Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Etiquette and Crowning Daughters

A hand-tinted photograph of Alice Roosevelt (by Frances Benjamin Johnston). This was taken around the time of her debut, in 1903
May Wear Crown at Coronation
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President's Daughter To Attend

Society is deeply interested in the report that Miss Alice Roosevelt will attend the coronation of King Edward. It is said here tonight, that Miss Roosevelt will sail with Special Ambassador Reid and Mrs. Reid, on June 5.

When Mr. and Mrs. Whitelaw Reid come to the capital, next week, the matter will be arranged in every detail. Her presentation at the first drawing-room immediately following the coronation, will be made by Ambassador and Mrs. Choate. The latter has been written to with regard, not only to the presentation gown, but what is of even greater importance, for minute directions as to the coronation robe. 

This, in accordance with the court regulations, must be of a rich crimson. The exact shade selected by Queen Alexandra, is of the shade of an American Beauty rose. Miss Roosevelt, as the daughter of the head of this nation, would, in accordance with court etiquette, wear coronation robes the same as any of the Princesses of the blood royal. In the latter case, as also with every Peeress to be present, there must be a crown worn. This, in the case of Miss Roosevelt, might be the same as those worn by the Princesses. – Los Angeles Herald, January, 1902


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor of the Etiquipedia© Eiquette Encyclopedia

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Etiquette and Royal Rituals

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of Parliament in 1952

Elizabeth and Consort Chafe At Rituals Of the Royal Court

LONDON (UP) Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, as young folks might be expected to do, are chaffing a bit these days at the stupendous ritual and custom that hedges them around in the Royal Court. Wise courtiers say nothing and wait for the irritation to subside, as they know it will in the course of time. It always has. Modernization of Court proceedings is always in progress but it moves slowly. There are certain to be changes during the anticipated long reign of Elizabeth II, but nothing as dramatic as some of the sensational press are now demanding.

For one thing, it is obvious that pressure on the Queen, if the buffering army of functionaries were removed or cut radically, would be greater than it is under the present system. Thus, cutting away too much red tape would expose the Queen to the very evil from which her self-appointed saviors seek to rescue her. The Court of St. James is a very old Court, and, in a county where tradition is venerated as nowhere else, there is a reluctance to drop customs for any reason whatsoever. It is quite true that there are servants in the Royal households who have servants to wait upon them. But it has always been that way, and despite the unionization of the Palace help, there might be considerable unrest if this were changed.

It comes down to a question of whether the nation wants a Court or doesn't want one. And Elizabeth is known to love the pomp, the panoply, the ceremonial which blazes about the British throne. The Royal household is an immense establishment. There are eleven private secretaries and assistants to the sovereign. There are 23 officials in the privy purse, treasury and Royal charities office. There are 36 Royal chaplains. There are 20 physicians and surgeons and a special coroner. And many others. Before Queen Mary’s time there were even greater numbers of royal Courtiers, but the redoubtable old lady—as other Queens before her—chopped away a few of the jobs. And her grand-daughter, will doubtless whittle away a few more.

By Court etiquette, Elizabeth must not do anything directly. She can give orders to her private secretary, to her ladies of the bed-chamber or ladies in waiting, to her principal advisers and these, in turn, relay her orders to the lower echelons. This has irked the Duke of Edinburgh more than any single rule of the palaces, and he has broken it more than once by strolling down corridors asking the desired information or giving orders in person. Queen Elizabeth is expected to shorten the chain of command down the line from the throne as her contribution to the streamlining of etiquette.

Another windmill at which the critics are tilting is the strict procedure for public engagements. The newspapers contend that the Queen should not be tied up a year ahead to visits such as the one to New Zealand. The implication is that these things ought to be spun-of-the-moment affairs quickly accomplished by plane instead of great processions by sea with public interest drummed up over a period of time, this is a rather naive approach. 

New Zealand will invest a fortune in the Queen's visit and it may well be the event of the year there. Security has to be considered. Shops will get ready for extra business. New Zealanders from out-country may want to arrange to be at the points visited by the Queen. She will open playgrounds, lay cornerstones, attend ceremonials, make speeches. — The Edinburgh Courier, 1953

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

Royal Etiquette in Sweden/Norway

Charles XV, was the King of Sweden and Norway (1859–72) ~ The son and successor of Oscar I. Seen as a liberal and popular ruler, he consented to many reforms, including the creation of a bicameral parliament. 

The most popular sovereign of the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway is Charles XV, and his Queen is a Princess of the House of Orange. He has been on the throne about eight years, and is now in his forty second year. He lives principally at the Palace of Ulrichshall, a little distance from Stockholm. It is fitted with articles of vertu, china and ceramic ware, which the Monarch takes delight in collecting. 

When the Prince of Wales paid him a visit some years since, it was entirely redecorated, and many rooms fitted up expressly for the Royal guest, and they now remain as they were then left. Very little State etiquette is preserved by the Court, and the Monarch travels daily down the Maylar Lake to Ulrichshall in the public steamboat like the rest of the world, the only difference shown him being that the other passengers forbear to crowd the end occupied by him. —Sacramento Daily Union, 1867


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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Etiquette When Royalty Dines

The finger bowls for the fruit or dessert course, currently being used for Royal dinners at Buckingham Palace.





Meal at Which the Ordinary Guest is Bound to Be Uncomfortable

Dinner is the only meal at which the royal guests are expected to appear, when the King of England sits in the center of one side of the table, as is his custom at home, says a well known writer. Etiquette used to demand that only the royalties should be provided with menus, but this custom is not invariably observed at the present time. 

It is still "de rlgeur" that there should be no finger bowls on the table, a custom dating from Jacobite days, when the partisans of the Stuarts used to pass their glasses across the finger bowls before drinking, which was their way of toasting "the King over the water." 

Should the royal guests be in mourning, every other guest must appear in mourning of the same degree, and of course no one must dream of leaving before the royalties have retired. When the King is accompanied by the Queen the men must wear knee breeches and silk stockings, but not so when the King is alone.

Another curious item of etiquette is that neither the Queen nor the Princess of Wales must ever be entertained by a bachelor. I have never heard whether it is permissible for the King or the Prince to be entertained by a maiden lady. The King, though not liking long dinners, has a keen appreciation of what is good in eating and drinking, in other things. On at least two occasions he has bestowed the M. V. O. (Member of the Victorian Order) on his host's chef in acknowledgment af the satisfactory nature of his cooking. 


This order was originated by King Edward and has frequently done duty. Doubtless it has made its recipients extremely happy, but it has come to be regarded with much amusement by the King's intimates.

On one occasion it was bestowed on the mayor of some little foreign town where his Majesty had been detained in order to listen to some tedious, though complimentary, speechifying. Speaking of the incident that same evening, the King said of the mayor: "I didn't know what to do with him, so I gave him the M. V. O." "And served him —well right!" exclaimed one of the listeners, at which his Majesty laughed as heartily as anybody. — Sausalito News, 1910

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hilary Robinson on Etiquette and Grief

How to Help Friends in Grief
Give some thought to the way in which one deals with having friends who are in mourning.

I wrote this several years ago (although have little memory of doing so) but because the subject is too often part of our lives, and advice about it is often wanted but not sought out, I thought it was worth re-posting.

I’ve recently been on the receiving end of condolences and it has caused me to give some thought to the way in which we deal with having friends who are in mourning.

The conclusion of a life is a strange time for all those involved, not just immediate family but friends, acquaintances, work colleagues and even people we see casually or sparingly throughout life – the friendly dry-cleaner, the nice woman at the deli. No one really knows what to say, what to do or how to act, including the person doing the grieving.

I had this pointed out to me afresh the other day. Someone I haven’t seen or spoken to since all this happened sent me an instant message saying “how are you? how’s the family?”.

I, in my still slightly foggy state, couldn’t remember when we’d last spoken and couldn’t actually remember if he knew my news. What to do? It seemed blunt to just come out with it and stupid to beat around the bush so I took a half-way approach and said that I was fine but mourning was a tiring business. He, because he knew of the underlying situation, understood immediately and sent his condolences but, poor thing, was then completely stymied about what to say next. He felt badly because to his mind he didn’t have the ‘right’ words. He felt like he should say something profound.


Should I call?

Telephone calls can be difficult so unless you are very close to the person grieving stick to writing a note. Aside from the fact that there are many arrangements that need to be made in the first few weeks (all by telephone) it is also a much more wearisome thing for the person having to say “I’m fine thank you” or “We’re about as you’d expect” and so on.

When they are ready for calls, they will let you know.


Should I write?

I think many people are put off writing letters of condolence because they don’t know what to say. Somehow they think they need to be profound and have the ‘right’ words, or they think they’ll sound stupid, overly-sentimental or that the person they are writing to won’t want to be reminded of the situation.

I can only speak to my own experience, but I feel sure it’s not unique: it was lovely to get notes, letters and emails; it was lovely to know that the person I loved, respected, admired and missed so much, was loved and missed by others and that friends had me in their thoughts.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone you care about has lost someone they care about, write to them. They will, eventually, be glad to have it; it may even be passed to other generations – we still have all the letters written to my grandmother after my grandfather died and they give me an insight into someone who exists only on the edges of my memory.

If you think you would struggle with what to say in your letter, card or email (in these cases hand-written is so much nicer, but email works too), here are some places to start – it’s not necessarily easy, but it’s not necessarily meant to be:

If you were well acquainted with the person who died and spent time with them:

Include a few of your memories of them, such as: “I remember when we…” or “I still laugh when I think of…”

Talk about their character or personality “I always admired the way he…”

Don’t be afraid to say that you too will miss them: “I’ll miss the way she brightened up a room”.

If you really only know the person or people left behind simply speak to their sense of loss and/or use things that you know about the person who has died:

You can use phrases such as, “I know you will miss his tenacity and strength of character” or simply, “I know how much you will miss her.”

There are a few things that it’s best to steer clear of, at least for the first while:

Talking about it being a release; best for the person who has gone; that they have been relieved of their suffering. All this may be true but it doesn’t take away from the reality that a much loved person was taken “too soon”, for whatever reason – keeping in mind that too soon can be from 0 to 102 – and that this pill is a bitter one to swallow.

Be careful about religious references unless you know the strength and depth of the person’s faith; grieving can test these things, so tread lightly.


What do I say?


Often times running into someone in mourning is the most difficult thing of all. Grief is the elephant in the room. Should you ask them how they are? Give them your condolences? Give them a hug? Tell them it will be get better with time?

The best thing to do is judge the situation carefully – the better you know someone the easier that is. These few tips might help no matter how well you know the person:

By all means, give your condolences but keep the encounter short, not ‘rude short’ just not prolonged. There are only so many ways for someone to say they are fine when they don’t mean it.


Be careful about asking how they are, sometimes the mere question is enough to provoke upset (usually unexpectedly for all concerned). You can get around this (if you feel you need to ask the question) by asking about other family members and working your way back to the person in front of you.

Hugs are great if you are somewhere out of the way and if you know the person well, otherwise, steer clear. Someone gave me a hug at the office – quite unexpectedly – and it really threw me.


The thing that should be avoided is telling someone things will get better with time. Things will, but no one in that situation believes it and all it means is that they have to summon up the strength to agree with you.
Should I bake a pie, make a casserole, send food?

One of the loveliest things that someone did for us was send a grocery order. An old and cherished friend went online and ordered all the things we had loved and shared in my parents’ kitchen over the years. It made us all cry but it also made us laugh as we unpacked and commented on her choices.

Others made food or brought over good coffee or dropped things off on the front porch. It was all welcome – we certainly weren’t going to be cooking, even eating was touch-and-go; having the food in the fridge ensured that if we were hungry we could eat.
Kindness is the key

As I said at the beginning, the conclusion of a life is a strange time for all those involved. The key thing to remember is to be kind.

To the person in mourning: Be kind to yourself. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be happy (or sad), to go out or stay home – you get a pass, pretty much, to do what you need to do for yourself.

To the friends, family and others who surround the person grieving: Be kind. Mourning doesn’t finish at a funeral, it merely begins. It is a very strange time and no one ever knows how it will affect them; some days are good, some are less so. Give the person the space they need, or the company they crave but feel they can’t ask for. Keep in touch but don’t force; call but don’t bombard.

Make sure they know they are loved and supported and you will be doing your job as a friend
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Hilary Robinson is the Senior Trainer and Owner of Polished Professionals in Toronto, Canada. With her background, spent running events for Prime Ministers, CEOs and academics (in the UK and Canada), one might think that she’s all about following the rules. However, she prefers to train people to understand their parameters, what it means to follow them, what advantages there are in knowing how and when to bend them, and the value in using good manners to put others at ease. With 20 years working worldwide in events and communications, Hilary believes manners and courtesy are not only powerful communication tools but the foundations on which self-confidence and success grow.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Royal Victorian Sunday Etiquette

She seldom leaves her bedroom much before 1:00, at which hour breakfast is taken with any member of the royal family who may be there, a cup of tea and a little toast having been previously conveyed to her Majesty's bedside by one of the "dressers."

The Queen's Sundays

Among the articles in the November ' Quiver" is one by Mary Spencer Warren telling how the Queen spends Sunday. In former years it was customary for her Majesty to rise quite early on the Sunday morning—as, in fact, she did every day in the week. Of later years, however, she seldom leaves her bedroom much before 1:00, at which hour breakfast is taken with any member of the royal family who may be there, a cup of tea and a little toast having been previously conveyed to her Majesty's bedside by one of the "dressers." After breakfast the Queen has a turn around the grounds in her donkey carriage, the donkey being the one she bought at Florence.


To preach before the Queen is, of course, a greatly coveted honor, and etiquette formal and prescribed has to be observed. No personal reference to her Majesty is permissible, a pure Gospel discourse being de rigueur, delivered as though her Majesty was not present. Many have tried to evade these rules. The Queen likes and enjoys a plain, practical discourse, selected from the lessons or Gospel of the day, to occupy about twenty minutes in delivery. Questions of the day, and, above all, politics, must be entirely excluded. A celebrated divine broke this rule one Sunday, and preached a very strong political sermon; but it was his last opportunity—the royal pulpits have neither of them been filled by him again. Wherever her Majesty may be it is now her inevitable custom to drive out in a pair-horse carriage on Sunday afternoon.

 Dinner subsequently is somewhat stately. Very often the Queen partakes of it with only the members of her own family present, or any royal guest who may be staying there, save and except that the officiating clergyman of the day and the minister in attendance generally receive an invitation. As a rule, other guests are not asked. 

After dinner the Queen retires direct to her own special drawing-room, where, together with any of her family who may be present, she will enjoy some music of the old masters, preferably Beethoven and Mendelssohn. The Queen herself often takes part in duets with one of her daughters, and the Duke of Edinburgh, when present, contributes with his violin. — Sacramento Daily Union, 1897

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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Etiquette of Royal Courts

Tokay is the name of the wines from the Tokaj wine region in Hungary, or the adjoining Tokaj wine region in Slovakia. The region is noted for its sweet wines made from grapes affected by noble rot, a style of wine which has a long history in this region. The "nectar" comes from the grapes of Tokaj is mentioned in the national anthem of Hungary.

Etiquette of Royal Courts
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That It Calls for Some Queer Proceedings Is Here Shown

In the Austrian Court it is contrary to custom for perishable articles to appear twice on the Imperial table. The result is large perquisites for the attendants. To one man fall all the uncorked bottles, to another the joints, and to another still the game or the sweets. Every morning a sort of market is held in the basement of the palace, where the Viennese come readily to purchase the remains. And there is no other means of procuring Imperial Tokay than this.

Long ago in England even the greatest men in the land were pleased to receive such perquisites. In the reign of Henry II, for instance, the Lord Chancellor was entitled to the candle ends of one great, and forty small, candles per day. And the aquarius, who must be a Baron in rank, received 1 penny for drying towels on every ordinary occasion of the King's bathing. 


The ceremonial that the Revolution swept away, the first Emperor Napoleon was careful to revive in a less extreme form, and it is characteristic of the man that he made a special study of it, and went so far as to prescribe the special forms to be used on great occasions. Before his coronation, M. Isabey, the miniature painter, gave seven rehearsals with wooden dolls, appropriately dressed, of the seven ceremonials that were to be enacted. And one ceremony being especially intricate, the functionaries rehearsed it in person in the Gallery of Diana at the Tuileries, a plan having been carefully traced with chalk on the floor. This was the sort of thing in which Napoleon especially rejoiced, and he himself arranged beforehand all the details of the entry of Maria Louisa into France, and of his subsequent marriage with her. 

Among other particulars on reaching what was then French territory, the Archduchess was conducted into the eastward room of a three roomed house near Braunau; the French Commissioner entered westward; while the third room in the middle was occupied by the rest of the party. And M. de Bausset, who gives an account of the proceedings, having bored holes with a gimlet in the door of the middle room, had a splendid view of the unconscious Princess. But, he quaintly adds, it was the ladies who took advantage of his forethought.

The ceremonial of the Chinese Court is somewhat exacting. It used to include, if it does not now, complete prostration before the throne. Last century a Persian envoy refused to go through the degrading ordeal. Directions were given to the officials to compel him by stratagem to do so. On arriving one day at the entrance to the hall of audience, the envoy found no means of going in except by a wicket, which would compel him to stoop very low. With great presence of mind and considerable audacity, the Embassador turned around and entered backward, thus saving the honor of his country. — New York Evening Post, 1895


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