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Forms of Address

Spoken and Written Forms of Address for:

By DeskDemon.com

The Royal Family

  • On being presented to Royalty, men ought to bow (from the neck and not the waist) and women should curtsey.
  • Do not offer to shake hands
  • Ma'am is pronounced Mam (as in Spam rather than Palm)
Person Envelope Letter Greeting Spoken Greeting
Her Majesty The Queen The Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen Dear Sir/Madam on first correspondence, thereafter by name Your Majesty, Ma'am
His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh As Above Your Royal Highness, Sir
His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales As Above Your Royal Highness, Sir
Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal As Above Your Royal Highness, Ma'am
Sarah, Duchess of York Sarah, Duchess of York Madam Madam

Order of British Peerage

Titles of nobility or peerages, are granted by the Monarch. In most hereditary Peerages, the title passes on to a Peer's oldest son, or to his closest male heir if the Peer has no son (the other children are considered commoners). The title becomes extinct if there is no male heir. There are some ancient Peerages that allow the title to be passed to a daughter if the holder leaves no male descendant. The last hereditary peerage was granted in 1964.

Life peerages are created each year and hold the rank for their own lives only; the titles do not pass on to their children. Both men and women may be granted life peerages, and the titles given to them are baron and baroness.

Attention should be shown to new Peerages where the 'of *Place Name*' is an integral part of the title. For example, Lord Morris of Aberavon and not simply Lord Morris. This is to distinguish him from Lord Morris of Manchester.

Below are the five ranks of peers, in order of seniority (Duke is the highest hereditary rank below that of prince.)

  • Duke / Duchess

  • Marquess / Marchioness

  • Earl / Countess

  • Viscount / Viscountess

  • Baron / Baroness
Person Envelope Letter Greeting Spoken Greeting
Duke / Duchess The Duke/Duchess of Devonshire Dear Duke / Duchess Duke / Duchess
Eldest son of a Duke Marquess of Milton Dear Lord Milton Lord Milton
Marquess / Marchioness The Marquess / Marchioness of Penzance Dear Lord / Lady Penzance Lord / Lady Penzance
Eldest son on of a Marquess Viscount Weymouth Dear Lord Weymouth Lord Weymouth
Earl / Countess The Earl / Countess of Franklyn Dear Lord / Lady Franklyn Lord / Lady Franklyn
Viscount / Viscountess The Viscount / Viscountess of Fenhurst Dear Lord / Lady Fenhurst Lord / Lady Fenhurst
Son of a Viscount The Hon JohnFamily Name Dear Mr. Mr.
Life Peer The Lord Young of Barnett Dear Lord Barnett Lord Barnett
Children of a Life Peer The Hon John/Jane of Family Name Dear Mr. / Miss Family Name Mr. / Miss Family Name
Hereditary Peeress Baroness Dartington Dear Lady Dartington Lady Dartington
Widow of Hereditary Peer The Dowager Marchioness of Fulham.
*Some widowed peeresses prefer to be styled with their own first name - Jane, Duchess of Fulham
Dear Lady Fulham Lady Fulham
Former Wife of Hereditary Peer Mary, Countess of Carmarthen.
*If the former wife of a hereditary or life peer re- marries, she will take the name & style of her husband.
Dear Lady Carmarthen Lady Carmarthen
Life Peeress The Baroness Bright of Bute Dear Lady Bright Or Dear Baroness Bright Lady Bright or Baroness Bright
Dame Dame Caroline Mills Dear Dame Caroline Dame Caroline
Widow of a Baronet Dowager Lady Fallbright Dear Lady Fallbright Lady Fallbright
Knight Sir John Jones Dear Sir or Dear Sir John Sir John Jones
Wife of a Knight Dear Madam or Dear Lady Jones Lady Jones Lady Jones

Judiciary

  • The Lord Chancellor, Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, Heads of Division and Lords Justices of Appeal are members of the Privy Council: they are accorded the prefix "Right Honourable".

  • Judges of the High Court are accorded the prefix "The Honourable" for as long as they hold office.

  • Lords Justices of Appeal are referred to by the title "Lord [or Lady] Justice", followed by their surname.

  • Judges of the High Court are referred to by the title "Mr [or Mrs] Justice", followed by their surname.

  • In some cases, their first name forms part of their official title (for example Lord Justice Simon Brown). Where this is the case, the relevant first name is in bold.

Religious Officials

  • If a cleric holds a doctorate in divinity, it is customary to add the designation D.D. after his or her name on the envelope address.
Person Envelope Letter Greeting Spoken Greeting Formal Introduction
The Pope His Holiness, the Pope or His Holiness, Pope John XII Vatican City Rome, Italy Your Holiness or Most Holy Father Your Holiness or Most Holy Father His Holiness, the Holy Father; the Pope; the Pontiff
Cardinals His Eminence, John Cardinal Jones, Archbishop of ______________ Address goes here Your Eminence of Dear Cardinal Jones Your Eminence or Cardinal Jones His Eminence, Cardinal Jones
Bishops The Most Reverend John Jones, Bishop (or Archbishop) of ______________ Address goes here Your Excellency or Dear Bishop (Archbishop) Jones Your Excellency or Bishop (Archbishop) Jones .
Canon The Reverend Canon Dear Canon Canon .
Monsignor The Reverend Monsignor James Harding ____________ Address goes here Reverend Monsignor or Dear Monsignor Monsignor Harding or Monsignor Monsignor Harding
Priest The Reverend John Jones ____________ Address goes here Reverend Father or Dear Father Jones Father or Father Jones Father Jones
Brother Brother John or Brother John Jones ____________ Address goes here Dear Brother John or Dear Brother Brother John or Brother Brother John
Sister Sister Mary Marshall Dear Sister Mary Marshall or Dear Sister Sister Mary Marshall or Sister Sister Mary Marshall
Protestant Clergy The Reverend John (or Jane) Jones* Dear Dr. (or Mr., Ms.) Jones Dr. (or Mr., Ms.) Jones The Reverend (or Dr.) John Jones
Bishop (Episcopal) The Right Reverend John Jones* Bishop of __________ Address goes here Dear Bishop Jones Bishop Jones The Right Reverend John Jones, Bishop of Detroit
Rabbi Rabbi Arthur (or Anne) Schwartz ____________ Address goes here Dear Rabbi Schwartz Rabbi Schwartz or Rabbi Rabbi Arthur Schwartz

Ambassadors

Person Envelope Letter Greeting Spoken Greeting Formal Introduction
Foreign Ambassador His (or Her) Excellency John (or Jean) Johnson The Ambassador of ______________ Address goes here Excellency or Dear Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador Excellency; or Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador The Ambassador of _____________
United Nations Ambassador The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 Dear Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador The United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Military

  • Generals, Lieutenant Generals and Major Generals are addressed as General
  • Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels as Colonel
  • Staff Sergeants and Colour Sergeants as Staff or Colour
  • Corporals and Lance Corporals as Corporal, or Bombardier in the Artillery
  • Private soldiers are addressed by their title and their surname. The title may vary depending on the regiment, or the arm or service. For example Highlander, Rifleman, Private, Guardsman, Bugler, Gunner, Sapper, Fusilier, Trooper, Signalman etc.
  • Company or Squadron Sergeant Majors as Sergeant Major, Miss or Mr and Regimental Sergeant Major as Sir, Ma'am, Regimental Sergeant Major, Miss or Mr, depending on the rank of the addressor.


    • Rank - Commissioned Officers
    • Field Marshal
    • General
    • Lieutenant General
    • Major General
    • Brigadier
    • Colonel
    • Lieutenant Colonel
    • Major
    • Captain
    • Lieutenant
    • 2nd Lieutenant

      Rank - Non Commissioned and Warrant Officers
    • Warrant Officer
    • Staff Sergeant
    • Sergeant
    • Corporal
    • Lance Corporal

American Officials

Person Envelope Letter Greeting Spoken Greeting Formal Introduction
President of the United States The President The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. (or Madam) President Mr. (or Madam) President The President or the President of the United States
Former President The Honorable John J. Jones Current address Dear Mr. (Mrs., Ms.) Jones Mr. (Mrs., Ms.) Jones The Honorable John J. Jones
Vice President The Vice President Executive Office Building Washington, DC 20501 Dear Mr. (or Madam) Vice President Mr. (or Madam) Vice President The Vice President or the Vice President of the United States
Cabinet members The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones The Secretary of ____________ or The Attorney General Washington, DC Dear Mr. (or Madam) Secretary Mr. (or Madam) Secretary The Secretary of _____________
Chief Justice The Chief Justice The Supreme Court Washington, DC 20543 Dear Mr. (or Madam) Justice or Dear Mr. (or Madam) Chief Justice Mr. (or Madam) Chief Justice The Chief Justice
Associate Justice Mr. Justice Jones or Madam Justice Jones The Supreme Court Washington, DC 20543 Dear Mr. (or Madam) Justice Mr. Justice or Mr. Justice Jones; Madam Justice or Madam Justice Jones Mr. Justice Jones; Madam Justice Jones
United States Senator The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator Jones Senator Jones Senator Jones from Nebraska
Speaker of the House The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones Speaker of the House of Representatives United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Dear Mr. (or Madam) Speaker Mr. Speaker; Madam Speaker The Speaker of the House of Representatives
United States Representative The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Dear Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones Representative Jones from New Jersey
Consul-General The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones American Consul General ___________ Address goes here Dear Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones
Foreign Ambassador His (or Her) Excellency John (or Jean) Johnson The Ambassador of ______________ Address goes here Excellency or Dear Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador Excellency; or Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador The Ambassador of _____________
Secretary-General of the United Nations His (or Her) Excellency Milo (or Mara) Jones Secretary-General of the United Nations United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 Dear Mr.(or Madam) Secretary-General Mr.(or Madam) Secretary-General The Secretary-General of the United Nations
Governor The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones Governor of ______________ State Capitol Address goes here Dear Mr. (Or Mrs. , Ms.) Jones Mr. (Or Mrs. , Ms.) Jones Mr. (Or Mrs., Ms.) Jones
Judges The Honorable John J. Jones Justice, Appellate Division Supreme Court of the State of ______________ Address goes here Dear Judge Jones Justice or Judge Jones; Madam Justice or Judge Jones The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones; Mr. Justice Jones or Judge Jones; Madam Justice Jones or Judge Jones
Mayor The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones; His (or Her) Honor the Mayor City Hall _____________ Address goes here Dear Mayor Schwartz Mayor Schwartz or Mayor Mayor Arthur Schwartz
Military Personnel For commissioned officers in the U.S. Armed services, the full rank is used as a title only in addressing letters and in formal introductions: one writes to Major General Sarah Miller, U.S. Army, and introduces her as Major General Miller. In greetings the full rank is shortened to General: "Dear General Miller." Similar acceptable shortened greetings follow categorized by full rank then greetings :
Army, Air Force, Marines General of the Army
Lieutenant General
Brigadier General
Lieutenant Colonel
First Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
General
General
General
Colonel
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Navy, Coast Guard Fleet Admiral
Vice Admiral
Rear Admiral
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Admiral
Admiral
Admiral
Commander
Lieutenant
For enlisted personnel, a similar principle applies. Sergeants - whether staff sergeants, gunnery sergeants, or first sergeants - are greeted simply as "Sergeant"; privates first class are referred to as "Private"; and, in the Navy and Coast Guard, chief petty officers are referred to as "Chief." Other non commissioned officers are greeted by their ranks, although, informally, lower grades may be referred to generically as "Soldier" or "Sailor." The universal terms of respect that lower ranks must use when addressing senior officers are "Sir" and "Madam." These terms are not applied to noncommissioned officers, however; the appropriate affirmative response to a sergeant, for example, is "Yes, Sergeant."
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