Foreign Ambassador Accredited to the United Kingdom

An Ambassador accredited to the Court of St James's is accorded the style of His/Her Excellency within the United Kingdom and Colonies.

It is always correct to describe an ambassador by name, adding the country after the name.

For example, 'His Excellency M Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, the French Ambassador'.

It is also correct, and often preferable, to use the adjectival form if of long established use, for example 'His Excellency the Spanish Ambassador', but there is a growing use of the name of the country in place of its adjectival equivalent, as for example 'The Jordan Ambassador' rather than 'The Jordanian Ambassador'.

'Netherlands' is used in diplomatic circles in preference to 'Dutch'.

If in doubt, check with the secretary of the ambassador in question.

Precedence within the Diplomatic Corps is accorded to an ambassador in a common roll from the time they take up their duties in London. The London Diplomatic List is published by The Stationery Office, and is also available in an on-line version on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

In a letter to an Ambassador, it is usual to mention 'Your Excellency' in the opening and closing paragraphs. In a long letter, further references may be made to 'you' or 'your'.

How to Address an Ambassador

The recommended form of address for an ambassador is as follows:

The recommended style of address is as follows:

Beginning of letter Your Excellency (formal) or Dear Ambassador (social)
End of letter I have the honour to be, with the highest consideration, Your Excellency's obedient servant (formal) or Yours sincerely (social)
Envelope  His Excellency The Ambassador of X or His Excellency Mr Mathias Bergen
Verbal communication (social) Your Excellency should be mentioned at least once in conversation, and thereafter Sir or Ma'am or by name (formal) or Ambassador (or by name) (social)

His/Her Excellency always precedes all other styles, ranks or titles (including foreign equivalents of 'Mr', and Don and Doctor). An Armed Forces rank immediately follows His/Her Excellency, eg:

His Excellency General ...
His Excellency Doctor ...
His Excellency M, Mr, Herr, Sr ... etc

'Esq' cannot be used in conjunction with 'His Excellency'.

If an Ambassador is His/Her Royal Highness, or His/Her Serene Highness, 'His/Her Excellency' is not used.


Forms Of Address

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