I'm not asking about this closing's origins that I understand. Rather, is doing this nowadays sane?

One of my customers, who's not in the British royal family, always closes her letters with "Your obedient and humble servant". I was flabbergasted the first time I saw it, and still literally raise my eyebrows whenever I see it now.

I've been closing replies to her with "Best regards", as I usually do. We're in England.

  • @JoeStrazzere I added a location tag.
    – Vast
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:31
  • From the question you posted: "Today, 'Your obedient servant' may sound extravagant and highly ornamental". Doesn't that answer your question? Oct 8, 2018 at 20:36
  • @Dukeling That's the opinion of that poster though? I'm not sure myself...
    – Vast
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:37
  • 2
    +1 I'm absolutely awestruck at your casual use of the word 'flabbergasted'... well done (Y)
    – Kilisi
    Oct 9, 2018 at 1:09
  • "Yours sincerely" if you know their name; "Yours faithfully" otherwise is the "correct" UK way Oct 9, 2018 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


It's archaic, to say the least. At least according to this post on Reddit, even Debrett's, the closest thing that there is to a "manual" of British etiquette, states that "your humble and obedient servant" is "old-fashioned" - and things take a long time to become "old-fashioned" in British high society.

I would regard anyone using it these days in anything other than communications with the Royal Family or similar as attempting to play up a "persona" that they're not.

  • 1
    +1. I'm a UK Civil Servant, and as such, utterly stuck in the past. Even though we write emails like a physical letter (with our and recipient's addresses at the top), I would never sign off with "your humble and obedient servant"
    – user27483
    Oct 9, 2018 at 12:19

This form would not be considered professional in most circumstances (it would be see as over the top). In very formal written communications (not email) in the UK you should.

Use "Yours sincerely" when you know the person you are addressing, i.e. Mr. Smith. Use "Yours faithfully" when you are starting your letter with Dear Sir/Madam, or a similar construction.

By very formal I mean one you would sign in ink, also if you where writing to a more formal culture (Japan for example) you might use this.

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