A Dame is the female equivalent of a knight of an Order of Chivalry. Similarly, the title is always used in conjunction with the forename.
The recipient is allowed to use the prefix and appropriate letters from the date of the announcement in the London Gazette, eg Dame Irene White, DBE
Dames are appointed to the following Orders of Chivalry, which are divided into two classes:
|Dame Grand Cross||Dame Commander|
|Order of the Bath||GCB||DCB|
|Order of St Michael & St George||GCMG||DCMB|
|Royal Victorian Order||GCVO||DCVO|
|Order of the British Empire||GBE||DBE|
The rules for promotion in the same Order of Chivalry, and the precedence of Orders, follow the same system as apply for a knight (see Knights of Orders of Chivalry).
A peeress (including female peers in their own right, and the wives of holders of peerage titles by courtesy) who is appointed a dame adds the appropriate letters after her name, eg The Baroness Soames, LG, DBE.
The daughter of a duke, marquess or earl who is appointed a dame adds the appropriate letters after her name, eg Lady Mary Brown, DBE.
If a wife or widow of a baronet or knight is appointed a dame she is usually known as Dame Irene White, DBE, but some ladies prefer to continue their former style of Lady White, DBE.
A lady who is styled 'The Hon', who is appointed a dame, is addressed 'The Hon Dame Mary Jones, DBE'.
When a dame of an Order of Chivalry is gazetted by her professional, rather than her legal, name she usually prefers to be so addressed, eg Dame Judi Dench, CH, DBE.
A husband does not derive any style or title from his wife, nor do the children of knights and dames derive any style or title from their parents.
How to address a Dame
The recommended social style of address is as follows:
|Beginning of letter||Dear Dame Irene|
|End of letter||Yours sincerely|
|Envelope||Dame Irene White|
|Verbal communication||Dame Irene|
|Invitation||Dame Irene White|
|Joint invitation & joint form of address||Mr John and Dame Irene White|
|Description in conversation||Dame Irene White|
|List of Directors or Patrons||Dame Irene White|
|Place card||Dame Irene White|
|Legal document||Dame Irene White|