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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Style Manual

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 ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth’.

In informal content, you can use a shortened form.

Example

Her Majesty The Queen

Next week, the Queen will be visiting Australia.

Address letters to the Queen to her private secretary.

Example

To the Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen

The royal family

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

Address letters to Prince Philip 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 Duke of Edinburgh

The Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, is titled ‘His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’.

Address letters to Prince Charles 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 Queen and her immediate family.

Example

The Prince William

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

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 Queen 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 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

Debrett’s (2020) Addressing the royal family, Debrett’s website, accessed 8 June 2020.

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.

This page was updated Wednesday 23 September 2020.

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