Wife of a Knight

The wife of a knight is known as 'Lady', followed by her surname, and she is addressed as for the wife of a baronet.  The old-fashioned style of 'Dame', followed by forename and surname, eg Dame Edith Brown, is no longer in general use, but is retained for legal documents.

If there is possible confusion between two ladies of the same surname it is permissible in correspondence for the lady's forename to be inserted in brackets between title and surname.  This form is often used in publications and in newspaper announcements.

A knight's wife should never be addressed as Lady Barbara Brown unless she is the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl.

If a knight's wife bears the courtesy title of 'The Hon', this style precedes 'Lady Smith', eg The Hon Lady Smith.

The wife of a Church of England clergyman who receives a knighthood, but is not eligible to receive the accolade, continues to be addressed as Mrs John Smith, but she has the precedence of a knight's wife.  The wife of an honorary knight is also addressed as Mrs John Smith.

How to address the Wife of a Knight

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

Beginning of letter

Dear Lady Brown

End of letter

Yours sincerely


Lady Brown

Verbal communication

Lady Brown

Invitation/Joint invitation*

Lady Brown/Sir John and Lady Brown

Description in conversation

Lady Brown

List of Directors or Patrons

Lady Brown or Lady (Mary) Brown if required for purposes of identification

Place card

Lady Brown or Lady (Mary) Brown if required for identification

Legal document

Dame Mary Joan Brown, or Mary Joan Lady Brown

*Note that, 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.

Widow and Former Wife of a Knight

She is addressed as the wife of a knight, provided that she does not remarry, when she will take her style from her present husband.




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