Who is that guy in the crown? (The SCA hierarchy and how to address them)
During your first events, you’ll be sure to notice people wearing various accessories, but the one which really stands out are the crowns or coronets. The Nobility entitled to wear crowns or coronets include Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Dukes, Duchesses, Counts, Countesses, Viscounts, Viscountesses, Barons, Baronesses, Court Barons and Court Baronesses. If in doubt of their rank, address them as “Your Excellency”.
- King and Queen: They are the monarchs and rulers of our Kingdom, and are chosen by combat; they change every six months as a result of the biannual Crown Tourneys. They have the ability to change laws and to dispense awards. They can be addressed as “Sire”, “Your Majesty”, “My Lord King/My Lady Queen”, “Your Grace” and “My Liege.” It is courteous to bow when speaking to them, passing by them, or passing their thrones, whether occupied or empty.
- Prince and Princess: There are two types of Princes and Princesses, Crown and Territorial. The Crown Prince and Princess are heirs to the Kingdom (i.e. will shortly be the reigning King and Queen), chosen by combat in the Crown Tourney. They are addressed as “Your Royal Highness”. A territorial Prince and Princess rule over a Principality, a territory which is a subdivision of a kingdom. They are also chosen by combat. Their form of address varies from kingdom to kingdom.
- Duke and Duchess: These are individuals who have served as King/Queen at least twice. They are addressed as “Your Grace”.
- Count and Countess: These are individuals who have served as King/Queen once. They are addressed as “Your Excellency”. Some alternate titles are Earl (Jarl, Iarll) and Graf.
- Viscount and Vicountess: These individuals have served at least once as Territorial Prince/Princess. They are addressed as “Your Excellency”.
- Baron and Baroness: There are two types of these individuals, those that are in fief, and court Barons/Baronesses. Those that are in fief are the ones that oversee a large local group (such as the Barony of Southron Gaard); they are the local representatives of the King and Queen and serve in that capacity for a period. Court Barons/Baronesses have been awarded this title by the Crown, often for exceptional service. Both types are addressed as “Your Excellency”.
In addition, there is also the Peerage, which is made up of members of the Chivalry, the Laurels and the Pelicans.
- The Chivalry (Knights): This consists of the Order of Knighthood and the Order of Mastery of Arms. The members of these orders are chosen by the Crown for their grace, courtesy and skill of arms. As a member of The Order of the Knighthood, the individual has chosen to swear fealty to the Crown, and is given the privilege of wearing a white belt, spurs and a chain as symbols of their fealty. These individuals are addressed as “Sir [name]”.
Members of the Order of Mastery of Arms exhibit the same qualities as those members of the Order of Knighthood, but have chosen not to swear fealty. They are entitled to wear a white baldric, and are addressed as “Master” or “Mistress”.
- The Laurels: The members of this Order are selected for their great skill in the Arts and Sciences, and for their willingness to teach others. They are called the “Laurels” as their symbol is a green laurel wreath on a gold background. These individuals are addressed as “Master [name]” or “Mistress [name]” or “Dame [name].
- The Pelicans: The members of this Order are selected because they have given of themselves in service. They are called the “Pelicans” as their symbol is the pelican in her piety, spilling her blood to feed her young. These individuals are addressed as “Master [name]” or “Mistress [name]” or “Dame [name].
Don’t worry too much about all these titles – if you address people politely as “m’lord” or “m’lady”, no-one can fault you.