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Ministry of Justice

Honours and Decorations

Guidance on how to address those with honours and decorations both verbally and in writing.


These should be placed after the name, in the following order of precedence (the list does not include every honour or decoration but covers those most likely to be encountered).

Abbreviations Honour/Decoration
Bt/Bart
Baronet
VC Victoria Cross
GC George Cross
KG/LG Knight (or Lady) of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
KT/LT Knight (or Lady) of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
PC Privy Counsellor - only to be used as described in section on Peers who are Privy Counsellors
GCB Knight (or Dame) Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
OM Member of the Order of Merit
GCMG Knight (or Dame) Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
GCVO Knight (or Dame) Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
GBE Knight (or Dame) Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
CH Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour
KCB/DCB Knight or Dame Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
KCMG/DCMG Knight or Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
KCVO/DCVO Knight or Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
KBE/DBE Knight or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Knight Bachelor (no suffix) Knight
CB Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
CMG Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
CVO Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
CBE Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
DSO Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
LVO Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
OBE Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
ISO Companion of the Imperial Service Order
MVO Member of the Royal Victorian Order
MBE Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
CGC Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
RRC Royal Red Cross (First Class)
DSC Distinguished Service Cross
MC Military Cross
DFC Distinguished Flying Cross
AFC Air Force Cross
ARRC Royal Red Cross (Second Class)
DCM Distinguished Conduct Medal
CGM Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
GM George Medal
DSM Distinguished Service Medal
MM Military Medal
DFM Distinguished Flying Medal
AFM Air Force Medal
QGM Queen's Gallantry Medal
RVM Royal Victorian Medal (Gold, Silver or Bronze)
BEM British Empire Medal
QPM Queen’s Police Medal
QFSM Queen’s Fire Service Medal
QVRM Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal
TD Territorial Efficiency Decoration
RD Decoration for Officers of the Royal Naval Reserve
VRD Decoration for Officers of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
AE Air Efficiency Award

When a higher class in the same order is awarded, all reference to the lower class is dropped, eg when the holder of the CB is promoted to a Knight in the same Order, the letters KCB alone are placed after his name. The relevant honour or decoration should be used from the moment The Queen's intention to grant it is officially announced (for example, in a published Honours List). The one exception is elevation to the Peerage, in which case the date of the Letters Patent of Creation is the relevant date.

Order of initials and abbreviations of Rank, Honours or Degrees

Bt or Bart for Baronet, and Esq for Esquire, precede all other abbreviations after names. Other designations follow in the order set out below:

  1. Orders and Decorations conferred by the Crown i.e. CB., OBE. etc.
  2. Appointments in the following order: Queen's Counsel (QC), Justice of the Peace (JP), Deputy Lieutenant (DL) and Member of Parliament/Devolved Assembly (MP. MSP. AM. MLA.)
  3. University degrees
  4. Religious Orders and medical qualifications
  5. Fellowships of learned societies, Royal Academicians, Associates, Fellowships, Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations etc
  6. Membership of the Armed Forces