Sons of an Earl

Eldest Son of an Earl
The eldest (or only) son of an earl will use a peerage title by courtesy (of a rank junior to his father) and should be addressed accordingly. For example, the son and heir apparent of the Earl of Clarendon is known as Lord Hyde and the appropriate forms of address for a peer by courtesy therefore apply to him and his family.

If the earl is of the peerage of Scotland please refer to Scottish Title of Master

See Peerages by Courtesy

Younger Sons of an Earl
The younger sons of an earl have the courtesy title of 'The Honourable' before their forename and surname. For example, the younger son of the Earl of Granard is the Hon David Forbes. The style of 'The Honourable' (usually abbreviated to 'The Hon') is only used on the envelope in correspondence, in written descriptions (usually only on the first mention) or in formal documents.  It is never used in conversation or on invitations or on visiting cards, when the correct style is 'Mr'.

Prefixes such as His Excellency, Major General, The Rt Rev, The Rt Hon etc. precede his courtesy title.

How to address the Younger Son of an Earl

The recommended (social) style of address is as follows:

Beginning of letter Dear Mr Forbes
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope The Hon David Forbes
Verbal communication Mr Forbes
Invitation Mr David Forbes
Description in conversation Mr Forbes
List of Directors or Patrons Hon David Forbes
Place card Mr David Forbes
Legal document David Forbes Esquire commonly called The Honourable David Forbes

Wife of a Younger Son of an Earl
The wife of a gentleman with the courtesy style of 'The Hon' is known by her husband's forename and surname, with the addition of 'Mrs' as a prefix.  Thus, the wife of 'The Hon John Brown' is 'The Hon Mrs John Brown'.

'The Hon' is never used in conversation or on invitations or on visiting cards. The recommended (social) style of address is as follows:

How to address the Wife of a Younger Son of an Earl

The recommended (social) style of address is as follows:

Beginning of letter Dear Mrs Brown
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope The Hon Mrs John Brown
Verbal communication Mrs Brown
Invitation Mrs John Brown
Description in conversation Mrs Brown
List of Directors or Patrons Mary Brown (or Mrs John Brown)
Place card Mrs John Brown
Legal document Mary Jane Brown commonly called The Honourable Mrs  John Brown

Exceptions

If she is the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl (ie with the style of 'Lady' followed by her forename), she continues to use her own style and name with her husband's surname, ie Lady Mary Brown.

If she is the daughter of a viscount or baron, with the style of The Hon, she does not use her husband's forename. For example if The Hon Jane White marries The Hon John Brown, she is known as 'The Hon Mrs Brown'.

Widow and Former Wife of the Younger Son of an Earl
There is no difference in the form of address in widowhood, or in the dissolution of her marriage. Should she remarry, however, she adopts her style form her new husband.

See Courtesy Titles

 

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