Sample Peerage Article

Sample Peerage Article

Chapter 1

ADDRESSING ROYALTY: COMMUNICATING WITH THE QUEEN

The Queen and all members of the Royal Family have private secretaries who deal with their correspondence.

Writing to The Queen

Unless you are personally known to the Sovereign, any letter to The Queen should be addressed to ‘The Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen’. There is no need to address the private secretary by name, but if there is subsequent correspondence this should be addressed to the actual writer of the reply.

Communications from those Known Personally

For those who wish to communicate directly with The Queen, the following style is used:

The letter should begin ‘Madam’ or ‘May it please Your Majesty’. The first line of the letter itself should begin with the phrase ‘With my humble duty’; the main content of the letter then follows. It should end ‘I have the honour to remain, Madam, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient servant’. The word ‘remain’ can be replaced with ‘be’ if desired.

In the body of the letter alternate between ‘Your Majesty’ and ‘Your Majesty’s’ and ‘you’ and ‘your’. The envelope should be addressed to ‘Her Majesty The Queen’.

Verbal Address

Use ‘Your Majesty’ for the first time and subsequently ‘Ma’am’. This should always rhyme with ‘lamb’. Pronunciation to rhyme with ‘palm’ has not been correct for some generations.

In conversation, refer to ‘Her Majesty’ or ‘The Queen’, as appropriate. ‘Your Majesty’ should be substituted for ‘you’. References to other members of the Royal Family are made to ‘His (or Her) Royal Highness’ or the appropriate title, such asthe Princess Royal.

On Being Presented to The Queen

Introductions to the Royal Family are known as presentations. When presenting another person to The Queen it is only necessary to state the name of the person to be presented: ‘Your Majesty, may I present Mr John Smith?’.

Upon being presented to The Queen, and on taking leave, men should bow and women curtsy. The bow is an inclination of the head, not from the waist. The curtsy should be a discreet but dignified movement, with a slow rise, maintaining eye contact.

Communicating with other Members of the Royal Family

Unless the writer is personally known to the member of the Royal Family, it is usual to write to the private secretary, equerry or lady-in-waiting. Letters should be addressed to the holder of the office and not by name. Subsequent correspondence should be sent to the writer of the reply.

Sending Correspondence via Intermediaries

Alternatively correspondents may send their formal letter to the member of the Royal Family via the private secretary or ladyin- waiting with a covering letter, saying 'please will you lay my letter before Her Majesty or His/Her Royal Highness...'

Communications from those Known Personally

If communicating directly with a member of the Royal Family the letter should begin 'Sir/Madam' and end 'I have the honour to remain, Sir/Madam, Your Royal Highness's most humble and obedient servant'. In the body of the letter substitute 'Your Royal Highness' for 'you' and 'Your Royal Highness's' for 'your'.

Addressing the Envelope:

The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, CD, QSO, PC
The Duchess of Cornwall, GCVO
The Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT
The Duchess of Cambridge, GCVO
The Duke of Sussex, KCVO
The Duchess of Sussex
The Duke of York, KG, GCVO, CD
Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Eugenie of York
The Earl of Wessex, KG, GCVO
The Countess of Wessex, GCVO
The Princess Royal, KG, KT, GCVO, CD, QSO
The Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO
The Duchess of Gloucester, GCVO
The Duke of Kent, KG, GCMG, GCVO
The Duchess of Kent, GCVO
Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO
Princess Michael of Kent
Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy, KG, GCVO

On Being Presented to other Members of the Royal Family

Upon being presented and on leaving, men should bow and women curtsy. The bow is an inclination of the head, the curtsy is a discreet movement, with a slow rise, maintaining eye contact. It is acceptable, but less usual, to shake hands without bowing or curtsying, especially with younger members of the Royal Family in less formal circumstances. Check with their staff for guidance.

 

Chapter 2

Invitations to members of the Royal Family

An invitation to a member of the Royal Family is always extended by letter, either through the lord-lieutenant of a county or to the private secretary. The former is the rule outside London. A printed invitation is not sent, although a specimen may be forwarded to the private secretary if desired.

Preliminary Enquiries

It may be both prudent and diplomatic to make an informal enquiry, to the lord-lieutenant or private secretary, as to the possibility of a favourable response prior to extending a formal invitation by letter. The approach should outline the nature and purpose of the function.

Whether the consort of a member of the Royal Family should be included in the invitation depends on the nature of the function. The point can be raised in the informal enquiry.

Only in exceptional circumstances should two or more members of the Royal Family, other than consorts, be invited to the same function, and only then by agreement with the office of the more senior member of the Royal Family.

Sending the Letter of Invitation

The titles of the royal guest/s are shown in full, but without post-nominal letters, as follows:

Her Majesty The Queen
Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
His Royal Highness The Duke of York
Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York
Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie of York
Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent
Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy

After the Reply

If an invitation is declined, it is advisable to discuss with the invitee's office which member of the Royal Family may be invited in their stead, rather than trying the next person in line.

If an invitation is accepted, the event's organiser should liaise with the private secretary (or with another nominated member of the Royal Household) to discuss important details. These include:

- time of arrival
- name of the equerry or lady-in-waiting who will accompany the royal guest
- dress
- names and positions of persons to be presented etc

On the Invitation

If a member of the Royal Family has accepted an invitation, it is advisable to indicate on the invitation that a member of the Royal Family will be present. One of the following is engraved or printed at the top of the invitation card:

- In the gracious presence of Her Majesty The Queen
- In the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince ......

Note: the word 'gracious' is included only for the Sovereign.

Chapter 3

Invitations from the Royal Family

Invitations from The Queen

Invitations from the Sovereign (called commands) are sent by:
- The Lord Steward of the Household to a state banquet
- The Lord Chamberlain to all major court functions, such as a garden party, wedding, funeral or memorial service
- The Master of the Household to all domestic functions given by the Sovereign at a royal residence

Commands from the Sovereign may read:
The Master of the Household
is Commanded by Her Majesty to invite
Mr and Mrs John Debrett
to Luncheon at Sandringham House
on Thursday, 8th October at 12.30 o’clock

 

Replies to Invitations from The Queen

Replies should be worded to reflect this and addressed to the member of the Royal Household who has issued the invitation:

Mr and Mrs John Debrett present their compliments to
the Master of the Household and have the honour to obey
Her Majesty’s command to Luncheon on 8th October at
12.30 o’clock.

The date of the letter is written in the bottom left corner. Reasons for non-acceptance should always be stated. A prior engagement is not considered to be a sufficient reason:

Mr and Mrs John Debrett present their compliments to
the Master of the Household, and much regret that they
are unable to obey Her Majesty’s command to Luncheon
on 8th October owing to the illness of Mrs Debrett.

 

Replies to Invitations from the Royal Family

Invitations from other members of the Royal Family are not commands; in other respects replies follow the same formula.

Garden Parties

Invitations to a garden party do not require an acknowledgement unless a guest is unable to attend, in which case the admission card must be returned.

Thank Yous

When appropriate, such as after a state banquet, but not after a garden party, a letter of thanks is addressed to the relevant member of the Royal Household, asking that thanks are conveyed to the Sovereign or other member of the Royal Family.

Chapter 4

Entertaining Royal Guests

Close liaison between the host’s office and Buckingham Palace or the office of the member of the Royal Family is essential.

Arrival and Departure Times

It is correct for everyone to arrive before the royal personage and protocol rules that no guest should leave an event before a member of the Royal Family, except in special circumstances when prior permission should be obtained.

However, charity balls and dinners may continue well after midnight so it is probably practical for the organiser of the event to warn the private secretary that this rule may be honoured in the breach rather than in the observance. Similarly the organiser may also seek, through the private secretary, blanket permission for guests to leave before the member of the Royal Family. If necessary, individuals should seek permission to leave early through the private secretary in advance of the event.

Seating Plans for Royal Guests

When The Queen attends an event (official or private) the host always surrenders his/her place to Her Majesty, and will be seated on The Queen’s right. Other members of the Royal Family are given special precedence before all non-royal guests. The husband of a female member of the Royal Family is accorded precedence immediately after her when both attend an event. If he attends alone, he retains his own precedence, unless he is the principal guest. However, the wives of male members of the Royal Family have the same precedence as their husbands.

Retinues

Those in attendance upon a member of the Royal Family should be placed reasonably near him or her (not necessarily at the same table) and must have a clear sight line between them.

When the principal guest is The Queen, some or all of the following, and their spouses, should be invited to attend:
- the lord-lieutenant of the county
- the lord mayor, lord provost, mayor, provost, chairman of the city/borough/district
- the high sheriff of the county
- the chairman of the county council

Table Plan Approval

The seating plan of the top table for any event attended by the Sovereign or any other member of the Royal Family must be submitted to the private secretary for prior approval, from whom the names of the suite in attendance should also be obtained.

Chapter 5

Private Secretaries to the Royal Family

How to Write to a Private Secretary

Commence the letter ‘Dear Sir’ and end the letter ‘Yours faithfully’.

The first reference to the member of the Royal Family must be written in full, eg ‘Her Majesty The Queen’ or ‘His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’, and subsequently ‘The Queen, ‘The Prince’ etc.

Substitute ‘Her Majesty’ or ‘His/Her Royal Highness’ for ‘he/she’ and ‘Her Majesty’s’ or ‘His/Her Royal Highness’s’ for ‘his/her’.

Alternate the above with ‘The Queen/The Prince/The Princess/ The Duke/The Duchess’, as applicable, to avoid repetition of ‘Her Majesty’ or HRH etc.

Addressing the Envelope

The Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM
Clarence House
London SW1A 1BA

The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, GCVO
Clarence House
London SW1A 1BA

The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT
Clarence House
London SW1A 1BA

The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge,
Clarence House
London SW1A 1BA

The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG, GCVO
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, KG, GCVO
Bagshot Park
Bagshot
Surrey GU19 5PL

The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, GCVO
Bagshot Park
Bagshot
Surrey GU19 5PL

The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, KG, KT, GCVO
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO
Kensington Palace
London W8 4PU

The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester, GCVO
Kensington Palace
London W8 4PU

The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, KG, GCMG, GCVO
St James’s Palace
London SW1A 1BQ

The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent, GCVO
St James’s Palace
London SW1A 1BQ

The Private Secretary to His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO
Kensington Palace
London W8 4PU

The Private Secretary to Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy, KG, GCVO
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

It is advised that, for the sake of simplicity, the post-nominal letters for members of the Royal Family are limited to the most senior orders of chivalry.

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