The Right Honourable (abbreviation: The Rt Hon. or Rt Hon.) is an honorific style traditionally applied to certain persons and collective bodies in the United Kingdom, Australia, the former British Empire and the Commonwealth of Nations. The term is predominantly used today as a style associated with the holding of certain senior public offices in the United Kingdom, Canada, Kenya and New Zealand.
"Right" in this context is an adverb meaning "thoroughly" or "very".
The prefix is customarily abbreviated to "The" in many situations, e.g The Earl Mountbatten of Burma, but never for Privy Counsellors.The following persons are entitled to the style in a personal capacity:
The following persons are entitled to the style ex officio. The style is added to the name of the office, not the name of the person:
All other lord mayors are "The Right Worshipful"; other lords provost do not use an honorific. By the 1920s, a number of city mayors, including the Lord mayor of Leeds,were unofficially using the prefix "The Right Honourable", and the matter was consequently raised in Parliament. The Lord Mayor of Bristol at present still uses the prefix "Right Honourable", without official sanction. The Chairman of the London County Council (LCC) was granted the style in 1935 as part of the celebrations of the silver jubilee of King George V. The chairman of the Greater London Council, the body that replaced the LCC in 1965, was similarly granted the prefix; however, that body, and by extension the office of its chairman, was likewise abolished in 1986.
Privy Counsellors are appointed for life by the monarch, on the advice of the prime minister. All members of the British Cabinet (technically a committee of the Privy Council) are appointed to the Privy Council, as are certain other senior ministers in the government, senior members of the Shadow Cabinet, and leaders of the major political parties. The Privy Council thus includes all current and former members of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, excepting those who have resigned from the Privy Council. The first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also so appointed, as is the leader of the largest opposition party in the Scottish Parliament.
In order to differentiate peers who are Privy Counsellors from those who are not, the suffix "PC" should be added after the name (according to Debrett's Peerage).This is not however considered correct by Who's Who .
In the House of Commons, members are not permitted to address each other directly or name other members, but must instead address the Speaker and refer to each other indirectly by their job. A non-Privy Council member is thus "my hon. Friend (the member for constituency)" if in the same party as the person speaking, and "the hon. Member/Gentleman/Lady (the member for constituency)" otherwise. ("Honourable" is abbreviated as "hon." in Hansard.) "Honourable" becomes "right honourable" for those members entitled to this style, in particular Privy Counsellors. Members with government or opposition jobs may be referred to as such, for example "my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer", "the right hon. Lady, the Leader of the Opposition", "his right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Department", "the Secretary of State" (where this is unambiguous, such as while asking questions of a minister), or "the Prime Minister". Other honorifics are used in addition for those members in relevant professions:
Provided they are Commonwealth citizens, foreign judges appointed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council are entitled to the honorific as well, although the appellation may be ignored in the judge's home country.
In the United Kingdom, "The Right Honourable" is added as a prefix to the name of various collective entities such as:
See also the collective use of "the Most Honourable", as in "The Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council" (the Privy Council).
In Canada, occupants of the most senior public offices are styled as "The Right Honourable" (Le très honorable in French). Formerly, this was by virtue of their appointment to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. However, Canadian appointments to the British Privy Council were ended by the government of Lester Pearson. Currently, individuals who hold, or have held, one of the following offices are awarded the style of Right Honourable for life:
The title is not to be confused with "His/Her Excellency", used by governors general during their term of office, or "The Honourable", used only while in office by premiers, and provincial cabinet ministers, and for life by senators and federal cabinet ministers.
The style may also be granted for life by the Governor General to eminent Canadians who have not held any of the offices that would otherwise entitle them to the style. This has been done on two occasions: once to mark the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 1992, and again upon the retirement of longtime politician Herb Gray in 2002.
The following individuals have been granted the title as an honorific:
|Justin Trudeau||Ottawa, ON||Prime Minister||1971||2015|
|Stephen Harper||Toronto, ON||Former Prime Minister||1959||2006|
|Paul Martin||Windsor, ON||Former Prime Minister||1938||2003|
|Jean Chrétien||Shawinigan, QC||Former Prime Minister||1934||1993|
|Kim Campbell||Port Alberni, BC||Former Prime Minister||1947||1993|
|Brian Mulroney||Baie-Comeau, QC||Former Prime Minister||1939||1984|
|John Turner||United Kingdom||Former Prime Minister||1929||1984|
|Joe Clark||High River, AB||Former Prime Minister||1939||1979|
|Julie Payette||Montreal, QC||Governor General||1963||2017|
|David Johnston||Sudbury, ON||Former Governor General||1941||2010|
|Michaëlle Jean||Haiti||Former Governor General||1957||2005|
|Adrienne Clarkson||Hong Kong||Former Governor General||1939||1999|
|Ed Schreyer||Beausejour, MB||Former Governor General||1935||1979|
|Richard Wagner||Montreal, QC||Chief Justice||1957||2017|
|Beverley McLachlin||Pincher Creek, AB||Former Chief Justice||1943||2000|
|Don Mazankowski||Viking, AB||Honorific||1935||1992|
Over the years, a number of prominent Canadians became members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and thus were entitled to use the style of Right Honourable, either because of their services in Britain (e.g. serving as envoys to London) or as members of the Imperial War Cabinet, or due to their prominence in the Canadian Cabinet. These included all but three of Canada's early prime ministers (Alexander Mackenzie, John Abbott, and Mackenzie Bowell), who governed before the title was used domestically.
In New Zealand, the prime minister and some other senior cabinet ministers were customarily appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and thus styled The Right Honourable.
In her resignation honours, the former prime minister Helen Clark did not recommend the appointment of any new Privy Counsellors, and at present Winston Peters is the sole Privy Counsellor in the New Zealand parliament. Privy Counsellors recently retired from parliament include Clark, the former Speaker of the House Jonathan Hunt, and the former prime minister Jenny Shipley.In 2009 it was announced that the new prime minister John Key had decided not to make any further recommendations to the Crown for appointments to the Privy Council.
In August 2010, the Queen of New Zealand announced that, with immediate effect, individuals who hold, and those persons who after the date of the signing of these rules are appointed to, the following offices are awarded the style The Right Honourable for life:
This change was made because the practice of appointing New Zealanders to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom had ceased. However, the change had little immediate effect, as all but two of the holders or living former holders of the offices granted the style had already been appointed to the Privy Council.
The living New Zealanders holding the style "The Right Honourable" as a result of membership of the Privy Council are:
The living New Zealanders holding the style "The Right Honourable" for life as a result of the 2010 changes are:
|Sir Anand Satyanand||Former Governor-General||2 August 2010|
|Sir John Key||Former Prime Minister|
|Sir Lockwood Smith||Former Speaker of the House of Representatives|
|Sir Jerry Mateparae||Former Governor-General||31 August 2011|
|David Carter||Former Speaker of the House of Representatives||1 February 2013|
|Dame Patsy Reddy||Governor-General||28 September 2016|
|Sir Bill English||Former Prime Minister||12 December 2016|
|Jacinda Ardern||Prime Minister||26 October 2017|
|Trevor Mallard||Speaker of the House of Representatives||7 November 2017|
|Dame Helen Winklemann||Chief Justice||14 March 2019|
In Australia, the lord mayors of Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney are entitled to be styled "The Right Honourable" while in office.
Historically, a number of Australians were entitled to the style as members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. Appointment to the Australian equivalent of the Privy Council, the Federal Executive Council, does not entitle a person to the style. Typical appointees to the Imperial Privy Council included senior politicians and judges at state and federal level. Malcolm Fraser in 1976 was the most recent prime minister to accept appointment to the Privy Council and thus to be styled "The Right Honourable". Of his 21 predecessors, only four were not members of the Privy Council – Alfred Deakin (declined appointment), Chris Watson (never offered), Arthur Fadden (accepted after leaving office), and Gough Whitlam (declined appointment). The last Governor-General to be entitled to the style was Sir Ninian Stephen, who left office in 1988. The last active politician to be entitled to the style was Ian Sinclair, who retired in 1998. The few Australian recipients of British peerages were also entitled to the style.
Present-day Australian governments no longer recommend Australians for elevation to the peerage or appointment to the Privy Council. However, some present-day Australian citizens either hold hereditary peerages (e.g. Malcolm Murray, 12th Earl of Dunmore) or have been awarded life peerages on the recommendation of the UK government (e.g. Robert May, Baron May of Oxford).
|Living Australians holding the title The Right Honourable||Reason||Formerly|
|Doug Anthony, AC, CH||Member of the Privy Council||Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia|
|Ian Sinclair, AC||Member of the Privy Council||Former Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives|
|Sir William Heseltine, GCB, GCVO, AC||Member of the Privy Council||Former Private Secretary to the Sovereign|
|Trixie Gardner, Baroness Gardner of Parkes, AM, JP||Life peer||Former Councillor on the Westminster City Council|
|Malcolm Murray, 12th Earl of Dunmore||Earl of Dunmore||Former Member of the House of Lords|
|Robert Fiennes-Clinton, 19th Earl of Lincoln||Earl of Lincoln|
|Simon Abney-Hastings, 15th Earl of Loudoun||Earl of Loudoun|
|George Dawson-Damer, 7th Earl of Portarlington||Earl of Portarlington|
|Keith Rous, 6th Earl of Stradbroke||Earl of Stradbroke|
|Francis Grosvenor, 8th Earl of Wilton||Earl of Wilton|
|Nicholas St John, 9th Viscount Bolingbroke, 10th Viscount St John||Viscount Bolingbroke|
|Charles Cavendish, 7th Baron Chesham||Baron Chesham|
|James Lindsay, 3rd Baron Lindsay of Birker||Baron Lindsay of Birker|
|David Campbell, 7th Baron Stratheden and Campbell||Baron Stratheden|
Members of the Privy Council of Ireland were entitled to be addressed as The Right Honourable, even after the Privy Council ceased to have any functions or to meet on the creation of the Irish Free State in December 1922. Nevertheless, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, like some of his counterparts in Great Britain, retained the use of the honorific style as a result of its having been conferred separately by legislation; in 2001 it was removed, as a consequence of local government law reform.
The second prime minister Raila Amolo Odinga (2008 – 2013) has been referred to as Rt. Honourable Raila Odinga.[ citation needed ]
In Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) the British practice was followed with Ceylonese members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom were styled The Right Honourable and were referred to as Mahamanya in Sinhala. Ceylonese appointees to the privy council included D. S. Senanayake and Sir John Kotelawala.
A prime minister is the head of a cabinet and the leader of the ministers in the executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system. A prime minister is not the head of state of their respective state nor a monarch, rather they are the head of government, serving typically under a monarch in a hybrid of aristocratic and democratic government forms or a president in a republican form of government.
The prime minister of Canada is the head of government, chair of the Cabinet, and primary minister of the Crown. Canadian prime ministers are styled as The Right Honourable, a privilege maintained for life.
The Privy Council of the United Kingdom is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary. The female equivalent is baroness.
A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used for children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer, as well as certain officials such as some judges and members of the Scottish gentry. These styles are used 'by courtesy' in the sense that the relatives, officials and others do not themselves hold substantive titles. There are several different kinds of courtesy titles in the British peerage.
A styleof office or form/manner of address, is an official or legally recognized form of address, and may often be used in conjunction with a title. A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal capacity. Such styles are particularly associated with monarchies, where they may be used by a wife of an office holder or of a prince of the blood, for the duration of their marriage. They are also almost universally used for presidents in republics and in many countries for members of legislative bodies, higher-ranking judges and senior constitutional office holders. Leading religious figures also have styles.
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the body of senior Ministers of the Crown in the Government of the United Kingdom. A committee of the Privy Council, the members include the four Great Offices of State which includes the Prime Minister, who chairs the cabinet. Other members include the Secretaries of State who each head the government departments.
The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking below the Lord High Treasurer but above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends and is responsible for presiding over meetings of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval. In the modern era, the holder is by convention always a member of one of the Houses of Parliament, and the office is normally a Cabinet post.
Forms of address used in the United Kingdom are given below. For further information on Courtesy Titles see Courtesy titles in the United Kingdom.
The following is the order of precedence in England and Wales as of June 2020. Separate orders exist for gentlemen and ladies.
The honorific prefix "The Most Honourable" is a form of address that is used in several countries. In the United Kingdom, it precedes the name of a marquess or marchioness.
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada, sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council (PC), is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs. Responsible government, though, requires the sovereign or her viceroy, the Governor General of Canada, to almost always follow only that advice tendered by the Cabinet: a committee within the Privy Council composed usually of elected Members of Parliament. Those summoned to the QPC are appointed for life by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, meaning that the group is composed predominantly of former cabinet ministers, with some others having been inducted as an honorary gesture. Those in the council are accorded the use of an honorific style and post-nominal letters, as well as various signifiers of precedence.
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the peerage whose titles cannot be inherited, in contrast to hereditary peers. In modern times, life peerages, always created at the rank of baron, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as age and citizenship. The legitimate children of a life peer are entitled to style themselves with the prefix "The Honourable", although they cannot inherit the peerage itself.
The Senators of the College of Justice are judges of the College of Justice, a set of legal institutions involved in the administration of justice in Scotland. There are three types of senator: Lords of Session ; Lords Commissioners of Justiciary ; and the Chairman of the Scottish Land Court. Whilst the High Court and Court of Session historically maintained separate judiciary, these are now one and the same, and the term, Senator, is almost exclusively used in referring to the judges of these courts.
The Privy Council of Northern Ireland is a formal body of advisors to the sovereign and was a vehicle for the monarch's prerogative powers in Northern Ireland. It was modeled on the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.
Raymond Benedict Bartholomew Michael Asquith, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Asquith, is a British former diplomat and hereditary peer. Styled Viscount Asquith until he succeeded to his father's peerage titles on 16 January 2011, the earldom of Oxford and Asquith was created for his paternal great-grandfather, H. H. Asquith, a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Tina Wendy Stowell, Baroness Stowell of Beeston, is a British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords.
The prefix The Honourable or The Honorable is an honorific style that is used before the names of certain classes of people.
... earls, viscounts, and barons are 'right honourable', ...
The style is also taken by Privy Counsellors, Peers below the rank of Marquess (which includes ladies who are Peers in their own right), the Lord Mayors of London and York and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh by ancient prescriptive usage.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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