How to Address a Former First Lady?
How should a letter and envelope to a former First Lady be addressed?
——–The Honorable (full name)?
—-—-First Lady (full name)
—-—-Mrs. (full name)
—-—-—-—-– W.T. Wynne
Dear Mr. Wynne:
—-#1) A First Lady is not ‘the Honorable (Full Name)’ based on being the ‘First Lady’. To be addressed as ‘the Honorable’ she would have had to meet the same requirement as everyone else, e.g., have been elected to office in a general election, etc.
—-#2) She would be identified in an introduction as the ‘First Lady of the United States from (year) to (year)’ and she is addressed as a private citizen.
—-#3) Formally a former First Lady of the United States is addressed on an envelope as:
—-—-Mrs. (Husband’s Full Name)
—-Or you could use the form used with a current First Lady:
—-And the salutation would have been:
—-—-Dear Mrs. (Surname)
—-Note #A: Laura Bush used ‘Mrs. Laura Bush’ on invitations when she was in the White House. Some people surmised it was to differentiate her invitations from her mother-in-law’s who was also ‘Mrs. Bush’ on so many documents. But whatever the reason, if you know Mrs. (Her Full Name) was the preference of a former First Lady – you could use it. But – Mrs. (Husband’s Full Name) or Mrs. (Surname) – are the forms that are traditionally correct.
—-Note #B: Addressing Hillary Clinton in writing is a different. She is entitled to:
—-—–The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
—-… in her own right since she was elected to office in a general election, served as Secretary of State – and is thus an exception among First Ladies.
– Robert Hickey How to Address the First Lady of a USA