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In an old episode of The West Wing, a British Ambassador is referred to as "Lord John Marbury". Ignoring that once he became Ambassador he'd be Mr Ambassador, what are the possible correct addresses?

My reasoning is that a friend criticised a newspaper which used the form "Lord Firstname Secondname" saying it's supposed to be "Firstname Lord Secondname".

For example, with Lord Coe — or Seb Coe —, his wife is said to be "Carole, Lady Coe", but assume that's just the different names options (as there's a comma)? It's not explicitly stated that there's a correct way to use his (or her) full name, that I can find online.

I tried using the West Wing episode as an example, but they pointed out that it's an American show. Indeed they get other details wrong, like saying two Commonwealth ambassadors met (when ambassadors of Commonwealth countries are referred to as High Commissioners when dealing with each other).

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closed as off topic by StoneyB, MετάEd, Kris, Daniel, Cameron Oct 3 '12 at 19:39

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It depends ... for starters, consult this. Or any of dozen more very detailed sources on the internet. –  StoneyB Oct 3 '12 at 2:19

3 Answers 3

In practice, as far as I can observe, "Lord" is really used like any other boring title: so you'd say e.g. "Lord Robert Winston" or "Lord Winston" just as you'd say "Mr Fred Smith" or "Mr Smith".

The other thing to remember is, just as with other titles, how you actually address somebody with titles like "Lord", "Sir" isn't set in stone: it's something you negotiate with them. If Professor Lord Frederick James O'Twiddle Bligglesbottom is happy to be referred to as "Jim", then to a large extent it is "correct" to refer to him as "Jim".

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This is entirely incorrect: see the references in the comments to the question. –  Andrew Leach Oct 3 '12 at 6:50
    
Andrew - are you basing that comment on a theoretical document or on how the title is actually used in practice? –  Neil Coffey Oct 3 '12 at 14:08
    
There are rules, it's not a free-for-all. And while people with titles are generally too polite to correct erroneous use, every one I've met would rather be addressed correctly. The documents are not theoretical; they document what should happen. Which is what the OP is asking about. –  Andrew Leach Oct 3 '12 at 14:23

Lord can be used before a forename and surname as a courtesy title for the younger sons of a duke or marquess (Debrett’s). A style such as George, Lord Byron is also found, but I've been unable to identify the circumstances in which it is used.

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I believe in this case George Gordon Lord Byron is the full name-and-style, often (and I think incorrectly) with a comma after Gordon. The poet's name was "George Gordon Byron", his style "Lord Byron". –  StoneyB Oct 3 '12 at 13:40
    
I am not sure if this is about the English language at all, as much as it indeed is about "the English". Looks more like off-topic to me. –  Kris Oct 3 '12 at 13:53
    
@Kris: You're probably right. –  Barrie England Oct 3 '12 at 14:10
    
Where it gets really complicated is with non-British aristocratic titles, when using the English language: Not only is there the question as to whether to translate the title, and what to translate it to, but also whether to use the syntax in cases where it doesn't match the English. Danish titles for example usually lower case and before the surname, but I've seen them used in English in every permutation of translated and not, captialised and not, and before the full name and not, and even stuck in the middle of two-part surnames. –  Jon Hanna Jan 25 '13 at 18:25

Not sure if this is what you mean, but I found this on Debrett's site (Debrett's is the authority on titles, forms of address, etc.):

I am a little unclear as to the correct form of address for a peer - when should the person's first name be included? I am referring specifically to Lord Puttnam of Queensgate. Many people address him as Lord David Puttnam but I would say that David Lord Puttnam would be correct. AR Lord Puttnam can only be addressed as Lord Puttnam. The styles you suggest (Lord David Puttnam and David Lord Puttnam) are both incorrect and should never be used!

Nor is it correct to refer to Lord Puttnam as Lord Puttnam of Queensgate. The 'of Queensgate' is his territorial designation and is not an integral part of his title. See Life Peers

Other parts of the site may also be of interest.

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could you put in the quotes? –  Matt Эллен Oct 3 '12 at 8:19
    
Sorry - the section within the "Blockquote" banners is the quote... I obviously need my 15-year-old to help me with the formatting here... :-( –  suke Oct 3 '12 at 8:33
    
No worries. I've made an edit, I hope that's what you intended. –  Matt Эллен Oct 3 '12 at 8:36
    
Perfect! Thank you! –  suke Oct 3 '12 at 8:49

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