Sunday, December 10, 2017

Royal Etiquette Dos and Don’ts

A King never writes a letter to anybody outside his family circle. All other correspondence has to be conducted through one of his secretaries. Nor does King George accept invitations to dine or stop with a subject. What he does when he wishes to pay such a visit, is to invite himself. Another strictly observed point of etiquette, is that on ascending the throne, a King shall withdraw from any clubs to which he has hitherto belonged.

Royal Etiquette

In England it Assumes a Number of Curious Phases
Things the King Cannot Do... 
He is Barred from Accepting Gifts From Individuals, He May Not Belong to a Club and May Not Marry Without Parliament's Consent

It may sound a little curious, but there are quite a number of things which, despite his exalted position as Sovereign of the Realm, King George V cannot do. These disabilities range over all sorts of matters and concern etiquette, politics, religion and law. To begin with etiquette. It is an established practice that His Majesty must never call upon or grant an audience to a foreign Monarch except in the presence of a responsible minister. Etiquette also precludes him from accepting a gift which a loyal subject may wish to make him. Should, however, the gift be a joint offering, the prohibition does not apply. This enables a King George to accept gifts which are subscribed for by a number of people together.


A K
ing never writes a letter to anybody outside his family circle. All other correspondence has to be conducted through one of his secretaries. Nor does King George accept invitations to dine or stop with a subject. What he does when he wishes to pay such a visit, is to invite himself. Another strictly observed point of etiquette, is that on ascending the throne, a King shall withdraw from any clubs to which he has hitherto belonged. Similarly he cannot become a Free Mason, and if he happens to be one at the date of his ascension, he must resign from the craft. King George, however, has not been initiated.

Even in affairs of the heart a sovereign must bow to the will of others. Although King Cophetua might have loved and shared his throne with a beggar maid, the Royal Marriage Act would render the occurrence of any such romantic union impossible in England. Members of the blood royal must have the sanction of Parliament before they can marry, and this would certainly not be accorded unless the birth and position of the lady were beyond reproach.

An English King's position toward the law is somewhat peculiar. Theoretically, he is above the law. In practice, however, he has to obey it, just as have his subjects. He must observe the established legal system of the country. Any royal proclamation which he issues, is only binding in so far as it is founded upon an existing law. It cannot alter the common law or create a new offense, nor can a King set up private tribunals, such as the Star Chamber, or add to the jurisdiction of a court by a special act of Parliament, it has also been decided that if his Majesty were to lose an action brought against him by the revenue authorities, he would be liable for the payment of costs.

By the law of the land the King cannot possibly commit an offense. Any injury or wrong suffered by a subject at his hands has to be attributed to the “mistake of his advisers;” hence it happens that King George is the only person in Great Britain who cannot arrest a suspected felon, even if such a one were to be seen by him entering Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. The reason for this is because no action for wrongful arrest could lie against him, and therefore if the person arrested by him were proved innocent there would then be a wrong without a remedy. Another legal disability of the King is that he is barred of all rights in matters relating to land after a lapse of sixty years. He is also prohibited from serving on a jury or from giving evidence.

Until so comparatively recent a period as 1870 if a subject were convicted of treason or felony, the King could claim his property. Another lapsed prerogative of the crown is one known as “corody.” During its existence, a King who wanted to advance the interests of a royal chaplain could compel a bishop to support such a clergyman until a benefice had been found for him. Nowadays, he has not even the right of founding a bishopric or creating ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Similarly he must always be a member of the Church of England and cannot change his religion.

The theory that the King “reigns, but does not govern” is amply borne out by the political system of the country. While the members of Parliament are his Majesty's “faithful commons,” they have certain privileges which he himself does not possess. Thus, King George can summon or prorogue Parliament at will, but he cannot prolong it beyond a definite period. Similarly he is absolutely debarred from imposing any sort of taxation whatever without first securing the consent of Parliament. 

So jealously guarded is this privilege that a King cannot create new officers with new fees or annex new fees to existing officers, as such a course would be considered as imposing a fresh tax. In bygone times, however, when an English Monarch was in want of funds, he would levy taxes right and left and without asking anybody. The franchise does not extend to English monarchs. King George is one of the few men possessing a genuine stake in the country without the privilege of recording a vote. — London Bellman, 1911


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia


19th C. Official Australian Etiquette

Like the wild, wild west... Official etiquette requires the minister to interpose with a remark something like this: “You had better all retire and have it out, and I will settle with the survivor.”

Australian Parliamentary Fun

If one is to believe the statements of Mr. J. L. Dow, formerly minister of lands for Victoria, parliamentary life in Australia has all the breeziness attributed to the legislative transactions of the western territories of the United States in the early days of settlement. Mr. Dow has put his experiences in shape as a lecture, which be is delivering at various points in the Antipodes. 

A recent report says that he mentions by name a brother member of Parliament, who is paid by the caterer in the government building to make speeches, because his orations drive the honorable members to drink. He describes deputations who visit Parliament, and says that as a rule they contradict one another and a free fight ensues. Then official etiquette requires the minister to interpose with a remark something like this: “You had better all retire and have it out, and I will settle with the survivor.” – Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar, 1891

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Royal Proposal Etiquette


It may not be generally known that Royal etiquette forbids any Royal personage of lesser degree, to propose marriage to a female Sovereign.

How Queen Victoria Proposed

It may not be generally known that Royal etiquette forbids any Royal personage of lesser degree, to propose marriage to a female Sovereign. Accordingly, it became necessary that Queen Victoria should ask Prince Albert whether he would share her lot. For a young woman this was naturally an awkward and rather delicate duty, but the most trying ordeal was when the Queen had to make the announcement of her wedding to the privy council. 

At one time there was a possibility that the marriage would not take place, owing to the desire of the Queen that she should not be married too early. In 1839, Prince Albert confessed that he came to England with the intention of telling his royal sweetheart that if she could not then make up her mind, she must understand that he could not wait for a decision as he had done at a former period, when the marriage was first talked about. 

It was at Windsor, at a ball, that the Queen broached the subject, by giving the Prince certain flowers from the bouquet she carried, and her boy lover, understanding the significance of the gift, and being tightly buttoned up, from waist to throat, in a green Rifle uniform, made a cut in his tunic just above the heart and put the flowers within it. The next day the Queen put the critical question, and the contract was sealed from that moment. —London Telegraph, 1897


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Carriage and Auto Etiquette

Slowly and deliberately she turns to the footman and mentions the destination to which she will be driven. It is regarded as a shade more elegant for the lady to look directly in front of her, and, not noticing the waiting footman entirely, to speak her wishes as if she were addressing the wind, as if it ought to be glad to obey her.

Shades of snobbery and class warfare in early 20th century America – “My dear footman, you are the wind and happy to obey me!”

Carriage etiquette is rigid and precise. Take the matter of getttng into a Victoria, for example. The footman stands on the sidewalk. He may have the lap robe over his arms, or it may be spread over the front of the carriage. The lady steps into the Victoria without noticing the respectful way in which he touches his cockaded hat. She settles herself comfortably down in the cushions. Then her part is done and his begins. 

It is his task to tuck the lap robe about you, and then pass back of the carriage, and see that it is properly adjusted on the other side. All this must be done with the greatest deliberation. The footman finally finishes his work and places himself on the sidewalk by the Victoria to receive his mistress' orders. It is then that his mistress for the first time says where she is going. To be really elegant, the lady must show no signs of hurry.

Slowly and deliberately she turns to the footman and mentions the destination to which she will be driven. It is regarded as a shade more elegant for the lady to look directly in front of her, and, not noticing the waiting footman entirely, to speak her wishes as if she were addressing the wind, as if it ought to be glad to obey her.

In calling, the lady does not leave her carriage until the footman has rung the doorbell and learned if the lady of the house is at home. If she it not, he leaves the card and returns to the vehicle for orders, says the Washington Post. The same thing is required of the chauffeur of a private motor. The arrival of a private motor in front of a house has, indeed, come to be an occasion of ceremony.

The vehicle hurdles up. The chauffeur alights, opens the door, and receives the card. He goes up the steps and rings the bell. The lady is at home. He hands in the card and returns to the motor.

Its occupant then alights. If there is a footman, he accompanies her up the steps to ring the bell again if necessary. In any case, he must extricate the occupant of the vehicle before he allows her to alight from the motor. – Los Angeles Herald, 1906



Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Etiquette for Elizabeth II

While in London, the Queen also will slip out one day for her only shopping expedition of the year to choose personal Christmas presents. All her clothes and wants of the year are brought to her at the palace or purchased by a Lady-in-Waiting in accordance with Court etiquette. But she can shop in public if she is buying gifts for somebody else. 


Queen Elizabeth Seeks Yule Tree at Windsor

By MARGARET SAVILLE LONDON (UPl)—Queen Elizabeth II is keeping her eyes open literally for a Christmas tree. During her horseback rides at weekends on her estate surrounding Windsor Castle, she is looking for a tall fir which can be cut just before the long Christmas weekend. The family will spend the holidays at Windsor. The tree, part of the Christmas tradition which the Queen loves, will be gaily decorated and set up in a corner of the castle ballroom to be illuminated at dusk on Christmas Day. Holly and mistletoe will be brought in to decorate the rooms, along with masses of white chrysanthemums from the hot houses. The kitchens will be busy cooking roast turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies for the traditional dinner. 


Chief Guest 

Before leaving Buckingham Palace for the castle, about 25 miles up the Thames River from London, the Queen will be the chief guest at what must rank as the world’s most exclusive Christmas staff party. The Buckingham Palace Social Club gives the annual buffet dance for the staff of the Royal household. The Queen dons a ballgown, lends one of her white and gold state rooms for the evening, and goes along to dance with her chauffeur or telephone operator or perhaps the chef. Prince Philip, her husband, partners with a housemaid or sewing maid. Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, once danced with a junior footman who long had cherished a secret admiration of her and enlivened the moment by reciting a long romantic poem he had composed in her honor. Once Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, faced with a blushing gardener who had never been round a dance floor before, said, “Well, just hold my hand and walk round but please don’t tread on my toes.” He didn’t. 

While in London, the Queen also will slip out one day for her only shopping expedition of the year to choose personal Christmas presents. All her clothes and wants of the year are brought to her at the palace or purchased by a Lady-in-Waiting in accordance with Court etiquette. But she can shop in public if she is buying gifts for somebody else. So she makes the most of the opportunity at one of the big department stores. She drives up to a side door and is escorted around by the manager as she goes through the long list—four children and 21 godchildren for a start, not to mention friends and relatives. 

Not Cash 

The Queen does not pay cash. The checks go later in triplicate to the treasurer at Buckingham Palace. For the Christmas weekend, Elizabeth invites the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon with their two children, the Duke and Duchess of Kent with their two, Princess Alexandria and her businessman husband, Angus Ogilvy, with their two, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester with their younger son, Prince Richard. The elder, Prince Michael, is abroad in the diplomatic service. Prince Philip’s widowed mother, Princess Andrea of Greece, who now makes her home at Buckingham Palace, is expected to join the party attend a carol service in the local church and exchange their gifts on returning home. These are generally modest because expensive presents are reserved by custom for birthdays. The children find their gifts in their stockings when they wake up on Christmas morning. They also get to see Prince Philip the way the public never does—dressed up as Santa Claus. –The Desert Sun, 1967

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 


Etiquette for Meeting Elizabeth II


Naturally, protocol for meeting Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is formal; but is not as elaborate nor complicated as the public often supposes. 

Manners Fit For A Queen

LONDON (UPl)—When Queen Elizabeth II is presented with a bouquet of flowers, she prefers them to be light scented. A heavy perfume will set her sneezing. When traveling abroad, she is happy if her host refrains from putting caviar on the menu because she does not like it. When conversing with a stranger, she does not mind if asked a direct question so long as the subject is not of an overly personal nature. These snippets of information are culled from a brochure which Buckingham Palace sends out to the British embassies concerned when the Queen goes abroad. The information is intended to be passed on tactfully to the several thousand people who are presented to the queen on such a visit or who entertain her. 
Protocol naturally is formal; but is not as elaborate nor complicated as the public often supposes. 

Fingers Only 

On introduction to the Queen and Philip, their hands not are actually shaken but the fingers simply touched in token of greeting or the Royal couple would have sprained wrists from greeting so many. Gentlemen are expected to give a normal bow as they take the Royal hand. Ladies give what is knowm at Court as “a short curtsy” — a little dip made by placing the left foot just behind the right and inclining the head. The old style, floor-touching curtsy was abolished, because it takes too long for the lady to go down and rise again. The deep dip slowed the receiving line. 

The Queen wears gloves, usually white ones, on outdoor: occasions and with evening dress. She prefers other women do the same because so much hand-shaking is involved, but would never refuse to meet a woman whose hands were bare. Most men like to wear gloves for the same reason. Elizabeth always takes a wardrobe of new clothes with her to compliment her hosts. Guests do not have to follow suit by buying a new outfit, but they should be dressed fittingly. Very low-cut dresses always are considered inappropriate. 

Likes Flowers 

Bouquets of flowers should not be heavily scented because the perfume increases in a hot room or bright sunshine. The Queen likes locally grown flowers best and is interested in being told what they are and how they are grown. If the bouquet can be given to her by a child, so much the better because the Queen, a mother of four, likes to see children everywhere she can. She is never disturbed if a child suddenly turns shy at the crucial moment. She has long experience in putting them at their ease. Conversation with the Queen and Philip is an easy, natural thing. Both are skilled in leading it. Etiquette allows them to be asked direct questions so long as they are not too personal. 

Would-be hosts are told that the Queen’s tastes are simple. Neither she, nor the Prince, likes soups, oysters, other shellfish or caviar. The Queen is fond of china tea while Prince Philip drinks coffee whenever he can. Both are fond of fresh fruits and enjoy chicken dishes. 

Prince Cooks 

They like to sample the local specialities. Prince Philip, who takes great interest in cooking and does a little himself at home, often asks for the recipe of an unfamiliar dish he has enioyed. The Royal couple do not smoke. They drink wine and champagne at formal meals and the Prince takes an occasional glass of light beer with his lunch. — The Desert Sun, 1969

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia@ Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Etiquette and “the Right Fork”


Using Your Utensils

Using “first” forks — Cocktail forks, oyster forks, escargot forks, and the like, are used with the right hand only. If snail or escargot tongs are being used, they are held in the left hand to hold the snail shell in place.

All spoons are used with the right hand, including individual caviar spoons and caviar spades.

Using dessert forks alone— Pie forks, ice cream forks, fruit forks can all properly used in the right hand, if no cutting with a knife is involved, with one notable ex- ception being the mango fork. A mango fork is held in the left hand while using a fruit knife or fruit spoon in the right hand.

Using dessert spoons alone — Ice cream, pots de crème, and other soft desserts eaten with spoons in the right hand.

Using a dessert fork and spoon together — Dessert eaten using 2 utensils is nearly always done in the Continental style, except this is done with a fork and spoon as opposed to with a fork and knife. The fork is held in the left hand with tines facing down, and the spoon is held in the right hand. The fork is used to hold or keep a dessert in place as the spoon cuts off small bites. This works well with desserts such as Baked Alaska or certain types of cakes.

An exception to this rule is pie or cake, à la mode. These are both eaten with a des- sert fork and spoon. The spoon is used to cut and then place a bite of cake or pie and a bit of ice cream on the fork, which is held in the right hand and used to eat the dessert.

For all other dining with a knife and fork, the fork is in the left hand and the knife in the right when dining in the Continental style.

Fork tines point down for all cutting and eating in Continental dining, save for stringy pasta.

Fork tines point down only for cutting food, in the American style of dining.




Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia