The title ‘Your Majesty’ is used to address reigning monarchs in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms. It signifies supreme royal authority and is only used when addressing the monarch directly. Traditionally, kings were addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ and queens were addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ or ‘Madam’. However, in modern times ‘Your Majesty’ can be used for both kings and queens.
Current Monarchs Addressed as Your Majesty
Several monarchs around the world currently hold the title ‘Your Majesty’. The most prominent include:
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II has reigned as Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms since 1952. As the British monarch, she is addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ by both her subjects and officials. Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning British monarch in history. She celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne, in 2022.
King Charles III
King Charles III became King of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8, 2022. As the new British monarch, King Charles III inherits the title ‘Your Majesty’. He is the first King of England to be known as Charles since the 17th century.
King Willem-Alexander has been the King of the Netherlands since 2013. He is addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ as the Dutch monarch. King Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king in over a century.
King Harald V
King Harald V has reigned as King of Norway since 1991. He is titled ‘Your Majesty’ as the Norwegian monarch. King Harald V is the first Norwegian-born monarch since the 14th century.
King Felipe VI
King Felipe VI has been the King of Spain since 2014 after his father, King Juan Carlos I, abdicated. As the Spanish monarch, King Felipe VI is formally addressed as ‘Your Majesty’. He is the first Spanish king since 1886.
King Carl XVI Gustaf
King Carl XVI Gustaf has been King of Sweden since 1973. He inherited the throne from his grandfather. As the Swedish monarch, he is referred to as ‘Your Majesty’. King Carl XVI Gustaf is the longest reigning monarch in Swedish history.
Emperor Naruhito became the Emperor of Japan in 2019, succeeding his father Emperor Akihito. Emperors in Japan are addressed as ‘Your Majesty’. Emperor Naruhito is the 126th monarch in the world’s oldest continuous hereditary monarchy.
Historical Monarchs Addressed as Your Majesty
In the past, ‘Your Majesty’ was used to address various kings, queens, and emperors throughout history. Some of the most prominent include:
Queen Victoria reigned over the British Empire from 1837 to 1901. As the British monarch, she was formally addressed as ‘Your Majesty’. Queen Victoria holds the record for the longest reign of any British monarch at 63 years.
King George V
King George V was King of the United Kingdom and British Dominions from 1910 to 1936. He adopted the title ‘Your Majesty’ as the British monarch. King George V was the first British monarch of the House of Windsor.
Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I ruled as Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 until 1603. As the English queen, she was addressed as ‘Your Majesty’. Queen Elizabeth I’s reign is known as the Elizabethan era and saw expansion of English power.
King Louis XIV
King Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, was King of France from 1643 to 1715. He held the longest recorded reign of any monarch in European history. As French king, he was referred to as ‘Your Majesty’. King Louis XIV consolidated absolute monarchical rule in France.
Emperor Meiji reigned as Emperor of Japan from 1867 to 1912. He oversaw Japan’s rapid modernization and rise as a world power. As Japanese emperor, his title was ‘Your Majesty’. The Meiji era marked the end of feudalism in Japan.
Shah Jahan was the Mughal Emperor of India from 1628 to 1658. As Mughal emperor, he was addressed as ‘Your Majesty’. Shah Jahan oversaw great architectural achievements like the Taj Mahal. His reign marked the artistic zenith of Mughal rule.
Forms of Address for Royal Family Members
While the monarch is addressed as ‘Your Majesty’, other members of a royal family have different forms of address. These titles signify their relation to the monarch and position in the royal hierarchy.
|Royal Family Member
|Form of Address
|Your Royal Highness
|Your Royal Highness
|Your Royal Highness
As shown, the Queen consort, King consort, and Queen dowager also receive the ‘Your Majesty’ title as they are or were married to the monarch. However, other family members have different addresses like ‘Your Royal Highness’ for princes and princesses.
Use of Your Majesty in Other Cultures
While ‘Your Majesty’ is most associated with British and European monarchies, it has also been used to address rulers in other civilizations throughout history. Some examples include:
In Imperial China, the emperor was referred to with titles like Huángdì (Emperor) or Bìxià (Your Majesty). The empress consort was addressed as Huánghòu (Empress) or Bìxià.
The Japanese emperor was addressed using honorifics like ‘Heika’ (Your Majesty) or ‘Tennō Heika’ (Your Majesty the Emperor). The empress consort was referred to as ‘Kōgō Heika’ meaning ‘Your Majesty the Empress’.
Korea historically addressed its rulers with titles like Hwangje (Your Majesty) for emperors. The emperor’s formal title was Hwangje Majestie. Korean queens were addressed as Hwanghu (Your Majesty).
The Thai monarch is addressed as Phrabat Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua (Your Majesty). The queen is referred to as Phrabat Somdet Phra Akhariner (Your Majesty Queen).
The King of Saudi Arabia is referred to as Majeste, an honorific derived from ‘Your Majesty’ in French.
Ethiopian emperors were addressed with Janhoy (Your Majesty). The title negusa nagast (King of Kings) was also used.
In summary, ‘Your Majesty’ is a formal style used to address reigning monarchs in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth realms, and other kingdoms worldwide. It signifies supreme royal authority and must be used when addressing the monarch directly. While the British monarch is the most prominent figure addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ today, variations of the title have been used throughout history and cultures to acknowledge kings, queens, emperors, and empresses. The use of ‘Your Majesty’ denotes utmost respect for the sovereign.