Royalty, vice-royalty and nobility

Royalty and representatives of the royal family should be addressed with their correct title.

Always capitalise the titles of current royals

Always use capitals for the title of the current Australian monarch.

The full title of the current monarch of Australia is ‘Charles the Third, by the Grace of God King of Australia and His other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth’.

Example

  • His Majesty The King
  • Next week, the King will visit Australia.

Address letters to the King to his private secretary.

Example

  • To the Private Secretary to His Majesty The King

The royal family

The title of the King’s wife, Queen Camilla, is ‘Her Majesty The Queen’.

The title of the late Queen Elizabeth II is ‘Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’.

The title of the late Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, is ‘His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’.

The King’s elder son, Prince William, is titled ‘His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’.

Prince William’s wife, Catherine, is titled ’Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales’.

Address letters to Prince William to his private secretary. You can use the shortened form for ‘His Royal Highness’ in this instance.

Example

  • To the Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales

    Use an initial capital for ‘The’ for the formal titles of the King and his immediate family.

    Example

    • The Prince George
    • The Princess Royal

    Use regnal numbers (I, II, V) for titles of monarchs and religious leaders

    Regnal numbers are upper case roman numerals that are used for the titles of monarchs and popes.

    Don’t use digits or ordinal numbers, even though you might pronounce them like that.

    Correct

    • Margrethe II
    • Rama IX
    • Gewargis III 

    Incorrect

    • Margrethe the second
    • Rama 9
    • Gewargis the 3rd

    Use a non-breaking space for names with regnal numbers

    Put a non-breaking space between the name and the regnal number. A non-breaking space means that line breaks won’t split up both elements of the name. The name and number will stay together on one line.

    You can insert a non-breaking space using the Unicode character U+00A0.

    In HTML, use the entity   to insert a non-breaking space. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar in Word.

    Print considerations

    Use a non-breaking thin space between the name and the regnal number.

    The non-breaking thin space ensures that the:

    • name and number stays together on one line
    • spacing between name and number doesn’t change when text is justified.

    You can insert a non-breaking thin space using the Unicode character U+202F.

    Capitalise ‘Governor-General’ when it’s part of the formal title

    The position of governor-general in Australia is known as vice-royalty. The Governor-General represents the King in Australia.

    Address the Governor-General of Australia in the following style and order:

    • ‘His/Her Excellency the Honourable’
    • prefixed titles
    • given name and family name
    • post-nominals
    • ‘Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia’.

    You might need to vary the order of the items in the title to suit the titles of the incumbent. For example, place:

    • military rank before ‘the Honourable’
    • ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’ after ‘the Honourable’.

    Example

    • His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
    • Her Excellency the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

    When you are referring to the generic term, use lower case ‘governor-general’. When you are referring to 2 or more people who hold or have held the title, use lower case and refer to them as ‘governors-general’.

    Example

    • Australia has had 28 governors-general. A governor-general’s role is to represent the monarch.

    Correspondence to the Governor-General

    Address correspondence to the Governor-General to the Official Secretary at Government House, Canberra.

    To address the Governor-General personally in formal correspondence:

    • Open with ‘Your Excellency’.
    • Conclude with ‘Yours faithfully’.

    In less formal correspondence:

    • Open with ‘Dear Governor-General’.
    • Conclude with ‘Yours sincerely’.

    For the partner of the Governor-General:

    • Address a female partner as ‘Her Excellency’ or ‘Your Excellency’.
    • Address a male partner as ‘His Excellency’ or ‘Your Excellency’.

    Release notes

    The digital edition was updated to reflect changes to royal titles upon the coronation of King Charles III.

    The digital edition gives updated guidance and examples on forms of address for royalty, vice-royalty and nobility.

    These examples do not follow the sixth edition’s requirement for a comma before and between post-nominals. This is consistent with the digital edition’s recommendation to use minimal punctuation. The digital edition also includes advice on regnal numbers.

    The sixth edition had relevant information on titles for royal and vice-royals. Advice on numbers in titles was in a different part of the manual.

    The Content Guide did not cover this topic.

    About this page

    References

    Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2023) Why is Camilla's title now Queen and why did Prince Philip never get called king?, ABC News website, accessed 9 May 2023.

    Debrett's (2023) A tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Debrett's website, accessed 9 May 2023.

    Debrett’s (2023) Addressing the royal family, Debrett’s website, accessed 9 May 2023.

    Debrett’s (2023) Who can be a prince or a princess?, Debrett’s website, accessed 23 January 2024.

    Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2023) The life and coronation of King Charles III, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, accessed 8 May 2023.

    Parliament of Australia (2020) Hansard style guide [internal style guide], version 8.1, Department of Parliamentary Services, Canberra.

    The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (n.d.) About the Governor-General, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website, accessed 8 June 2020.

    The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (2019) Former governors-general, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website, accessed 8 June 2020.

    The Royal Household (2023) The Royal Family, royal.uk, accessed 9 May 2023.

    This page was updated Monday 29 January 2024.

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