One frustrating, yet fascinating thing is how well the people did back then when it comes to remembering all those forms of address!
Your Grace, My Lord, Your Highness? How??
And because of their complicated hierarchy, we often end up confused ourselves. How often do we fall into the trap of introducing a Viscount by using the wrong title. Or a Duchess?
Sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out! And I bet that happens to you too 😀
So I thought I should create a more simplified list, which will make everything clear and help us avoid the endless hair pulling.
Ahem… Let’s start!
Dukes are a special case. And a loved one.
I’ll spare you the frustrating and unnecessary details, but a Duke is almost always addressed as “Your Grace” and never as “My Lord”. The only exception is when there’s a formal situation, where someone could call him “My Lord Duke” and it wouldn’t be considered a scandal!
He would be introduced as “His Grace, the Duke of (title here)” and not as just “the Duke of”!
So now let’s start introducing the relatives!
A Duke’s mother would be addressed as “Her Grace” and “Your Grace”. She would also be called “Madam”.
A Duke’s wife would be addressed exactly the same.
A Duke’s eldest son would be a Marquess, so he would be addressed as “My Lord”.
And a Duke’s youngest son would be addressed as “My Lord”.
Ooof! A bit of a pain, but I guess with some practice you’d remember.
And since he’s of the most “superior”, you better not mess it up! 😀
A Marquess is officially announced as “The Most Hon'ble, Marquess of (title)”. Unlike Dukes, they’re simply addressed as “My Lord”!
Now for the relatives:
A Marquesses’ wife, would be addressed as “Madam” and also as the “The Marchioness”.
A Marquesses’ mother would be addressed as “Madam” as well.
A Marquess’ eldest son would be an Earl and in turn, addressed as “My Lord”.
And a Marquess' youngest son would be addressed as “My Lord”.
Getting a bit easier now!
Just like Marquesses, an Earl is addressed as “My Lord” and is officially announced as “The Right Honble, The Earl of (title)”.
An Earl’s wife and daughter would be addressed as “Madam”.
An Earl’s eldest son would be addressed as “My Lord”.
And an Earl’s youngest son would be addressed as “Sir”.
For Viscounts, it’s exactly same as the Earls 😀
Always “My Lord” and never “Sir”!
A mother and a wife would be called “Madam”.
The eldest and youngest son would both be called “Sir” and “Dear Sir”.
Not much of a difference here. “My Lord”, just like the rest 🙂
As for the wife and daughter, it’s always “Madam”.
And eldest and youngest son are always “Sir” and “Dear Sir”!
One thing I couldn’t find much information on - but oh my, how I wish I had - is how people reacted when they used the wrong title!
Imagine someone calling a Duke “Sir”. How would it be received? What would they do? 😀
It’d be so interesting to find some real life examples of that. Not only does it sound terrified for the person on the receiving end, but also hilarious!
-Written by, Olivia Bennet