Style (manner of address)

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A style of office or honorific is an official or legally recognized title.[1][2] A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal capacity. Such styles are particularly associated with monarchies, where they may be used by a wife of an office holder or of a prince of the blood, for the duration of their marriage. They are also almost universally used for presidents in republics and in many countries for members of legislative bodies, higher-ranking judges and senior constitutional office holders. Leading religious figures also have styles.

Examples of styles


Traditional forms of address at German-speaking universities:

  • His/Her Magnificence – rector (president) of a university
  • His/Her Notability (Seine Spektabilität; Professors have the privilege to use the Latin Spectabilis) – dean of a faculty

Traditional forms of address at Dutch-speaking universities:

  • His/Her Great Honour (Edelgrootachtbare heer/vrouwe) – rector magnificus (president) of a university
  • Highly Learned Sir/Madam (Hooggeleerde heer/vrouwe) – professor or dean of a faculty
  • Well (Noble) Very Learned Sir/Madam (Weledelzeergeleerde heer/vrouwe) – a doctor
  • Well (Noble) Learned Sir/Madam (De weledelgeleerde heer/vrouwe) – a doctorandus
  • Well (Noble) Strictly Sir/Madam (De weledelgestrenge heer/vrouwe) – a master in laws (meester in de rechten) or a university engineer (ingenieur)

Traditional forms of address at Italian-speaking universities:

  • Magnificent Rector (magnifico rettore) – rector (president, chancellor) of a university
  • Amplified Headmaster (amplissimo preside) - dean of a faculty (now uncommon)
  • Illustrious/Enlightened Professor (chiarissimo professore)– a full professor



  • His Most Reverend Excellency (abbreviation Most Rev. Ex., oral address Your Excellency) – The Apostolic Nuncio, because his rank is equal to an extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador and he is simultaneously a higher prelate in a British form of address.
  • His/Her Excellency (abbreviation HE, oral address Your Excellency) – most Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives to International Organizations; sometimes also the Presidents of the Republics, Governors-General, Governors of provinces and the Prime Minister.
  • The Honorable (oral address Mr./Madam Ambassador) – U.S. Ambassadors by Americans. Typically U.S. Ambassadors are addressed as "Your Excellency" by non-US citizens outside the United States.



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  • His/Her Imperial Majesty, (abbreviation HIM, oral address Your Imperial Majesty) – Emperors and Empresses. For example, HIM The Shah of Iran. Previously, the Emperor of Japan. In modern times, the Emperor uses the simpler style of "Majesty" instead.
  • His/Her Imperial and Royal Majesty (abbreviation HI&RM, oral address Your Imperial and Royal Majesty) – Emperors and Empresses who were simultaneously Kings and Queens, such as the German Emperor and Emperor of Austria.
  • His/Her Apostolic Majesty (abbreviation HAM, oral address Your Apostolic Majesty) – the King of Hungary, usually styled Imperial Majesty or Imperial and Royal Majesty as Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, also sometimes Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty.
  • His/Her Britannic Majesty – the British monarch (not usual); used as a formal and official term in diplomacy, the law of nations, and international relations. Used in British passports.
  • His/Her Catholic Majesty (abbreviation HCM, oral address Your Catholic Majesty) – the King of Spain (not usual).
  • His/Her Most Christian Majesty – the King of France.
  • His/Her Most Faithful Majesty (abbreviation HFM, oral address Your Most Faithful Majesty) – the King of Portugal.
  • His/Her Majesty (abbreviation HM, oral address Your Majesty) – Kings, Queens and Sultans. For example, HM Queen Elizabeth II or HM King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands. Incongruously, in modern times the Emperor of Japan rarely uses the style of Imperial Majesty, instead preferring the title of "Majesty". This is despite the Imperial titles still used by the rest of the Imperial household.
  • His/Her Imperial Highness (abbreviation HIH, oral address Your Imperial Highness) – members of an Imperial House. Currently used by the Imperial House of Japan.
  • His/Her Imperial and Royal Highness (abbreviation HI&RH, oral address Your Imperial and Royal Highness) – Archdukes of the House of Habsburg, the German Crown Prince, German Crown Princess and members of the Brazilian Imperial Family; also women with one style by birth and the other by marriage.
  • His/Her Royal Highness (abbreviation HRH, oral address Your Royal Highness) – other members of a Royal House not including the Head of the House normally the Monarch themselves, reigning Grand Duke, members of some grand Ducal Houses, some Princes consort. For example, sons and daughters of a British Sovereign e.g. HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Princess Royal, HRH The Duke of York and HRH The Earl of Wessex. And the current Prince Consort in all but name, HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh; consort to HM The Queen.
  • His/Her Grand Ducal Highness (abbreviation HGDH, oral address Your Grand Ducal Highness) – junior members of some grand Ducal Houses.
  • His/Her Highness (abbreviation HH, oral address, Your Highness) – reigning Dukes and members of reigning Ducal Houses, members of some grand Ducal Houses, junior members of some Royal Houses, Emirs and Sheikhs, also Princes/Princesses of nobility in several European countries, not belonging to a Royal House. For example, HH The Emir of Kuwait.
  • His/Her Ducal Serene Highness (abbreviation HDSH, oral address, Your Ducal Serene Highness – members of some Ducal houses. For example, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
  • His/Her Serene Highness (abbreviation HSH, oral address Your Serene Highness) – sovereign or mediatized Fürst ("Prince") and his family – this is a mistranslation from German Durchlaucht, the correct form should be His/Her Serenity. For example, Grace Kelly on her marriage to the Sovereign Prince of Monaco became HSH The Princess Grace of Monaco or The Princess of Monaco. Some princely families in Imperial Russia also enjoyed this style.
  • His/Her Illustrious Highness (abbreviation HIllH, oral address Your Illustrious Highness) – sovereign or mediatized Count and his family, also a Count of Imperial Russia – this is a mistranslation too, from German Erlaucht; it should be correctly His/Her Illustriousness.
  • The Highborn – counts, barons in several European countries, and also marquesses and viscounts in the Netherlands and Flanders
  • His/Her Grace – peers of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. And Dukes/Duchesses of the United Kingdom.
  • The High Well-born – knights and untitled noble persons in several European countries, and also barons in the Netherlands and Flanders
  • His/Her Excellency (abbreviation HE, oral address Your Excellency) – Governors-General and British Colonial Governors, state officials and generals of Imperial Russia.
  • His/Her High Excellency – top state officials and generals in Imperial Russia, and also enfeoffed counts in Denmark

The English style Serene Highness and even more Illustrious Highness goes back to an incorrect translation. These styles originally did not exist in English-speaking countries.

  • His/Her Serene Highness – German: Seine/Ihre Durchlaucht; Italian: Sua Altezza Serenissima; Russian: Ваша светлость.
  • His/Her Illustrious Highness – German: Seine/Ihre Erlaucht; Italian: Sua Altezza Illustrissima; Spanish: Su Ilustrísima; Russian: Ваше сиятельство.
Styles and titles of deposed monarchs

General tradition indicates that monarchs who have been deposed, but have not abdicated, retain the use of their style and title for the duration of their lifetimes, but both die with them. Hence Greece's deposed king is still technically His Majesty King Constantine II of the Hellenes, as a personal title, not a constitutional office, since the abolition of the monarchy by the Hellenic Republic in 1974. Similarly, until his death, the last King of Italy, Umberto II, was technically entitled to be called His Majesty the King of Italy or Your Majesty. In contrast, the ex-King Michael I of Romania, who abdicated his throne in 1947, technically lost the use of his title, though out of politeness, he may still be called His Majesty King Michael or Your Majesty.

While this rule is generally observed, and indeed some exiled monarchs are allowed diplomatic passports by their former state, other states take offence at the use of such titles. In 1981, the then Greek President Konstantinos Karamanlis declined to attend the wedding of the Prince of Wales when it was revealed that Greece's deposed monarch, a cousin of the Prince, had been referred to as "King" in his invitation. The Hellenic Republic has challenged King Constantine's right to use his title and his passport was revoked in 1994 because he did not use a surname as his passport at the time stated "Constantine, former King of the Hellenes.". However, Constantine II now travels in and out of Greece without any problems, on a Danish diplomatic passport as a descendant of King Christian IX by the name Constantino de Grecia (Spanish for "Constantine of Greece").


  • His/Her Excellency (abbreviation HE, oral address Your Excellency) – Presidents of Republics (Historically, this was first used to refer to George Washington during his tenure as Commander-in-Chief of the Army during the American War of Independence; its use for Presidents of Republics was established as he was the first President of the first modern Republic.)
  • The President of the United States is properly directly addressed as "Mr. President" and introduced as "The President of the United States"; however, His/Her/Your Excellency may properly be used in written communications and is sometimes used in official documents.
  • The custom in France is to call office holders acting within their official capacity M. (Monsieur) or Mme (Madame) followed by the name of their offices.[citation needed] Thus, the President of the Republic is called M. le président or M. le président de la République if a male, Madame... if a female. Styles such as "excellency" or similar are not used, except for talking about foreign dignitaries. Traditionally after "Madame", the name of the office is not put into the feminine form, but this is becoming less common (hence, "Madame le président" is being replaced by "Madame la présidente").
  • In Italy, members of the lower house (Chamber of Deputies) of the parliament are styled Honourable (Italian Onorevole, abbreviation On.). The correct form to address a member of the upper house (Senate) is Senator (Italian Senatore, abbreviation Sen.; even though, for gravitas, may also be addressed Honourable Senator).
  • Incumbent president of Finland is addressed Herra/Rouva Tasavallan Presidentti (Mr/Ms. President of Republic), while the former president is addressed as Herra/Rouva Presidentti
  • The style used for the President of Ireland is normally His Excellency/Her Excellency (Irish: A Shoilse/A Soilse); sometimes people may orally address the President as 'Your Excellency' (Irish: A Shoilse [ə ˈhəʎʃ̪ʲə]), or simply 'President' (Irish: A Uachtaráin [ə ˈuːəxt̪ˠəɾaːn̥] (vocative case)).
  • During the Republic of the United Netherlands, the States-General were collectively addressed as "Their High and Mighty Lords" (Dutch: Hoogmogende Heren).


  • Doctor – In the United Kingdom, university degrees supporting medical licensure are all bachelor's degrees (MB, MBBS, MB BS BAO, BMed, etc.). These graduates are addressed as 'doctor' by courtesy and convention.
  • About 3 - 10%, depending upon the medical school, of bachelors subsequently submit (usually unsupervised) scientific theses for the degree of MD.
  • Mr/Miss/Mrs – Surgeons in the UK revert to the title 'Mr', 'Miss' or 'Mrs' after obtaining MRCS.[5] Hospital physicians, on the other hand, retain the title 'Doctor' after obtaining MRCP.

Nautical and aeronautical

  • Captain – a person who commands and is responsible for the lives of crew and passengers on a naval or civil vessel or aircraft (it should be noted that in the US military, "Captain" is used regardless of the actual rank of the person being addressed. Ex: On a US naval vessel commanded by someone holding a rank of Lieutenant Commander or lower is addressed as "Captain," as it's a reference to his position in command of the ship, not his military rank. This would apply even to an enlisted man in charge of a small boat)


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  • His Holiness (abbreviation HH), oral address Your Holiness, or Holy Father – the Pope and the Pope Emeritus.
  • His All Holiness (abbreviation HAH), oral address Your All Holiness – the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
  • His Holiness (abbreviation HH), oral address Your Holiness – the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch of Peć and the Serbs, Catholicos of All Armenians, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Malankara Orthodox Catholicos and some other patriarchs of the Christian Church.
  • His Holiness (abbreviation HH), oral address Your Holiness – the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama, the Karmapa, the Sakya Trizin, and other holders of certain other Tibetan Buddhist lineages.
  • His Highness the Aga Khan (abbreviation HH the Aga Khan.), oral address Your Highness and then Sir – The Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.
  • His Beatitude or The Most Blessed, oral address Your BeatitudeEastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic patriarchs, Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych. If they have been elevated to the cardinalate by the Pope, they use the traditional "His Eminence" like other cardinals (more properly and formally, "His Beatitude and Eminence").
  • His Eminence (abbreviation "HE"), oral address Your Eminence or Most Reverend EminenceRoman Catholic cardinals
  • His Eminence (abbreviation "HE") or The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Your EminenceEastern Orthodox metropolitans and archbishops who are not the First Hierarch of an autocephalous church;
  • His Eminence (abbreviation "HE") - Certain high lamas or rinpoches in Tibetan Buddhism as well as presiding head bishops or priests of Japanese Buddhist schools.
  • His Eminence (abbreviation "HE") - The Sultan of Sokoto, spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims, as well as those of his fellow Fula high chiefs that choose not to style themselves as HRHs.
  • His Excellency or The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Your ExcellencyRoman Catholic archbishops and bishops in the U.S.A.; or,
  • His Grace or The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Your GraceRoman Catholic archbishops in Commonwealth countries; and Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland, Marthoma Metropolitans
  • His Grace or The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt. Rev.), oral address Your GraceEastern Orthodox bishops.
  • Kabiyesi (variously translated as His or Her Royal Majesty, His or Her Royal Highness or His or Her Highness, lit. The One whose words are beyond question - The Obas of Yorubaland, other aboriginal Yoruba high chiefs of royal background, and their counterparts in the tribe's diaspora communities.
  • His Lordship or The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt Rev.), oral address My LordAnglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Commonwealth countries.
  • The Most Reverend and Right Honourable (abbreviation The Most Rev. and Rt Hon.), oral address Your GraceChurch of England (Anglican) archbishops who are Privy Councillors, usually the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
  • The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Your GraceAnglican archbishops, primates, metropolitans and presiding bishops. Also moderators.
  • The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address My LordChurch of Ireland (Anglican) Bishop of Meath and Kildare (due to being, historically, the most senior bishop in Ireland)
  • The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Presiding Bishop – the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana
  • The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Bishop – the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (United States)[6]
  • The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Monsignor (abbreviation The Rt Rev. and Rt Hon. Mgr), oral address Monsignor, or according to personal preference – Prelate of Honour who is also a Privy Counsellor (The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Monsignor Graham Leonard KCVO).
  • The Right Reverend and Right Honourable (abbreviation The Rt Rev. and Rt Hon.), oral address My Lord or BishopChurch of England (Anglican) bishops who are members of the Privy Council, usually the Bishop of London.
  • The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt Rev.), oral address My Lord or Bishop – other Church of England bishops
  • The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt Rev.), oral address Bishopbishops Episcopal Church (United States)[7]
  • The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt Rev.) – Moderator of the United Church of Canada
  • The Right Reverend Father (abbreviation The Rt. Rev. Fr.), oral address FatherEastern Orthodox archimandrites.
  • The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt. Rev.), oral address Father or Father AbbotRoman Catholic abbots.
  • The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt Rev.), oral address Bishop – diocesan bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana
  • Bishop, oral address Bishop – an area bishop in The United Methodist Church. The Right Reverend has never been pervasive in The United Methodist Church.
  • The Very Reverend (abbreviation The Very Rev. ), oral address FatherCatholic vicars general, judicial vicars, judges, rectors of seminaries, vicars forane, episcopal vicars, general superiors of religious orders of priests, provincial superiors, priors of monasteries or friaries
  • The Very Reverend Father (abbreviation The Very Rev. Fr.), oral address FatherEastern Orthodox archpriests
  • The Very Reverend (abbreviation The Very Rev. ), oral address Mr Dean or Mr Provost, as appropriate, or Very Reverend SirAnglican Deans and Provosts of Cathedrals, the Deans of Westminster Abbey and St George's Chapel, Windsor, and, for historical reasons, a few parish priests, such as the Dean of Bocking. Sometimes an Anglican Cathedral Dean has previously been a bishop, in which case he is styled as a bishop, except that on formal occasions he may be addressed, Mr Dean.
  • The Very Reverend (abbreviation The Very Rev. ), oral address Very Reverend Sir or Mr DeanDeans of some Anglican Seminaries, especially those in the USA
  • The Very Reverend (abbreviation The Very Rev. ), oral address Osofo Panin – Superintendent Minister in the Methodist Church Ghana
  • The Very Reverend (abbreviation The Very Rev.), oral address Reverend – former Moderators of the United Church of Canada
  • The Reverend Monsignor (abbreviation The Rev. Msgr.), oral address MonsignorCatholic Church protonotaries apostolic, honorary prelates, chaplains of his holiness
  • The Venerable, oral address Venerable Sir or Mr. ArchdeaconAnglican Archdeacons
  • Venerable (abbreviation "Ven."), oral address "Venerable" or "Venerable <name or title>" – fully ordained Buddhist monks and nuns, the title of Venerable Master or Most Venerable is sometimes appended for senior monks and nuns or monks/nuns acting in their capacity as an abbot/abbess of a monastery
  • The Reverend and Right Honourable (abbreviation The Revd and Rt Hon.) – Protestant ordained ministers who are members of the Privy Council (Dr Ian Paisley)
  • The Reverend the Honourable (abbreviation The Rev. the Hon.), oral address according to ecclesiastical or other status – ordained son of an earl, viscount, or baron, or ordained daughter of a viscount or baron (unless also a privy counsellor or peer)
  • The Very Reverend (abbreviation "The Very Rev."), oral address: "Overseer" – in the Anglican-Apostolic Communion (Pentecostal)tradition, the Overseer is the lowest level of Prelate (only Non-Consecrated Bishop Prelate), with oversight to a specific work or department, directly responsible to the Primate/Presiding Bishop or a Bishop (Ordinary/Diocesan).
  • The Reverend (abbreviation The Rev. or The Revd) – Protestant ordained ministers (common variants include Pastor, Parson, Vicar, or simply Reverend" (Rev.), as used in American English; see: The Reverend) ); some Jewish cantors also use this style, almost all Buddhist ministers in Japan use this style
  • The Reverend Canon (abbreviation The Rev. Canon), oral address CanonCatholic and Anglican Canons
  • The Reverend Doctor (abbreviation The Rev. Dr.), oral address Father or Doctorpriests and other ordained clergy with a Doctorate
  • The Reverend Father (abbreviation The Rev. Fr.), oral address FatherCatholic (and many Anglican) priests
  • The Reverend Mother (abbreviation The Rev. Mo.), oral address MotherAbbesses (also, some female Anglican priests)
  • The Reverend Deacon (abbreviation Rev. Deacon), oral address Deacon Catholic permanent Deacons.
  • The Reverend Mister (abbreviation The Rev. Mr.), oral address DeaconCatholic transitional deacons, i.e. those preparing for priesthood. Transitional Deacons belonging to religious orders (monastic and non-monastic) are titled Reverend Brother, (similar situations and modifications apply to Anglican deacons as in The Rev. Fr., above)
  • Mother, oral address Mother – heads of some female Catholic religious convents and other communities who are not abbesses
  • Mister (abbreviation Mr.), oral address MisterCatholic Sulpician priests
  • Mister (abbreviation Mr.), oral address often MisterCatholic seminarians and scholastics (members preparing for priesthood) of some religious orders (notably, Jesuits)
  • Brother (abbreviation Bro.), oral address BrotherCatholic members of religious orders under vows (both monastic and non-monastic) who are not priests
  • Sister (abbreviation Sr.), oral address SisterCatholic members of religious orders under vows (both monastic and non-monastic) who are not abbesses
  • Grand Rabbi, oral address RabbiHasidic rabbis, who are scions of a Hasidic Dynasty
  • Rabbi, oral address Rabbi (or, if holder of the appropriate degree, Doctor both in oral and written communication) – rabbis
  • Grand Ayatullah, oral address Ayatullah or Ayatullah al-UzmaShia Ayatullahs, who have accomplished the highest religious jurisprudent knowledge degree called as Ijtihad and some people officially follow them.
  • Ayatullah, oral address AyatullahShia religious degree who has accomplished a religious high course of lessons and is capable of individually issuing religious verdicts.
  • Cantor, oral address Cantor (some cantors use The Reverend as style, as above) – Jewish cantors
  • Reverend, oral address Reverend, Mister or Brother – ordained ministers/pastors
  • Pastor (abbreviation "Ps."), oral address 'Pastor" – minister responsible for caring for the "flock" in most Christian churches
  • Pandit (sometimes spelled Pundit) – Hindu priests
  • Swami - in Hinduism an ascetic or yogi who has been initiated into a religious monastic order. Informally, "Swamiji".
  • Officers of The Salvation Army are addressed by their rank, e.g. "Captain" (Capt.), "Major" (Maj.), etc.

Styles in different countries

Commonwealth realms

Commonwealth prime ministers are usually addressed just as Prime Minister, but the form of address Mr. Prime Minister is also often used in certain countries. "Mr. Prime Minister" remains a common form of address in international diplomacy, "Prime Minister" alone remains more common within domestic politics.

Legislative bodies

Local government


  • His/Her Majesty – The King or Queen of Australia
  • His/Her Excellency – Governor-General and his or her spouse,[8] and all state Governors (but not their spouse)
  • The Honourable – all current and former Governors-General and Administrators of the Northern Territory, Justices of the High Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and state Supreme Courts
  • The Honourable – all current and former members of the Federal Executive Council and all current members of State Executive Councils and certain former members of State Executive Councils and long-serving members of State Legislative Councils (upper houses of State parliaments) that have been given the right to keep the title by permission of the Governor of that state.
  • The Right Honourable (Viscounts)
  • His/Her Honour (oral address Your Honour) – magistrates and judges in appellate, district and county courts.
  • The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor (Lord Mayors of Australian cities)
  • His/Her Worship (administrators of territories)
  • His/Her Grace (Australian dukes)
  • His Eminence (Australian Cardinals)
  • His/Her Lordship (My Lord/My Lady)- Australians who are members of the nobility (but not Ducal) or are otherwise entitled to be addressed in this manner, for example the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Dunmore


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New Zealand

  • Partial source:[9][10]
  • His/Her Majesty – King/ Queen of New Zealand
  • His/Her Excellency – the current Governor-General (and the Governor-General's spouse).
  • The Right Honourable – the current and former Prime Ministers, the current and former Speakers of the Parliament of New Zealand, the current and former Chief Justices, the current and former Governors General, and those who were appointed to the Privy Council prior to its abolition in 2003.
  • The Honourable – Ministers of the Crown
  • His/Her Honour – judges of district courts
  • His/Her Worship – mayors of territorial authorities and Justices of the Peace.

United Kingdom

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  • The Most Noble or His Grace (oral address Your Grace) – Dukes. Occasionally the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York and other Archbishops are also styled His Grace.
  • The Most Honourable (abbreviation The Most Hon.) – Marquesses
  • The Right Honourable (abbreviation The Rt Hon.) – Earl, Viscounts, Barons/Lords of Parliament and members of the Privy Council
  • The Right Honourable and Reverend – as the previous explanation, but if the holder is also an ordained clergyman (obsolescent parliamentary usage)
  • The Right Honourable and Learned – as the previous explanation, but if the holder is also a Queen's Counsel (obsolescent parliamentary usage)
  • The Right Honourable and Gallant – as the previous explanation, but if the holder is also a serving military officer (obsolescent parliamentary usage)
  • The Honourable (abbreviation The Hon.) – younger sons of Earls, all children of Viscounts and Barons/Lords of Parliament
  • The Much Honoured (abbreviation The Much Hon.) – Scottish Lairds and feudal Barons

Styles existing through marriage

Royal styles

Styles can be acquired through marriage, though traditionally this applies more to wives of office-holders than to husbands. Thus, in the United Kingdom, The Princess Royal, is styled Her Royal Highness (HRH), her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, bears no courtesy style merely by virtue of being her husband (although his mother-in-law The Queen has since knighted him). In contrast, when Sophie Rhys-Jones married Prince Edward, she became HRH The Princess Edward, Countess of Wessex (&c.) and automatically acquired an HRH, by virtue of her marriage to a royal prince who was the son of the British monarch; as only those males in the Royal Line of Succession receive Royal titles; as the British Monarchy currently operates on the basis of a male primogeniture; i.e. one whereby males have preference over females in succeeding to the peerage or title. On this occasion, HRH The Countess of Wessex, shares all of the titles that her husband bears and the only difference being she exercises the female derivatives of these said titles. (See article: Sophie, Countess of Wessex#Titles, styles, honours and arms.)

This gender differentiation continues into the next generation in traditional royal families. Thus, while the sons of The Prince of Wales and the daughters of The Duke of York have HRH styles, the children of The Princess Royal have no styles (she requested that they, like her husband, not be given courtesy titles or peerages, though they could have: the key point is that they did not automatically receive any).

Styles and titles can terminate when a marriage is dissolved. Diana, Princess of Wales held the style Her Royal Highness or HRH during her marriage to HRH The Prince of Wales and the title Princess of Wales. Her marital status was indicated by the title Princess of Wales. When the couple divorced she lost her style but not her title, which had existed only by virtue of her marriage to the Prince of Wales: she became instead Diana, Princess of Wales, although she was still entitled to the style of "Lady" as the daughter of an earl; but because the princely title of Princess outweighed that of Lady she was known by the former and not the latter. Irrespective of the marriage she was a former royal princess and still held the title of Princess of Wales until her death.

The title Princess of Wales – not preceded by a definite article – indicated that she was a former Princess of Wales; when applied to the current Princess of Wales, the style includes a definite article (The Princess of Wales). If she had remarried then the style Princess of Wales would also have lapsed; similarly, because HRH The Prince of Wales has remarried to Camilla Parker-Bowles she is officially HRH The Princess of Wales, but because of the widespread use of the title and recognition of it by the British people formerly used by Diana, Princess of Wales, she uses the lesser title derived from her husband's Duchy of Cornwall and is known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, although she is legally also HRH The Princess of Wales.

Whilst there was the option of giving the HRH style to Diana, Princess of Wales, in her personal capacity (which could be justified, given that she was the mother of a future king), it was decided not to give her the style. From the divorce until her death in 1997, Diana ceased to hold any royal style. Similarly, when Sarah, Duchess of York, was divorced from her husband, HRH The Duke of York, she too lost her HRH style but retained her ducal title of Duchess of York.

In 1936, Wallis Simpson was not given the royal HRH style by George VI when she married his older brother, the former Edward VIII, by then known as HRH The Duke of Windsor. There was no precedent for a divorcée marrying a member of the Royal Family let alone a former king and it was feared that, if the couple divorced (she had already divorced two husbands), she would lose the style but could conceivably still try to use it anyway, thus undermining its status as she would still be known as The Duchess of Windsor irrespective of her divorce from HRH The Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor.

Examples of Non-Royal Styles
  • Lady Edward Smith – wife of the son (Edward Smith) of a duke or marquess
  • Lady Elizabeth Smith – daughter of a duke, marquess or an earl
  • Lady Smith – wife of Baron Smith (could also be referred to as Baroness Smith)
  • Lady Smith – wife of Sir Edward Smith; or unmarried widow/divorced wife of Sir Edward Smith
  • Dowager Lady Smith – deceased Baron's widow
  • Elizabeth, Lady Smith – deceased Baron's ex-wife
  • The Viscountess Smith – wife of Viscount Smith
  • The Dowager Lady Smith – Viscount's widow.

Hong Kong

The Chief Executive is styled as The Honourable.

Certain senior government officials (such as the Chief Secretary for Administration), President of the Legislative Council, members of the Executive Council, and members of the judiciary (such as the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal) are also styled as The Honourable.


In Ireland, holders of offices with Irish names are usually addressed in English by its nominative form (so, 'Taoiseach' and 'Tánaiste'), though the Irish vocative forms differ (a Thaoisigh and a Thánaiste). The President may be styled 'His/Her Excellency' (Irish: A Shoilse, IPA: [ə ˈhəʎʃ̪ʲə] / A Soilse [ə ˈsəʎʃ̪ʲə]) and addressed 'Your Excellency' (Irish: A Shoilse), or simply 'President' (Irish: A Uachtaráin [ə uːəxt̪ˠəɾaːn̥]). The titles 'Minister' and 'Senator' are used as forms of address; only the latter as a style. A TD (Teachta Dála) is formally addressed and styled as 'Deputy', though often simply Mr, Mrs, etc. Similarly, county and city councillors can be addressed as 'Councillor', abbreviated Cllr. which is used as a written style, but are just as frequently addressed as Mr, Mrs etc.



  • His Majesty – The King of Morocco.
  • His Imperial Majesty – The Sultan of Morocco (before 1957, now obsolete).
  • His/Her Royal Highness – Prince and princess of Morocco (used for children, grandchildren and siblings of the king as well as for the Princess Consort).
  • His/Her Highness – Prince and princess of Morocco (used for cousins, uncles and aunts of the king).


  • His/Her Excellency - The President of the Philippines.[11] The title in Tagalog is "Ang Mahal na Pangulo" (The Beloved President). The honorific for the President of the Philippines adopted from the title of the Governor-General of the Philippines during Spanish and American colonial periods. The President may be addressed as "Your Excellency" or more informally as "Mr. President" or "Madame President".
  • The Honorable - The Vice President of the Philippines, Members of the Congress of the Philippines, Justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Governors and Vice Governors of Provinces, Mayors and Vice Mayors of Cities or Municipalities, and other elected officials in the government.The title is also conferred to Elected and appointed officials of student or other peoples organizations that has great participation in creating, implementing, and interpreting policies of the organization. The title in Tagalog is "Ang Kagalanggalang" (The Honorable). In senatorial and congressional inquiries and impeachment procedures, senators and representatives are addressed Your Honor, because their functions have the powers of judges in asking questions.
  • Sir/Madame - Common informal manner of address
  • Illustrious Knight, Sir/Lady- Titles for members of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, the Philippines' only order of knighthood created by law.
  • In the Sultanate of Sulu, the Sultan is addressed as Paduka Mahasari Maulana al Sultan.


  • His/Her Majesty - the monarch of Spain, when referred to as monarch. When referred to as Head of State, he is usually styled His Excellency the Head of State.
  • His/Her Royal Highness – the Prince of Asturias and the Infantes (non-heir apparent royal princes).
  • His Lordship/Her Ladyship (su señoría) – members of parliament, judges.
  • His/Her Excellency (su excelencia) – spouses and children of the Infantes, Grandees of Spain, ministers, either from the central government ("ministros") or from autonomous government ("consejeros"), as well as regional presidents. Mayors and town councils[citation needed].
  • His/Her Illustriousness (su ilustrísima) – junior ministers either from the central government ("secretarios de estado") or from autonomous government ("vice-consejeros").
  • His/Her Most Excellent and Magnificent Lord – Rector of a university.


  • His/Her Majesty - The King and Queen of Thailand.
  • His/Her Royal Highness - Prince and princess of Thailand (uses for children and grandchildren of the king) from "Chao-Fa" (เจ้าฟ้า) (the most senior rank of prince/princess) to "Phra Chao Worawongse Ther Phra Ong Chao" (พระเจ้าวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า) (a mid level, lesser class of prince and princess than Chao Fa). This style is also used for princess consort (now obsolete).
  • His/Her Highness - Prince and princess of Thailand of the rank "Phra Worawong Ther Phra Ong Chao" (พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า) which are born in the title as Mom Chao whom the king, later granted this higher title, either as recognition of merit, or as a special favour.
  • His/Her Serene Highness - Prince and princess of title Mom Chao (m)/Mom Chao Ying (f) (หม่อมเจ้า/หม่อมเจ้าหญิง, abbreviated in Thai as ม.จ. or in English as M.C.) is the most junior class still considered royalty. This is normally when surnames first appear among royal lineages. They are either: Children of a male Chao Fa and a commoner.Children of a male Phra Ong Chao. Informally, they are styled "Than Chai" (m)... /"Than Ying" (f)... (ท่านชาย.../ท่านหญิง...).
  • The Honourable - Mom Rajawongse (หม่อมราชวงศ์, RTGS: Mom Ratchawong; abbreviated in Thai as ม.ร.ว. or in English as M.R. and also translated into English as The Honourable) is the title assumed by children of male Mom Chao. The title is pronounced "Mom Rachawong". Informally, they may be styled as "Khun Chai" (m).../ "Khunying" (f)... (คุณชาย.../คุณหญิง...).

United States

Most current and former elected federal and state officials and judges in the U.S. are styled "The Honorable [full name]." in writing, (e.g., "The Honorable Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York"). Many are addressed in conversation as "Mister [title]" or "Madam [title]" ("Mr. President," "Madam Mayor") or simply by (title)+(name) e.g., "Senator Jones" or "Commissioner Smith".

Continued use of a title after leaving office depends on the office: those of which there is only one at a time (e.g., President, Speaker, Governor, or Mayor) are only officially used by the current office holder. However, titles for offices of which there are many concurrent office holders (e.g., Ambassador, Senator, Judge, Professor or military ranks, especially Colonel and above) are retained for life: A retired US Army general is addressed as "General (Name)" officially and socially for the rest of his or her life. Military retirees are entitled to receive pay and are still counted as members of the United States Armed Forces. Accordingly, all retired Military ranks are retained for life pursuant to Title 10 of the United States Code. In the case of the US President, while the title is officially dropped after leaving office — e.g., Dwight Eisenhower reverted to his prior style "General Eisenhower" in retirement — it is still widely used as an informal practice; e.g. Jimmy Carter is still often called President Carter. Similarly, Governors may be addressed in later life as "Govenor (Name)", particularly if running for further political office. Mitt Romney, for example, was frequently referred to as "Governor Romney" during his 2012 presidential campaign (he was addressed as such formally in the debates[12][13]), despite leaving the office of Governor of Massachusetts in 2007.

  • Judges are styled "The Honorable [full name]" in writing, Judges are addressed orally in court as "Your Honor", or as "Judge Smith." Chief justices of Supreme Courts are addressed orally as or "Mr. or Madame Chief Justice" or "Chief Justice"; Associate justices as "Justice Jones," or "Justice."
  • Mayors are styled "The Honorable [full name]" in writing, In municipalities (e.g., New York City and Chicago), mayors are addressed in conversation as "Your Honor" – this may be a vestige of the fact that the mayors (and some others) were also magistrates of the court system.
  • His/Her Excellency (oral address Excellency, Your Excellency) was once customarily used of governors of states, though this has given way to "The Honorable", the form used to address all elected official in the United States. "His/Her Excellency" has continued in the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Virginia and the states of South Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
  • Members of the House of Representatives are similarly styled in writing as "The Honorable [full name]." Orally they are traditionally addressed as "Mr./Ms. [name]," but as a practice are sometimes addressed as "Representative [name]" or "Congressman/Congresswoman [name]" when it is necessary or desirable to specify the member's status. Follow the preference of the individual official. Following precedence in Westminster style of Parliament, when writing their own names, especially on stationery and franks, Representatives have upon occasion followed their names with "M.C." (Member of Congress).[14] Senators similarly are addressed in writing as "The Honorable [full name]" and orally as "Senator Smith." Where Representatives may have used "M.C.", Senators have used "U.S.S." (United States Senator).[15] However neither form is currently used by members in Washington, DC. On the actual floor of the houses during debate, members commonly refer to one another as the gentleman/gentlewoman "from such-and-such a state" – "As my friend, the distinguished gentleman from Ohio, just said..." or "I yield three minutes to the gentleman from New York, Mr. Smith". In debate, senators sometimes refer to colleagues as the junior or senior senator from a state, as in "I disagree with my dear friend, the junior senator from Ohio...". Senators also commonly use "my friend from X" and "the distinguished senator from X".
  • While the term "Esquire", abbreviated "Esq." after the name (John Jones, Esq.), has no legal meaning in the U.S. and may be used by anyone (or at least, customarily, by any male), it is correctly used when addressing lawyers in correspondence as an indication of their profession. At least one American jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, limits the use of "Esquire" (and similar terms) to licensed attorneys.[16] Although some authorities previously urged that use of "Esq." should be restricted to male lawyers, today the term is used for both male and female attorneys. The academic post-nominal J.D. (Juris Doctor) may be used by graduates of law schools who are not members of the bar of any state or who are working outside the legal profession.
  • In academic fields, it is customary in the U.S. to refer to those holding any level of professorship (professor, assistant professor, associate professor, adjunct professor, etc.) as "Professor" – as in "Professor Jones" – orally or in writing. In writing, "professor" is often abbreviated as "Prof.", as in "Prof. Jones". Those holding academic doctorates are frequently referred to as "Dr. Jones."
  • Military personnel of any functionality (doctors, lawyers, engineers, cooks, fighter pilots, motor pool drivers. commanding officers, security guards .... officers and enlisted .... leaders and followers) are always addressed by rank + name; with the exception of chaplains, who are addressed as "Chaplain" and are addressed in writing with their rank in parentheses, e.g.: "Chaplain (Major) Jones". An exception to this is in the Navy, where in writing the rank is either not used, or is used before the person's name with the corps designator "CHC" indicating the officer is a chaplain put behind their name. e.g.: "LT George Burdell, CHC, USN." In the United States Navy there is an internal practice aboard ships that junior officers who are not in command may be addressed by their rank or as "Mister/Miss X" as in "Lieutenant Junior Grade Smith" or "Miss Smith". Junior officers are understood to be those of Lieutenant Commander and below. Senior officers (Commander and above) are addressed by their rank as in "Commander Smith" or "Admiral Smith". While officially this manner of address is supposed to be from a senior rank to a junior rank, i.e. Captain to Lieutenant, in practice it is not unknown for enlisted personnel to refer to junior officers as Mister as well. While commonly referred to by their rank, i.e. Seaman/Airman/Fireman/Petty Officer X or (Senior/Master) Chief X, in formal occasions, e.g. weddings, an enlisted man's full title is sometimes used, starting with their rating, then their rank, and their name, e.g. Electronics Technician Petty Officer Second Class X. When written, e.g. in formal invitations, the enlisted man's name is written as "Serviceman's name, USN/USMC/USA/USAF/USCG", without one's rank preceding their name, unlike commissioned officers.
  • Retired military personnel may continue to be addressed by their rank at the time of their retirement. Those who held 'brevet' ranks higher than their permanent rank (permanent Army officers who held temporary rank in volunteer regiments during the American Civil War) also held this honor; though all such individuals have now perished, this usage is often seen in historical or fictional sources placed in the 1865-1900 period.

Former styles

All former monarchies had styles, some, as in the Bourbon monarchy of France, extremely complicated depending on the status of the office or office-holder. Otto von Habsburg, who was Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary (1916–1918), had the style 'His Imperial and Royal Highness'. He was last addressed as such by church figures during the funeral of his late mother, Empress-Queen Zita of Austria-Hungary in 1989, although the use of these styles has been prohibited in Austria since 1920.[17]

For the styles of address to government officials in Imperial Russia, see Table of Ranks.

The names of some offices are also titles, which are retained by the office holder for life. For example, holders of titles of which there are many at the same time, such as ambassadors, senators, judges, and military officers who retire retain use of their hierarchical honorific for life. Holders of titles of which there is only one office holder at a time such as president, chief justice or speaker revert to their previous honorific when they leave office out of deference to the current office holder.

Other parallel symbols

Styles were often among the range of symbols that surrounded figures of high office. Everything from the manner of address to the behaviour of a person on meeting that personage was surrounded by traditional symbols. Monarchs were to be bowed to by men and curtsied to by women. Senior clergy, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church, were to have their rings (the symbol of their authority) kissed by lay persons while they were on bended knee, while cardinals in an act of homage at the papal coronation were meant to kiss the feet of the Supreme Pontiff, the Pope.

Many of these traditions have lapsed or been partially abandoned. At his inauguration as pope in 1978 (itself the abandonment of the traditional millennium-old papal coronation), Pope John Paul II himself kissed cardinals on the cheeks, rather than follow the traditional method of homage of having his feet kissed. Curtsies have for many years been no longer obligatory when meeting members of the British Royal Family; indeed some royal highnesses positively hate being curtsied to.[citation needed] One described the experience of a row of curtsying women, bobbing up and down, as leaving them 'sea-sick'.

Similarly, styles, though still used, are used less often. The former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, was usually referred to as President Mary McAleese, not President McAleese, as had been the form used for the first six presidents, from President Hyde to President Hillery. Tony Blair asked initially to be called Tony. In a break with tradition, though as the second in line to the throne and a son of a royal prince, Prince William of Wales formally has a HRH style, he chose while at university not to use it. The United States has become one of the most informal countries in the world[citation needed], with styles such as Excellency now largely abandoned or ignored, even by those who legally have them. First names, or even nicknames, are often widely used among politicians in the US, even in formal situations (as an extreme example, President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter chose to take the Oath of Office using his nickname). One notable exception involves judges: a judge of any court is almost invariably addressed as "Your Honor" while presiding over his or her court, and often at other times as well. This style has been removed in the Republic of Ireland, where judges are addressed only as "Judge".

However, styles are still widely used in formal documents and correspondence between heads of state, such as in a Letter of Credence accrediting an ambassador from one head of state to another.


The term self-styled roughly means awarding a style to oneself, often without adequate justification or authority, but the expression often refers to descriptions or titles (such as "aunt", "expert", "Doctor, or "King"), rather than true styles in the sense of this article. A common example is medical practitioners styling themselves "Doctor", although (usually) not holding a doctorate.

See also


1 Though the Republic of Ireland does not possess a Privy Council, the style is still used. The Lord Mayor of Dublin is still styled the Right Honourable, as previous lord mayors of Dublin were ex-officio members of the former Irish Privy Council until its abolition in 1922.


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  3. See Substantive title
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  5. "Why are surgeons in the UK called Mr...",
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  9. [1] Archived September 2, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  10. [2] Archived September 2, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
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  14. See, e.g., (scan of a Representative's frank).
  15. See, e.g., (scan of franked envelope from a U.S. Senator).
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External links

it:Titolo (persona)