobility titles. Besides, I knew that the so-called prince is a character with a questionable career.
So, who are these people that are after nobility titles like hungry dogs?
As doña Almudena Martínez-Fornés points in her article “Decenas de españoles utilizan títulos nobiliarios falsos (Dozens of Spaniards use false nobility titles)”, published the 23rd of December of 2018 in the ABC Spanish national daily newspaper, some of these people are con artists that seek recognition by using a fake title, others seek to posses a title that has already expired -in Spain a title that has been vacant for more than 40 years expires- while others innocently think that they have a real title via a fake process (I hope that my relative is found in this zone but due to his attitude I am beginning to doubt it).
In all accounts these cases have the stench of desperation and fragile egos.
- Unfortunately for them and fortunately for the law abiding people using false nobility titles is not only matter of comedy and laughter, they can also be considered “fraude de ley”, namely a fraud punished by law.
Among the subterfuges that con artists use, is the infamous use of the Italians tribunals. This process is more or less like this:
Two buddies, the person that desperately desires a title -cue to a sad scene of a small chihuahua in the thunderous rain begging for a piece of meat while a sad violin plays on the background- and another random citizen that is paid for this act -sometimes the same person who offers this service, simulate a battle of better rights for a nobility title in Spain, they ask an Italian tribunal which of them has the best right to the title. The person who desires the title presents *some* genealogical documents proving that he descends from the first bearer and therefore obtains a document stating that he has a better right than his friend John Doe who presents nothing because he is not related to the title by blood. Naturally this is not recognized in Spain and it is a fraud. This happened in 2011 when a person tried to have this document from the tribunal of Monferrato recognized. The Ministry of Justice in Spain replied that it was a fraud and a clear violation to the Spanish Constitution of 1987 which in its article 62 f attributes to the King: “conceder honores y distinciones con arreglo a las leyes/concede honours and distinctions according to the laws”.
Basically this is what my relative did instead of following the correct process.
The legal rehabilitation of a nobility title in Spain requires the following:
1) You must present all documentation of baptismal and/or birth certificates, as well as marriages of your ancestors until you join the first bearer of the title.
2) All these certifications must be certified by the consuls of Spain in their function as notaries, who must travel to the parish archives where the baptismal and marriage books prior to the Civil Registry are. In addition, the Civil Registry items must bear all the Apostille of the Hague Convention.
3) You must also provide the testamentary of all your ancestors all the way up to the first bearers: wills or deeds of partition of property, from the first bearer to you. With the Apostille of The Hague, naturally.
4) You must claim and prove merits, because just as the succession is automatic, the rehabilitation is also subject to grace. That is, that the King can grant it or not, taking in account the reports of this Council of the Diputación de la Grandeza and the Council of nobility titles of the Ministry of Justice.
5) Last but not least, the decision of the King is by grace, so even in the case that someone gathers all the documentation and has sufficient merits, it could happen that the King decides to not grant the rehabilitation. The King has the last word.
In the event that the rehabilitation was granted, you would have to pay the tax, the amount is 4.783 euros.
That is how it must be done and you can read more about it HERE.
How can you check if a nobility title is real in Spain?
Titles are displayed in the Official Website of the Diputación de la Grandeza. It is that easy.
With this ignoble act of fraudulent rehabilitation, the title of Marquis of Pánuco now has a stain in its history due to this fraud and the *innocence* of my relative who has no idea of nobility or the rehabilitation requirements because even if he obtains the title by the lawful way in Spain, almost any of the rest of the relatives with better rights can sue him and take it from his hands. In the meantime, let us leave him to happily upload low-res pictures of the coat of arms of the title on his Facebook hoping that maybe one day he will come to his senses.
False nobility titles represent the opposite of real ones: fragile egos, delusions of grandeur and other issues that belong more to a book of psychology than to history.