A lot of ways you can actually address the queen or someone from the royal family. But do these all phrases mean the exact same thing or is there a difference between them?

Maybe it depends whether the person you're talking to is actually in power now or maybe just a member of the royal family... Maybe it depends on what is your political status. I mean, clearly an army officer wouldn't title the queen the same way that a random baker does. Or maybe it doesn't matter and it's always the same? And do members of the royal family title each other with "your grace, your highness, blah blah blah..."?

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    They're definitely different in that you use them for different people! Your Grace is for dukes and duchesses; Your Majesty is for the King and Queen; Your (Royal) Highness is for princes, princesses, their spouses, etc. But do they mean something different - well, to some extent they all just mean "hey you".
    – stangdon
    Jan 5, 2017 at 21:53
  • Ha ha! Given current strange trend in US universities to invent new stupid forms of addressing people I'd have been going to put "Your Grace" in the form, if only I had an occasion. Mar 28, 2021 at 13:41

2 Answers 2


Royal address is no different from any other form of address; the correct usage is dependent on local etiquette and custom and the relationship between the parties. For example, Catholic bishops in the United States are customarily addressed orally as Your Excellency, whereas Catholic bishops in Ireland are customarily addressed orally as Your Grace. But it's entirely possible that Cardinals O'Malley and Wuerl, meeting casually for coffee, would address each other as Patty and Don (I don't know if they would, but there's certainly no "rule" of "English" against it).

There are too many of these rules to explain here; entire books are published as guides to correct forms of address. Moreover each realm may have specific customs related to styles and address— for example, Canada and Australia have slight differences in their official royal style and titles, even though the same person is monarch of both.

As a matter of practice, the British royal family— the de facto royal family in the English-speaking world, even in republics— actually has a guide to greeting a member of the royal family, which opens with the note

There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.

These latter include a bow or a curtsy, then

On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am,' pronounced with a short 'a,' as in 'jam'.

For male members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in the first instance being 'Your Royal Highness' and subsequently 'Sir'.

For other female members of the Royal Family the first address is conventionally 'Your Royal Highness' and subsequently 'Ma'am'.


I believe any person of any background would address the Queen in the same way unless they were either Prince George or Princess Charlotte here

This link may help you sort out some of your questions here

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