It has come to my attention that I may need to educate my readers on the various titles bestowed to my countrymen, friends and relations.
Without further adieu:
Princess: A nonreigning female member of a royal family. In other words, moi.
Duchess: Of or related to a Duke.
Empress: A female ruler of an empire OR the consort of an emperor. Consort, now there’s a curious term. Sounds rather naughty, does it not? Alas, the term is strictly on the up-and-up, and refers to a spouse.
Archduke: a title of the sovereign princes of the former ruling house of Austria. That would be Franz Josef and his little brothers before Ferdinand the Kindly abdicated.
Archduchess: A princess of the Austrian imperial family. Yes, you guessed it, my future mother-in-law. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Baroness: The wife of a feudal vassal holding his lands under a direct grant from the king. That would be my insufferable governess, The Baroness Louise Wulfen.
Countess: Same as Baroness, but more so.
Dowager: An elderly woman of stately dignity, esp. one of elevated social position. Usually battle-ax types, but occasionally, sweet old ladies.
Lady-in-waiting: A woman who is in attendance upon a queen or princess. I will have scads of these bothersome women be-next to me once I am Empress. Though they are supposed to be discreet, my ladies-in-waiting will actually be spies employed by my very strict mother-in-law (a title which, I beg, needs no defining).