Friday, August 12, 2011

Question from Em - Forms of address for equal rank

How would two dukes address one another? Two kings? Two marquesses? Two earls? Two barons?


kb said...

Two dukes - 'Your Grace'
Two kings - 'Brother' 'Cousin' or rarely - 'your Majesty'
Two marquesses - 'My Lord'
Two earls or barons - 'My Lord'

If any earl, marquess or baron held another title of precedence that became his honorific. So for example Charles Howard, baron of Effingham was known as the Lord Admiral once he held that title. After he was created earl of Nottingham he was still Lord Admiral.

kb said...

Let me add that even duke to duke, my lord works. The same is true for 'my lady' which is appropriate for a baroness through, in some situations, queen.

Mary R said...

kb is right, of course, about the forms of address. I can't help but think that it must have been interesting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold to hear Henry VIII and Francis I (of France), who cordially detested one-another, addressing each other as "brother"! To make matters worse, Francis beat Henry in a wrestling match, and Henry considered himself to be the best wrestler in England (but then, who in England would have actually dared to beat him :)

Em, I hope you don't mind me tacking on another question to yours, but when did the practice of addressing kings and queens as "Your Grace" begin?

PhD Historian said...

Mary R, the use of "Your Grace" to address the monarch came before the use of "Your Majesty," as you probably know. I am not a specialist on forms of address, but I believe "Your Highness" (or its French equivalent) was used far more commonly than "Your Grace" in the period between the Conquest and the Tudor era. From my reading of documents from the period, I have the impression that "Highness" and "Grace" were used in much the same way that "Majesty" and "Ma'am" are used with the current queen: always "Highness" in the first instance, then either "Highness" or "Grace" thereafter. That form is seen often in documents from the Tudor period. The first line usually refers to "His (or Her) Highness Name, by the Grace of God King (or Queen)...", while later in the document it may say "His Grace, King Name".
"His/Your Majesty" became popular in England during the reign of Henry VIII, especially after he was proclaimed King of Ireland in 1541.