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How to Address Important People

It would be very safe to address important people as just "Sir" or "Madam," however high their rank but it would show that you are a cultivated and wel-bred person if you were able easily and naturally to address them in the correct way. A person of lower rank does not make himself humble and ridiculous by using the correct form of address at least once or twice in a conversation. The person of higher rank will, however, be just as embarrassed as his inferior if the formal address is used too often.

Be natural, that is the great thing, and if you are not too sure of yourself, watch carefully how others more used to such company behave.

Here then are some of the correct forms of address in speaking to titled people: --

The King, The Queen: Your Majesty.
Member of the Royal Family: Your Royal Highness.
Duke, Duchess: Your Grace
Marquis, Earl, Viscount, Baron: My Lord, or Your Lordship.
Marchioness, Countess, Viscountess, Baroness: My Lady or Your Ladyship.
Baronet, Knight: Sir John, Sir William, etc (Using only his Christian name)
Wives of Baronets or Knights: My Lady, or Your Ladyship.

Hight Ranking Army, Navy or Royal Air Force officers will be addressed as Sir. Women officers in the corresponding Services should be addressed as Madam.

In the Church there are many high ranks which you are not likely to encounter in your ordinary life, but here they are: --

Archbishop: My Lord Archbishop, Your Grace.
The wife of an Archbishop does not enjoy her husband's title, and is simply addressed as Mrs. So-and-so.
Archdeacon: Venerable Sir.
Bishop: My Lord.
Cardinal: Your Eminence.

You are much more likely to meet the chief citizen of your town or city. So you must know how to address him:

Lord Mayor: My Lord, Your Lordship.
Mayor: Your Worship.

You may have to appear as a witness in a court of law where the Judge in wig and gown is addressed as "My Lord" and referred to as  "Your Lordship." In a County Court, however, the judge is simply addressed as "Your Honour." a Justice of the Peace (J.P.) in England, when he is on the bench as a magistrate should be addressed as "Your Worship."

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