Letters after the Name

Letters after the name  –  Image rights ShutterStock

The use of letters after an individual's name (postnominal letters) follows a prescribed order and may vary according to the nature of the address:

Note: The abbreviation 'Bt' (for a baronet), and 'Esq', if applicable, precede all other letters.

Order of Letters after the name

The series of other letters are grouped, and ordered, either by regulations or by custom as follows:

1. Orders and Decorations conferred by the Crown (Crown Honours).

2. Appointments in the following order, Privy Counsellor, Aide de Camp to HM, Honorary Physician to HM, Honorary Surgeon to HM, Honorary Dental Surgeon to HM, Honorary Nursing Sister to HM, and Honorary Chaplain to HM. Thus PC, ADC, QHP, QHS, QHDS, QHNS and QHC.

3. Queen's Counsel, Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant. Thus QC, JP and DL.

4. University Degrees.

5. (a) Religious Orders (b) Medical Qualifications.

6. (a) Fellowships of Learned Societies, (b) Royal Academicians and Associates, (c) Fellowships, Memberships, etc, of Professional Institutions, Associations, etc, and (d) Writers to the Signet.

7. Member of Parliament.

8. Membership of one of the Armed Forces, such as RN or RAF.

It is important to keep the group order, even if the individual letters in groups 4, 5 and 6 present difficulties.

The nature of the correspondence determines which series of letters should normally be included under groups 4, 5 and 6. For instance, when writing a professional letter to a doctor of medicine, one would normally add more medical qualifications than in a social letter.

On a formal list, those who have letters signifying Crown Honours and Awards are usually given only the principal letters in groups 4, 5 and 6 (for example MD, FRCS, FRS).

A peer who is a junior officer in the Armed Forces is not usually addressed by his Service rank in social correspondence, unless he so wishes.

Refer to the Address Expert for all questions relating to correct forms of address.

See Forms of Address: Titles

See Forms of Address: Professions

 

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