Home Page > Information for Heralds > Herald's Handbook > What Do I Call ...?
Policy Level: Informational
Intended Audience: Court heralds, general populace
Abstract: Introduction to titles and forms of address.
On this page we will discuss how to address people of various ranks. As we do so there are two forms we should make clear: Forms of Address means talking to someone (such as "Your Majesty, I wanted to discuss ..."), and how to Refer To someone (such as, "I was talking to His Majesty the other day ...). There are alternate titles available from the Laurel Sovereign of Arms website for those who prefer languages other than English: Alternate Language Titles.
King and Queen
First and foremost are the King and Queen of the West.
Forms of Address: Your Majesty, Your Royal Majesty, Your Majesties, My Liege (if you have sworn fealty). On very rare (at least in the West) occasions, the Crown will wish to be addressed by the period term Your Grace. It is discouraged, as it leads to confusion (see Dukes and Duchesses).
Refer To: Their Majesties, Their Royal Majesties, His Majesty, Her Majesty, or King (name) and Queen (name). If there have been two Kings of the same name, the second might be referred to as King (name) II, the same for the Queen. This last form of address is only for historical writing, as there is only one King on the throne at a time.
Crown Prince and Princess
The Heirs to the Thrones of the West are the Crown Prince and Princess.
Forms of Address: Your Royal Highness, Prince (name), Princess (name).
Refer To: Their Royal Highnesses, His Royal Highness (name), Her Royal Highness (name), Crown Prince (name), Crown Princess (name), Prince (name) or Princess (name).
Prince and Princess
At this time there are three Principalities in the West Kingdom -- The Mists, Cynagua, and Oertha.
Forms of Address: Your Highness, Your Highnesses, Prince (name), Princess (name), My Liege (if you have sworn fealty to Their Highnesses).
Refer To: Their Highnesses, Prince (name) or Princess (name).
In a case where the victor of the tournament was the Princess, the Prince may be called Prince Consort. In the case of same-sex royalty, then you would use, when referring to Them: Prince and Prince Consort or Princess and Princess Consort to difference the two, but when addressing Them, you can leave out the word "Consort", (i.e., Prince or Princess).
Heirs to the Principality Thrones
Each Principality of the West uses a different set of titles for their heirs. After a Coronet Tournament, and before Their Investiture the heirs are called:
THE ROYAL PEERS
Dukes and Duchesses
Dukes and Duchesses are those who have served as King and Queen at least twice.
Forms of Address: Your Grace, Your Graces, My Lord Duke, My Lady Duchess.
Refer To: His Grace, Her Grace, Their Graces (name) and (name), Duke (name) or Duchess (name).
Counts and Countesses
These are folk who have served as King and Queen once. The English alternate title Earl may be used instead of Count (as well as other alternate language titles -- see top of web page).
Forms of Address: Your Excellency, Your Excellencies, My Lord Count/Earl, My Lady Countess.
Refer To: His Excellency, Her Excellency, Their Excellencies (name) and (name), Count/Earl (name), Countess (name).
Note that those who have served as Queen (or Consort) are, in the West, automatically a member of the Order of the Rose (see below).
Viscount and Viscountess
A Viscount or Viscountess is a person who has served as Prince or Princess of a Principality at least once.
Forms of Address: Your Excellency, Your Excellencies, My Lord Viscount, My Lady Viscountess.
Refer To: His Excellency, Her Excellency, Their Excellencies (name) and (name), Viscount (name) or Viscountess (name).
The Orders of Peerage
There are four Orders of Peerage which are given by the Crown. These are the highest ranks within the Society a person may attain unless they become Royalty. These Orders are: The Order of Chivalry, The Order of the Laurel, The Order of the Pelican, and The Order of Defense. The Order of the Rose is another order of peerage which is given to all who have served as Queen (or Consort). Each of these orders has precedence equal with the others, and two people with different peerages are considered to be equals.
The Order of Chivalry
Members of this Order are either Knights or Masters of Arms, depending on whether or not they wished to swear fealty to the Thrones of the West at the time of their recognition. A male knight is referred to or addressed as Sir (name). A female knight may be referred to or addressed as in the same way as a male knight, or may take on the style of Dame (name) or Domina (name), or may choose to be addressed or referred to as Lady (name), Knight. This is a case of personal preference. Knights may also include after their name (for purposes of correspondence) the letters KSCA (standing for Knight of the Society for Creative Anachronism). Masters of Arms are addressed as or referred to as Master (name) or Mistress (name). They may use the letters MSCA (for Master of Arms in the Society for Creative Anachronism) after their name.
The Order of the Laurel
While the Order of Chivalry is given for excellence in the martial skills, the Laurel is given for excellence in the arts and/or sciences. Members of the order are addressed as or referred to as Master (name), Mistress (name) or Dame (name), and may (for purposes of correspondence) include the letters OL (for Order of the Laurel) after their name. (In some other Kingdoms, Companion of the Laurel (CL) is used instead of "OL".)
The Order of the Pelican
The Order of the Pelican is given for extraordinary service to the Kingdom, far and beyond that given by most members. Members of the Order are addressed as or referred to as Master (name), Mistress (name) or Dame (name), and for the purpose of correspondence include the letters OP for Order of the Pelican after their name. (In some other Kingdoms members of the Order use the abbreviation Pel. after their name in correspondence.)
The Order of Defense
Membership in the Order of Defense is given for excellence in the skills of Rapier or Cut and Thrust combat. Members of this order are addressed as or referred to as Master (name), Mistress (name) or Dame (name), and may include the letters MOD (for Master or Mistress of Defense) after their name.
The Order of the Rose
There is no special form of address or reference for members of this Order, as they are already members of the Royal Peerage and may be addressed by the titles given for those peerages. They may place the letters OR after their names if they wish.
OTHER TITLED RECOGNITIONS
Awards that Carry Grants of Arms
The following recognitions carry a Grant of Arms if the recipient of the award does not already have one, and give the right to the same form of address as a person with a Grant (see below):
Grants of Arms
A "plain" Grant of Arms may be given by Their Majesties for any reason(s) that They wish. This generally meant to be a high-level service recognition.
Forms of Address: Lord (name) or Lady (name).
Refer To: Lord (name) or Lady (name), or announced as The Honorable Lord/Lady (name).
Leaves of Achievement and the Western Lily
There are three “Leaves of Achievement” given within the Kingdom of the West, and the Order of the Western Lily, all considered to be equal:
Court Baron or Baroness
This recognition carries with it an Award of Arms if the person to whom it is granted is not already armigerous.
Forms of Address: Baron (name) or Baroness (name), Your Excellency, Your Excellencies.
Refer To: Baron (name) or Baroness (name), His Excellency, Her Excellency, Their Excellencies.
Those recognized in this manner may also use Baron of the Court of the West or Baroness of the Court of the West, which when added to their name may sound formal but has a nice ring to it. This would be used along these lines: Lord (name), Baron of the Court of the West or Lady (name), Baroness of the Court of the West. In place of Lord/Lady, someone may have other titles, such as if they have a peerage: Master (name), Baron of the Court of the West.
Other Awards that Carry an Award of Arms
The following recognitions also carry an Award of Arms if the recipient of the award is not armigerous:
Awards of Arms
An Award of Arms is the first level of “armigerous” award. (It confers the right to “bear arms”.) Holders of Awards of Arms are addressed as or referred to as Lord (name) or Lady (name). All recognitions “above” this (in this list, and in the “Order of Precedence”) are considered to be “Armigerous”.
Territorial Barons and Baronesses are the ceremonial heads of a Barony, and are the direct representatives of the King and/or Prince in their Baronies.
Forms of Address: Your Excellency, My Lord Baron, or My Lady Baroness.
Refer To: Lord (name), Baron of (branch name), Lady (name), Baron of (branch name), unless they are the founding (first) Baron/ess of the Barony, in which case the word ‘of’ is left out of the title, i.e., Lord (name), Baron (branch name).
There are many other recognitions which may be given in the West Kingdom, most have no titles, except for things like "Baronial Champion of ..." or whatever. These are typically temporary titles. The Queen's Champion only bears that title and responsibility for the duration of the reign of the Queen that named them such. The same goes for many other recognitions.
Remember, that no matter what rank someone may hold, it is ALWAYS acceptable to call them “My Lord” or “My Lady” (or “Milord” or “Milady”). If someone is wearing a coronet, you may assume it is okay to call them Your Excellency or similar titles.
It is considered bad form to "stack" titles: Duke, Count, Sir (name) is a bit pretentious ... it may be correct, but think about how it sounds.