Archive for March, 2010

I have a quick protocol question, if you do not mind answering it.  In a business letter is it proper protocol to list “DC” or “District of Columbia” in the address?  Or is it correct in both styles?  Thank you for your help and guidance!
— Kristen

Dear Kristen:
Use Washington, D.C.
Not just “Washington” so it’s not confused with Washington State.
Refering to it as “DC” is a verbal shorthand or slang.
Use of periods or no periods is a matter of style. Which ever way you go — be consistent.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info


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How would I address a Certificate of Appreciation given to someone who has died?  Do I address it as “The Late John Smith” or do I address it as “In memory of John Smith”?  Please help.  Thanks.
— Sue in Essex County

Dear Sue:
If you are presenting it to his family… they likely have other framed diplomas and certificates with his name on them.  I would not refer the fact that he is dead … just put his name on the certificate. Write something like….

In Appreciation of
John Smith
For Exemplary Service to the Citizens of Essex County
The Twenty Third Day of June, Two Thousand Ten
Robert Thompson, Mayor

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I’ve looked at websites describing correct forms of address for various forms of nobility and royalty in England, but they don’t answer all of my questions. On The Tudors in Season #1 and early Season #2, sometimes Anne Boleyn was called Lady Anne, sometimes Mistress Anne. I thought that historically, she would have been just Mistress Anne until she was made Marquess of Pembroke, but one historian says she took the courtesy title Lady Anne Rochford either when her father was made Viscount Rochford or when he was made Earl of Wiltshire.
Another question: George Boleyn’s wife, Jane, the Viscountess Rochford: Alison Weird calls her Jane Parker (maiden name), Lady Rochford. Why not Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford? And why is she so often called Jane Rochford? Finally, Anne Boleyn’s mother was the daughter of a duke, the wife of a knight later made an earl. Did she outrank her husband before he was made a viscount? If so, was she, at that time, Lady Elizabeth Boleyn? And when her husband became viscount, was she Elizabeth Howard, Lady Rochford or Elizabeth Boleyn, Lady Rochford? When he became Earl of Wiltshire, was she Elizabeth Boleyn, Lady Wiltshire or Lady Elizabeth Wiltshire?
— Boleynpatentpending

Dear All:
This is real posting I got via a Google Alert I’ve got set up for “form of address” from a website devoted to the Showtime Series … The Tudors.
I love that she is paying such close attention to the forms of address … and precedence!  But … will leave this for made-for-TV costume-drama series scriptwriters to figure out.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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What is the correct style for the Mayor of Winnipeg?
— Benjamin McGill

Dear Mr. McGill:
The correct form of address … the correct style for Canadian mayors is:
An envelope is addressed to:
His/Her Worship (full name)
Mayor of (name of city)

For the salutation:
Dear Sir:
Verbally he or she would be addressed as:
Your Worship
Note on the use of the word style: In the US we would refer to this use of ‘style’ as ‘British English” — like “lift” for elevator or “holiday” for vacation. Style as a noun means a form of address.  To style is used as a verb …. as in to style someone with a title, or to be styled with a title.  To style implies granting the use of a title. The term self-styled is used when one grants oneself a title. I hear that use in the USA as in “He is a self-styled expert” which has the implication that perhaps although he calls himself an expert, he may not be one at all.
The use of his/her worship as a courtesy title for mayors also comes from the Brits. You will encounter its use (with minor variations) all over the world in current and former British Commonwealth countries.
Special thanks to three Canadian graduates of The Protocol School of Washington who made sure I gave the best and current most formal form for your letter:
Craig Kennedy, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ottawa, Ontario
Nancy Kosik, Academy of International Protocol and Etiquette, Montreal – Ottawa, Ontario
Jay Remer, Etiquette Consultant, Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Please, be so kind, giving me the proper solution for the situation below: Yesterday, our President was invited to have dinner today evening with an Ambassador. Today afternoon, the Ambassador sent to our President a gift: wine and a souvenir. The dinner will take place in the evening. What should our President do? I advised him to sent a Romanian gift tomorrow, after the dinner. Will be a perfect way to thank for the delightful evening. Is it correct? Should he sent a gift before dinner like the Ambassador did?
— Protocol School Graduate — Ruxandra in Romania

Dear Ruxandra:
Yes … your President should SEND a reciprocal equivalent gift … and not present a gift to the Ambassador at the dinner. If there is time send it in advance of the dinner …. that is good … or send it tomorrow after the dinner. With officiThat way equal gifts are exchanged — and both “sent” — neither presented …. all is equal.
– Robert Hickey

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Here’s a brief summary of the information in my book “Honor & Respect” on how to address the First Lady of the United States.

While Michelle Obama is the First Lady, and is typically identified on the news and in the media as “First Lady Michelle Obama” such references are examples of a news writer identifying Mrs. Obama in the third person for clarity.
“First Lady” is it not an official office, and the term “First Lady” has not traditionally used as an honorific in direct address with First Ladies of the United States.
Most formally Michelle Obama is addressed in conversation as Mrs. Obama.
When addressing a letter, the traditional form of address to any First Lady is to “Mrs. (surname)” in care of The White House. It is not confusing to The White House to whom the letter should be delivered.

Envelope, official:
Mrs. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Letter salutation:  Dear Mrs. Obama:
Complimentary close:  Sincerely,
Introduction to a group:  
Michelle Obama
, First Lady of the United States of America
Introduction, one person to another:  Mrs. Obama
Conversation:  Mrs. Obama

Here is the formula for any spouse of The President:

How to Address the First Lady, or
How to Address the Spouse of
The President of the United States

Envelope, official:
Mrs. (surname)
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Mr. (full name)
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Letter salutation:
Dear Mrs./Mr. (surname):

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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How do you address a letter to the Adjutant General of a state’s National Guard Force?  He is appointed by the Governor of the State.  Is he General Ortega or Adjutant General Ortega, or another form of address?   I think he actually has the military rank of General. Thanks so much for your help, and for this website!
— Paula Saverin

Dear Ms. Saverin:
Address by rank, identify by office
(Rank) + (Full Name) +  (Abbreviation for his branch of Service) + (Position held)
.. so if he has the rank of “General” and holds the office of “Adjutant General”
General Javier Ortega, MNG (check what the correct post-nominal is)
Adjutant General
Maryland National Guard Headquarters
(or whatever)

Dear General Ortega:
… so if he is a “Major General”
Major General Javier Ortega, MNG
Adjutant General
Maryland National Guard Headquarters
(or whatever)
Dear General Ortega:

…. all of the graded ranks of “General” are addressed in a salutation with the basic rank: “General”
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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