Sunday, January 7, 2018

Princess Punctilia and Etiquette

Former Danish Princess and future Queen of England, Alexandra, was wife of the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) in 1886. ~ The “Princess of Wales” (in Welsh, “Tywysoges Cymru”) is a British courtesy title. It is held by the wife of the “Prince of Wales,” who is, since the 14th century, the heir apparent of the British monarch.

In his entertaining sketches of  “Aristocracy in England,” Adam Badeau says of the Princess of Wales: 

She lives in forms and naturally thinks much of them. Her personal attendants are required to observe every punctilia. She goes through her own part and expects them to do the same. The Royal yacht was once arriving at Cowes with the Prince and Princess aboard, and an immense concourse awaited them at the landing. But the Princess had been seasick all day and was not recovered when the Prince himself came to fetch her to meet the multitude. Her ladies assured his Royal Highness that their mistress was unable to stand. But the excuse could not be accepted ; the people must not be disappointed, and the Princess was decked in her jewels between the paroxysms of sickness and pale and faint, was led out to courtesy and smile to her future subjects. 

If etiquette is this inexorable for the mistress, it is, of course, never relaxed for the maid. A Countess, whose name is well known in America, was in attendance on the Princess at Osborne, when a friend of mine went to call on her. The guest was received in a bedroom, for there was no other place reserved for the Ladies-in-Waiting, and they could not, of course, entertain their friends in the apartments of Royalty. While the two ladies were talking, a summons came for the Countess  The Princess was going to bathe. “But, my dear, you do not bathe because the Princess does?” “Certainly I do.” “But you are not well ; you may be injured.” “Ah! my dear, I am in waiting.” And, as there was but one room, the visitor was obliged to leave, while the Countess dressed to attend the Princess in her bath. – Daily Alta California, 1886

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