The Right Honourable (The Rt Hon. or Rt Hon.) is an honorific style traditionally applied to certain persons and collective bodies in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, some other Commonwealth realms, the English-speaking Caribbean, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and occasionally elsewhere. The term is predominantly used today as a style associated with the holding of certain senior public offices in the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand.
An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It is also often conflated with systems of honorific speech in linguistics, which are grammatical or morphological ways of encoding the relative social status of speakers.
A style of office, honorific or manner/form 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 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The UK's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Most uses of this style in the United Kingdom now indicate membership of the Privy Council.
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, 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.
"Right" in this context is an adverb meaning "thoroughly" or "very".
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, determiner, clause, preposition, or sentence. Adverbs typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc., answering questions such as how?, in what way?, when?, where?, and to what extent?. This function is called the adverbial function, and may be realized by single words (adverbs) or by multi-word expressions.
"The Right Honourable" is added as a prefix to the name of various collective entities such as:
The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission. As that position was not always occupied, the purpose was to enable management of the day-to-day operational requirements of the Royal Navy; at that point administrative control of the navy was still the responsibility of the Navy Board, established in 1546. This system remained in place until 1832, when the Board of Admiralty became the sole authority charged with both administrative and operational control of the navy when the Navy Board was abolished. The term Admiralty has become synonymous with the command and control of the Royal Navy, partly personified in the Board of Admiralty and in the Admiralty buildings in London from where operations were in large part directed. It existed until 1964 when the office of First Lord of the Admiralty was finally abolished and the functions of the Lords Commissioners were transferred to the new Admiralty Board and the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom.
The Board of Trade is a British government department concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade. Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations, but is commonly known as the Board of Trade, and formerly known as the Lords of Trade and Plantations or Lords of Trade, and it has been a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. The Board has gone through several evolutions, beginning with extensive involvement in colonial matters in the 17th Century, to powerful regulatory functions in the Victorian Era, to virtually being dormant in the last third of 20th century. In 2017, it was revitalized as an advisory board headed by the International Trade Secretary who has nominally held the title of President of the Board of Trade, and who at present is the only privy counsellor of the Board, the other members of the present Board filling roles as advisers.
See also the collective use of "Most Honourable", as in "The Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council" (the Privy Council).
The honorific is normally used only on the front of envelopes or other written documents.
In the House of Commons, Members of Parliament refer to members not as "the honourable member for ... (constituency)" but as "the right honourable member for ..." if they are Privy Councillors but now hold no ministry. To save having to recall constituency names in direct replies, the use of "the honourable lady/gentleman/member" or "the Minister (often, for department)/Chancellor/Prime Minister" is available to refer to members not in their own party (or coalition) where the person referred to has already spoken. Similarly, those in their own party are referred to as "my honourable friend" or, for Privy Councillors, "my right honourable friend". Other honorifics used in addition for those members in relevant professions (for example, "honourable and reverend","honourable and gallant" and "honourable and learned" ) are also used in the Commons.
Generally within the Commonwealth, ministers and judges are The Honourable unless they are appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, in which case they are The Right Honourable. Such persons generally include prime ministers and judges of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand, and several other Commonwealth prime ministers. 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.
The prefix is customarily abbreviated to "The" in many situations,[ example needed ] 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 that 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, but 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 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.
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 (2015)). This is not however considered correct by Who's Who (2002).
In Australia some premiers of the Australian colonies in the 19th century were appointed members of HM Privy Council and were thus entitled to be called The Right Honourable. After federation in 1901, the Governor-General, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Prime Minister and some other senior ministers held the title.
In 1972 Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam declined appointment to the Privy Council. The practice was resumed by Malcolm Fraser in 1975, but Bob Hawke declined the appointment in 1983. The last Governor-General to be entitled to the style was Sir Ninian Stephen. The last politician to be entitled to the style was Ian Sinclair, who retired in 1998. In 2001, Sir Robert May was elevated to the UK peerage as Baron May of Oxford, which carries with it the style The Right Honourable.
Australians holding certain hereditary peerages in the grades of Baron, Viscount and Earl also use the Right Honourable title. The Lord Mayors of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane,Perth, Adelaide and Hobart are styled the Rt Hon. The style (which has no connection with the Privy Council) attaches to the title of Lord Mayor, not to their names, and is relinquished upon leaving office.
|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|
|Robert May, Baron May of Oxford, OM, AC||Life peer||Former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government|
|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|
In Canada, only occupants of the most senior public offices are styled as "The Right Honourable" (Le très honorable is the French term used by the federal government). 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. Since then, individuals who hold, or have held, one of the following offices are awarded the style of Right Honourable for life:
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. It has been granted to the following individuals:
Governors general also use the style "His/Her Excellency" during their term of office. Members of the Privy Council and the Senate receive the honorific "The Honourable". The style of Right Honourable does not apply to any official at the provincial level.
|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.
Before the style of Right Honourable came into use for all Canadian prime ministers, three prime ministers did not have the style as they were not members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. These three were the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, the Hon. Sir John Abbott and the Hon. Sir Mackenzie Bowell.
Canadians who held the title before the Pearson government's reforms include:
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 was referred to as "Mahamanya" in Sinhalese. Ceylonese appointees to the privy council include, D.S. Senanayake and Sir John Kotelawala.
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.
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 Councillors, and at present Winston Peters is the sole Privy Councillor in the New Zealand parliament. Privy Councillors 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|
The second prime minister Raila Amolo Odinga (2008 - 2013) has been referred to as Rt. Honourable Raila Odinga.[ citation needed ]
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative of the Australian monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and resides in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out constitutional duties within the Commonwealth of Australia. The governor-general has formal presidency over the Federal Executive Council and is commander-in-chief of the Australian Defence Force. The functions of the governor-general include appointing ministers, judges, and ambassadors; giving royal assent to legislation passed by parliament; issuing writs for election; and bestowing Australian honours.
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 a head of state or chief executive officer of their respective nation, rather they are a head of government, serving typically under a monarch in a hybrid of aristocratic and democratic government forms.
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and Canada's head of government. The current, and 23rd, Prime Minister of Canada is the Liberal Party's Justin Trudeau, following the 2015 Canadian federal election. Canadian prime ministers are styled as The Right Honourable, a privilege maintained for life.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.
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.
In Canada, a premier is the head of government of a province or territory. Though the word is merely a synonym for prime minister, it is employed for provincial prime ministers to differentiate them from the Prime Minister of Canada. There are currently ten provincial premiers and three territorial premiers. These persons are styled The Honourable only while in office, unless they are admitted to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, in which case they retain the title even after leaving the premiership.
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada, sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, 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 as directed by 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.
Sir Lyman Poore Duff, was the eighth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He was the longest serving justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
John Whitney "Jack" Pickersgill, was a Canadian civil servant and politician. He was born in Ontario, but was raised in Manitoba. He was the Clerk for the Canadian Government's Privy Council in the early 1950s. He was first elected to federal parliament in 1953, representing a Newfoundland electoral district and serving in prime minister Louis St. Laurent's cabinet. In the mid-1960s, he served again in cabinet, this time under prime minister Lester B. Pearson. He resigned from parliament in 1967 to become the president of the Canadian Transport Commission. He was awarded the highest level of the Order of Canada in 1970. In his later years, he wrote books on Canadian history, and he died in 1997 in Ottawa.
The Order of precedence in New Zealand is a guide to the relative seniority of constitutional office holders and certain others, to be followed, as appropriate at State and official functions. The previous order of precedence is revoked and Her Majesty The Queen approved the following Order of Precedence in New Zealand effective 20 September 2018:
Ian Alistair Mackenzie, was a Canadian parliamentarian.
In Australia's political system, the Federal Executive Council is a body established by Section 62 of the Australian Constitution to advise the Governor-General, and comprises, at least notionally, all current and former Commonwealth Ministers and Assistant Ministers. As the Governor-General is bound by convention to follow the advice of the Executive Council on almost all occasions, the Executive Council has de jure executive power. This power is used to legally enact the decisions of the Cabinet, which under conventions of the Westminster system has no de jure authority. In practice, the Federal Executive Council meets solely to endorse and give legal force to decisions already made by the Cabinet.
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.
The Governor-General of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her Prime Minister of New Zealand, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.
The following is the Australian Table of Precedence.
The Alberta order of precedence is a nominal and symbolic hierarchy of important positions within the province of Alberta. It has no legal standing but is used to dictate ceremonial protocol at events of a provincial nature.
Sir Peter Blanchard is a former Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.
The prefix The Honourable or The Honorable is an honorific style that is used before the names of certain classes of people.
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