Talk:The Right Honourable

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We already have Right Honourable --rbrwr

Its contents should be moved here. The is part of the title, in the same way as The Irish Times, etc. STÓD/ÉÍRE 21:32 Apr 11, 2003 (UTC)

That sounds reasonable to me. Just as long as we don't have two articles on the subject... --rbrwr
Does this mean that we should move Honourable to The Honourable? Lord Emsworth 12:35, Nov 23, 2003 (UTC)

I've never heard the Leader of the Opposition called The Rt. Hon. in Canada. ("The Right Honourable Stockwell Day"?! Ewwwwwww. *shudders*) Is this done anywhere outside the UK? - Montréalais

I presume it must be. Rt. Hon indicates member of the privy council. Privy Council membership is given out not just as an honour but for practical purposes. Governments can give confidential info to other privy councillors in the knowledge that were they to breach confidentiality and reveal the info they could face prosecution for breach of their PC oath. So invariably the Leader of the Opposition and all recognised parties' leaders (ie those who have exceeded a threshhold) are given PC membership so that they can then receive confidential info that the govt knows they cannot reveal. And the opposition leader knows that he/she can use the excuse of the PC oath to avoid giving out info that their colleagues might be desparate to find out. So I would presume that PC membership would go to the L of the O and usually others too whom the govt may need to brief about sensitive matter, they being briefed "as a privy councillors and so being obliged to maintain absolute confidentiality. Not giving PC membership means that any briefings would have to be reliant totally on trust, and that makes things more complicated. FearÉIREANN 05:02 23 Jun 2003 (UTC)

It turns out that Canadian privy councillors are not Rt. Hon. but Hon.. - Montréalais
When Joe Clark returned to the opposition in 1980 - 1983, and when John Turner was sent there in 1984 - 1989(?), they were both "Right Honourable," having already been Prime Minister. (talk) 05:42, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

What does "State Governor (Canada)" refer to? If it means Premiers or Lieutenant Governors, they are just "The Honourable." I don't know what else it might refer to... Adam Bishop 06:45, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Why some Canadian PMs are not styled Right Honourable[edit]

I was wondering why some Canadian PMs (Mackenzie, Abbott, and Bowell) were not entitled to the style Right Honourable, so I wrote to the Library of Parliament, and here is the answer I received. Fawcett5 20:20, 12 May 2005 (UTC)


We acknowledge receipt of your email dated May 11, 2005 sent to the Information Service of the Library of Parliament.

The Information Service provides information of a general nature on the history, role, and activities of the Senate, House of Commons and the Library of Parliament.

In response to your request, three Canadian Prime Ministers, Alexander Mackenzie, Sir John Abbott and Sir Mackenzie Bowell, did not bear the title Right Honourable.

There is a very restricted group of individuals who carry the title of Right Honourable in Canada. This group consist of the country's leading public figures, such as the prime minister, the chief justice and the governor general, current or former as well as distinguished Canadians who have been honoured for their outstanding and invaluable contribution to national life in Canada. The style of Honourable in Canada is accorded to several categories of federal and provincial officials by the Sovereign under the Table of Titles, either during office or for life. This and other honorific titles arise from the exercise of the royal prerogative to grant honours, and can be changed by the Sovereign at will.

Members of the Canadian Privy Council, consisting for the most part of present and former Canadian cabinet ministers, have since 1867 only been entitled to the designation Honourable. Down to 1968, this included the prime minister of Canada, who usually but not always was sworn into the British Privy Council and by fact, became Right Honourable. The above-named prime ministers were never summoned to the British Privy Council, so they remained simply Honourable, as Canadian Privy Councillors. Sir Alexander Mackenzie refused the offer of knighthood; our records do not indicate the reasons why Messrs. Abbott and Bowell were not summoned to the British Privy Council.

On March 4th, 1968, the Privy Council of Canada recommended and Queen Elizabeth II approved with her initials, that the Table of Titles for Canada should contain by right the designation Right Honourable for the prime minister of Canada for life (as also for the chief justice).

By the same token, from 1867 to 1952 every Canadian governor general was a member of the British Royal family or nobility, entitled to the style Right Honourable. In 1968, Prime Minister Pearson wrote to the Queen requesting that the Table of Titles for Canada be amended so that the governor general be designated as Right Honourable from the moment of assuming office and for life.

Furthermore, please note that information on Canada's Parliament is available on the Parliamentary Internet site at the following address:

Should you require additional information regarding the Parliament of Canada, please do not hesitate to contact the Information Service of the Library of Parliament.


C.G. Information Service / Service de renseignements Library of Parliament / Bibliothèque du Parlement

I agree. These three are properly styled as "The Honourable" and not as "The Right Honourable". This is confirmed on their official Parliament of Canada biography pages. -- Blairall (talk) 21:07, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

Reg Withers[edit]

I had always thought he was Rt Hon only by virtue of being Lord Mayor of Perth, which title ceased when he left that job. But he was appointed to the Privy Council in 1977, a fact that his existing Wikipedia article states and the Privy Council's website confirms. I've added his name. JackofOz 07:03, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I had a further thought. The list purports to contain all the Australians with Rt Hon for life. Clearly the list was incomplete prior to my adding Reg Withers. But it may still be incomplete for all I know; I just happened to come across Withers by chance. Is there an authoritative source that gives the "real" complete list? JackofOz 23:34, 27 October 2005 (UTC) Not sure about that being a member of the Privy Council 'for life' applies. All memebers of the Privy Council lose that title upon the death of the Sovereign who appointed them. Interesting to see if HM outlives Reg Withers or Vice versa —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:09, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Married women[edit]

The second sentence of this paragraph is wrong on so many levels:

When a married woman holds this style, she uses her own given name in her style. So, when Mrs. Denis Thatcher was made a Privy Counsellor, she didn't become The Right Honourable Mrs. Denis Thatcher or The Right Honourable Mrs Thatcher, but became The Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher.
  • "Mrs Denis" is a red herring. She was never known publicly as "Mrs Denis Thatcher", always "Margaret Thatcher". (This choice of example was not optimal, since her husband later became Sir Denis. She would then have been Lady Thatcher, even if she had not become a life peeress in her own right. So the whole example is flawed from that viewpoint.)
  • The "Mrs Denis .." form is rather outmoded these days, for any married woman, anywhere. There was a thing called female liberation in the 1970s. Even when this was the standard form, female PCs were known by their own given names because they were public figures in their own right. So the example is denying that which would never have occurred anyway.
  • "Mr" or "Mrs" is NEVER used with "Rt Hon", so once again we have a denial of that which would never have occurred.
  • I'm removing the paragraph accordingly. JackofOz 23:53, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

It's discussing formal styles, not common usage. Just because you don't like "Mrs John Smith" doesn't mean it has ceased to be correct. Proteus (Talk) 23:59, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

You don't seem to have read my whole comment. You deny that she would have been known as "The Rt Hon Mrs Thatcher" or "The Rt Hon Mrs Denis Thatcher". Well, of course she wouldn't have been known as such. Even if she were generally known as "Mrs Denis Thatcher", the "Mrs" would have been dropped once the "Rt Hon" arrived. Denying something that would NEVER have occurred anyway, no matter what, seems to be pointless. JackofOz 00:10, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
And you made exactly the same point yourself in your message to User:jdforrester:
"The Right Honourable" also replaces prefixed titles like "Mr", "Miss" and "Mrs", rather than being stuck in front of them, so it would overwrite "Dr" anyway, even if it could be used with it (as "Dr" is used in exactly the same way as "Mr")."
Now, you're talking almost as if this was very recent news to you. I'd like to suggest that it become something like:
So, when Margaret Thatcher was made a Privy Counsellor, her formal style changed from "Mrs. Denis Thatcher" to "The Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher".
I still have a problem with this, though. When she became a PC, she had already been a Minister, and was an Hon, and had MP after her name. So her formal style had already changed from "Mrs Denis Thatcher" to "The Hon Margaret Thatcher MP". She never went straight from "Mrs Denis Thatcher" to "The Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher". Please correct me if I'm wrong. Cheers JackofOz 08:40, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Lady Thatcher was never an Honourable. Proteus (Talk) 12:18, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
You're doing it again, Proteus. I go to considerable trouble to explain my position in detail and ask you to correct me if I am wrong. I get a 5-word answer that does not consider any of the points I raised. I have legitimate issues with the paragraph as it stands, and I'm doing the right thing by raising them first, but getting complete lack of civility in return. I'm going to change the para. JackofOz 13:54, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Right Honorable and Learned[edit]

The new leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK Parliament, Menzies Campbell, is addressed by both the Prime Minister and the Speaker as "The Right Honorable and Learned." Why? I can't find anything about "learned" in Wikipedia. --Dmleach 15:35, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

It used to be that QCs had "and learned" added on (Sir Menzies is a QC), and those who had been (or were) officers in the Armed Forces had "and gallant", but this was abandoned a couple of years ago in the name of "modernisation" [1], so I have no idea why people have suddenly started to use them again (I'm certainly not complaining, as I think they're great). Proteus (Talk) 17:00, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
It never completely stopped, particularly on the Tory side and among older members, many of whom disliked the reforms driven through by the votes of the new members of '97 intake.Alci12 09:23, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

When to use?[edit]

I see a number of articles about former MPs (british) and they are still referred to in the article as "The right honourable". Does the title carry on when they finish?

--Charlesknight 22:08, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes. The title has nothing to do with the person being a politician. It reflects the fact that they were appointed as Privy Counsellors. In Britain, such appointments are for life. JackofOz 00:21, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

A question of peers' use[edit]

I have always thought that barons, viscounts and earls were Rt. Hon. regardless of whether they were PCs, and it seems that most sources on the internet share this opinion. However, a page on addresses on the website of the department for constitutional affairs says "The Right Honourable" should be applied only where the peer is a member of the Privy Council. [2]. Could someone check this with a realiable authority (Burkes, etc.)? I'm positive that what this article states certainly used to be correct (the honorific being, perfectly logically, the lower counterpart of a marquis' most honorable, etc.), but perhaps it could have been changed with the House of Lords (Butchering of) Act of '99? Either way, it's rather odd. 09:20, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

You are right, see: Peers - Ministry of Justice {archived}. Demophon (talk) 10:33, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Debrett's Correct Form confirms that the old usage is still correct. Proteus (Talk) 11:44, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Here is a third official source that supports the new usage . The Debrett's website is ambiguous:[3], though as I read it Rt Hon., if used at all for peers who are not in the Privy Council, would only appear in legal documents, (presumably not in books or newspapers/) Perhaps it is time to look at the exact wording of the latest print edition of Debrett's, though we should probably explain all this in the article. Let's ask someone in a library to take a look. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 09:58, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
I posted a request for Debrett's 2015 at Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange/Resource Request#‎Form of address for British peers --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 10:24, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Transcript from Kidd, Charles, Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage 2015 Edition, London, 2015, Forms of Addressing Persons of Title, pp.56-60, p.60: "Rt Honourable This prefix is borne by Privy Counsellors of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Governor General of Canada, and Prime Minister and Chief Justice of Canada for life; by Earls, Viscounts and Barons (except peers by courtesy) their wives and widows; and certain Lord Mayors (see ...) while in office". Hope that helps, make of that what you will, it seems to me a peer is Rt Hon. regardless of whether he is a PC. As for the opinion of the "department for constitutional affairs", this matter seems not to be one of law, which might have been within its remit, but of etiquette, over which it surely has little authority.(Lobsterthermidor (talk) 19:50, 25 June 2015 (UTC))

Lord Provosts (Scotland)[edit]

Hey there, just a quick query. In the article it states that only the Lord Provosts of Glasgow and Edinburgh may use this title, but I know for a fact that it's used in Dundee also, is this title used to denote the office, or is the current incumbent entitled to it's use in his own right? Thanks! 00:00, 31 December 2006 (UTC)


In the Australia section there is a paragraph starting The only living Australians holding the title The Right Honourable for life are: which contains a list of people. Some of those names are links and some are not. At first I thought this was an oversight, but checking further I found that JackofOz had de-linked three names, presumably because they appeared in a previous paragraph in the section.

My opinion is that it looks strange having some names in the list linked and other names not linked. I also found it mildly inconvenient scanning through other paragraphs to find the link to a name which wasn't linked in the list. I would prefer to see all of the names in the list being links (and I'd be happy to make that change myself if its not controversial).

I have looked at Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(links). My reading is that having the same link twice in the same paragraph could be considered Overlinking, but I don't see anything that specifically discourages having the same link in different paragraphs of the same section.

Djk20 (talk) 22:55, 15 January 2008 (UTC)


The correct abbreviation is "Rt Hon." according to Oxford University Press style (Hart's Rules; also see Abbreviation#Periods_.28full_stops.29_and_spaces). It stands for "R–t Hon...". – Kaihsu (talk) 20:21, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps the North American (Canadian) usage would be "Rt. Hon.", but the correct British usage is as above. – Kaihsu (talk) 20:24, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Lord Mayors etc[edit]

In 2 places ("Entitlement" & "Australia") we say that the title The Rt Hon attaches to the name of the office and not to the office-holder personally. I'm not sure this is the best way of putting it. It suggests that, for example, the office of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane should be referred to as "The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of Brisbane" but any particular Lord Mayor would be plain Mr/Mrs/Ms <surname> - which is not, I think, what we're getting at.

While the office-holder holds the relevant office, they are entitled to be known as "The Rt Hon <name>", so it certainly does attach to them personally. When they relinquish the office, they are no longer The Rt Hon (unless they happen to be a Privy Counsellor), and their successor then becomes The Rt Hon.

Maybe we should be saying The Rt Hon attaches not to the name or title of the office, but simply to the office, and is held by the office-holder only while occupying that office. Comments? -- JackofOz (talk) 05:49, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't know how it works in Australia, but in the UK that is what we're getting at - the Lord Mayor of London is "the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of London" or "Alderman John Smith". He is not "the Right Honourable John Smith". Proteus (Talk) 11:45, 25 February 2011 (UTC)


There is no consistency here! "The Right Honourable" always has a U in it in UK English, but does the word 'honorific' actually have a U or not? (talk) 10:05, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

No, it never does. "Honourific" is simply a misspelling, in whatever variety of English. Proteus (Talk) 11:41, 25 February 2011 (UTC)


Why is there no history/etymology? (talk) 10:24, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Enda Kenny[edit]

This official is shown as an MP, but this post was abolished in 1922. It seems equally unlikely that his actual office of Taoiseach (or Teachta Dála for that matter) would carry this British distinction. Am I missing something here, please? --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:57, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the fix. --Old Moonraker (talk) 11:14, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
No worries. I had a root around and the Taoiseach is never referred to as being "Right Honourable" or, as you rightly pointed, as an MP (TD is used instead). Someone was just misinformed, maybe. JonC 11:17, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Straw poll: Using 'The Right Honourable' in infoboxes for Peers[edit]

Peers' right to use the pre-nominal style 'The Right Honourable' has been discussed before at least here, here and here.

Please sign your name using four tildes (~~~~) under the position you support. Please add a comment, if you wish to do so, in the section marked 'Discussion'.

  • Use 'The Right Honourable' for all who can legally use it, including Barons, Viscounts and Earls. The 'PC' post-nominal is for those members of the Privy Council that are already Peers.
  • Use 'The Right Honourable' only for Privy Counsellors, including those Barons, Viscounts and Earls who are Privy Counsellors.
  • Use 'The Right Honourable' only for Privy Counsellors who are commoners; use the 'PC' post-nominal for members of the Privy Council who are peers.


  • Debrett's, which is highly respected authority in matters of etiquette, is in favour of using The Rt. Hon. for all Barons, Viscounts and Earl. This is also the policy which was considered to be the only correct one in past centuries. It would also seem to be inconsistent, if Barons, Viscounts and Earls hadn't any pre-nominal style at all, as Dukes are 'The Most Noble' or 'His Grace' and Marquesses are 'The Most Honourable'. --Editor FIN (talk) 05:14, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
If we are worrying about this detail, shouldn't we first discuss why the info-box on Elizabeth II ("the fount of all honour") omits any prefix at all, including "Queen" and "Her Majesty"? Is there a reason for that?(Lobsterthermidor (talk) 12:34, 18 October 2015 (UTC))
Infoboxes of royalty are apparently on different template, in which only name is used. I think that prefixes wouldn't even fit in those infoboxes. But you have a point. --Editor FIN (talk) 14:26, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't like any of these options (I'm not sure what the difference between Option 1 and Option 3 is). I don't really see any need for entirely redundant prenominals in the infoboxes. "Right Honourable" conveys no new information that is not already contained in the fact that someone is an earl or viscount, and I don't really see a need for "Most Honourable" or either ducal prefix, either. I also do not think that we should use "Right Honourable" for peers who are privy counsellors - we should use the PC postnominal for them. So I'd support "Right Honourable" for commoner privy counsellors, and "PC" for peer privy counsellors, and no "Right honourables" for any peers. john k (talk) 14:29, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
    • Also, why is this discussion happening here? Wouldn't an MoS page make more sense? john k (talk) 14:30, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
    • The option 3 was created by another user. I merged it with option 1 later. --Editor FIN (talk) 03:51, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
      • At any rate, I've added a new option 3 for what I'd prefer. john k (talk) 03:09, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
        • I agree with John K that this matter of state should be dealt with on another page, although thereby creating yet another committee level of enquiry. Simply put, it is OK for Peers of the Realm to be styled Rt Hon. but that PC thereafter is unnecessary/inappropriate/overlinking/undesirable, howsoever Wiki should deem it. It is incorrect whichever way you look at it though & I submit that this is more a problem to do with Wiki InfoBoxes than MOS. M Mabelina (talk) 00:01, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
          PS. Italian Wiki infoboxes seem to provide a better set-up fyg..

Not for deceased persons?[edit]

I'm, a Yankee, and may be gravely mistaken, but the intro says "It is only used for living people, not dead ones." I do believe it is used for dead persons, such as The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, at least when referring to him as a former MP or PM.Sbalfour (talk) 05:27, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

It's a common mistake to use The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, Hickry says: "The courtesy title the Honorable is used when addressing or listing the name of a living person. When the name of a deceased person is listed it's just (Full Name) + Office Held that is pertinent to the story being told for which the photo is included. So a photo of John F. Kennedy might list his name followed by John F. Kennedy, Lieutenant aboard PT109, John F. Kennedy, Senator from Massachusetts, or John F. Kennedy, president of the United States. But it would never be The Honorable John F. Kennedy." Rjensen (talk) 07:48, 2 January 2017 (UTC)
The article makes an (unsourced) assertion that this title "is used only for living people", and an IP poster elsewhere in this talk page says "all members of the Privy Council lose that title upon the death of the Sovereign who appointed them" (also unsourced). The link posted by @Rjensen discusses the use of "The Honorable" in the US, which may or may not apply to "The Right Honorable" in other places. So do we have a Reliable Source to indicate what the truth is? There are plenty of infoboxes on Wikipedia which use Right Honourable for dead people for a start... Chuntuk (talk) 16:54, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
None of the Wiki pages give a source for their usage--they seem unaware of the problem. Rjensen (talk) 17:29, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
That presupposes that there is a problem with using Right Honourable for a deceased person. I don't see any sources offered to support that assertion. I've marked the statement in question "citation needed". Chuntuk (talk) 12:06, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Honorific should not present in front of the name[edit]

Styles and honorifics should not be included in front of the name MOS:HONORIFIC I am seeing those members in current and Parliament of the United Kingdom having them. While Elizabeth II do not even have one on her name. --Reddotparty (talk) 01:00, 20 March 2017 (UTC)