wikiHow to Address a Queen

Three Methods:Addressing Queen Elizabeth II in a LetterAddressing Queen Elizabeth II in PersonAddressing Queens of Other Nations

Queens are typically addressed as "Your Majesty," but in modern times there is rarely any enforcement or punishment for getting it wrong. Queen Elizabeth II, the most famous living monarch, has been winked at by a U.S. president, among many other gaffes she's witnessed over the years.[1] The royal family lives on, and the correct etiquette to use remains, at least in the British case, a suggested tradition rather than a requirement.

Method 1
Addressing Queen Elizabeth II in a Letter

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    Decide whether to use traditional forms. According to the Royal Family's official policy, you should be free to write in whatever style you like.[2] Politeness and respect will make any letter more kindly received, but that does not necessarily equate to using formal terms. Stay sincere, and do not use the formal terms below if they make you uncomfortable.
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    Begin the letter with "Madam." At the top of your letter, write "Madam," skip a line, and start writing your letter on the line below it. This is the formal and traditional term of address when writing a letter to the Queen of the United Kingdom.
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    Conclude the letter with a respectful term. The traditional written conclusion is I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty's most humble and obedient servant, followed by your name.[3] If you find this conclusion distasteful due to the declaration of servitude, or the insertion of the letter u in honour, consider one of the following respectful conclusions instead:
    • With greatest respect,
    • Yours faithfully,
    • Yours sincerely,
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    Mail the letter. On the envelope, write the following postal address, using the last line only if you are mailing the letter from outside the UK:
    • The Queen
    • Buckingham Palace
    • London SW1A 1AA
    • United Kingdom

Method 2
Addressing Queen Elizabeth II in Person

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    Make a small curtsy, bow, or nod. Traditionally, women do a discreet curtsy and men bow from the neck when they meet the Queen of the United Kingdom.[4] This is no longer required, but citizens of the Commonwealth usually choose to use this greeting. People who are not subjects of the Queen often prefer to use a slight nod instead.[5]
    • Do not bow from the waist.
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    Politely shake the Queen's hand if offered. The Queen may or may not offer her hand, although there is no special significance to one decision or the other. If she does offer her hand, take it in a brief, gentle handshake.
    • Do not offer your hand first.
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    Wait for Her Majesty to address you. A good general rule, in fact, is not to initiate an action or conversation until the Queen has addressed you directly. Needless to say, wait until the Queen finishes speaking before you reply.
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    Address her as "Your Majesty" the first time in the conversation. If you are stuck for words, say "Hello, Your Majesty. I am delighted to meet you." Any polite greeting is acceptable, however.
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    Address her as "Ma'am" for the rest of the conversation. For the rest of the conversation, say, "Ma'am," pronounced to rhyme with "jam." You may use the term "Your Majesty" again if you are asking her a question or introducing someone, but "Ma'am" will do most of the time.[6]
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    Don't ask personal questions. Most likely, the Queen will be guiding the conversation. But if you contribute your own small talk, avoid asking her about her family or personal life.[7]
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    Don't turn your back on the Queen until the conversation is over. Remain facing her or standing to the side throughout the conversation. Turn away or leave only when the conversation is over.[8] And of course, don't forget to give her a proper good-bye and thank Her Majesty for the unexpected opportunity.

Method 3
Addressing Queens of Other Nations

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    Try to find the specific form of address. Monarchies often have specific terms of address borne of their countries' traditions. Search online or in etiquette books for the terms of address for the specific monarchy.
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    When in doubt, use "Your Majesty." The term "Your Majesty" is common and unlikely to cause offense. This term is the proper way to address most queens, from Queen Pengiran Anak Saleha of Brunei, to Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
    • Use "Her Majesty" instead of "her" when writing or speaking about these queens in the third person.
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    Address Empresses as "Her Imperial Majesty." If a monarch's title includes "Empress," or if the nation she heads traditionally considers itself an empire, she should be addressed as "Her Imperial Majesty."


  • Officially, there are no required forms of address when interacting with the British Royal Family.[9] You will not be punished for making a small mistake, and most likely the mistake will not even be acknowledged.
  • Some etiquette books recommend addressing the Private Secretary of the Queen of the United Kingdom, who handles the Queen's mail.[10] However, the Royal Family officially welcomes direct correspondence.[11]

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Categories: Etiquette