Thursday, 14 May 2009

The BBC's Incorrect Form

In Northern Ireland, the Member of Parliament for North Down is Lady Hermon MP. Pure and simple. Not so straightforward if we're talking about the BBC, though.

The BBC has elevated Lady Hermon to the socially esteemed position as the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl, by called her "Lady Sylvia Hermon" [sic].

I suppose we cannot expect many of those now employed by the Corporation to comprehend such intricacies of the British ways of life. They could, however, refer to the multitude of directories and guide-books in the BBC library, were they bothered.

Permit me to give the BBC in Northern Ireland a concise lesson about Correct Form: Lady Hermon is the wife, or widow, of a Knight Bachelor. The correct form of address, therefore, is "Lady Hermon". Variations, in writing, could include "Sylvia Lady Hermon"; or Lady (Sylvia) Hermon; or even simply calling the lady by her Chrisitan name, if one knew her personally.

The title "Lady" followed by the Christian name indicates the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl.

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