Forms of Address

Part of the fun of a Living History Group is the usage of titles and forms of address from that period. The following list of only the most common titles within Warwick and is completed from research over several months time and is completed using such research. Many history reenactment groups use many different structures, and titles. If you are unsure what to call someone, use My Lord or My Lady, this is always acceptable for any rank above you except when addressing Royalty (Prince/Princess or King/Queen).

 

How to Address Nobility

 

Knight/Dame                        


In feudal times, a Knight or Dame (if female) was men-at-arms, foot soldiers, and archers. They admitted to a certain military rank with special ceremonies, including a code of chivalry, an oath to protect the distressed, maintain the right, and live a stainless life.

To be addressed as Sir; as, Sir John.  A female knight is to be addressed as Dame followed by first name (Dame Jennete), Dame followed by first and last name (Dame Jennete Charbonneaux), but never by just the last name (Dame Charbonneaux).  

 

Baron/Baroness  


A title or degree of nobility; originally, the possessor of a fief, who had feudal tenants under him.  A nobleman of the lowest grade in the House of Lords, being next below a viscount.

Normally one refers to or addresses Baron as Lord and his wife as Lady. In the case of women who hold baronies in their own right, they can be referred to as Baroness as well as Lady. In direct address, they can also be referred to as My Lord, Your Lordship, or Your Ladyship, but never as My Lady (except in the case of a female judge).

 

Viscount/Viscountess   (vEYE-count)(vEYE-count-ess)


A royal appointed office as sheriff of the county.

When addressing a viscount he should be referred to as Lord rather than Viscount. Ecclesiastical, ambassadorial and military ranks precede a viscount's rank in correspondence. For example, Major-General the Viscount. The wife of a viscount is a viscountess and is known as Lady. Never address her by her title viscountess.

 

Earl/Countess        


The rank of an earl corresponds to that of a count. Hence the wife of an earl is still called countess.  

An earl has the title Earl followed by place of holding (Earl of Warwick), or Earl Roberte Riche when the title comes from a surname. In either case, he is referred to as Lord, and his wife as Lady.

 

Marquis/Marchioness   (MAR-kwis)(MAR-shon-ess)


A nobleman in England, the marquis was an officer whose duty was to guard the marches or frontiers of the kingdom. The office has ceased, and the name is now a mere title conferred by patent.

Address a Marquis as Lord or Lord Marquis and address the Marchioness as Lady only.

 

Duke/Duchess     


A nobleman in England, one of the highest order of nobility, after princes and princesses of the royal blood and the four archbishops of England and Ireland.

Dukes and Duchesses may be addressed by their title Duke/Duchess or both may be addressed as Your Grace. When introducing a Duke to someone else, use the title His Grace the Duke of Cornwall and introduce the Duchess as Her Grace the Duchess of Cornwall.

 

Prince/Princess       


This is where Nobility gets complicated.  The one of highest rank; one holding the highest place and authority; a sovereign; a monarch; -- originally applied to either sex, but now rarely applied to a female. A title belonging to persons of high rank, differing in different countries. In England it belongs to dukes, marquises, and earls, but is given to members of the royal family only. In Italy a prince is inferior to a duke as a member of a particular order of nobility; in Spain he is always one of the royal families. 
The Prince or Princess is both referred to as Your Royal Highness.  Introduce them as His Royal Highness the Prince of Normandy or Her Royal Highness the Princess of Normandy.  When addressing the wife of a prince, she is addressed by
Princess and her first name (Princess Diane).   

 

King/Queen   


A chief ruler; a sovereign; one invested with supreme authority over a nation, country, or tribe, usually by hereditary succession; a monarch; a prince.

Kings and Queens are both addressed as Your Majesty.  Introduce them as His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen.