Duke and Duchess
These titles are the highest or most senior of the five titles in the English peerage.
There are four royal dukes (York, Gloucester, Cambridge and Kent) who are all members of the royal family and therefore they are addressed differently. Go to our Royals page for more info.
All the others are addressed as follows:
They are always described “The Duke” or “The Duchess”, unlike the other lower ranks of the English peerage.
If there are others with the same title present or if you are introducing them to someone then you should call them or refer to them as “the Duke of Stepney” (or “the Duchess of Stepney”).
If in the military then his rank goes before his title. For example “General the Duke of Stepney”.
The same goes for the church too.
“Bishop the Duke of Stepney”
When he is also a Sir, that is he holds a knighthood, the abbreviation letters describing his knighthood go after his name.
For example “The Duke of Stepney KCB”
(KCB = Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath)
The wife of a duke is always known as the Duchess, or the Duchess of … as if she were a duchess in her own right.
How should you address a letter to them?
When writing a letter you should start with “Dear Duke/Duchess” and end with “Yours sincerely”.
On the envelope you should write “The Duke/Duchess of Stepney”
How do you speak to a Duke or a Duchess?
This is easy, you call them “Duke” or “Duchess”.
For example “Are you going shooting tomorrow, Duke?”
How do you send them a dinner invitation?
This is slowly changing, but traditionally the envelope was addressed to the Duchess even though it was for both for husband and wife.
The invitation inside the envelope should be addressed to them both.
What do you write on the Place Card at the table?
The Duke of Stepney or The Duchess of Stepney
Now for the difficult, or more interesting bit:
And what about the divorced or separated wife of a Duke?