How to Address an Ex-Prime Minister

In the world of politics, reputation and status are everything. This is especially true with former heads of state, such as prime ministers. Introductions, forms of address and titles are carefully managed so as to confer the maximum respect and dignity on the retired office holder. If you have the responsibility of addressing or introducing a former prime minister, it is best to be as formal as possible.


    • 1

      Use the ex-prime minister's courtesy title if one is customary. In the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, this title is "the Right Honorable." Even when a courtesy title is not customary in the former official's home country, it may be appropriate to address him or her as "Your Excellency" if the ex-prime minister is traveling abroad.

    • 2

      Use the formal name of the country. For example, the formal name of the United Kingdom is "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." Australia's formal name is "the Commonwealth of Australia," and the formal name of Finland is "the Republic of Finland."

    • 3

      Use the dates for which the official was prime minister. For example, Kevin Rudd would be introduced as "the Right Honorable Kevin Rudd, prime minister of the Commonwealth of Australia from 2007 to 2010." In the case of a former prime minister who was the most recent person to hold that office, he or she could also be referred to as "the immediate former prime minister."

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