Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Archbishop of Canterbury is ‘Primate of all England and Metropolitan’. He is also the Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The Archbishop of York is ‘Primate of England and Metropolitan’. He is also the Bishop of the Diocese of York. 

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are privy counsellors and are accordingly addressed as ‘The Most Rev(erend) and Right Hon(ourable)’ and have seats in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of Canterbury ranks next in precedence to the Royal Family and above the Lord Chancellor. The Archbishop of York ranks immediately below the Lord Chancellor.

When signing their name on official documents, archbishops preface their signature, written in capital letters, with a cross. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury usually signs his first name and ‘Cantuar’ (from the Latin for Canterbury), eg + Justin Cantuar:
The Archbishop of York signs with his surname and ‘Eboracensis’ (from Eboracum, the Roman name for York), eg + Sentamu Eboracensis: (or just + Sentamu Ebor may be used)

Note: when the abbreviated Latin name of the See is used it is usual to put a colon instead of a full stop.

How to Address the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The recommended style of address is as follows:

Beginning of letter My Lord Archbishop or Your Grace (formal); Dear Archbishop/Dear Lord Archbishop (social)
Envelope The Most Reverend and Rt Hon The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (or York)
Verbal address Your Grace (formal) / Archbishop (social)
Description in conversation The Archbishop (of Canterbury/York)

How to Address Retired Archbishops of Canterbury and York

In recent years it has been the custom to bestow a temporal peerage upon a retiring Archbishop of Canterbury, and upon a retiring Archbishop of York who does not become Archbishop of Canterbury (e.g. Archbishop Lord Carey of Clifton, and Archbishop Lord Hope of Thornes). They would otherwise renounce their seats in the House of Lords.

The recommended style of address is as follows

Beginning of letter Dear Lord Williams/Dear Archbishop
Envelope The Rt Rev and Rt Hon the Lord Williams of Oystermouth, PC
Verbal address Lord Williams (or Archbishop)
Description in conversation Lord Williams/Archbishop Williams

*Note: Traditionally, invitations to a married couple, when sent to their home address, are addressed to the wife alone, with both names being inscribed on the invitation card. It has become increasingly acceptable, however, to address the envelope with both names. 

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