|Photo courtesy of stock.xchng|
Hello, dearies! After a touch of R&R, I’m back for a bit of Q&A. It seems that a dear friend is at a loss; she’s come up against a crop of royal characters and is anxious to ensure that there’s no mix-up between Queens and queens. Off we go to the CMOS, trailing our cloth of gold behind us.
When dealing with titles and offices, the general rule is that “civil, military, religious, and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus part of the name.”
There are, naturally, exceptions to this; after all, people have been known to wear white after Labor Day. It stands to reason that the world of writing has few hard-and-fast rules. For the time being, we’ll stick with the use of royal titles.
If you’re using the word alone, such as the queen of Denmark or the sharif of Mecca, you may omit the capital. But, when used as a title, these same words “form an integral and … permanent part of a person’s name and are therefore usually capitalized.” Prince Thomas, Lady Elaine, and so forth are examples. British usage allows for the term duke to be capitalized for royal dukes but not for nonroyal dukes.
There are a number of special cases that go along with the many layers of British titles. For example, the wife of an unspecified earl would be called the countess, while the Countess of Shaftesbury is appropriate when speaking of the lady herself. The baronet is called Sir Whatsis Name, and his wife is known as Lady Name. Their daughter would be known as the Honourable Whatser Name. For a comprehensive look at styles and titles, have a peek at Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage.
Since many royals have a full style and title longer than most of my hemlines, honorifics and short but respectful forms of address have evolved. These are always capitalized, which makes for at least one easy-to-remember rule. Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Your Excellency—oh, dear. It appears that I wrote too soon. The honorifics sir, ma’am, my lord, and my lady are not capitalized.
Well! Now that we’ve got that cleared up, I’m off in search of my lavender sachets. Although Mother Nature dropped snow on us yesterday, I’m still hoping for spring. Time to pack away the heavy coats and sweaters and bring out the cotton tops and denim. Keep your fingers crossed for warmer weather, and remember: a well-turned phrase is always in style!
|Photo courtesy of Darrick Bartholomew|
In direct protest against miserable winter weather, the Style Maven has been ordering spinning fiber in bright colors and bulk quantities. You can read about her latest yarn mishaps by visiting The Procraftinator.