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 Aldford may be known as Viscount St James 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' (usually abbreviated to 'The Hon') before their forename and surname. For example, the younger son of the Earl of Aldford may be The Hon John Browne. The style of 'The Hone'  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 Browne
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope The Hon John Browne
Verbal communication Mr Browne
Invitation Mr John Browne
Description in conversation Mr Browne
List of Directors or Patrons Hon John Browne
Place card Mr John Browne
Legal document John Browne Esquire commonly called The Honourable John Browne

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

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 Browne.

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 Browne, she is known as 'The Hon Mrs Browne'.

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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Forms Of Address

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