Which Title Is Higher: Duchess or Countess? Luann de Lesseps From ‘RHONY’ Breaks It Down

During her appearance on Watch What Happens Live After Show, Luann de Lesseps from The Real Housewives of New York City discussed royal titles with host Andy Cohen.

Cohen mentioned that Danielle Staub from The Real Housewives of New Jersey was slated to marry into royalty too, just like de Lesseps. “Luann, what was your reaction to hearing that Danielle Staub could become a duchess by marriage?” Cohen asked.

Luann de Lesseps |(Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Blue Jacket

“I don’t know anything about it,” de Lesseps replied. “I only heard about it. So I don’t know what ‘dukenss‘ he comes from.” Then, co-guest, John Oliver asked who was higher? To which de Lesseps quickly answered, “Countess!” So is she right?

This is what de Lesseps had to say

Oliver laughed and said that de Lesseps answered his question really fast. But de Lesseps said, “It goes countess, duchess and then princess,” using her hand to show the levels.

However, according to de Lesseps’ hand gestures, wasn’t duchess over countess? “Wait, that seems to be that duchess is higher,” Cohen asked. de Lesseps agreed but said, “Oh but she’s a baroness.” Wait, what?

Cohen said he thought Staub was going to be a duchess. “No,” de Lesseps answered confidently. But then the group pondered, with Cohen being pretty sure he learned Staub would be a duchess. “No, she’s over you,” Oliver said.

So which is it?

The group comes to an agreement that indeed, Staub would become a duchess by marriage. And while the guys were slightly cringing, de Lesseps said, “Hey, that’s o.k. I’m all about girls succeeding.”

According to a recent People article, Staub would be marrying the Duke of Provence. Oliver Maier, Staub’s betrothed, is German and French. He also owns a few castles and 15 vineyards in the South of France. When asked about his new romance with Staub, Maier told People, “People don’t like to take a risk, but I took a risk,” he said. “Danielle’s one of the smartest people I’ve met. People have preconceived notions about her from reality TV, but she’s a smart women. And I was instantly attracted to that.”

Royal title ranking and Staub’s whirlwind romance

So was de Lesseps right with her title ranks? You betcha. The title of Duke is the highest rank in French royalty. Next comes earl, viscount and then baron.

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Staub claims she didn’t realize Maier was a duke until recently too. Plus, she was fresh off a whirlwind marriage and divorce from Marty Caffrey. But she told People she fell madly in love with Maier. “I’m madly in love,” she said. Adding she can’t wait to spend her life with the man of her dreams.

She claims she didn’t like Maier at first, but once she got to know his softer side (and the two shared a kiss), she was a goner. “In that moment I said, ‘Wow,’ ” Staub said to People. “I still tried to push it off, but as the weeks went on, he did not let off the throttle, and he pursued me adamantly. And he got what he wanted. We fell madly in love.” So the big question is: will everyone refer to Staub as “the duchess” once she marries?

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