Difference Between Majesty and Highness (With Table)

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English from ancient times, has many pair or group of words which have a very subtle difference among them. When we go back to traditional and royal words, one such pair that confuses many people is Majesty and Highness.

Majesty vs Highness

The difference between Majesty and Highness is that “Majesty” is ranked higher in comparison to “Highness.” Majesty is mainly used to address emperors, kings, and queens. On the other hand, Highness is preferred when we want to address princes and princesses, or any other member of the royal family. 

However, it is not very justified to point a sentence wrong if it contains the use of these words swapped, but the write-up could be much better if we know the difference and use them correctly.

Comparison Table Between Majesty and Highness

Parameter of ComparisonMajestyHighness
When the term is usedMajesty is traditionally, widely, or voluntarily used. It is used just to show supreme respect to someone.Highness is used only in accordance with the preference of the member of the royal family. This means if a member does not want him/ herself to address by highness, he/she has the authority to stop that.
RankingMajesty is ranked higher than highness or can be said that it is ranked highest which means majesty is used to address the highest-ranked person.Highness can be used to address someone who is respectable and comes below that highest authority.
In the medieval periodIn the medieval period, Majesty was used to address the king or queen of the kingdom in palaces by their people. Highness addresses princes, princesses, chiefs, or any other respectable members of the palace.
Denotation from the termMajesty (pronounced as măj’ĭs-tē), here capital “M” is used for the dignity, power, and the greatness of a sovereign. It can also pertain to the power and sovereignty of God. Highness (pronounced as hī’nĭs), here capital “H” is used as a title of respect for royalty and power.
SignificanceMajesty is used to convey respect to the highest power or sovereignty of someone.Highness is used sometimes to convey honor and arrogance along with the high status of the society.

What is Majesty?

To address the ruling monarch, the term majesty is used. This generally applies to the king and emperor, to the queen, and to the empress as well. This, as a rule, is addressed to someone who has a rank higher than a prince.

If we go back to history, this term refers to almost the same distinction as God as the highest ruler on earth. Basically, it is used to address the “highest of all”.  The term was presumed to be used as a contemplation of the influential domain of the monarch and their desire to be extremely distinguished by their subjects.

It can be similar to sovereign power and is used to represent the greatness or splendor characteristics of a royal personality who is running the whole system.

What is Highness?

Highness is frequently used for any member of the royal family, though not for the monarchs. The term Highness can be used to refer to the prince, duke, duchess, prince, princess, etc. But this is not an automatic title,  because any member of the royal house is capable of asking that their names not be styled or addressed in such a way. This term exudes honor, respect, loftiness, and exalted status.

The crown prince and crown princess can be addressed as “Your Highness” during formal occasions, such as giving a speech. This is a term that is similar to using Ma’am or sir. Highness can be used to address any member of the higher society.

Main Differences Between Majesty and Highness

  1. Majesty is traditionally, widely, or voluntarily used while Highness is used only according to the preference of the member of the royal family. It means if a person wants him/ herself to not be addressed by highness, he/she has the right to stop that. 
  2. Majesty is ranked higher than highness which means majesty is used to address a highest-ranked person whereas Highness can be addressed to someone who is respectable and comes under that highest authority.
  3. In a palace in the medieval period, Majesty was used to address the king or queen of the kingdom while Highness was used to address princes, princesses, chiefs, and other respectable members of the palace.
  4. Majesty (pronounced as măj’ĭs-tē), capital “M” is used for the dignity and the greatness of a sovereign. It can also pertain to the power and sovereignty of God. On the other hand, Highness (pronounced as hī’nĭs), capital “H” is used as a title of honor for royalty and power.
  5. The significance of the two terms is also very different. Majesty on one hand denotes godly powers and highest authority, Highness is sometimes used to convey arrogance and honor along with the high status of the society. 

Conclusion

Majesty, as well as highness, are the terms with an affluent and philosophical history that was rooted since medieval times. It can be observed that though it looks as if both of these words are used in the same reference and can be used in place of one another, which is what many people think, the two terms have very fundamental differences in terms of addressing which we have seen so far.

The conclusion is that Majesty and Highness are similar in a way that both are used as titles related to royalty. The difference however is that Majesty is used to address the highest position of the royal palace or something which is ranked higher than the term Highness. Both denote a higher status, and both, in a nutshell, signifies dignity and obedience. 

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=E9pOAAAAcAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA28&dq=majesty+vs+highness&ots=iGqe8geABH&sig=2nn3gvGtRcqnseIMEXZmxGYuLss