Forms of Address

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Generally

Gentlefolk are generally addressed by the title of their highest rank. Titles should not be "stacked" -- that is, you shouldn't use multiple titles when referring to a single person.

GOOD: "There goes Sir Joe, Baron of BigCity."
BAD: "There goes Baron Sir Joe."

When a person is entitled to use more than one title, allow the circumstances to dictate which one gets used. If Sir Joe is also a member of the Order of the Laurel ("Master"), Baron of BigCity, and has been King once ("Count"), he could legitimately be called any one of the following:

  • Sir Joe (on the fighting field)
  • Master Joe (while teaching)
  • Count Joe (when being announced into Court)
  • Baron Joe (when in his barony, or while holding baronial court)
  • Sir Joe, Master of the Order of the Laurel, Baron of BigCity, Count of An Tir
  • Count Joe, Knight of the Order of Chivalry
  • etc

Squires and Sergeants

The terms sergeant, squire, protégé, apprentice, arcuarius, sergeant, courtier, yeoman and gallant describe various flavours of fealty relationships. These terms are not titles and it's not appropriate to use them before a name.

If you want to mention that someone is a squire/protégé/apprentice or sergeant/courtier/yeoman/gallant you should say who they are in fealty to.

GOOD: "Joe Cannonfodder, squire to Duke Hammerhand"
BAD: "squire Joe Cannonfodder"

GOOD: "Lord Joe Cannonfodder, sergeant to Baroness Esmeralda of Thisland"
BAD: "sergeant Froderich Fronkensteen"

How can anyone know to tell His Grace Duke Hammerhand of the deeds of courtesy his squire has performed if they don't know who Cannonfodder is squired to?

No awards

Any gentle of any rank in the Society may be properly addressed as "my lord/milord" or "my lady/milady". This is especially useful if you don't know their rank. No gentle who bears awards or honours of any type should ever chastise another for using this form of address; better by far to explain the correct form of address, either for themself or a third party.

Examples:

  • "Good day, milord."
  • "My lady, you've dropped your handkerchief."
  • "Milady Mary, come quick!"
  • "My lord Joe is waterbearing."

Can sometimes be combined with someone's office or position:

  • "Milord Cook, your feast was marvellous!"
  • "Milady Herald, the King calls for you."

Award of Arms

Entitles the recipient to style him or herself "Lord" (note capital) or "Lady." They are properly addressed as "Lord (name)" or "Lady (name)." See also: Award of Arms

Examples:

  • "Lord Joe made his own armor."
  • "Would you ask Lady Mary if she has a large wooden spoon we can borrow?"

Grant of Arms

Title: The holders of Grants of Arms may style themselves Lord or Lady, or in some areas, The Honourable Lord or The Honourable Lady. They may be addressed as Your Lordship or Your Ladyship. When referring to a person who has a Grant of Arms, you should use Lord/the Honourable Lord or Lady/the Honourable Lady instead of His/Her Lord/Ladyship. See also: Grant of Arms

Examples:

  • The Honourable Lord Joe is our new shire Chirurgeon.
  • Here comes (optional: the Honourable) Lady Mary with a chest full of books. (to Mary) May I assist Your Ladyship?
  • Would Your Ladyship care to dance?

Some other kingdoms apparently use The Honourable Joe or The Honourable Mary (without the Lord/Lady), but this does not appear to be the case in An Tir. Some research by Ursula Georges did find historical examples of this, in written form: The OED tells me that Shakespeare's Venus & Adonis was dedicated, To the Right Honorable Henrie Wriothesley, Earle of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield. (source not provided)

The abbreviation HL is often used incorrectly as part of a signature: "HL Betty Boop". The correct form would be "The Honourable Lady Betty Boop".

Barons and Baronesses

Barons and Baronesses come in two flavours: Court and Landed. Court Baronies are an honour granted by the Crown, while Landed Baronies represent and are responsible for a Barony.

Both may use the title "Baron" or "Baroness" in front of their names. When you talk to them directly, they may be addressed as "Your Excellency". When you talk about them, they may be called "Baron Joe/Baroness Mary" or "His/Her Excellency".

Landed Barons and Baronesses: (Baron/ess of a barony) may also properly be addressed and referred to as "Baron/ess of [branch name]".

See also Baron

Patent of Arms

The holders of Patents of Arms are considered Peers. They may be subdivided into two categories: Royal Peers, which are those gentles who have held royal rank at least once, and Peers of the Society, who are members of one of the four Great Orders.

The titles involved can be many and varied. When in doubt, don't forget that "My lord" and "My lady" are perfectly acceptable titles for anyone.

Royal Peers

Royal Peers are those who:

  • Have reigned at least once as Prince or Princess of a Principality. Their title is Viscount/Viscountess, and they are addressed as "Your Excellency".
    • Example: "Your Excellency, this is Lord Ken. Lord Ken, this is Viscountess Mary."
    • Example: "Get in armour, quick! Viscount Joe is holding the field against all comers!"
  • Have reigned once as King or Queen of a Kingdom. They are called Count/Countess and are addressed as "Your Excellency".
    • Example: "Your Excellency, the meeting is starting. (to page) Tom, would you carry Countess Mary's chair to the meeting please?"
    • Example: "Count Joe is teaching needlepoint this afternoon. (to Count Joe) Your Excellency, would there room for one more in your class?"
  • Have reigned twice or more as King or Queen of a Kingdom. They are called Duke/Duchess and are addressed as "Your Grace".
    • Example: "One lump or two, Your Grace? (to server) Please take this tea to Duke Joe."
    • Example: "According to the roster, it's Duchess Mary's turn to do the dishes. (to Duchess Mary) Your Grace, the water is almost hot."

There are also ethnic variations for these titles: List of Alternate Titles for SCA Use

An old SCA joke:

What do you call someone who's been king once? A Count
What do you call someone who's been king twice? A Duke
What do you call someone who's been king three or more times? A slow learner

Peers of the Society

Peers of the Society are members of:

"Dame" is a common alternative to "Mistress".

There are also ethnic variations for these titles: List of Alternate Titles for SCA Use

Royalty

Royalty of the Society are either:

  • The reigning King and Queen. They are referred to as "The Crown", "The Sovereign and Consort" or "The King and Queen". Note that The Sovereign is the person who won Crown Tourney, and may be either the King or the Queen. They are addressed together as "Their Royal Majesties", or individually as "Your Royal Majesty". Sometimes just "Your Majesty" is used less formally. "Their Royal Majesties" is often abbreviated in writing as "TRM".
  • The heirs to the throne, the Crown Prince and Princess. They are referred to as "The Coronet", "Their Highnesses" (singly "Your Highness") or "Their Royal Highnesses" (singly "Your Highness").
  • The reigning Prince and Princess of a principality. They are referred to as "Their Highnesses" (singly "Your Highness").
  • The heirs to the principality thrones/coronet. They are addressed as "Your Excellencies" (singly "Your Excellency"), and in An Tir are known as the Tanist and ban-Tanist, or Tanist and Tanista, depending on the principality.

Note that sometimes regional descriptors are used when referring to royalty, to uniquely identify them when confusion might otherwise arise. For example, the Prince and Princess of the Summits are known as "Their Alpine Highnesses". A King of Ealdormere would be "Your Lupine Majesty". In An Tir, "The Sable Lion Thrones" is sometimes used to refer to the crown in the third person. Ciaran AEstel reported that "Some past scroll texts refer The Sable Lion and Lioness, but we haven't generally used regional descriptors for the Kingdom."

On other Kingdoms, it is sometimes a custom for those who have sworn fealty to The Crown to use "My Liege" in place of "Your Royal Majesty", but this does not seem to be a custom of An Tir.

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