Thursday, March 16, 2017

Prussian Princess Etiquette

On State occasions, there is comparatively little ceremony observed here, but everyday life of the Prussian royal family seems to be regulated more strictly on the principle of etiquette, than that of Queen Victoria. 

Victoria's Daughter in Prussia

The Berlin correspondent of the Daily Telegraph writes as follows: The reserve manner at the Royal palace has given rite to various rumors, which have caused much delight to the good people here. The heroine of the incidents I refer to is Princess Victoria. You must know that on State occasions, there is comparatively little ceremony observed here, while the everyday life of the Royal family seems to be regulated more strictly on the principle of etiquette, than that of Queen Victoria.

A Prussian Princess, for instance, is not allowed by her Mistress of the Robes to take up a chair, and, after having carried it through the whole breadth of the room, to put it down in another corner. It was while committing such an act that Princess Victoria was lately caught by Countess Perponcher. 

The venerable lady remonstrated, with a considerable degree of official earnestness. 'I tell you what,' she replied — nothing daunted the royal heroine of the story — 'I tell you what, my dear Countess, you are probably aware of the fact of my mother being the Queen of England?' The Countess bowed in assent. 'Well,' resumed the bold Princess, 'then I must reveal to you another fact. Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, has not once, but very often, so far forgotten herself as to take up a chair. I speak from personal observation, I can assure you. Nay, I am not greatly deceived, I noticed one day my mother carrying a chair in each hand, in order to set them for her children. Do you really think that my dignity forbids anything which is frequently done by the Queen of England?' 

The Countess bowed again and retired, perhaps not without a little astonishment at the biographical information she had heard. However, she knew her office, and resolved to prove not less staunch to her duties than the Princess to her principles. A scene similar to the one narrated recently happened, when Countess Perponcher, on entering one of the remote chambers, took the Princess by surprise, while busily engaged in the homely occupation of arranging and stowing away a quantity of linen, but all objections the Countess could urge were again beaten back in another equally unanswerable argument taken from the every day life of the Mistress of Windsor Castle. 

After having gained these two important victories, Princess Victoria, true to the auspicious omen of her name, carried the war into the enemy's camp. The Chambermaids, whose proper business it is to clean the rooms, discharge the duties of their position in silk dresses. The daughter of the richest sovereign in the world decided to put a stop to this extravagance.

One fine morning she had all the female servants summoned to her presence, and delivered what may be considered a highly successful maiden speech. She began by telling them the expense of their dresses must evidently exceed the rate of their wages. She added that as their wages were not to be raised, it would be very fortunate for them if they were allowed to assume cotton articles of clothing. 'In order to prevent every misunderstanding,' the Princess continued, 'I shall not only permit, but order you to do so. You might know that there ought always to be a difference in the dress of mistress and servant. Don't think that I want to hurt your feelings ; you will understand my intention at once, if I tell you that.' 

And now came the same unanswerable argument from the Court of St. James, she told them briefly that at that Court, people in their position performed their duties in cotton, and that she liked to be ruled by her mother's practice. — The Daily Alta, 1858

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