The An Tir Handbook, 3rd Edition, May XXXIII/1998
Customs, Etiquette, and Playing the Game
by Duchess Lao Tao-sheng
Peerage in An Tir takes two forms. Members of the Peerage Orders of the Laurel, Pelican and Chivalry are referred to as Peers of the Realm. Those who have sat the throne of An Tir or of its principalities are referred to as Royal Peers.
The King and Queen are the highest ranking royal peers in the land. They are addressed verbally as "Your Majesty" or "Your Grace". You will often hear Their Royal Majesties addressed in court by their heralds as "Their Dread Majesties" or "Their August Majesties" or similar forsooth form. When speaking with Their Majesties in person, it is custom to use Their formal form of address, and to not approach closer than 2 - 3 feet. It is good etiquette to bow to Them at the beginning of your conversation, and again when you leave Their presence. It is good etiquette to not speak with Them until They have given you permission, or "leave" to do so. It is customary not to initiate physical contact, let Them offer it first. It is custom in An Tir to stand when They approach you, and bow as They pass by. If the King is your friend, He may give you leave to be less formal in private settings. But in public, it is expected that you will set the example for others, and use the correct form of address and level of formality.
When you are writing to the King and Queen, use the same forms of address as you would if you were addressing them in person. If you are writing about them, They are referred to as Their Majesties, or Their Royal Majesties in front of Their names. As you may have noticed, whenever you reference Their Majesties in writing, They and Their titles are always capitalized.
When Their Majesties step down from the throne the first time, They are given the title of Count and Countess, or Their personaís language equivalent. Generally, they are also given a Patent of Arms if they donít already have one. They are addressed as Your Excellency in both verbal and written communication.
If Their Majesties have reigned once before and are stepping down from Their second reign, They are given the title of Duke and Duchess. Although there are ethnic language equivalents to these titles, Duke and Duchess are most prevalent. They are addressed as Your Grace in both verbal and written communication. A Royal couple may reign more than twice, but there is no title above that of Duke and Duchess.
In the days before An Tir was a principality of the West Kingdom, there were Royal Peers who ruled as Prince and Princess of the Principality; and now we have our own principalities. When a Territorial Prince and Princess step down from wearing the Territorial Coronets, They are titled Viscount and Viscountess, and are generally given a Patent of Arms if they donít already have one. A royal peer may add a metal coronet to their arms if they wish.
Is a Royal Peer better than a non-Royal Peer? Definitely not. Royal peerage is a symbol of where you have been, not who you are. Just like non-royal peerages are a symbol of the work you have been recognized for, not who you are. Peerages are bestowed on you. They do not make you. They are earned badges of rank, some more earned than others. All peers should be treated with respect because of the service that they have rendered to their kingdom in one capacity or another. But respect, like titles and rank, are earned, not given freely. We all need to remember that...
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