The Royal Family of Jaffna

The Royal Protocol

The Coat of Arms

The Arya Cakravarti Dynasty

The Royal Customs and Traditions

The custom of inheritance of the throne is passed on according to primogeniture in the Kingdom of Jaffna. Failing this, if there are no sons, the throne passes to the Brother or a Nephew, the son of a Brother or a Sister.

The first twelve monarchs, who succeeded their fathers, were independent monarchs of the Kingdom of Jaffna. The rest of the Kings of Jaffna ruled under the suzerainty of the Portuguese and the Throne of Jaffna was usurped twice by relatives.

After the Kingdom of Jaffna was conquered by the Portuguese, it became a province of the Portuguese colonial Empire in the East. Filipe de Oliveira was appointed as Captain-Major of the conquered Kingdom. On 11 February 1621, the Arya Cakravartis lost possession of their ancestral Kingdom.

In the Twenty-First Century (2003), H.R.H. Raja Remigius Kanagarajah has restored the traditions of the Arya Cakravarti Dynasty with the explicit approval of the family. On 15 June 2005, by the majority acclaim of representative members of the Royal Family of Jaffna, H.R.H. Raja Remigius Kanagarajah took over the responsibility as the Head of the Royal House of Jaffna.

The Royal Titles are not inherited in perpetuity but lapse gradually over generations. The Head of the Royal House of Jaffna is the source of all Titles, Styles and Honours. The Head of the Royal House has the right to grant Styles and Titles and no Style or Title is valid unless granted or confirmed by the Head of the Royal House.

All members of the Royal House hold the Title of "Ilavarasan" (Prince) or "Ilavarasi" (Princess) and the Royal Style includes the qualification of "Royal Highness" (HRH) or "Highness" (HH), according to the hereditary customs of Jaffna.

The Head of the Royal House of Jaffna, his wife, his heirs, and his family members bear the Title of Ilavarasan or Ilavarasi with the Style of His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness (HRH) within the dynasty.

Other members of the Royal House bear the Title of Ilavarasan or Ilavarasi with the Style of His Highness or Her Highness (HH).

Some of the members of the Royal House bear the Title of Ilavarasan or Ilavarasi without any Styles.

The female members of the Royal House can use the Style and Title after their marriage, but they are not entitled to transmit their Royal Style or Title to their spouses or children. The spouses of members of the Royal House will not be entitled to use their Royal Style and Title in case of divorce. If a member of the Royal House should marry a commoner they will not be entitled to use their Royal Style of "Royal Highness" (HRH) or "Highness" (HH) and they will hold the Title of Ilavarasan (Personal name) or Ilavarasi (Personal name).

Greeting a Member of the Royal Family

On presentation to the Raja, the correct formal address is ‘Your Royal Highness’ in the first instance and thereafter as ‘Sir’.

For male members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in first instance being ‘Your Highness’ and thereafter as ‘Sir’.

For female members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in first instance being ‘Your Highness’ and thereafter as ‘Ma’am’.

Greeting Gestures

Sri Lanka has a diverse culture with different ethnicities. In Tamil culture, the gesture of greeting is known as “Vanakkam” and the Sinhalese greeting gesture is know as “Ayubowan”. The appropriate formal greeting is when the two palms are placed together in front of the chest with a slight bow whilst saying the word “Vanakkam” or “Ayubowan”. The customary form of greeting is the western method of Shaking hands, you have to wait until the Raja extends his hand, and you may give it a brief and gentle grasp.

Welcoming Guests

It is customary to present a garland of flowers to honored guests and the garland of flowers is placed around the neck, the garland of flowers or bouquet of flowers should be presented with both hands. The Raja is exempt from this practice.

The “Aalathi” is the traditional welcome extended to guests. Kunkumam and Chandana Pottu is the application of a red and yellow dot adorned on the forehead of the guests. After the “Aalathi” it is inappropriate to adorn the forehead of the Raja with Kunkumam and Chandana Potto.

In a formal function and religious ceremony, it is inappropriate to welcome the Raja by draping him with traditional silk shawl; the silk shawl should be presented to the Raja with both hands.

Etiquette for Presentation of Gifts

If you are presenting a gift in the form of a souvenir, letter or flowers to the Raja in a formal function, present the gift with both hands as a sign of courtesy.

Escorting Etiquette

When escorting the Raja, you should walk slightly behind the Raja and do not at any time walk in line with the Raja (on the left or right).

When you are standing in front of the Raja, avoid folding your arms or standing with your arms akimbo or with your hands in your pockets or with your hands crossed behind you back.