Forms of address in the United Kingdom

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Forms of address used in the United Kingdom are given below. For further information on Courtesy Titles see Courtesy titles in the United Kingdom.

Abbreviations[edit]

Several terms have been abbreviated in the table below. The forms used in the table are given first, followed by alternative acceptable abbreviations in parentheses.

Royalty[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
King HM The King Your Majesty Your Majesty, and thereafter as "Sir/Sire"
Queen HM The Queen Your Majesty Your Majesty, and thereafter as "Ma'am"
Prince of Wales HRH The Prince of Wales Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Sir"
Wife of the Prince of Wales HRH The Princess of Wales (traditionally)
HRH The Duchess of Rothesay (in Scotland)
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (an exception to tradition since 2005)
Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Ma'am"
Princess Royal HRH The Princess Royal Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Ma'am"
Royal Peer HRH The Duke of London, e.g., HRH The Duke of Cambridge Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Sir"
Royal Peeress HRH The Duchess of London, e.g., HRH The Duchess of Cambridge Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Ma'am"
Sovereign's son
(unless a peer)
HRH The Prince John Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Sir"
Sovereign's son's wife
(unless a peeress)
HRH The Princess John Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Ma'am"
Sovereign's daughter
(unless a peeress)
HRH The Princess Mary Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Ma'am"
Sons of the Prince of Wales
(unless a peer)
HRH Prince John of Wales, e.g., Prince Harry Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Sir"
Sovereign's son's son, Prince of Wales's eldest son's sons
(unless a peer)
HRH Prince John of London, e.g. HRH Prince Michael of Kent Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Sir"
Sovereign's son's son's wife
(unless a peeress)
HRH Princess John of London, e.g., HRH Princess Michael of Kent Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as "Ma'am"
Sovereign's son's daughter, Prince of Wales's eldest son's daughters
(unless a peeress)
HRH Princess Mary of London, e.g., HRH Princess Beatrice of York Your Royal Highness Your Royal Highness
Sovereign's son's son's son
(unless a peer) (Except sons of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales)
The Lord John Windsor, e.g., The Lord Nicholas Windsor Dear Lord John Lord John
Sovereign's son's son's son's wife
(unless a peeress)
The Lady John Windsor, e.g., The Lady Nicholas Windsor Dear Lady John Lady John
Sovereign's son's son's daughter
(unless a peeress) (Except daughters of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales)
The Lady Mary Windsor, e.g., The Lady Helen Taylor Dear Lady Mary Lady Mary

A formal announcement in The London Gazette reads: "The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour." This refers to any children of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Nobility[edit]

Peers, peeresses and non-peerage[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Duke (His Grace) The Duke of London My Lord Duke or
Dear Duke (of London)
Your Grace or
Duke[1]
Duchess (Her Grace) The Duchess of London Madam or
Dear Duchess (of London)
Your Grace or
Duchess[2]
Marquess or Marquis (The Most Hon) The Marquess of London My Lord Marquess or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Your Lordship or
Lord London
Marchioness (The Most Hon) The Marchioness of London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady[3] or
Your Ladyship or
Lady London
Earl (The Rt Hon) The Earl of London My Lord or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Your Lordship or
Lord London
Countess (The Rt Hon) The Countess of London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady[3]or
Your Ladyship or
Lady London
Viscount (The Rt Hon) The Viscount London My Lord or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Your Lordship or
Lord London
Viscountess (The Rt Hon) The Viscountess London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady[3]or
Your Ladyship or
Lady London
Baron
Lord of Parliament
(The Rt Hon) The Lord London My Lord or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Your Lordship or
Lord London
Baroness (in her own right) (The Rt Hon) The Lady London or
(The Rt Hon) The Baroness London
Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady[3]or
Your Ladyship or
Lady London
Baroness (in her husband's right)
Lady of Parliament (in her or her husband's right)
(The Rt Hon) The Lady London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady[3]or
Your Ladyship or
Lady London
Scottish Baron (non-peerage minor baron) (The Much Hon) John Smith of Edinburgh
or (The Much Hon) John Smith,
Baron of Edinburgh or
(The Much Hon) The Baron of Edinburgh[4]
Sir or
Dear Edinburgh or
Dear Baron
Edinburgh or
Baron
Scottish female Baroness or
Baron's wife
As baron,
substituting "Madam"
for first name and
substituting "Baroness" for "Baron", or
Lady Edinburgh[5]
Madam or
Dear Baroness or Dear Lady Edinburgh
Madam or
Baroness or
Lady Edinburgh

Eldest sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of dukes, marquesses and earls[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
(Eldest sons of dukes, marquesses and earls use their father's most senior subsidiary title as courtesy titles: note the absence of "The" before the title. If applicable, eldest sons of courtesy marquesses or courtesy earls also use a subsidiary title from their (great) grandfather, which is lower ranking than the one used by their father. Eldest daughters do not have courtesy titles; all courtesy peeresses are wives of courtesy peers.)
Courtesy Marquess (The) Marquess of London My Lord or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Lord London
Courtesy Marquess's wife (The) Marchioness of London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady or
Lady London
Courtesy Earl (The) Earl of London My Lord or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Lord London
Courtesy Earl's wife (The) Countess of London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady or
Lady London
Courtesy Viscount (The) Viscount London My Lord or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Lord London
Courtesy Viscount's wife (The) Viscountess London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady or
Lady London
Courtesy Baron
Courtesy Lord of Parliament
(The) Lord London My Lord or
Dear Lord London
My Lord or
Lord London
Courtesy Baron's wife
Wife of Courtesy Lord of Parliament
(The) Lady London Madam or
Dear Lady London
My Lady or
Lady London

Heirs-apparent and heirs-presumptive of Scottish peers[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
(Heirs-apparent and heirs-presumptive of Scottish peers use the titles "Master" and "Mistress"; these are substantive, not courtesy titles. If, however, the individual is the eldest son of a Duke, Marquess or Earl, then he uses the appropriate courtesy title, as noted above.)
Scottish peer's heir-apparent or heir-presumptive The Master of Edinburgh Sir or
Dear Master of Edinburgh
Sir or
Master
Scottish peer's heiress-apparent or heiress-presumptive The Mistress of Edinburgh Madam or
Dear Mistress of Edinburgh
Madam or
Mistress

Sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of peers[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Duke's younger son
(Courtesy) Marquess's younger son
(The) Lord John Smith My Lord or
Dear Lord John (Smith)
My Lord or
Lord John
Duke's younger son's wife
(Courtesy) Marquess's younger son's wife
(The) Lady John Smith Madam or
Dear Lady John
My Lady or
Lady John
(Courtesy) Earl's younger son
(Courtesy) Viscount's son
(Courtesy) Baron's son
(Courtesy) Lord of Parliament's son
The Hon John Smith Sir or
Dear Mr Smith
Sir or
Mr Smith
(Courtesy) Earl's younger son's wife
(Courtesy) Viscount's son's wife
(Courtesy) Baron's son's wife
(Courtesy) Lord of Parliament's son's wife
The Hon Mrs John Smith Madam or
Dear Mrs Smith
Madam or
Mrs Smith

Daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters of peers[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
(If a daughter of a peer or courtesy peer marries another peer or courtesy peer, she takes her husband's rank. If she marries anyone else, she keeps her rank and title, using her husband's surname instead of her maiden name.)
Duke's daughter
(Courtesy) Marquess's daughter
(Courtesy) Earl's daughter
(unmarried or married to a commoner)
(The) Lady Mary Smith (if unmarried),
(The) Lady Mary Brown (Husband Surname, if Married)
Madam or
Dear Lady Mary
My Lady or
Lady Mary
(Courtesy) Viscount's daughter
(Courtesy) Baron's daughter
(Courtesy) Lord of parliament's daughter
(unmarried)
The Hon Mary Smith Madam or
Dear Miss Smith
Madam or
Miss Smith
(Courtesy) Viscount's daughter
(Courtesy) Baron's daughter
(Courtesy) Lord of Parliament's daughter
(married to a commoner)
The Hon Mrs Brown (Husband Surname) Madam or
Dear Mrs Brown
Madam or
Mrs Brown

Gentry and minor nobility[6][edit]

Baronets[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Baronet Sir John Smith, Bt (or Bart) Sir or
Dear Sir John (Smith)
Sir or
Sir John
Baronetess in her own right Dame Mary Smith, Btss Madam or
Dear Dame Mary (Smith)
Madam or
Dame Mary
Baronet's wife Lady Smith Madam or
Dear Lady Smith
My Lady or
Lady Smith
Baronet's divorced wife Mary, Lady Smith Madam or
Dear Lady Smith
My Lady or
Lady Smith
Baronet's widow Dowager Lady Smith or Lady Smith if the heir incumbent is unmarried Madam or
Dear Lady Smith
My Lady or
Lady Smith

Knights[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Knight (of any order) Sir John Smith Sir or
Dear Sir John (Smith)
Sir or
Sir John
Lady (of the Order of the Garter or the Thistle) Lady Mary Smith Madam or
Dear Lady Mary (Smith)
My Lady or
Lady Mary
Dame (of an order other than the Garter or the Thistle) Dame Mary Smith Madam or
Dear Dame Mary (Smith)
Madam or
Dame Mary
Knight's wife Lady Smith Madam or
Dear Lady Smith
My Lady or
Lady Smith

Scottish Baron (non-peerage nobility)[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Feudal baron The Much Hon John Smith of Edinburgh
or The Much Hon John Smith,
Baron of Edinburgh or
The Much Hon The Baron of Edinburgh[4]
Sir or
Dear Edinburgh or
Dear Baron
Edinburgh or
Baron
Female feudal baroness or
Feudal baron's wife
As feudal baron,
substituting "Madam"
for first name and
substituting "Baroness" for "Baron", or
Lady Edinburgh[5]
Madam or
Dear Baroness or Dear Lady Edinburgh
Madam or
Baroness or
Lady Edinburgh

Chiefs, chieftains and lairds[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Chief, chieftain or laird

(Only lairds recognised in a
territorial designation by
the Lord Lyon)
John Smith of Smith or
John Smith of Edinburgh
or
John Smith of that Ilk or
The Smith of Smith or
The Smith of Edinburgh or
The Smith
(varies according to family)
(only the 2nd form of
address above applies
to lairds
)
Sir or
Dear Edinburgh (if placename in title) or
Dear Smith (otherwise)
Edinburgh (if placename in title) or
Smith (otherwise)
Female Chief, chieftain or laird or
Chief, chieftain or laird's wife
As Chief, substituting
"Madam" or "Mrs" for first
name or "The"
or The Lady Edinburgh[7]
Madam or
as on envelope
Madam or
as on envelope
Chief (etc.)'s heir-apparent John Smith of Edinburgh, yr or
John Smith, yr of Edinburgh or
John Smith of Edinburgh
(last only if different first name to father)
Sir or
Dear Younger of Edinburgh or
Dear Mr Smith of Edinburgh
Sir or
Young Edinburgh or
The Younger of Edinburgh
Chief (etc.)'s heir-apparent's wife Mrs Smith of Edinburgh, yr or
Mrs Smith, yr of Edinburgh
Madam or
Dear Mrs Smith of Edinburgh
Madam or
Mrs Smith of Edinburgh
Chief (etc.)'s eldest daughter (if none senior) Miss Smith of Edinburgh or
Jane Smith, Maid of Edinburgh
Madam or
Dear Miss Smith of Edinburgh or
Dear Maid of Edinburgh
Madam or
Miss Smith of Edinburgh or
Maid of Edinburgh
Chief (etc.)'s younger daughter Miss Mary Smith of Edinburgh Madam or
Dear Miss Smith of Edinburgh
Madam or
Miss Smith of Edinburgh

Clergy[edit]

Church of England[edit]


Similar styles are also applied to clergy of equivalent status in other religious organisations.

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Archbishop The Most Rev and Rt Hon The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury/York Dear Archbishop Your Grace or
Archbishop
Archbishop that is not in Privy Council The Most Rev The Lord Archbishop of Wales Dear Archbishop Your Grace or
Archbishop
Diocesan bishop in Privy Council The Rt Rev and Rt Hon The Lord Bishop of London Dear Bishop My Lord or
Bishop
Bishop, diocesan or suffragan The Rt Rev The Lord Bishop of Durham Dear Bishop My Lord or
Bishop
Dean The Very Rev The Dean of York Dear Mr/Madam Dean Dean or
Mr/Madam Dean
Archdeacon The Ven The Archdeacon of London Dear Archdeacon Archdeacon
Prebendary The Rev Prebendary Smith Dear Prebendary Smith Prebend
Canon The Rev Canon John Smith Dear Canon Canon
Priest The Rev John Smith or Father John Smith Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Smith or
Dear Father Smith
Mr/Mrs/Ms Smith or
Father John/Smith or
Vicar/Rector/Prebendary/Curate/Chaplain etc. as applicable
Deacon The Rev Deacon John Smith or
The Rev John Smith

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Smith or
Dear Deacon Smith
Deacon Smith or Mr/Mrs/Ms Smith

The usage 'Lord' as applied to a bishop pre-dates the United Kingdom, and is a well-established convention. It is more usual to abbreviate Reverend to Rev'd rather than Rev. Where a personal name is not used for a priest or deacon, the manner of address is Rev Mr etc., i.e. the Rev is used with the usual title. Without this title, the use of Rev with a surname refers to non-Anglican Protestant clergy, whereas Catholic clergy favour Fr (Father). For further details see Crockford's Guide to addressing the Clergy.

Clergy: 'introduce as Mr Pike or Father Pike according to his preference' (Debrett's Etiquette and Modern Manners 1981 pg230)

Church of Scotland[edit]

It should be noted that the Church of Scotland as a Presbyterian Church recognizes state awarded titles only as courtesy. In court (Assembly, Presbytery and Session) one may only be addressed as Mr, Mrs, Miss, Dr, Prof, etc. depending on academic achievement. Thus ministers are correctly addressed as, for example Mr Smith or Mrs Smith unless they have a higher degree or academic appointment e.g. Dr Smith or Prof. Smith. It is 'infra dig' to use the title 'Rev' and even the use of 'the Rev Mr' requires sensitivity to official style.

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address
Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly His Grace The Lord High Commissioner Your Grace Your Grace or Sir/Ma'am
Clergy The Rev John Smith Dear Mr Smith Mr Smith/Dr Smith etc.
Current Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland The Right Rev John Smith Dear Mr Smith Mr Smith/Dr Smith etc.
Former Moderators of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland The Very Rev John Smith Dear Mr Smith Mr Smith/Dr Smith etc.

Judiciary[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address In court
Male Justice of the Supreme Court The Lord Smith, PC Lord Smith Lord Smith My Lord[8]
Female Justice of the Supreme Court The Lady Smith, PC Lady Smith Lady Smith My Lady[8]

England and Wales[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address In court
Lord Chief Justice The Rt Hon. the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Chief Justice Lord Chief Justice My Lord[9]
Male Lord Justice of Appeal The Rt Hon. Lord Justice (John) Smith Lord Justice Lord Justice My Lord
Retired male Lord Justice of Appeal The Rt Hon. Sir John Smith Judge or Sir John Sir John My Lord
Female Lord Justice of Appeal The Rt Hon. Lady Justice (Mary) Smith, DBE Lady Justice Lady Justice My Lady
Retired female Lord Justice of Appeal The Rt Hon. Dame Mary Smith, DBE Judge or Dame Mary Dame Mary My Lady
Male High Court Judge The Hon. Mr Justice (John) Smith Judge Judge My Lord
Retired male High Court Judge Sir John Smith Judge or Sir John Sir John My Lord
Female High Court Judge The Hon. Mrs Justice (Mary) Smith, DBE Judge Judge My Lady
Retired female High Court Judge Dame Mary Smith, DBE Judge or Dame Mary Dame Mary My Lady
Circuit Judge who was Queen's Counsel** His Honour Judge (John) Smith, QC Judge Judge Your Honour
Circuit Judge** His Honour Judge (John) Smith Judge Judge Your Honour
District Judge District Judge (John) Smith Judge Sir or Madam Sir or Madam
High Court Master Master(John) Smith Master Master* Master*
High Court Registrar Mr (or Mrs) Registrar Smith Registrar Sir or Madam Sir or Madam
Justice of the Peace Mr John Smith, JP Mr Smith Mr Smith Your Worship[10]

Scotland[edit]

Position On envelopes Salutation in letter Oral address In court
Lord President of the Court of Session/Lord Justice General of Scotland The Rt Hon. (the) Lord/Lady Smith Lord President of the Court of Session/Lord Justice General of Scotland Lord President/Lord Justice General Lord President/Lord Justice General My Lord/Lady
Lord Justice Clerk The Rt Hon. (the) Lord/Lady Smith Lord Justice Clerk Lord Justice Clerk Lord Justice Clerk My Lord/Lady
Senator of the College of Justice and the Chairman of the Scottish Land Court The Hon./Rt Hon. (the) Lord/Lady Smith Lord/Lady Smith Lord/Lady Smith My Lord/Lady
Sheriff Principal Sheriff Principal Smith (QC should be added where applicable) Sheriff Principal Smith Sheriff Principal Smith My Lord/Lady
Sheriff Sheriff Smith (QC should be added where applicable) Sheriff Smith Sheriff Smith My Lord/Lady
Stipendiary Magistrate Mr John/Mrs Mary Smith Mr/Mrs Smith Mr/Mrs Smith Your Honour[11]
Justice of the Peace Mr John/Mrs Mary Smith Mr/Mrs Smith Mr/Mrs Smith Your Honour[11]

A judge's first name only forms part of their judicial style if, at the time of their appointment, there is a senior judge with the same or a similar surname. Thus, if there is a "Mr Justice Smith", subsequent judges will be "Mr Justice John Smith", "Mrs Justice Mary Smith", etc. a member of the Bar (but not a solicitor) addresses a Circuit Judge or higher, out of court, as "Judge".

  • *whether the High Court Master is male or female.
  • **Some Circuit Judges – for example, The Recorder of Liverpool or circuit judges sitting in the Central Criminal Court – are addressed in court as "My Lord" or "My Lady".

Notes[edit]

  1. The forms given under "Salutation in Letter" is for use in social correspondence only. In formal letters, "Sir" or "Madam" would be used instead.
  2. "London" represents any peerage title.
  3. "Smith" represents any surname.
  4. "Edinburgh" represents any Scottish place name.
  5. "of" may be omitted in the form of Marquessates and Earldoms and included in the form of Scottish Viscountcies. It is never present in peerage Baronies and Lordships of Parliament and always present in Dukedoms and Scottish feudal Baronies.
  6. Some sources do not recommend the use of the definite article before certain courtesy titles (particularly those who have prospects of promotion within the family's titles), but it is used by official Court publications such as the Court Circular (see below).
  7. The exact form of a Scottish chief's style varies from family to family, and is generally based on tradition rather than formal rules.
  8. Some styles that could represent more than one class of person are clarified by the use of post-nominal letters. For instance:
    1. Knights and Baronets are distinguished by the use of "Bt" (or, archaically, "Bart") after the latter's names (and by the use of the appropriate post-nominal letters if the former are members of an Order of Chivalry). Knights bachelor have no post-nominal letters.
    2. Substantive peers below the rank of Marquess and courtesy peers who are Privy Counsellors (both of whose titles are preceded by "The Rt Hon") are distinguished by the use of "PC" after the former's names.
  9. If the definite article is not used before courtesy peerages (see above) and The Hon Elizabeth Smith marries Sir William Brown, she becomes The Hon Lady Brown, but if she marries the higher-ranked Lord Brown, a courtesy Baron, she becomes only Lady Brown. If this Sir William Brown's father is created Earl of London and Baron Brown, as a result of this ennoblement his wife's style will actually change, from "The Hon Lady Brown" to "Lady Brown". It is important to note that while the style may appear diminished, the precedence taken increases from that of a wife of a knight to that of a wife of an earl's eldest son.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Montegue-Smith, Patrick, ed. (1984). Debrett's Correct Form. London: Futura Publications. p. 27. ISBN 0-7088-1500-6. 
  2. ^ Montegue-Smith, Patrick, ed. (1984). Debrett's Correct Form. London: Futura Publications. p. 29. ISBN 0-7088-1500-6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Montegue-Smith, Patrick, ed. (1984). Debrett's Correct Form. London: Futura Publications. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-7088-1500-6. 
  4. ^ a b "Debrett's Forms of Address for Scottish feudal barons". 
  5. ^ a b "The Convention of the Baronage of Scotland". 
  6. ^ Ruling of the Court of the Lord Lyon (26/2/1948, Vol. IV, page 26): 'With regard to the words 'untitled nobility' employed in certain recent birthbrieves in relation to the (Minor) Baronage of Scotland, Finds and Declares that the (Minor) Barons of Scotland are, and have been both in this nobiliary Court and in the Court of Session recognised as a ‘titled nobility’ and that the estait of the Baronage (i.e. Barones Minores) are of the ancient Feudal Nobility of Scotland’. This title is not, however, in and of itself a peerage title, and nobility, or the noblesse, in Scotland incorporates the concept of gentry in England.
  7. ^ Frank Adams (1952) The Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands
  8. ^ a b http://www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/professions/legal/the-supreme-court.aspx
  9. ^ http://www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/professions/legal/lord-chief-justice.aspx
  10. ^ http://www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/professions/legal/justice-of-the-peace.aspx
  11. ^ a b http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/38/0/Justices-of-the-Peace