Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Royal Wedding Guest's 'Etiquette Guide'


The Queen believes royal wedding etiquette is so important, Buckingham Palace issued a 22 page "Etiquette Book" to not only each of the 1900 guests invited to the royal wedding of William and Kate, but the catering staff as well.
In April of 2011, royal wedding guests for the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were sent a 22-page list of do’s and don’ts. The list included, of all things, how to hold their teacups.

The etiquette guide offered commonsense tips such as not clashing with bride Kate Middleton’s outfit by wearing white or cream and keeping mobile phones silent. But there was also advice for the 1,900 guests on how to greet the Queen.
There was also advice for the 1,900 guests on how to greet the Queen, who maintains a firm, "no hugging" policy. Women were expected to wear formal dresses or suits, to avoid halter necks, sleeveless gowns, spaghetti straps and mini-skirts, and wearing cream or white must always be left to the bride.
Meanwhile, separate instructions to caterers gave strict orders that staff must not look at Her Majesty or other royals while serving them. A palace source was quoted as saying at the time, “Etiquette is very important, but for some it will be a minefield. That’s why this guide will help."
Oh well... maybe next time? Someone needs a lesson in RSVP etiquette, pronto! King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia missed out on the royal wedding.  He did not join the many other crowned heads of state, prime ministers, ambassadors and other dignitaries at Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage ceremony, as he failed to respond to his invitation.
Guests were asked to arrive at least 20 minutes before the ceremony began. Read the guide, “As the Queen enters Westminster Abbey, everybody has to acknowledge her arrival with a curtsey or bow as she walks through. The same must happen as she leaves.”

Royal etiquette expert Jean Broke-Smith added: “When you meet the Queen, she puts her hand out first and you address her as Your Majesty. In conversation you address her as Ma’am, to rhyme with jam or ham, not palm.”


A key part of the guide dealt with the royal wedding dress code. A palace source explained: “Wearing the right hat and not overdoing it is important. Wearing cream or white is not appropriate. That must be left to the bride. Men in the Armed Forces should wear uniform and male civilians a lounge or morning suit. A top hat should be carried, not worn, inside the church.”
Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, pictured with his wife at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Dress codes are always detailed on the invitations to royal occasions, and the royal wedding is no exception, specifying "Dress Uniform, Morning Coat or Lounge Suit".
The 1,900 wellwishers who attended when Prince William wed Kate on April 29, 2011, included 1,000 friends and relatives.  Joining them were politicians, foreign royals (with the exception of the aforementioned King of Cambodia), stars such as Sir Elton John and the Beckhams and villagers from Bucklebury, Berks, where Kate’s parents Michael and Carole live.


For some guests the afternoon reception and evening private dinner meant having to learn a bewildering set of intricate dining rules. At the time, Ms Broke-Smith advised: “There will be champagne flowing and you’ve got to hold the glass properly, by the stem.

“During the formal dinner a lot of people won’t know how to use a knife and fork properly, let alone which cutlery to choose from. You must eat from the outside in and if you have a mass of glasses in front of you, it helps to know which to use. With tea cups, lift the cup not the saucer and hold it very gently with your index finger and thumb, returning the cup to the saucer after every sip." A palace spokesman confirmed that the guests had been given instructions for the big day. 

Don't hug the queen, wear white or tweet from the church!

Private catering staff waiting on the guests also had a strict protocol to follow. The royal source said that they had been told not to look at Kate, the Queen or any of the royals while serving. They were also told to keep their heads down, and to be as discreet as possible.

The book gently instructed gentleman and ladies on behaviours from appropriate dress to eye contact to cell phone and Twitter non-usage. Also added were a few general, cultural differences. Some of the rules of etiquette for the nuptials were as follows: