In formal protocol Sir is the correct styling for a knight or a baronet (the United Kingdom nobiliary rank just below all peers of the realm), used with (one of) the knight's given name(s) or full name, but not with the surname alone ("Sir James Paul McCartney", "Sir Paul McCartney", or "Sir Paul", but never "Sir McCartney"). The equivalent for a woman is Dame, that is, for one who holds the title in her own right; for such women, the title "Dame" is used as "Sir" for a man, that is, never before the surname on its own. This usage was devised in 1917, derived from the practice, up to the 17th century (and still also in legal proceedings), for the wife of a knight. The wife of a knight or baronet now, however, is styled "Lady " (e.g. "Lady McCartney", but never "Lady Linda McCartney," which is reserved for the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl, or now, more recently, for a female member of the Orders of the Garter and the Thistle who possesses no higher title).
In the UK and in certain Commonwealth realms (where the British monarch directly reigns), the following honours permit (in the case of three currently dormant honours, permitted) male subjects of those realms to use the prefix Sir :
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Other articles related to "formal styling":
... Dual nationals holding a Commonwealth citizenship that recognise the British monarch as head of state are entitled to use the styling ... Common usage varies from country to country for instance, dual Bahamian-American citizen Sidney Poitier, knighted in 1974, is often styled "Sir Sidney Poitier", particularly in connection with his official ambassadorial duties, although he himself rarely employs the title ...
Famous quotes containing the words styling and/or formal:
“Finishing schools in the fifties were a good place to store girls for a few years before marrying them off, a satisfactory rest stop between college weekends spent husband hunting. It was a haven for those of us adept at styling each others hair, playing canasta, and chain smoking Pall Mall extra-long cigarettes.”
—Barbara Howar (b. 1934)
“Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily.
Let not our looks put on our purposes,
But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and formal constancy.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)