Sunday, July 31, 2016

1890's Scotch Breakfast Etiquette

"So according to the up-to-date etiquette, in the year 1896, Scotsmen will eat their breakfast porridge while standing."
Eating Porridge

A new fashion has arisen in Scotch country houses during the last few years. All sporting men like porridge for breakfast. Now, it is not a pretty spectacle to see mustached and bearded men eat porridge and cream; so now that delectable compound is placed upon a side table behind a screen, or in a little ante-room, and when the lords of creation stroll down on a Sunday or rush down on a week day to breakfast, according to up-to-date etiquette, they eat their first breakfast course standing. 


This fashion reminds an observer of the Russian habit of eating Zakuska, or hors d'oeuvres, at a side table in the drawing-room, before descending to the dining-room. — Sacramento Daily Union, 1896


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

When Etiquette Taboos Knives

For when "etiquette has tabooed the knife." — An 1878, patented design for a utensil which is "adapted to subserve the various functions of knife, fork, and spoon, as occasion be required."

"My present invention consists of an article of table-cutlery adapted to subserve the various functions of knife, fork, and spoon, as occasion be required.

Except when used to hold meats while being carved, (for which purposes an ordinary two-tined fork is usually employed), the tines of the table fork are seldom or never called into play, as such for more than from one-fourth to one-third of their length, the remaining portions being useless as tines, and not adapted, obviously, to subserve the functions of the spoon. Occasion frequently arises also when it is desirable or necessary to use the fork as a cutting implement, as certain varieties of food, notably such as are served with mustard or vinegar, attack and discolor the steel of the table knife, while with others, such as pastry or pies, etiquette has tabooed the knife."
Charles Reese, 1878






















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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Etiquette and Swearing

The silent sun is mightier than the whirlwind...

Swearing is essentially vulgar. It was Dr. Crane, the famous essayist and philosopher, who said in one of his delightful talks, "The superior man is gentle. It is only the man with a defective vocabulary that swears.

All noise is waste. The silent sun is mightier than the whirlwind. The genuine lady speaks low. The most striking characteristic of the superior ones is their quiet, their poise. They have about them a sense of the stars." — The Book of Good Manners

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

Diplomacy, Etiquette and Regret

Nikolai Novikov was the Soviet Ambassador to the United States in 1946 and 1947
They Regret Action on Russian Envoy Case 

Washington, Oct. 15—The State Department said today it, “deeply regrets” any discourtesy shown to Russian Ambassador Nikolai Novikov by U. S. Customs officials in New York, but added that an investigation showed no evidence of intentional discourtesy or other breach of Diplomatic etiquette. —1946

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Supper Etiquette at Balls

Courtesy toward his hostess and consideration for his friends demands that a man who can dance should do so. To accept an invitation to a ball and then refuse to dance shows that a man is lacking in good breeding. A man finding few friends at a ball should ask some friend, or the hostess, to introduce him to some women whom he can invite to dance. It is an act of discourtesy for a man not to request a dance of a woman to whom he has been introduced. A man escorting a woman to a ball should agree where to meet her after they have each left their wraps at the dressing-rooms.

SUPPER: The senior patroness leads the way to supper, escorted by the man honored for the occasion.

If one large table is provided, the men, assisted by the waiters, serve the women. When small tables are used, the patronesses generally sit by themselves, and the guests group themselves to their own satisfaction.

If a patroness asks a man to sit at her table, she should provide a partner for him, and in case of a previous engagement, he should notify her by mail.

WOMEN:
A woman should always keep any engagement made, if possible. If, for a good reason, it is desired to break one, she should do so in ample time to enable the man to secure a partner.
— The Book of Good Manners

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

19th C. Etiquette Advice for Gents

Even at home, it is a folly to sit by the fire in a slovenly state, consoling oneself with the remark, "Nobody will call to-day." Should somebody call we are in no plight to receive them, and otherwise it is an injury to the character to allow slovenly habits to control us even when we are unseen. 

Frequent consultation of the watch or time-pieces is impolite, either when at home or abroad. If at home, it appears as if you were tired of your company and wished them to be gone; if abroad, as if the hours dragged heavily, and you were calculating how soon you would be released.


Never read in company. A gentleman or lady may, however, look over a book of engravings with propriety.


The simpler, and the more easy and unconstrained your manners, the more you will impress people of your good breeding. Affectation is one of the brazen marks of vulgarity.


It is very unbecoming to exhibit petulance, or angry feeling, though it is indulged in so largely in almost every circle. The true gentleman does not suffer his countenance to be easily ruffled; and we only look paltry when we suffer temper to hurry us into ill-judged expressions of feeling. "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly."


Commands should never be given in a commanding tone. A gentleman requests, he does not command. We are not to assume so much importance, whatever our station, as to give orders in the "imperative mood," nor are we ever justified in thrusting the consciousness of servitude on any one. The blunder of commanding sternly is most frequently committed by those who have themselves but just escaped servitude, and we should not exhibit to others a weakness so unbecoming.


It is a great thing to be able to walk like a gentleman—that is, to get rid of the awkward, lounging, swinging gait of a clown, and stop before you reach the affected and flippant step of a dandy. In short, nothing but being a gentleman can ever give you the air and step of one. A man who has a shallow or an impudent brain will be quite sure to show it in his heels, in spite of all that rules of manners can do for him.


A gentleman never sits in the house with his hat on in the presence of ladies for a single moment. Indeed, so strong is the force of habit, that a gentleman will quite unconsciously remove his hat on entering a parlor, or drawing-room, even if there is no one present but himself. People who sit in the house with their hats on are to be suspected of having spent the most of their time in bar-rooms, and similar places. A gentleman never sits with his hat on in the theater. Gentlemen do not generally sit even in an eating-room with their hats on, if there is any convenient place to put them.


The books on etiquette will tell you, that on waiting on a lady into a carriage, or the box of a theater, you are to take off your hat; but such is not the custom among polite people in this country. The inconvenience of such a rule is a good reason against its observance in a country where the practice of politeness has in it nothing of the servility which is often attached to it in countries where the code of etiquette is dictated by the courts of monarchy. In handing a lady into a carriage, a gentleman may need to employ both his hands, and he has no third hand to hold on to his hat.


Cleanliness of person is a distinguishing trait of every well-bred person; and this not on state occasions only, but at all times, even at home. It is a folly to sit by the fire in a slovenly state, consoling oneself with the remark, "Nobody will call to-day." Should somebody call we are in no plight to receive them, and otherwise it is an injury to the character to allow slovenly habits to control us even when we are unseen.
— “Martine's Hand-book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness," 1866



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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Etiquette and Presentation's Perks

 People pass up and down before the carriages, and criticise their occupants with the utmost freedom. The Prince and Princess of Wales are cheered as they go by in their gilded chariots; the Lord Mayor and High Sheriff must listen to comments on their gorgeousness, the Embassadors and public functionaries applauded or hooted, as fancy dictates.


The advantages of a presentation are somewhat visionary. It is supposed to give one a standing socially, for according to the theory the anyone presented at Court is entitled to be presented by the Embassador of his country, at any and every other Court. But, in fact, a presentation benefits only those who do not need it, and the great mass of those presented see nothing more of royalty. 


If they are never invited to the royal fetes or balls, they have little more interest in high society than they had before, and the chief benefit, so far as the masses of the presentees are concerned, is to see their names in the paper the next day, and so to be the envy of all the women who have not been presented. As a sort of social triumph it is worth striving for when that sort of distinction is deemed worth having, and for the sake of the honor women go through the tedious drill, the hours of weary waiting, the discomfort, and sometimes the humiliation, just to say they have been recognized by Majesty. 


In general, even this statement is not true. So far as England is concerned, the royal receptions are in the name of the Queen, but as a rule, after the Embassadors nave been received, the Queen retires and leaves her daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales, to do the honors, which are thereby done quite as well, and the Queen is therefore saved the discomfort, to her no doubt very great of a tedious public audience. 

Those who have passed through it more than once generally concede thai a royal drawing-room is a misery to most of those concerned, and in particular to the ladies who receive the honor. It is not necessary to be among those presented, however, to share some of the benefits of a drawing-room. Persons of good character, having proper credentials and fortune enough to secure an introduction to the Lord Chamberlain, may receive tickets permitting them to stand in the corridors of the Palace and see the crowds of debutantes and their chaperones pass in and out on their way to and from the reception. 


Some people say this is really the most satisfactory way of "doing" a drawing-room, but good credentials are necessary and some influence to secure even so so slight a favor as that of being permitted to stand in the passage and see the nobility and gentry go by. It is not to be supposed, however, that there is no fun at a drawing-room. There is any quantity of it, but it is all for those who have neither part, nor lot, in the exercises within. The occasion is always announced in the papers some days before, and the order is given in which the carriages are to fall in line. 

The announcement never fails to attract the public, which gathers numerously, and bestows enthusiastic encouragement on the persons participating. For hours before the appointed time vehicles are slowly moving about the neighborhood in order to get ready to take a place, for the rule stands, first come first presented, and as the clock strikes there is a grand rush toward the Palace gate, and in the crush, carriages are often broken, sometimes overturned, and accidents to horses are quite frequent. The police lend their assistance to form the line, and after a carriage is in position, its occupants must wait from two to four hours until their turn comes at the Palace gate. 

Meantime, the people in groups pass up and down before the carriages, and criticise their occupants with the utmost freedom. The occasion is always available also for the display of patriotism. The Prince and Princess of Wales are cheered as they go by in their gilded chariots; the Lord Mayor and High Sheriff must listen to comments on their gorgeousness, the Embassadors and public functionaries applauded or hooted, as fancy dictates. In London it is not a statutuable offense to howl at anybody, from the Prince of Wales up or down, as you choose to count, and it frequently happens that unpopular public characters have, while waiting in the streets before Buckingham Palace, an excellent opportunity to ascertain what the public think of them. 

But nobody minds, and even the women who are stared at by the mob on the street, and commented upon, sometimes the reverse of respectful, take the matter very coolly. Their carriages are provided with curtains, but as a rule they seldom take the pains to draw them up. They are on exhibition, and if they do not object to the publicity, unwelcome though it sometimes is, no one else has it right to complain. — San Francisco, 1891

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

Friday, July 22, 2016

More Royal Presentation Etiquette

After waiting perhaps for several hours the aspirant hears her name called by a page, a couple of gorgeous attendants adjust her train, she is ushered into the royal presence, where she courtesies the requisite number of times, then retires backward, maneuvering her train as best she can while bowing to the earth. 

More Victorian Etiquette for a Debutante Being Presented to Queen Victoria Herself 

On her entry to the reception-room, her name is announced, and she must courtesy almost down to the earth before the Queen or the person
 representing the Sovereign, and then in the prescribed order, once to every member of the royal reception group. 

The courtesies are very low, make a surprisingly  heavy demand on the muscle, and occasionally, even to the experienced, involve the danger of lopping over backwards. Even should an accident happen, however, it would rarely be heard outside the channel circle, for members of the Court are extremely cautious in divulging news, particularly of so embarrassing a character. 


While the instruction is going on, the dress is being made, and the garment for so momentous an occasion must not only be as costly as her purse can buy, but as original as her imagination can devise. 


The gentlemen who are presented at Court are not trembled in this respect; an officer wears the uniform of his rank, an Embassador wears the Court dress of his own country, or occasionally, by courtesy, defers in the matter of attire to the Court where he makes his appearance. But for the civilian, a Court dress is carefully devised, and with the pattern he must comply to the smallest particular. 


The Court dress at present in use in Great Britain is an abomination composed of modifications of the hideous costume worn in the time of George III. The time has gone by when courtiers could ape Sir Walter Raleigh in splendor of costume. It is recorded of this Nobleman that he appeared at Court in a white satin vest, over which was a doublet flowered and embroidered with pearls. The feather in his hat was fastened with rubies and pearls. His breeches and stockings were of white silk. His shoes were buff, covered with diamonds to the value of £30,000, while his sword and belt blazed with precious stones. 


No such gorgeousness is now displayed among English courtiers, but still there is enough to create the impression among the uninitiated that the wearer of the Court fripperies had just escaped from a circus and had not found time to change his clothes. The
 lack of latitude allowed the men is atoned for by the license given to the women, for so long as the dress has no sleeves and almost no waist, but a lavish abundance of train, the costume may be made according to the fancy of the wearer.

The dresses are uniformly magnificent, and for weeks after a grand drawing-room, the English fashion papers are filled with illustrations of the dresses worn by prominent ladies of the nobility. The name having passed the Lord Chamberlain and being approved by the Queen, the candidate goes in the carriage of her chaperon some hours before the appointed time to the neighborhood of Buckingham Palace. 


The carriage is always an elegant turnout with coachman and footman in white wigs and their smartest liveries ornamented in front with monstrous boutonnieres tied with white satin bows. At the appointed time the carriage finds a place in the line and delivers its precious freight at the Palace door. 


The ladies are shown in droves into anterooms, which in winter, are cold and in summer hot and ill-ventilated. Each applicant must be provided with two large cards having her name clearly written upon each. One is given to the Queen's pages at the Palace door, the other to the Lord Chamberlain, who from it reads the name of the lady being presented. 

After waiting perhaps for several hours the aspirant hears her name called by a page, a couple of gorgeous attendants adjust her train, she is ushered into the royal presence, where she courtesies the requisite number of times, then retires backward, maneuvering her train as best she can while bowing to the earth. The ordeal is over, and she goes away to reflect how foolish it all is, and how she would do it over again every day in the week to attain social pre-eminence or to spite some other woman. — San Francisco, 1891


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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Etiquette for Royal Presentation

The levée was originally a daily moment of intimacy and accessibility to a monarch or sovereign. It started out as a royal custom, but in America, it later came to refer to a reception by the King’s representatives and, even later, by the President.



What is Required for a Royal Levée

Miseries of a Debutante in Her Presentation at Court 

Rigid Rules Prescribed for Her Conduct—Annoyances to Which Those Seeking the Honor Are Subjected

The principal feature of fashionable life in a Monarchical country is the presentation at Court,without which no society belle considers any season properly finished, and which indeed is considered to be both the beginning and the crowning honor of society life. 

This being the case, it is not remarkable that among people who live in a country where a Court is the center of society, there should exist a marked anxiety to be presented at Court. This feeling takes most definite form in England, and the desire for the honor has spread so far that even Americans, both gentlemen and ladies, have on many occasions manifested an eagerness to be "presented." Hardly consonant with the simplicity of republican institutions, says a writer in the St. Louis Globe - Democrat.

The honor of presentation at Court, however, is accorded to very few, and those of the most "select classes." Embassadors and Ministers have the right to be presented, and would feel insulted if they were not. The Nobility and landed gentry of England also, in some degree, consider Court presentation as a sort of right, the honor in their cases having acquired a sort of hereditary standing. 

Cabinet Ministers, officers of the army and navy, officials in the highest grades of the civil service are also presented, together with foreigners of distinction who have been introduced by their Embassador. Men of prominence in the learned and scientific pursuits are sometimes presented as a special favor, though they do not usually seek the honor, which in their case is somewhat doubtful. 

With merchants and manufacturers, the list of those who make an appearance at Court may be said to close, and of these last two classes the number presented in Court ceremonials is small. The strictest care is taken to exclude anything which savors of the shop, hence no retail merchant, however great his wealth, however respectable his standing, may anticipate the honor of appearing in the presence of the Queen. 

Instances sometimes happen of men of all these classes placing an exceedingly high value upon the honor, and when its bestowal was doubtful, making special effort to secure it. But men as a rule, value acourt appearance very lightly. Not so their wives and daughters. What to a man is a trifling occurrence, an empty honor, to be received without gratitude and forgotten with expedition, becomes to a woman the event of her life, and the amount of scheming, of planning among the ladies desirous of a presentation, would be deemed incredible were it not known to be a fact. 

The wives and daughters of men entitled to appear at court are also accorded that honor, and, as a rule, prize it so much more highly that the attendance of ladies always far exceeds that of men. Ladies seeking presentation may be divided into two classes, those who enjoy the honor as a sot of right by reason of their birth or relationship and those who seek it as an honor. The former experience no difficulty whatever in obtaining access to the charmed circle which surrounds the Queen. 

When a young girl of Noble or gentle birth attains the proper age she is presented by her mother or by her aunt, or by some other female relative having the right to appear. She is then said to make her debut, or in England parlance "to come out." But for all other persons, including visiting Americans, a presentation at Court is a matter of difficulty. The person desiring to be presented must have proper instructions, good associations, considerable wealth— a very important factor— and must find a social godmother willing to assume the responsibility of her introduction. 

The obliging chaperon may sometimes assume the charge from friendly regard, but, if Dame Rumor be correct, more than one godmother has taken the responsibility of introducing an American for the sake of the American dollar, and more than one American lady is currently reported to have paid a handsome sum to an English Dame whose rank was exalted, but whose pocket-book was lank, for the honor of being taken to Court. Such things come high, but some people think them cheap at any price.

Having secured a social godmother, application for appearance at Court is made to the Lord Chamberlain, sometimes many weeks or even months beforehand, and the applicant then awaits her turn. When it comes, her name with other,s is presented several days before the ceremony to the Queen, who rigidly strikes off any she may deem unworthy of the honor. With regard to this point, the present sovereign of Great Britain is relentless, and many a lady whose lot was not cast among the privileged classes, or whose character had been breathed upon, has at the last moment been disappointed in her expectations. 

Long before the name of the candidate has been passed on, the ambitious aspirant has placed herself under the tuition of a mistress of etiquette. This is a necessary preliminary, for the etiquette of a Queen's Court is as rigid as were the laws of the Medes and Persians. Custom prescribes the behavior of the person introduced down to the minutest detail; the manner of her entrance and exit, the number of courtesies she shall make, the manner in which she shall manage her train, how she shall hold her fan, and every other apparently unimportant particular is prescribed with the most wearisome minuteness. — San Francisco, 1891

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Etiquette and Franz Josef

Franz Josef was the most beloved Emperor of the Habsburg Monarchy in Austria

Mark Twain and the Emperor
—————
How the Humorist Met Franz Josef 


An amusing description of the introduction of the late Samuel Longhorn Clemens—“Mark Twain”—to the Emperor Franz Josef in the later ’90s is given by Dr. Charles Vincent Herdliska, who as Secretary of the United States embassy at Vienna, effected the introduction.

Mr. Clemens was a good deal worried about what he should say to the Emperor. He told Dr. Herdliska that he feared he might be so overcome as to forget his little speech. “Never mind.” replied the Secretary “the Emperor will know what you intend to say. You have to send your speech to the Palace several days before you are presented. Then if his Majesty does not like what you are going to say, he need not receive you. 

We shall find the Emperor standing in the center of the large reception hall in the Palace, and together we shall cross the floor to him, and I shall speak the words of presentation. When the Emperor has replied, you will say your say in English, addressing it to me, and I will repeat it to the Emperor in German. His Majesty will then reply to me in German and I will translate it to you.” 

"Is that all there will be to it?” asked the humorist, with visible disappointment. “That will be all. And don’t offer to shake hands. That would be an unpardonable breach of Court etiquette. As soon as we have exchanged greetings, we shall withdraw.” 

On the appointed day Mr. Clemens and Dr. Herdliska appeared at the Palace. Between double lines of guards, the two Americans were ushered through room after room until they reached the threshold of the audience chamber. The door of the reception hall swung open, and humorist and secretary advanced toward the solitary figure of the aged Monarch. 

All three bowed and Dr. Herdliska spoke the formal words of presentation. The Emperor replied. Mr. Clemens then began his speech, but had not repeated more than a sentence or two when the Emperor spoke a few words in German to Dr. Herdliska, and turning on his heel, started across the floor toward a distant door. 

The Secretary started to follow; but Mr. Clemens, who understood German imperfectly, clutched his arm, whispering, “Hold on, doctor! This isn’t according to your instructions! Shall I go on with my speech?” Dr. Herdliska explained that the Emperor had said, ‘‘Tell Mr. Clemens he need not finish his speech. I have already read it. Both of you come into my library.” Much relieved. Mr. Clemens followed Dr. Herdliska into the Emperor’s study, where his Majesty put all formality aside and entertained the two Americans for an hour. 

The humorist was by this time in quite a mellow mood; his fear of royalty was a thing of the past. The Emperor’s cigars were very much to his liking. As the interview came to an end, the Emperor did a most unusual thing; he extended his hand to Mr. Clemens, who gave it a hearty grasp. And when Dr. Herdliska and his companion reached the latter’s hotel, they found the Emperor had done another unusual thing—he had sent a servant to the author’s apartment with a dozen boxes of the cigars that had given the humorist so much satisfaction. — Los Angeles Herald, 1915

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

Wartime Etiquette and Nobility

From World War I - Nobility of England seen at their best (in a Lillian Gish film) as every woman of America will agree, not in court gowns and with stately airs, but—the glamour of material glory laid aside, offering an earnest, conscientious service in the world’s present great need.

Film Shows Nobility of England During Wartime 

Time was — the world glad in the sunshine of a long continued peace—that the ambition of every society bud, upon concluding her course in some fashionable finishing school, was to go abroad and be presented at the Court of St. James. 

If family connections, wealth and opportunity made such an experience possible, she devoted many hours to the study of Court etiquette in order that her appearance at this momentous event should be a credit to herself and her relatives. 

Afterward, throughout her lifetime, the occasion was recalled as one of which she had just cause to be proud. Yet she had only basked a few moments in the of smiles from England's Queen and seen the Court ladies stand decorously, robed in their stately Court gowns, and each wearing a smile that resembled very much that worn by every other lady of the group — a smile which was no real index to the character which lay beyond it.

Today any American woman, no matter what her family or financial standing, may have a much more satisfactory glimpse of the real personnel that goes to make up the feminine part of the Court of St. James, and this, too, without crossing the sea. 

It is afforded in a fascinating new production, “The Great Love“ playing its second week at Clune’s auditorium, for which Queen Alexandra and other women of the nobility posed. They are seen at their best, as every woman of America will agree, not in court gowns and with stately airs, but—the glamour of material glory laid aside, offering an earnest, conscientious service in the world’s present great need. — Los Angeles Herald, 1918


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

More Court Presentation Etiquette

When her Majesty does not hold the drawing-rooms, she usually commands the Princess of Wales or one of her daughters to take her place, and all presentations are considered the same as to the Queen herself.  
Charm of the Presentation 

Probably the greatest charm of the presentation lies in the fuss made over the debutante by the debutante's friends. It is talked of weeks before and weeks after, and the day itself is one of long and delirious excitement. 

Immediately after leaving the palace, everyone drives to the photographer's to immortalize the gown. It is difficult to imagine how the photographers get through such a day, for not only have they so many appointments, but they are all for nearly the same hour. Nearly every woman who is presented issues invitations for what is known as a "drawing-room tea," and immediately after her return from the studio and a short turn in the park she stands for a couple of hours while her friends flock in to admire her gown, talk over the presentation and congratulate her. 

If at no other time in her life she is queen of the assemblage, she is this once, and she enjoys it as fully as only her feminine nature is capable of doing. How differently the men take their presentation to the Prince of Wales when he holds a levee. They drive unconcernedly through town in hansoms, their brilliant uniforms or Court dress standing out against the dark background of the cabs. At 2 o'clock the whole thing is over, and except for the flash of a helmet or the glitter of gold braid from a passing cab London, would not know that a levee was being held. 


The Queen, even when she holds a drawing-room in person, which is rarely more than twice during the season, does not remain for all the presentations, as her advancing years make the fatigue too great for her to bear. She may receive half of the list, but usually leaves the Palace about half-past four, for a drive in Hyde Park. This is one of the few occasions which the Londoners have for demonstrating their loyalty, for the Queen dislikes London intensely and spends as little time there as possible.


Hyde Park corner and the park are crowded with people on this afternoon, who are eager to catch a glimpse of her Majesty, and, while her reception is an enthusiastic one for the English to give, it must appear cold to those who are accustomed to the demonstrations some of the popular Continental sovereigns receive. This being the year of the Queen's eightieth birthday, the number of applicants to the Lord Chamberlain for presentation has been very large, especially for those drawing-rooms the Queen has held in person. 


When her Majesty does not hold the drawing-rooms, she usually commands the Princess of Wales or one of her daughters to take her place, and all presentations are considered the same as to the Queen herself.  —San Francisco Call, 1899

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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Serious Guest Etiquette Breach

From the Devonshire Parure: A stomacher, circa 1856. Featuring gold, enamel, diamonds, cornelian, onyx, garnet, jacinths, lapis lazuli, plasma, and sardonyx, 30.2 x 19.0 cm.

American Woman’s Display

An interesting story of how an American woman duped the Court of Russia has just leaked out. At these Royal balls, wealth and luxury run riot and the Russians are very proud of their display, says the Delineator. 

To be outdone by a foreigner is, to them, almost a disgrace. At a recent Court ball an American woman, now a Duchess in England, outdid the Russians one season, making a tremendous sensation, so loaded down was she with her great tiara and high dog collar, her stomacher and ropes of famous pearls that she rivaled even the Empress. Her gems drew admiration from every one. This proved a great embarrassment to the English ambassador, who realized what a serious breach of etiquette it was. 

It was some time afterward that a jeweler in Paris, bursting with pride over the achievement, told how he had gone to London to make imitations of the celebrated jewels, especially to be worn at this St. Petersburg ball, the Duchess being afraid to take the genuine ones upon such a long journey. —Lompoc Journal, 1910

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

Friday, July 15, 2016

Trying Etiquette for Debutantes

The Princess of Wales Receiving American Girls for the Queen, at the Queen's Drawing-Room

To Meet the Queen 
———————
How Our American Girls Are Presented

Among the many social functions found in London the one of special interest, to the feminine visitor at least, is in the Queen's drawing-room, and judging from the ever-increasing number of Americans presented at Court on these occasions, the approach of spring must be a signal for almost as much of a flutter on our side of the Atlantic as that which disturbs the peace of the English fireside. It creates a stir throughout the country, compared to which that almost national event in England, the spring cleaning, fades into insignificance. 

While from a social point of view, the drawing-rooms are great events, the chief benefit derived from them is the impetus they give to the trades of the dressmakers, the florists, caterers and photographers, and the Queen is largely influenced by this consideration in the number she holds during the season. Not content with tremblingly entering the presence of the sovereign once, a great many English women go through the ceremony a number of times, being re-presented "on their marriage," "on their husband's promotion," etc... From ten in the morning until evening on a drawing-room day one meets carriages containing white gowned and plumed women rolling to and from Buckingham Palace. 

Every house from which some one is going to be presented is marked by a carpet extending from the front door to the carriage, each side of which is lined with open eyed and mouthed people waiting to see madame sail forth in all the glory of her presentation gown. There are numbers of country people who come to London just to get a glimpse of all the fuss and feathers and who, while the carriages wait in line, sometimes for hours, before reaching the palace, pass from carriage to carriage, peering in at the proud and happy occupants, who regard this as part of the performance. Even when the palace door is at last reached there another wait follows in the ante-room, but there at least one can admire or pick to pieces the gowns of the other women and exchange confidences about the conditions of one's nerves with one's friends. 

The most difficult time in connection with the presentation, is the management of the Court train, and even after the drilling which every one goes through before the eventful day, one must feel some misgivings at the last moment. One is inclined to ask if the time, worry and expense which a presentation entails are worth the very few moments of the actual ceremony. 

One is announced, enters, bows to the Queen and other royalties, advances to kiss the Queen's hand, and backs out. It is generally conceded that those few moments are very trying ones, and many amusing stories are told, though of course the most amusing ones are attributed to Americans. 

One is to the effect that an American of great freshness and beauty made so pleasing an impression on the Queen that her Majesty impulsively leaned forward and kissed her. Our compatriot, either from surprise or ignorance of Court etiquette, returned the salute with great gusto! Another American girl in an agony of nervousness, seeing the Queen's hand extended, instead of kissing it, shook it and murmured confusedly, "How do you do?"  — San Francisco Call, 1899

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Etiquette for Court Presentation

John Randolph, (or as he was known "John Randolph of Roanoke") was a late 18th and early 19th centuries Congressman from Virginia, who not only served in the House of Representatives, and the Senate, but also as the Minister to Russia in 1830.


John Randolph's Court Presentation

John Randolph, of Roanoke, dressed very eccentrically while he was at home, and his dress during his mission to Russia was hardly more extravagant than what he wore at Roanoke. 


In writing of it he says: “My dress on presentation to their Imperial Majesties was a suit of the finest mack cloth that London could afford; and with the exception of a steel capped sword it was the dress of Mr. Madison during the late convention." It was ornamented with gold shoe and knee buckles, and Randolph says that he was as well dressed as Prince Talleyrand, who was presented at the same time. Josiah Quincy visited Russia some years after this, and in his life there is a story related concerning this presentation of John Randolph.

Says this authority: “When he was presented to the Empress she put out her hand and Randolph went down on his knees to take it. He wore, however, tight gauntlets and he did not attempt to get those off before he fell upon his knee. It was contrary to etiquette to touch the lady’s bare hand with a gloved hand, and it look him so long to get his tight glove off, that her Majesty smiled at his predicament and the courtiers laughed out aloud.” 

Randolph soon took his leave of Russia and returned to the United States. Before he did so, he had a pleasant interview with the Emperor, and he made a remark which it is said, made the Empress laugh most vociferously. He bowed himself out backward as he left, and “it was lucky" said he, “that I happened to be near the door.” —Frank O. Carpenter in American Magazine, 1887


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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More on "Backwards" Etiquette

The prospect of breaking etiquette when in the presence of the monarch has struck fear into subjects and foreign dignitaries for centuries. Walking backwards went back to the times when it was considered terribly impolite to turn one's back on the sovereign.

The centuries-old practice of servants and guests walking backwards when leaving a room after seeing the monarch has been dropped after health and safety concerns.

The protocol was observed as a sign of respect but royal aides feared it could lead to someone getting hurt – and potentially suing Buckingham Palace for damages.

Only two visitors are now expected routinely to walk backwards as they exit the Queen's presence: Charles Gray, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, and Wing Commander Andy Calame, the Queen's equerry.

Their successors will also be expected to learn to walk backwards safely and discreetly when leaving the monarch's presence. The Queen, say royal aides, does not want the tradition to die out entirely.

"Allowing only two people in royal service to walk backwards was seen as a pragmatic solution to the health and safety issue," one royal source said.

The two senior members of the Royal household are expected to walk backwards leaving the room when they have either been summoned to see the Queen personally or they are introducing others – such as senior foreign diplomats – for audiences with the Queen. Such audiences normally take place at Buckingham Place, usually in the magnificent first-floor 1844 Room.

Only one other person now walks backwards in the presence of the Queen, but this is restricted to an annual ceremonial occasion. Tradition dictates that the Lord Chancellor, currently Jack Straw, walks backwards down the steps from the throne after presenting the monarch with the words for the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament.

Mr Straw had made it clear he is happy to continue with the pageantry associated with the State Opening, although his predecessor, Lord Falconer, wanted to scrap the title of Lord Chancellor and, with it, some of its centuries-old traditions. The Lord Chancellor is the monarch's formal link with Parliament and is sometime known as "Keeper of the Queen's Conscience".

The prospect of breaking etiquette when in the presence of the monarch has struck fear into subjects and foreign dignitaries for hundreds of years. Today, those introduced to the Queen are asked to refer to her as "Her Majesty" when they first talk to her and then as "ma'am" – pronounced so as to rhyme with spam. Men are asked to give a short bow from the neck – not the waist – and women are asked to curtsy.

Charles Kidd, an expert on royal etiquette and editor of Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage, said that the practice of walking backwards when leaving the monarch's presence was believed to date back to Medieval times. "It goes back to the times when it was considered terribly impolite to turn one's back on the sovereign," he said.

The introductions of foreign ambassadors and High Commissioners are still highly formal occasions. At "credentials", ambassadors are usually escorted to Buckingham Palace in a horse-drawn, open-top Landau. Dressed in morning suits and accompanied by the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, the ambassador is politely instructed about what to do when he enters the presence of the monarch: "One step, neck bow. One step, a second neck bow." Then he is to hand over formally his Letters of Credence – official papers confirming his status as ambassador.

But the ambassador, and other visitors, are no longer expected to walk backwards from the room, unlike the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps and the Queen's equerry.

The Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps is a senior member of the Royal household and widely regarded as the expert on all matters of royal etiquette. He is the Queen's link with the diplomatic community in London. Mr Gray supervises the attendance of diplomats at state events and organises the regular presentation of credentials.

The post is usually held for about a decade, often by a retired senior military officer. However, Mr Gray, who has been in the post for just a year, is a diplomat rather than a military man. The office was created in 1920, to replace the position of Master of Ceremonies, which dates back to the 17th century.

The position of equerry dates back hundreds of years. Traditionally, "Equerries of the Crown Stable" were responsible for breaking and caring for the monarch's saddle horses.

However, more recently, the post has involved being in close attendance to the Queen at public and private engagements. The position of equerry is traditionally held by a senior officer from one of the three Armed Services who usually wears his military uniform for official engagements. Wing Commander Calame, who is two years into his three-year posting, recently described the Queen as "the best boss I have ever had".
— This article, by Andrew Alderson, first appeared in The Telegraph in 2009



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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Etiquette or Absurd Custom?

Royal tradition took a step backward, but the Queen moved forward in 2009 ~ HRH Queen Elizabeth II of England bowed down to 'health and safety' concerns. The centuries-old practice of servants and guests walking backwards when leaving the room after seeing the monarch was dropped amid health and safety concerns.

Walking Backward — An Ex-Attache Writes in His Usual Vigorous Style on an "Absurd European Custom"

Sometimes this walking backward gives rise to rather pretty and even pathetic devices on the part of those who desire to avoid accidents, such as happened to the Duke of Argyll. Thus I can recall the case of a relative, who in return for active service, was summoned with several brother officers to Buckingham Palace in order to receive from the hands of the sovereign herself, the Order of the Bath. 


He had lost his right leg in action so near to the hip joint that there was no means of wearing an artificial limb and he was consequently dependent upon his crutches. When he entered the royal presence it was noticed that he held fastened apparently to the handrest of each crutch a couple of lovely bouquets. At a third of the distance up the long room he stopped, made the regulation bow as best he could and dropped one of the bunches of flowers on the floor. Then he made his way to the Queen, tendered her the other bouquet, which she graciously accepted, received his Order of the Bath, which she herself fastened to his uniform with many a kindly word, for he had been a favorite of her husband, and then he proceeded to withdraw from her presence.

If ever there was a case in which the walking backward might have been excused, it was there, and the faces of the Queen and those around her betrayed signs of concern and anxiety lest some mishap would overtake the colonel. He, however, backed away, displaying himself some hesitation and anxiety until he reached that part of the room where he had purposely left the first bouquet on the ground. That gave him his bearings. He knew where be was then and leaving the flowers there reached the door in safety, the Queen kindly nodding and waving her hand to him in appreciation of his somewhat arduous act of homage. 


That her Majesty was moved, thereby was shown by the fact that a few days later he received from the Queen a rather unusual present, namely, a handsome carriage and a pair of horses, together with an expression of the wish that the conveyance might in some measure tend to alleviate the discomfort caused by the absence of the limb which he had lost in her service on the field of battle.  — San Francisco Call, 1897


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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Washington Ladies' Etiquette Code

Known the country over as the most beautiful and influential woman there ever was in Washington, Kate Chase, occupied the most powerful position in Washington society that a woman could hold. She held sway in 19th Century Washington D.C., far beyond her gender at the time. 


Etiquette in Washington 

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"The Ladies' Code"

The ladies' code is more complicated, and it is important to be understood. Ladies of the Diplomatic Corps receive first visits from official society, and duly return the same in good form. 


There is a friction between Senate ladies and Cabinet ladies regarding first calls, but the common law of custom exists, and should be gracefully, accepted. There was more excuse for sensitiveness during the present administration than has existed before. 

The Cabinet ladies were entirely new members of Washington society, excepting the honored and beloved wife of the Secretary of State, who was called to a higher court before social etiquette of the new administration was established, and naturally they felt the newness of their position, and, from a home point of view, regarded it etiquette for the older members of society to make the first call upon the new, hence a conflict, without an authorized umpire to decide a vexed question.

The ladies' visiting code admits of great latitude, and rules must be observed to avoid complications. The old rule of fixed days in every part of the city was best. Why any innovation from the old rule is regarded with favor, I am unable to say; but if carriage hire has produced this result, let it be canceled by "Jeffersonian simplicity," and ladies take time to enter and leave the house with formality due a hostess, and not pay visits as if life depended on the action. 

Many compromising episodes result through lack of "time" and method. Not long ago, a new member of official society with ambition to call where the largest number of carriages were seen, found herself at a funeral. — Brooklyn Magazine, April 1887

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