A Letters Patent is a special charter from a king or duke, notarized by a herald, that creates a person in a new title or dignity. A letters patent is intended to be a public proclamation confirming the conferral of title and in some cases, land or another benefice. Letters patent are one of two documents that can be issued in response to an oath of fealty, the other being an award of arms. A letters patent only needs to be offered once to the first created lord in a dynasty, and does not need to be reissued every generation. An heir retains his title by virtue of the existing letters patent.
Letters patent are registered with Chancery on the . They are offered directly by a king or duke and do not need to be approved by Parliament. While the King of Valyria can offer letters patent to create anyone in any title, dukes can only create counts, knights, and baronets. They are limited in the number of squires they can create, and any counts they create must be notarized by the Royal College of Heralds to be able to claim a count seat in Parliament. Counts, in turn, may only create baronets and squires, and a baron may only create a knight if he is himself a knight.
The following is an example of a letters patent:
I, therefore, the aforesaid [SOVEREIGN’s NAME], by the grace of God, King of Valyria, receive the homage and fealty for the fief and lands which are described above: in the way and with the agreements and understandings written above; and likewise We concede to thee and thine heirs and their successors, the Lord [NAME] of [FIEF NAME], the land (example: on the island of Yssam south of the great dividing scar on its southern peninsula, and all the way down to the archipelago at its southern tip, including the fortress of Tiquiya as a fief, along with this present charter. We also grant you the warbands known as the OT Brotherhood and, if they should wish it, that lead by Sir Keen Swordbreaker of Haven, which shall support thee in Tiquiya, and all of which shall comprise the shire of FIEF NAME.) And We promise to thee and thy heirs and successors of [FIEF NAME], that We will be a good and faithful lord concerning all those things described above.
LET IT BE KNOWN that We with royal scepter anoint and sanctify Lord [NAME], henceforth creating him as a [TITLE] of the Kingdom of Valyria, that from this day forward We do by these presents prefer our trusted friend to the state, degree, style, dignity, title and honor of [TITLE of FIEF NAME].
AND WE COMMAND From this day forward to Ourself, Our heirs and successors that he above shall retain his station subject only to Royal good pleasure; That he shall shall have the right to bequeath his station to his appointed heirs should he see fit, and if he should not that it shall return to the Crown upon departure. And further, that it shall and may be lawful to and for our said cousin, his heirs and assigns, by these presents from time to time, to nominate, make, constitute, ordain and confirm, by such name or names, as knight, , or baronet, as to him shall seem good, and likewise to revoke, discharge, change and alter as well his officers and ministers which hereafter shall be by him thought fit and needful to be made or used within the aforesaid territories; And also to make, ordain and establish all manner of orders, laws, directions, instructions, forms and ceremonies of government and fit and necessary for and concerning the government of the territory aforesaid. And we do further of our special grace, certain knowledge, and meer motion, grant, ordain and declare, that-such officers and ministers as from time to time shall be authorized and appointed in manner and form aforesaid, shall and may have full power and authority to use and exercise in cases of emergency, invasion and mutiny, by force of their commission of lieutenancy, or any or statute of this our realm of Valyria. We further of our special grace, grant and ordain that he may build, fortify, mann, and enfeoff any edifice of sound construction that shall by his judgment seem necessary, saving that portion of the land’s bounty which he has reserved for Us.
All which by the tenor of these presents we have caused to be exemplified. In testimony whereof we have caused our seal of our said Kingdom of Valyria to be hereunto affixed. WITNESS our trusty and well beloved [HERALD NAME],; our Master of Heralds.
Made in the first year of our reign.
[SOVEREIGN’s NAME] Rex
Compare a letters patent to a town charter, which rather than creating a single person as a titled vassal, instead creates a whole town as a collective “vassal” with special rights and privileges, including freedom and commerce.