Forms of address
Posted by Molly on June 29, 1998 at 23:31:15:
In response to Knights & titles, written by Laura W on June 27, 1998 at 19:49:24
I did a bit of research about this years ago when starting to write a Regency novel (now in revision), because I was always annoyed when I read a book in which the author was sloppy about titles, so I can at least explain the basics. I imagine most of this is on Laura's page, which I intend to visit when I am through, but for those in a hurry, here's my take:
and addressed as such.
and addressed as such, but this "title" is inherited.
but almost never referred to as such; one sees them almost always as Lord , like Byron. To his face he is called "my lord", and he is referred to as "his lordship".
and sometimes even referred to that way; he can also be Lord , and the same form of address applies to him as to a Baron.
, sometimes Lord , and addressed in the same manner as Viscounts and Barons (there is a pattern to this...).
, etc. etc. I never did find out why there are two words for this, but one seems to be an archaic or foreign holdover (like Count, but more common).
, almost never Lord , but it does happen occasionally. He is addressed "your Grace" and referred to as "his Grace" in the same manner as medieval kings and bishops.
Every title but the primary one is a courtesy title. Earls, Marquises, and Dukes usually have secondary titles, and the most prominent of these is applied to the heir, thusly: In Georgette Heyer's marvelous "Devil's Cub", the Duke of Avon has a son, who is Marquis of Vidal in his father's place. This doesn't seem to imply any temporal power, since in any noble line there is only ever *one* actual nobleman at a time, for what must once have been philosophical reasons, I suppose.... :)
Viscounts' and Barons' heirs do not have courtesy titles as such. They and all other sons and daughters get to put Honourable before their names. This is also true of younger sons of Earls. Younger sons of Marquises and Dukes are allowed to put Lord before their names.
All daughters of Earls, Marquises, and Dukes have Lady affixed before their names, and can keep that distinction even when they marry (viz. the case of Lord Peter Wimsey's sister Mary, who marries a commoner but is referred to afterward as Lady Mary Parker; N.B. Lord Peter is the second son of a duke). These women are called "my lady" and referred to as "her ladyship".
Wives: The wife of a titled man is Lady
. The wife of a lord who is a younger son becomes Lady (as happens to Harriet Vane, who becomes Lady Peter). The wife of a duke is the Duchess of , is usually "her Grace of " and "your Grace" to her face. The wife of a Marquis is a Marchioness, the wife of an Earl is a Countess, the wife of a Viscount is a Viscountess, and the wife of a Baron is a Baroness. When her husband dies she becomes the Dowager, no matter how old she is. (I suppose this is better than being a relict, but not much.) The wife of a Knight or a Baron is Lady , and I don't believe she ever becomes a dowager...
N.B. Since Baronet is not a title as such, his children are not Honourable.
There. I hope this is reasonably lucid and doesn't stir up too much confusion!
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