The Info List - Majesty

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Majesty (abbreviation HM, oral address Your Majesty) is an English word derived ultimately from the Latin
maiestas, meaning greatness, and used as a style by many monarchs, usually kings or emperors. Where used, the style outranks [Royal] Highness. It has cognates in many other languages, especially Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
of Europe.


1 Origin 2 Style of a head of state

2.1 In the United Kingdom 2.2 In ancient China 2.3 In Japan 2.4 In Brunei

3 References

Origin[edit] Originally, during the Roman republic, the word maiestas was the legal term for the supreme status and dignity of the state, to be respected above everything else. This was crucially defined by the existence of a specific crime, called laesa maiestas (in later French and English law, lèse-majesté), consisting of the violation of this supreme status. Various acts such as celebrating a party on a day of public mourning, contempt of the various rites of the state and disloyalty in word or act were punished as crimes against the majesty of the republic. However, later, under the Empire, it came to mean an offence against the dignity of the Emperor. Style of a head of state[edit] The term was first assumed by Charles V, who believed that—following his election as Holy Roman Emperor
in 1519—he deserved a style greater than Highness, which preceding emperors and kings had used. Soon, Francis I of France
Francis I of France
and Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
followed his example.[1] After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, Majesty was used to describe a monarch of the very highest rank— it was generally applied to God. Variations, such as "Catholic Majesty" (Spain) or "Britannic Majesty" (United Kingdom) are often used in diplomatic settings where there otherwise may be ambiguity (see a list). A person with the title is usually addressed as "Your Majesty", and referred to as "His/Her Majesty", abbreviated "HM"; the plural "Their Majesties" is "TM". Emperors (and empresses) use "[His/Her/Their/Your] Imperial Majesty", "HIM" or "TIM". Princely and ducal heads usually use "His Highness" or some variation thereof (e.g., His Serene Highness). In British practice, heads of princely states in the British Empire
British Empire
were referred to as Highness. In monarchies that do not follow the European tradition, monarchs may be called Majesty whether or not they formally bear the title of King or Queen, as is the case in certain countries and amongst certain peoples in Africa
and Asia. In the United Kingdom[edit] Main article: Style of the British sovereign In the United Kingdom, several derivatives of Majesty have been or are used, either to distinguish the British sovereign
British sovereign
from continental kings and queens or as further exalted forms of address for the monarch in official documents or the most formal situations. Richard II, according to Robert Lacey in his book Great Tales from English history, was the first English King
to demand the title of 'Highness' or 'Majesty.' He also noted that, '...previous English Kings had been content to be addressed as "My Lord" '.[2] Most Gracious Majesty
Most Gracious Majesty
is only used in the most formal of occasions. Around 1519 King
Henry VIII decided Majesty should become the style of the sovereign of England. Majesty, however, was not used exclusively; it arbitrarily alternated with both Highness and Grace, even in official documents. For example, one legal judgement issued by Henry VIII uses all three indiscriminately; Article 15 begins with, "The Kinges Highness hath ordered," Article 16 with, "The Kinges Majestie" and Article 17 with, "The Kinges Grace." Pre-Union Scotland Sovereigns were only addressed as Your Grace. During the reign of James VI and I, Majesty became the official style, to the exclusion of others. In full, the Sovereign is still referred to as His (Her) Most Gracious Majesty, actually a merger of both the Scottish Grace and the English Majesty. Britannic Majesty is the style used for the monarch and the crown in diplomacy, the law of nations, and international relations. For example, in the Mandate for Palestine
Mandate for Palestine
of the League of Nations, it was His Britannic Majesty who was designated as the Mandatory for Palestine. Britannic Majesty is famously used in all British passports, where the following sentence is used:

Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.

Most Excellent Majesty is mainly used in Acts of Parliament, where the phrase "The King's (or Queen's) Most Excellent Majesty" is used in the enacting clause. The standard is as follows:

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's [King's] most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

In ancient China[edit] Main article: Chinese honorifics § Emperors In Empire of China, an honorific (陛下) of Emperor
of China (皇帝) only. In Japan[edit] Main article: Japanese honorifics § Royal_and_official_titles In Japan, an honorific (陛下) of Reigning Emperor
(今上天皇) only. In Brunei[edit] In Brunei, a Malay title for the Sultan of Brunei
Sultan of Brunei
is Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia, Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan (KDYMMPSBS) or simply Kebawah Duli. It literally means "Under the dust of the Most Exalted [God], The Victorious Sovereign". It reflects the title of Zilullah-fil-Alam ("Shadow of God
on Earth"), referring to the Sultan as having a small bit of God's immense power. The title paduka means "victorious" from Old Malay
Old Malay
while seri is an honorific from Sanskrit. The title baginda is a third-person noun for royals and prophets. References[edit]

Look up majesty in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

^ Royal Styles and the uses of "Highness" ^ Great Tales from English History, Robert Lacey.

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Styles used by monarchs and royalty

Monarchs and mediatised nobles

Imperial and Royal Majesty (HI&RM) Imperial Majesty (HIM) Apostolic Majesty (HAM) Catholic Monarchs Catholic Majesty (HCM) Most Christian Majesty (HMCM) Most Faithful Majesty
Most Faithful Majesty
(HFM) Fidei defensor (FD) Britannic Majesty (HBM) Most Excellent Majesty Most Gracious Majesty Royal Majesty (HRM) Majesty (HM) Grace (HG) Royal Highness (HRH) Exalted Highness (HEH) Highness (HH) Most Eminent Highness (HMEH) Serene Highness (HSH) Illustrious Highness (HIll.H)

Imperial Crown of Austria

Members of sovereign and mediatised families

Imperial and Royal Highness (HI&RH) Imperial Highness (HIH) Royal Highness (HRH) Grand Ducal Highness (HGDH) Highness (HH) Sultanic Highness (HSH) Ducal Serene Highness (HDSH) Serene Highness (HSH) Serenity (HS) Illustrious Highness (HIllH) Grace (HG) Excellency

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