Forms of Address

Heralds are responsible for protocol. Part of its exercise may involve interactions between various entities who may utilize different titles and forms of address. Their observance is a way of displaying diplomatic respect.

Heads of State

King: Absolute sovereigns over large territories, kings are considered “the fount of law” and assign titles of peerage. Form of Address: “Your Majesty” and in full correspondence as “His Royal Majesty, Philip, King of Austria, Count of Anjou, etc, etc.” (All styles should be listed)

Emperor: A monarch who rules an empire. Form of Address: “Your Majesty” and in full correspondence “His Imperial Majesty, Basil, Emperor of Byzantium”.

Prince: While most kingdoms use the title of prince for children of the ruling family, some small monarchies called principalities have princes as their sovereigns. Form of Address: When a prince is a monarch, he should be referred to as “Your Majesty”, and in full correspondence as “His Majesty, Prince Victor of Monaco”. When a prince is a child of the monarch, he should be referred to as “Your Highness”, and in full correspondence as “His Royal Highness, Prince Eric”. If he is the Crown Prince, he will take as a style the next smallest holding that his father holds, for example, “Charles, Prince of Wales.”

Grand Duke: A grand duke is a monarch or sovereign of a place that is otherwise too small to be considered a kingdom. In such places, the Grand Duke is capable of creating smaller peerages like barons and counts to hold fiefs of him. Form of Address: A grand duke should be referred to as “Your Majesty” and in full correspondence as “His Majesty, Grand Duke Alberto of Tuscany”.

Royal Duke/Archduke: A royal duke is a prince – usually not the crown prince, who has been granted a duchy to hold as a fief by the monarch, his father. Because of the power of dukes, it is rare for a king to grant new duchies to anyone but his family members. Form of Address: A royal duke should be referred to as “Your Highness” and in full correspondence as “His Royal Highness, Phillip, Duke of York.”

Duke: The highest ranked position of peership or true nobility, but which nonetheless is not a king, and not capable of creating other peerships. Form of Address: “Your Grace” or in full correspondence as “His Grace, Manus, Duke of Wessex.”

Marquess/Margrave: A Marquess rules a “Marches” for his king and ranks next below a duke. Marches are usually border territories and therefore are the first to face invasion. Form of Address: “My Lord” or in full correspondence as “The Most Honorable the Marquess of Galadin”.

Count/Earl/Graf: A count rules a county or a shire. These are the larger sized fiefs a king will give within the main body of a kingdom (ie, not the borders and not super large like a duchy). Form of Address: “My Lord” or in full correspondence as “The Right Honorable the Earl of Kent”.

Baron: A baron rules a barony. These are the smaller sized fiefs a duke will give within the counties of a duchy. The size of a barony is roughly similar to the size of a viscounty, except the baron holds directly of the duke. Form of Address: “My Lord” or “The Right Honorable the Baron of Clyde”.

Dukes, marquesses, counts, and viscounts, are all “peers”, and barons, while not peers, are still “lords.” That means that they are all nobles, and in one sense they are equal as having titles granted by a king. In kingdoms that have Parliaments or Houses of Lords, each of them gets one vote, though the higher ranked lords have precedence in terms of speaking first and motions on the floor. The real difference between them lies squarely on the size and amounts of land they hold.

Peership: Prelates, Lords Spiritual, or Clergy

Cardinals: In a large organization like the Catholic Church, Cardinals are prelates who rank right below the Pope, but they are not part of kingdoms. Form of Address: “Your Eminence” and in full correspondence as “His Eminence, Cardinal Richelieu”.

Archbishops: Archbishops oversee several parishes or divisions of worshipers called “dioceses”, each of which is headed by a bishop. Sometimes a kingdom might have a couple of archbishops, and where they do, it is their duty to perform coronations and crown the king. Form of Address: “Your Grace” and in full correspondence as “The Most Reverend the Archbishop of Canterbury

Bishops: Bishops oversee large groups of worshipers within a given section of land called a diocese. A diocese may be contiguous with a secular territory like a duchy or a county, or a bishop may hold a large amount of land on his own in the name of the Church with no secular ruler. Bishops are considered “lords” and sit in Parliaments and have one vote the same as any duke or baron. Form of Address: “Your Excellency” and in full correspondence as “The Right Reverend the Bishop of Wessex.”

Other Peers:

Baron-at-Court: Sometimes a sovereign may appoint a person to the position of baron without also offering a fief of land. Such barons may qualify for election to the House Comitates. Form of Address: “My Lord” or “The Right Honorable the Baron Robert”.

Viscount: A viscount means “vice count”. While these are peers, they often do not hold the land of a county, but only aid the count in his administration of those lands. Often, a king or duke will grant the title of “viscount” to the knight with the largest fief granted of a count’s ( or duke’s ) land. Form of Address: “My Lord” or “The Right Honorable the Viscount of Kent

Gentry: Non-Peerage 

Knights: A knight can hold a small fief from a king or any peer. Form of Address: “Yes Sir”. Place the prefix “Sir” or “Dame” before any knight’s name, and an abbreviated suffix to indicate the type of knight he or she is, for example: “Kt.” – Knight of Valyria. “KB” – Knight Bachelor. Such that in full correspondence we have “Sir Thirlan, Knight Bachelor”, or “Sir Rybo Toutgard of Erthrenwele”.

When orders of knighthood appear later, they will have their own abbreviatons for the suffixes.

Baronets: As for knights, except with the suffix “Bt.” at the end.

Esquire: Knights in training, possibly only newly elevated to the aristocracy, or country estate holders who lead hamlets or villages. Form of Address: “Sir” and in formal correspondence as “Mister Donovan Whiteside, Esquire”.

Other Courtesy Addresses:

Other Lords: Remember that the spouse of a peer or the younger children of a peer are also entitled to be addressed “My Lord”, but without any territorial name, as in “Lord Aeneas”. They also do not sit in any Parliaments.

Ambassadors, envoys: When receiving dignitaries from foreign nations, it is proper to use the address “Your Excellency” and the full correspondence as “His Excellency, Ambassador Tristan Green from Turdain.”

Cabinet members: It is common courtesy to address the non-Gentry within a ducal or comital cabinet with “Mister” in front of their name.

Royal Cabinet members: “The Right Honorable the Lord” and in person as “My Lord Chancellor

Lords Mayor: “The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of” and in person as “My Lord Mayor”