Formal titles and postnominals
When addressing or referring to a person holding the title of Lord, Lady, Sir, Dame etc, it is advisable in the first instance to try and ascertain how he or she prefers to be addressed, and to follow that convention.
The Telegraph style book includes a handy table on how to use titles, while the Debretts website is a useful resource for guidance on addressing members of the peerage.
Below are some general notes and examples of common titles and forms of address.
Knights and Dames
Use title, forename and surname at first mention, and title and forename thereafter.
- Sir Philip Dilley is Chair of Imperial’s Council. Sir Philip graduated from Imperial with a First in Civil Engineering in 1976.
- Dame Ellen MacArthur visited Imperial in 2013 to discuss how civil and environmental engineering can contribute to the circular economy. Dame Ellen is renowned for her sailing accomplishments and her work with business and education.
Lords and Ladies
The title of ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady’ may be used by many types of peer (eg, Earl, Baron, Baroness), so check the status of the person you wish to address. Generally, the title and surname should be used. For a life peer, forename and surname should be followed by the name they chose when ennobled.
- Ernst Ronald Oxburgh, Baron Oxburgh of Liverpool, is a former Rector of Imperial College London. During his time at the College, Lord Oxburgh oversaw the mergers that created the Faculty of Medicine.
- Eliza Manningham-Buller, Baroness Manningham-Buller of Northampton, was Chair of Council at Imperial between 2009 and 2015. Baroness Manningham-Buller moved to a new position as Chair of the Wellcome Trust in 2015.
For a person with an academic title and another title, the academic title should generally precede the other title and thereafter replaces other titles.
- Professor Sir John Pendry (subsequent mentions: Professor Pendry)
- Professor The Lord Darzi of Denham (subsequent mentions: Professor Darzi)
In general, if an individual holds the memberships, awards, or honours listed below, the corresponding postnominals should be used the first time he or she is referred to. Other postnominals should be included only on a discretionary basis, and/or if requested by the individual. An exception to this rule is in press releases and news stories, when postnominals should generally not be used.
The list below reflects the order in which postnominals should appear. Each postnominal should be separated by a space, without a comma.
- Civil honours (for example, Knight/Dame, CBE, OBE, MBE)
- Military honours (for example, VC, GC, GBE(Mil))
- Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS); Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng);
- Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci)
- Professor David Philips CBE
- Professor Molly Stevens FREng