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Etiquette & Protocol

The Royal Family

The correct form of address for a member of the Royal Family is as follows:


When writing to The King, people should consider using the traditional opening “Sir” and close the letter with the form “I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant.” The top of the written address should state “His Majesty The King”.


When writing to other members of the Royal Family, people should, again, consider using the traditional opening “Sir” or “Madam”. It is also not unusual to open a letter with “Your Majesty” or “Your Royal Highness” and end it with “Yours sincerely”. The top of the written address should state the member of the Royal Family’s full title.


The Monarchy’s website does state that this traditional approach to writing is by no means obligatory and that you should feel free to write in whatever style you feel comfortable.


When speaking to The King, refer to him as “Your Majesty” on the first occasion and “Sir” thereafter.


When speaking to other members of The Royal Family who hold the title His or Her Royal Highness, use “Your Royal Highness” on the first occasion and then “Sir” or “Ma'am” (pronounced as if it rhymes with jam) thereafter.



The Lieutenancy


The Lord-Lieutenant is His Majesty The King’s personal representative within Nottinghamshire and should be accorded the same etiquette and protocol as any member of the Royal Family, when attending any event in Nottinghamshire in an official capacity. Where the Lord-Lieutenant is unable to attend, they may be represented by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant, where the same etiquette and protocol should be followed:


When writing to The Lord-Lieutenant, people should consider using the traditional opening “Dear Lord-Lieutenant”. The written address should state “Veronica Pickering, His Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire”.


When speaking to the Lord-Lieutenant, refer to them as “Lord-Lieutenant” followed by “Ma'am” subsequently, unless asked to do otherwise.


In any speech preamble, the Lord-Lieutenant should be referred to as “My Lord-Lieutenant” and this should follow with “distinguished guests” (by name or appointment if appropriate), “ladies and gentlemen…”.

Should the Lord-Lieutenant be represented by their Vice Lord-Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant, the above should be adapted accordingly. For example, “Dear Vice Lord-Lieutenant”, “Dear Deputy Lieutenant”.



Other Protocols


Parking: A car parking space for the Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy should be reserved as close as possible to the venue entrance.


Arrival & Departure: In general, the Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy should be last to arrive and first to leave. It is usual for them to be received at the entrance of the venue by the host (the senior person present) and escorted by the host or another designated person until such time as they leave the venue.


Formal Functions: The Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy Lieutenant should be treated as the principal guest. They are placed on the host’s right. The principal guest’s spouse is usually placed on the host’s left, the host’s spouse being placed on the right of the principal guest. If spouses are not present the second most important guest is placed on the host’s left.


Order of Service: Where the Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy attends a Civic Service then consideration should be given to including their presence in the Order of Service. This will assist the congregation in identifying them.


Award Ceremonies: Where the Lord-Lieutenant or a Deputy is invited to present an Award in a formal capacity, they do so on behalf of His Majesty and the Royal Prerogative applies, thereby, the Lord-Lieutenant (or their Representative) takes precedence over all other guests. If people are seated, it is usual for the host to arrange for the Lord-Lieutenant to be announced upon entering the venue, so that those present may stand to acknowledge their status. The person making the announcement should do so by saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, please stand to receive the Lord-Lieutenant”.


Church Services: The Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy should normally be met at the entrance to the Church and escorted to the front pew on the North side of the Church. Provision should also be made for their spouse. The congregation should be invited to rise at the Lord-Lieutenant’s entry and upon his departure. The Lord-Lieutenant should enter the church immediately before the clergy and withdraw immediately after, with arrangements being made for the Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy to be escorted to and from their seat. At funeral services the Lord-Lieutenant will be received and seated according to the wishes of the next of kin.


Taking the Salute: There will be occasions when the Lord-Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant is invited to take the salute at a march past, either following a Service or at another formal event. It is customary for the host to join them on the dais, although normally one pace behind. The host should also salute, bow or remove headdress as appropriate.


Toasts And Speeches: If you wish the Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy to propose or respond to a Toast, or make a speech, prior notice should be given. Please use the engagement form to provide any relevant details of any points you would wish to be made. A copy of the form can be found here.


Citizenship Ceremonies: Some Deputy Lieutenants attend Citizenship Ceremonies and, on such occasions, will represent the Lieutenancy rather than the Lord-Lieutenant. They will be accorded the status of a VIP Guest and be seated at the front with the Lord-Lieutenant/Vice Lord-Lieutenant or Mayor (whoever is officiating).


The Clerk and Deputy Clerk: The Clerk and/or Deputy Clerk to the Lieutenancy will, on occasions, accompany the Lord-Lieutenant to provide assistance to him, direction to the host and to participate in presentations.


Press Releases: Please feel free to notify the local Press that the Lord-Lieutenant will be attending your function. However, there is no guarantee that the event will receive press coverage.


The above protocols are simply designed to ensure that events go smoothly and so that everyone knows what they are doing. The Lieutenancy Office are always able to advise on the details of your particular event.

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