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An inadvertent demotion for the queen

September 17, 2010 | 12:52 pm

A1-9.17 A front-page headline with this photo of Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI reads, "Her Highness, His Holiness." It’s poetic and alliterative, but unfortunately, it’s also incorrect.

As Times readers pointed out in e-mails this morning, the queen is "Her Majesty."

"It is disrespectful to address or refer to the queen as 'Her Highness'," David Allaun of Long Beach wrote.

"Ever since her accession in 1952, she is referred to as 'Her Majesty'," said Marty Yadrick of Hollywood.

"Only her kids and other relatives who are princes and princesses get the lesser title of 'Her/His Highness'," added Jim Philbrick of Palm Springs.

The website of the British Monarchy advises:

On presentation to the queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am'.

For male members of the royal family the same rules apply, with the title used in the first instance being 'Your Royal Highness' and subsequently 'Sir'.

For other female members of the royal family the first address is conventionally 'Your Royal Highness' followed by 'Ma'am' in later conversation.

A For the Record item will follow. Apologies, Your Majesty.

--Deirdre Edgar