Here's why you can call the Queen 'Your Royal Majesty,' but not 'Your Royal Highness'

Mark Cuthbert/ UK Press/ Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth II at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday March 11.
  • The Queen’s official title has changed many times since she was born Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York in 1926.
  • Since then, she has been a princess, a duchess, and of course, Her Majesty the Queen.
  • Still, many people get her official title completely wrong.

Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest running monarch – which is why it’s surprising that so many people get her official title wrong.

You may feel inclined to refer to the Queen as Her Royal Highness, but this is, in fact, incorrect.

The Queen’s full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. According to Harper’s Bazaar, her full title reads: “Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

Queen Elizabeth II at BerlinSean Gallup/ Getty ImagesHer Majesty the Queen.

However, the Royal Family’s official website simply refers to her as Her Majesty the Queen.

Palace guidelines state that when greeting the Queen, you may refer to her as “Your Majesty” or “Ma’am” – but not “Your Royal Highness.”

“Your Royal Highness” is actually used to address any other member of the Royal Family, apart from the Queen herself.


Read More:
Here’s why some princesses are called duchesses in the British royal family

Female members of the family are typically referred to as “Your Highness” or “Ma’am.” Similarly, male members of the Royal Family are to be referred to as “Your Royal Highness” or “Sir.”

Like any other member of the Royal Family, the Queen’s title has changed over the years. She was known as Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York until her father, George VI, became king in 1936 (at which point he started being called “Your Majesty.”)

Since her father was no longer the Duke of York, that meant that York was dropped from Elizabeth’s title at this point too.

When she married Prince Philip, he became the Duke of Edinburgh. This meant Elizabeth’s title was changed to Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh.

This was her last title before she became Her Majesty The Queen in 1952.

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