On the Question of Rank
The question of rank and precedence has always been a touchy one in government circles, yet these apparently ridiculous or archaic rules agreed upon among the nations have a strong practical reason for their existence. In 1661 a sword battle in London between the attendants of the French and Spanish ambassadors, over whose carriage should precede the other's, brought France and Spain dangerously close to war. In 1756 a violent quarrel between the French and Russian ambassadors at a ball in London over precedence led to a duel and a serious threat of war between Russia and France. A slight to an ambassador is not a personal affront, it is an insult to his nation.
|The Bryan Times called Miss Helen Cannon, daughter of then widower and U.S. Speaker of the House, "One of the First Ladies of Official Society at National Capital" and referred to her as a "Famous Housekeeper"|
From Eleanor Roosevelt's 1962, "Common Sense Book of Etiquette"