This is the second most senior of the five titles in the English peerage.
Please note that we are using the English spelling of the title. Some Scottish and Irish marguesses take the French spelling.
Another interesting note is that there are three marquessates which do not have the word “of” in their title: Camden, Townshend and Conyngham.
When you are talking to a marquess you should call him “Lord ………”.
If he is in the military or the church then his rank goes before his title. For example General the Marquess of Stepney.
When he is a privy counsellor or if he has received a knighthood he may use the appropriate post-nominal letters.
His wife adopts the title of marchioness and is known as Lady …….
Note that it is incorrect to use the title marchioness in speech unless you need to very specifically mention it. An example would be in a formal introduction. “May I present The Marchioness of Stepney”.
In official documents and announcements the style of “The Most Honourable …..” should be used for both a marquess and marchioness.
If you were writing a letter it should be addressed to “Lord/Lady Stepney” and you should end it “Yours sincerely”. The envelope would be addressed to “The Marquess/Marchioness of Stepney”.
In conversation you would use Lord/Lady. For example “Good morning Lord Stepney”.
A place card for the table would refer to them as The Marquess/Marchioness of Stepney.
Any legal documents should refer to them as The Most Honourable William Marquess of Stepney, The Most Honourable Catherine Marchioness of Stepney.
Marquess by Courtesy
Although the bearer of the title marquess by courtesy enjoys none of the privileges of a peer, he is addressed as such with the following exceptions: –
- a marquess by courtesy is never accorded the formal style of ‘The Most Hon’.
- a marquess by courtesy is not addressed as ‘The’ in correspondence.
- The wife of a marquess by courtesy takes the title of marchioness but she is never known as ‘The Most Hon’
- His wife is never given the word ‘The’ in correspondence either.