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A style of office, or honorific, is a legal, official, or recognized title, in other words a term which by tradition or law precedes a reference to a person who holds a post, or which is used to refer to the political 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 bodie, higher-ranking judges and senior constitutional office holders. Leading religious figures also have styles.

Examples of styles

Law courts


  • 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 is 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 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 "His/Her Excellency" by non-US citizens outside the United States.


  • His All Holiness (abbreviation HAH), oral address Your All Holiness — the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
  • His Holiness (abbreviation HH), oral address Your Holiness, or Holy Father or Our Most Holy Lord ("Sanctissimus Dominus Noster") — the Coptic Orthodox Pope and the Roman Catholic Pope.
  • 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, and some other patriarchs of Christian Church.
  • His Holiness (abbreviation HH), oral address Your Holiness — the Dalai Lama and 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, oral address Your BeatitudeEastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic patriarchs and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych.
  • His Eminence (abbreviation "HE", oral address Your Eminence) — Eastern Orthodox metropolitans and archbishops who are not the First Hierarch of an autocephalous church; Roman Catholic cardinals and certain high lamas in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • His Excellency or The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Your ExcellencyRoman Catholic Archbishops and Bishops.
  • His Grace or The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address Your Grace) — Roman Catholic archbishops in Commonwealth countries; and Roman Catholic bishops in Irelandmarker
  • His Grace or The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt. Rev.), oral address Your Grace) — Eastern Orthodox bishops.
  • 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 Grace) — Anglican archbishops, primates, metropolitans and presiding bishops. Also moderators.
  • The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev.), oral address My Lord) — Church 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 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.) — 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 Father) — Catholic 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 Father) — Eastern Orthodox archpriests
  • The Very Reverend (abbreviation The Very Rev. , oral address Mr Dean or Mr Provost, as appropriate, or Very Reverend Sir) — Anglican Deans and Provosts of Cathedrals, the Deans of Westminster Abbeymarker and St George's Chapel, Windsormarker, and, for historical reasons, a few parish priests, such as the Dean of Bockingmarker. 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 Dean) — Deans 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 Monsignor) — Catholic Church protonotaries apostolic, honorary prelates, chaplains of his holiness
  • The Venerable (oral address Venerable Sir or Mr. Archdeacon) — Anglican Archdeacons
  • Venerable (abbreviation "Ven.", oral address "Venerable" or "Venerable ") — fully ordained Buddhist monks and nuns
  • 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, occasionally, 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
  • The Reverend Canon (abbreviation The Rev. Canon, oral address Canon) — Catholic and Anglican Canons
  • The Reverend Doctor (abbreviation The Rev. Dr., oral address Father or Doctor) — priests with a Doctorate
  • The Reverend Father (abbreviation The Rev. Fr., oral address Father) — Catholic (and many Anglican) priests
  • The Reverend Mother (abbreviation The Rev. Mo., oral address Mother) — Abbesses (also, some female Anglican priests)
  • The Reverend Mister (abbreviation The Rev. Mr., oral address Deacon) — Catholic 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 often Deacon) — Catholic permanent deacons
  • Mister (abbreviation Mr., oral address Mister) — Catholic Sulpician priests
  • Mister (abbreviation Mr., oral address often Mister) — Catholic seminarians and scholastics (members preparing for priesthood) of some religious orders (notably, Jesuits)
  • Brother (abbreviation Br., oral address Brother) — Catholic members of religious orders under vows (both monastic and non-monastic) who are not priests
  • Sister (oral address Sister) - Catholic members of religious orders under vows (both monastic and non-monastic) who are not abbesses
  • Grand Rabbi (oral address Rabbi;) - Hasidic rabbis, who are scions of a Hasidic Dynasty
  • Rabbi (oral address Rabbi; if holder of the appropriate degree, Doctor both in oral and written communication) - rabbis
  • Cantor (oral address Cantor; some cantors use The Reverend as style, as above) - Jewish cantors
  • Reverend (oral address Mister or Brother), Southern Baptist pastors


  • His/Her Imperial Majesty, (abbreviation HIM, oral address Your Imperial Majesty) — Emperors and Empresses. For example, formerly HIM The Shah of Iran.
  • 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 Catholic Majesty (abbreviation HCM, oral address Your Catholic Majesty) — the King of Spain (not usual).
  • 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) — King, Queen and Sultans. For example, the British and Commonwealth Realms' Head of State, HM Queen Elizabeth II.
  • His/Her Imperial Highness (abbreviation HIH, oral address Your Imperial Highness) — other members of an Imperial House.
  • His/Her Imperial and Royal Highness (abbreviation HI&RH, oral address Your Imperial and Royal Highness) — Archdukes of the Habsburg family, 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 i.e. 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
  • His/Her Illustrious Highness (abbreviation HIllH, oral address Your Illustrious Highness) — sovereign or mediatized Count and his family - this is a mistranslation too, from German Erlaucht; it should be correctly His/Her Illustriousness.
  • His/Her Highborn - counts, barons in several European countries, and also marquesses and viscounts in the Netherlands
  • His/Her Grace - peers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. And Dukes/Duchesses of the United Kingdom.
  • His/Her High Well-born - knights and untitled noble persons in several European countries, and also barons in the Netherlands
  • His/Her Excellency (abbreviation HE, oral address Your Excellency) — Governors-General and British Colonial Governors.

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;His/Her Illustrious Highness = German: Seine/Ihre Erlaucht; Italian: Sua Illustrissima; Spanish: Su Ilustrísima


  • His/Her Excellency (abbreviation HE, oral address Your Excellency) —Presidents of Republics
  • The President of the United States is directly addressed as 'Mr President' and introduced as 'The President of the United States'.
  • The custom in Francemarker, Irelandmarker, and the Czech Republicmarker is to call office holders acting within their official capacity "M" (Monsieur) or "Mme" (Madame) followed by the name of their offices. Thus, the President of the said Republics are called "M le President" or "M le President de la République" if a male, "Madame..." if a female; this may occasionally lead to situations when there are presidents of various bodies. Styles such as "excellency" or similar are not used, except for talking about foreign dignitaries. In some countries, "Citizen" may be used instead of Mister or Miss.
  • In Italymarker, members of the parliament are usually styled honourable. The style was originally introduced in the Kingdom of Italy because being a member of the parliament was an honorary post, i.e. with no indemnity. This style is still commonly used today, even though they are now paid.


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
  • Highly Learned Sir (Hochgelehrter Herr Professor) - a professor
  • Very Learned Sir (Sehr gelehrter Herr Doktor) - a doctor
  • Well Learned Sir (Wohlgelehrter Herr Magister) - a master
  • Learned Sir (Gelehrter Herr) - a bachelor or candidate (student after the first pre-examen)

Traditional forms of address at Dutch-speaking universities:
  • His/Her great honour (De edelgrootachtbare heer/vrouwe) - rector magnificus (president) of a university
  • The highly learned Sir/Madam (De hooggeleerde heer/vrouwe) - professor or dean of a faculty
  • The well (noble) very learned Sir/Madam (De weledelzeergeleerde heer/vrouwe) - a doctor
  • The well (noble) learned Sir/Madam (De weledelgeleerde heer/vrouwe) - a doctorandus, a Master of Science
  • The well (noble) strictly Sir/Madam (De weledelgestrenge heer/vrouwe) - a (meester) master in laws or a university engineer

Traditional forms of address at Italian-speaking universities:
  • Magnificent Rector (magnifico rettore)- rector (president,chancellor) of a university
  • Very bright professor (chiarissimo professore)- a professor


  • Doctor - doctors, general practitioners
  • Mister/Ms. - surgeons (UK) after completion of MRCS

Commonwealth countries

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
  • His/Her Excellency - Governor-General and their spouse and all state Governors (but not their wives/husbands)
  • The Honourable - Justices of the High Court of Australiamarker, 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.


New Zealand

  • Partial source: [23952]
  • His/Her Majesty — King/ Queen of New Zealand
  • His/Her Excellency — the current Governor-General (and the wife of a male Governor-General).
  • The Right Honourable — members of the Privy Council.
  • The Honourable — Ministers of the Crown, the parliamentary Speaker, judges of High Court–level or higher and former Governors-General. The title is usually retained for life but this is not automatic (except for Governors-General). If the individual is a member of the Privy Council Right Honourable is used instead.
  • His/Her Honour — judges of district courts
  • His/Her Worship — mayors of territorial authorities and Justices of the Peace.

United Kingdom

:Main article Forms of Address in the United Kingdom
  • 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/Cabinet
  • The Right Honourable and Learned — as the previous explanation, but if the holder is also a Queen's Counsel
  • The Right Honourable and Gallant — as the previous explanation, but if the holder is also a serving military officer
  • 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

Styles can be acquired through marriage, though traditionally this applies more to wives of office-holders than to husbands. Thus, in the United Kingdommarker, The Princess Royal, is styled Her Royal Highness (HRH), her husband, Timothy Laurence, has no style and there would have to be a special arrangement to give him one. 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 and styles unless there is special dispensation from the Monarch themself to give the son and their dependents special courtesy titles i.e. that of Viscount Severn for HRH The Earl of Wessex's son, Prince James; as the British Monarchy 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 Sophie, 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 courtesy title on behalf of her husband's Duchy of Cornwall, and is known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall' although she is legally 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; also there may have been a special ruling from The Queen allowing for Diana, Princess of Wales to be known as The Dowager Princess of Wales if and when Charles, Prince of Wales remarried as he later did. As a result, from the moment of her divorce until her death in 1997, Diana ceased to hold any royal style, though out of courtesy or ignorance many people still applied the style 'HRH' to her. 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 King George VI when she married his older brother, the former King Edward VIII, by then known as HRH The Duke of Windsor. There was no precedence for a divorcee 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, undermining its status as she would still be known as The Duchess of Windsor irrespective of her divorce from HRH Prince Edward, The Duke of Windsor.


  • His/Her Illustrious Excellency- The President of the Philippines. This is a throwback to Spanish colonial practice when the Royal Governor General of the Philippines used the same title. The full title of the current Philippine President is "Her Illustrious Excellency, The Right Honourable President for the Republic of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo".
  • His/Her Excellency- Governors of Philippine Provinces. The full title of a Philippine Governor is "His/Her Excellency, The Honourable the Governor for the Province of X".
  • His/Her Honour- Vice Governors of Provinces. The full title of a Philippine Vice Governor is "His/Her Honour, The Honourable the Vice Governor for the Province of X".
  • Sir/Madame- The Presidential or Gubernatorial Consort has no constitutional title, but it is common custom to address the Consort with these titles. The titles "Don" and "Doña" are used occasionally.

United States

Current and former elected federal and state officials and judges in the U.S. are styled "The Honorable" in writing, i.e. ("The Honorable Michael Bloomberg, 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) along the lines of a British peer ("Senator Jones", "Commissioner Smith"). Continued use of a title depends on the office: Offices of which there is only one at a time (e.g., President, Mayor, or Speaker) are only used by the current office holder; titles for offices of which there are many concurrent office holders (e.g., Ambassador, Senator, or Captain) are retained for life.
  • Judges are addressed orally 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."
  • In some municipalities (e.g., New York City and Chicago), mayors are addressed as "Your Honor" -- this may be a vestige of the fact that the mayor of New York City (and some others) were also magistrates of the court system.
  • His/Her Excellency (oral address Excellency, Your Excellency) was customarily used of governors of states in general, though this has given way to the generic "The Honorable" except in such states as the Commonwealth of Massachusettsmarker, and of the states of South Carolinamarker, and New Hampshiremarker which retain the older form.
  • 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 many prefer to be addressed as "Representative [name]" or "Congressman/Congresswoman [name]". Senators similarly are addressed in writing as "The Honorable [full name]" and orally as "Senator Smith." 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".
  • Though it has no legal meaning in the U.S. and may, in theory, be used by anyone (or at least, customarily, by any male), the term "esquire," abbreviated "Esq." after the name (John Jones, Esq.) is used almost exclusively by lawyers and may generally be regarded on business cards or stationery as an indication that the person is a member of the bar. Although some authorities previously urged that use of "Esq." should be restricted to male lawyers, today the term is used in addressing both male and female attorneys. Many attorneys use an academic post-nominal JD (doctor of jurisprudence) rather than Esq.
  • In academic fields, it is customary in the U.S. to refer to those holding any level of professorship (professor, assistant professor, associate professor, etc.) as "Professor Jones" orally or in writing. In writing, "professor" is often abbreviated as "Prof.", as in "Prof. Jones". Academics are frequently referred to as "Dr. Jones" when they hold a doctorate.


In the Republic of Irelandmarker, 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' ( , / A Soilse ) and addressed 'Your Excellency' (Irish: A Shoilse), or simply 'President' (Irish: A Uachtaráin ). The titles 'Minister' and 'Senator' are used as forms of address; only the latter as a style. A TD 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.

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.

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

The names of some offices are also titles, which are retained by the office holder for life. For example, former president Bill Clinton is still called 'President Clinton'. The same is true in Finland: e.g. the President of the Republic from 1994 to 2000, Martti Ahtisaari, retains the title "President", and is called "President Ahtisaari".

Styles and titles of deposed monarchs

General tradition indicates that where a monarch has been deposed but has not abdicated, they retain the use of their style and title for the duration of their lifetime, 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, King 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. The current Hellenic Republic has long challenged King Constantine's right to use his title; in 1981, the then Greek President Constantine Karamanlis declined to attend the wedding of the Prince of Wales when it was revealed that Greece's deposed monarch, a friend of the Prince, had been referred to as 'King' in his invitation. However, King Constantine now travels in and out of Greece without any problems, on a Danish royal passport (as "King Constantine of Greece"), and has done so several times in the past few years. Because of the Schengen agreements the Greek government cannot refuse him entry.

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. 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 current President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, is 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 , 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 Irelandmarker, 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. However, often people style themselves with titles, rather than true styles.


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.

See also


  1. style: meaning and definitions., Style.
  5. Governor-General of Australia Retrieved: 2009-02-04
2. Austrian law on noble titles

External links

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