Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do
Forms of Address
Ælflæd of Duckford
This article was written for the local newsletter, and I'm leaving the local
examples in just to preserve it as-is.
For the benefit of the many new members in al-Barran, here is a review
of forms of address, with some real-life examples. As you read, know that
some people have achieved two or more ranks, and may just prefer a title
other than the "highest" one they have. Some use one for one occasion
and other for another. Don't double up on them, though—don't say "Master
Sir Raymond" nor ever "Duke Sir Artan" and never "Countess Mistress Kathryn."
Pick one at a time.
Beginning at the top, as a demonstration of precedence order:
King and Queen Your Majesty or Your Royal Majesty
Under some formal circumstances (for example, a knight in fealty giving a speech)
"my Lord" or "My Liege" might be appropriate.  My Lady Queen, by a
liegeman, can be pretty.
Crown Prince/Crown Princess Your Royal Highness or Your Highness
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess are only in season between Crown Tournament
and Coronation. When the Outlands was a principality within Atenveldt,
plain "your highness" was for the prince of the Outlands, and the crown
prince of Atenveldt was always "your royal highness" as a means of differentiation.
Duke/Duchess Your Grace
These may be wearing coronets with strawberry leaves. If you don't recognize
the strawberry leaves and accidently call one "Your Excellency," he won't
be offended unless maybe you do it three or four times and you've known
him for a while and were at the ceremony when he was made a duke. Locally
active there are Their Graces, Duke Koris and Duchess Leah Kasmira, Herzog
Johann von Hohen Staffen [who prefers the equivalent "Herzog" to "Duke"],
Duke Artan, Duke Johann von Balduinseck , and sometimes Duke Einrich.
Each has completed two reigns as King or Queen.
Here begins the "all other" category—all "Excellencies." Coronets will
range from plain bands to gaudy big crenolated jobs. If you accidently
call one "grace" or highness" they will (ideally) correct you politely.
(Or they may be afraid of embarrassing you, and just let it go by.) 
Count / Countess Your Excellency / Countess Kathryn
Viscount / Viscountess Your Excellency / Viscount Eldr / Viscountess Beau
Baron / Baroness Your Excellency / Sir Stefan 
Court Baron / Baroness Your Excellency / Baroness Elisheva / Baron Tadashi
Counts and Countesses have been king or queen once. "Jarl" is an equivalent
title which Gunwaldt and Heinrich both prefer. Others in the barony are
Layla, Kathryn, AElflaed, and sometimes Myrby.
Viscounts and Viscountesses were Prince or Princess of a principality,
probably the Outlands. Some of those in town who served as prince/ess
have been given higher titles since, but Eldr, Michael die Zauberzunge,
Keridwen, Beau Marishka or Stefan could be referred to that way, as could
Wielhelm of the Bogs, and, when they visit again, Irminsul and Robin of
A territorial Baron or Baroness gets the "baron" before
the name of the group, not before his or her given name. Stefan is "Viscount
Stefan, Baron of al-Barran," or "Sir Stefan," or "Your Excellency," but
not "Baron Stefan" and never "Baron."  If he were to resign and be
made a court baron, then he'd be Baron Stefan, but until that time, "Baron
Stefan" isn't correct. Sir Raymond of Sternedell was the founding baron
(the very first) of al-Barran, and he was at that time Sir Raymond the
Baron al-Barran (no "of"). He's still "the Baron al-Barran" and evermore
shall be. Nobody else ever gets that—every subsequent baron or baroness
has to use "of al-Barran." They're all excellencies, though.
Court Barons and Baronesses don't really go here in precedence,
as that title doesn't carry any precedence in and of itself, but since
they're addressed as Excellency here it is. This is a title given by the
Crown to a person who is somehow special and unique, and with the title
comes the privilege of wearing a coronet and being addressed as "excellency"
(and an awards of arms if the person doesn't already have one, or perhaps
a grant if the Crown prefers). They are not territorial barons, in that
they have no territory. They are more like honorary barons. In al-Barran
we have Baroness Kathryn of Iveragh (who has outranked herself by becoming
a Countess, and who often uses Mistress Kathryn anyway), Baroness Elisheva,
Baron Tadashi and Baron Mark Lasie. 
Here Endeth the Excellency Section
Patent of Arms
[If you don't know their names but you can see the insignia of the order: ]
Sir Knight, good Mistress, my lord, my lady
[If you do know their names:]
Sir Bertrand, Master Gunwaldt, Mistress Elinor
This group is commonly referred to as "the peerage" although royal peers are
also peers. In this list I'm referring to them as "patents of arms" (to
match grants and awards below) even though many of those above this level
also have patents of arms. The precedence of these orders is due to their
having patents of arms.
Knights and Masters of Arms are part of the same group, the Chivalry. Sometimes
it's referred to as the two orders of chivalry, and sometimes as "the
order of chivalry."  (The latter is better, clearer, more like the
way things operate.) You'll sometimes hear "masters at arms" which is
not right; it's masters of arms. The "at" probably came from people's
vague memories of Sergeant at Arms from Robert's Rules of Order. Knights
are referred to as "Sir So-and-so" and Masters (locally only Gunwaldt
these days) as "Master So-and-so." Long ago the SCA established that female
knights could use "Dame" as is done nowadays in England, but all the female
knights around here (meaning Atenveldt, as the Outlands has none at the
moment) have always just used "Sir." Members of the Orders of the Laurel
and the Pelican are referred to as "Master-" or "Mistress So-and-so."
There is no special other address such as nobility or grants of arms have.
Don't combine more than one. A double peer (meaning a member of more than
one order) isn't Master Sir or Master Master or Sir Master. Yuck. Ptoooee.
Grant of Arms Your Lordship / Your Ladyship / My Lord / My Lady
Lady Merlina and Lady Elinor du Ponte have Grants of Arms, and here are some
ways they can be addressed and referred to. "Lady Elinor" is still correct,
as would be "Her Ladyship, Elinor" (note the comma, which represents a pause
or downward inflection in speech). To address Merlina (to her face) I could
say "My Lady" or "Your Ladyship." In introducing her in court or addressing
her in a letter, I could say "The Honorable Lady Merlina," or "Unto Her
Ladyship, Merlina Gitano del Sacre Monte." Don't mix and match this stuff or
it gets messy. "Your Honorable Ladyship" is too much.
Award of Arms my Lord / my Lady / Lord Vagn / Lady Susan
An award of arms gives a person his or her first title. It is given by the
Crown directly, or through the Baron and Baroness as their agents, or
sometimes by the Baron and Baroness on the Crown's authority (there's a
slight difference in the last two, but it's ultimately an award from the
Crown in any case). Rather than being just "Joe-Bob," one becomes "Lord
no award of arms m'lord / m'lady / m'lady Elspeth / Elspeth
A person without a formal title is often addressed as "m'lord" anyway, but it
is, literally, not as pronounced, and in print (or calligraphy) is shown as
above-contracted and uncapitalized. This is the form used when one is unsure
of rank or title as well. Many a duke, when putting up his tent in his
mundanes, is addressed by those who don't recognize him as "m'lord." If
anyone says that to you and you have no title, it requires no correction
Combinations There are fancy, tricky ways to combine
titles for those occasions when you may, for one reason or another, want
to "lay it on thick." For example, in heralding a tournament, you could
say "His Excellency, Master Gunwaldt." That gives the information that
he's a member of an order of peerage and also a noble or royal peer. Even
more detailed information is given by "His Grace, Sir Johann"—we know
he's a duke and a knight. "Duke Artan, Knight of the Society for Creative
Anachronism" is a way it's often done in processionals. In more informal
introductions you might hear something like "Mistress Kathryn was the
second queen of the Outlands, and is a Laurel and a Pelican." It's not
the most formal way to present that she's a countess and a double peer,
but it's common and useful. 
Note for 6/6/96 printout: Some of this information is outdated, as to
the rank and office of individuals, but the principles are still sound.
Note for 11/24/06 html touch-up: Most is outdated; some of the individuals are deceased. Historical documents become more historical all the time. —aelflaED
 It's hard for some people to understand, but in some circumstances
"My Lord" is the highest and most formal way a king could be
addressed by one of his own liegemen. A knight can say "thank you,
m'lord" to someone who has just helped him set up the lists field,
and then kneel in front of the king and say, "My lord, the field
is prepared." It's kind of like the difference between an army corporal
saying "yes sir" politely to a parking lot attendant and then
saying "yes, Sir" to the president or to a general. The difference
is that in the more formal situation it's said with feeling, with meaning.
It needs to be accompanied by the proper gestures and facial expressions,
and it's in awareness of things like this that we can begin to become
our medieval selves. Without making conscious decisions about how and
why to address people, we're just repeating phrases as from a script.
 Different kingdoms have different traditions concerning this, I believe.
 He moved back to the Citadel of the Southern Pass (El Paso) soon
after this article was written.
 Or they might get off on being thought to be of a higher rank than
they are. I've heard twice of people with coronets which were perhaps
a little too ostentatious for most people's tastes, who went to out-of-kingdom
events and were called "Highness" or "Majesty" and
never tried to correct a single person. Hmm ...
 This one is tricky, study the explanation.
 In this case probably the Outlands, and if you're reading in another
principality I assume you're thinking your own names and situations in
 Calling someone "Baron" as though it's a name or form of
address isn't good. It would be the same as to call His Majesty "Hey,
King" or "Yo, King." You could say "My Lord Baron"
to get his attention, or "Your Excellency" but never "Baron."
 Mark advised me on this article. I knew he was going to be a baron
before the end of the month, but this came out before. His name's added
to complete the set.
 Informally, as "the belts."
 I didn't put this in the local article, but there are two other
terms besides "double peer." One is triple peer (a knight/laurel/pelican
combo) and the other is "Pelaurel"—a combination laurel and
pelican. I've heard "Pelaurel" used by Caidans more than anyone
else, and I'm not sure how widespread the term is.
All articles from the ETIQUETTE section:
Considerations · Etiquette
Royalty · Being an Officer · Seneschal · Heraldry and Heralding ·
Arts and Sciences · Chronicler · Treasurer · Chirurgeons · Autocrat · Welcoming Newcomers · Peerage · Language Use · Last-But-Not-Least Ideas
Contents and Search · Preface and credits