Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Etiquette of Greeting and Seating Visiting Royalty

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with the little Prince George, visiting New Zealand and Australia, I thought now would be a great time to write about this again. I had originally written a blog post about this seating chart back in 2011, but accidently deleted it in 2012 while trying to correct an error I spotted. Fortunately, I had most of it copied into an email, so I retrieved the text and photos to post again.

Original seating chart for the State Dinner held on November 23, 1934 in honor of a royal visit by Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester

This is a fun and wonderful piece of history that I found on Ebay several years ago. It had evidently been folded up and stuck in an Australian drawer for over 60 years. I was actually looking for vintage Australian etiquette books on Ebay Australia when I stumbled upon the listing.

It is the original seating chart for the State Dinner held on November 23, 1934 in honour of a royal visit by Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester. He was in Australia from October 4th until December 11th of that year, and when I researched it later, I found it had been an important state visit by the Duke at the time. I was the only bidder on the item and won it for about $4.50 total. I had it framed and it hangs in my dining room.

Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester ~ "Generally, the people found him, as they found his brother the Duke of York, a little shy and somewhat embarrassed at the overwhelming nature of his reception."

You may be wondering, "Who is Prince Henry?" or, "Huh?" if you are here with me in the United States. He was the Queen’s uncle, and his son, the late Prince William of Gloucester, who died young in 1972, is who the Duke of Cambridge (aka the current Prince William) was named.

The Aussies know very well who he is however, so over the years I have been tempted to send this interesting historic document back to them. It should possibly be in a museum or with a historical group in Australia. Or, maybe mine is one of several copies they made for the 1934 event. Either way, I enjoy it and find it fascinating. Like I wrote in my book on mango forks, the Australians are the nicest people to do business with on Ebay, so I keep thinking I may just pop on over to visit there myself some day.

Note the "Capt. S.S. Bonham Carter" at Seat 2, a distant relative of actress Helena Bonham Carter.  He was later "Admiral Sir Stuart Bonham Carter", and had served in the Royal Navy in both World Wars and rose to the rank of Vice Admiral. 

I find it interesting who sat where at this dinner. Of course the Duke was seated in the center at the head table, labeled "A", along with local Australian dignitaries flanking him on either side. The Consul-General from Germany was at Seat 8 at Table B, and fairly far from the center of Table A, where the Duke sat. But he was 4 seats away to his left from the Consul from Poland and 4 seats away to his right from Captain S.S. Bonham Carter. Behind him, to his left just 2 seats away, seated at Table C was the Consul-General to France. In just 5 years time, Great Britain and France would be declaring war on Germany, due to its invasion of Poland.

Seated at tables C, D, E, F & G, were Consul-Generals from China, Spain, Norway, The Netherlands, Finland, Brazil, Paraguay, Czecho-Slovakia, Italy and Denmark, along with the U.S. and other assorted countries. Representatives from the church, Reuters, The Telegraph, The Sun, Labor Daily, and others were also seated throughout the mix. Some printed names had been crossed out, with new names written in by hand. Others were just listed as "Official." Notably absent? Women!

I love this photo of a young Prince Henry at Eton.  What a charming looking young chap!

Now back to the Duke... In 1934, the Duke of Gloucester was Prince Henry. Born on March 31, 1900, he was "Henry William Frederick Albert". He was the third son of George V and Queen Mary, thus he was the uncle of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Australian National Archives has a wonderful page devoted to him and his 1934 visit. The following are a few passages I found interesting...                                                                                                    
Prime Minister Lyons first announced news of the tour in Parliament:

"I have great pleasure in intimating that since the last meeting of this Parliament His Majesty the King has graciously given his consent to the visit to Australia of a member of the royal family on the occasion of the centenary of the state of Victoria. As honourable members are probably aware, His Majesty in the first instance approved of his son, Prince George [the Duke of Kent], visiting Australia. Later however, advice was received to the effect that His Majesty felt that Prince George, after a strenuous tour of South Africa, should not, in the same year, undertake another tour. Consequently, His Majesty approved of the substitution of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. 

From the Courier-Mail’s reporting of the event, it would appear that the Duke’s visit to Queensland at least was a wild success:  

"A dignified figure in a cavalcade of pomp and pageantry that struck an Imperial note, the Duke, his face browned with Queensland’s sunshine, made a truly Royal progress through bannered streets that echoed with the crash of band music and the skirl of bagpipes, and in which cheering thousands formed living colonnades, so densely packed that they seemed a solidified mass, vital and vivid with its pulsating loyalty, pouring forth with mighty voice its affection for the King’s son."

I was especially amused by this passage:

It would seem that the only negative incident of the Duke’s tour took place during his visit to Toowoomba:

A remarkable incident was associated with the Duke of Gloucester’s final hour in Toowoomba, when, at supper at the Citizen’s Ball, he was requested by a fireman to cease smoking a cigarette! The Duke was momentarily dismayed by the unusual nature of the request…
The incident, which was witnessed by a number of people near the principal table, was exceedingly regretted, as it was the only unfortunate happening in what was regarded as the most brilliant social gathering ever held in Toowoomba...When seen later, the Mayor said it was the most monstrous incident of which he had ever heard.

Under the heading of "General Correspondence relating to the Royal Visit, Canberra 1934-1935" you will find this recollection:

"In Queensland, the Courier Mail compiled a list of hints for citizens planning to celebrate the Duke’s arrival in the city. The newspaper stated, ‘Police and ambulance officers, remembering incidents of other royal visits and experiences in southern capitals, have issued these “Don’ts” to Brisbane citizens who will be in the city to welcome the Duke today.’

The list of ‘Don’ts’ include the following suggestions:

• Don’t let your pet dog follow you to town where he may be hurt or lost in the crowd
• Don’t let your youngsters wander away from you – if you can  help it
• Don’t go out without your hat
• Don’t expect the conductors to change a pound note.

When Prince Henry's brother, George VI, came to the throne in 1936, Henry was required to stay in the United Kingdom.  He had been appointed a potential regent for his niece, so until she came of age, in case her father died, Henry was needed there if she ascended the throne as a minor.

He was also the 11th Governor-General of Australia, from 1945 to 1947 and when he died in 1974, he was the last surviving Knight of the "Order of St. Patrick" and the longest surviving child of George V and Mary of Teck.

In 1934, the Duke and Australian Prime Minister Lyons, and Mrs. Lyons
The Current Duke of Gloucester is 
a grandson of George V and a first cousin to The Queen. He became heir to his father's titles following the death of his elder brother, Prince William of Gloucester, in a flying accident on 28 August 1972. He succeeded his father in June 1974.

Born Prince Richard of Gloucester on 26 August 1944 at Northampton, he was christened Richard Alexander Walter George. When he was four months old he was taken by his parents to Australia, where for two years (1945-47) his father was Governor-General.
HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Modern Etiquette for Meeting Royalty-

There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.

For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.

On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am'.

For male members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in the first instance being 'Your Royal Highness' and subsequently 'Sir'.

For other female members of the Royal Family the first address is conventionally 'Your Royal Highness' followed by 'Ma'am' in later conversation.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

More Etiquette for Gloves and a Royal Glovemaker for Downton Abbey

Wearing gloves while eating or drinking is a violation of good manners.
Back in January, I blogged about a query I received from Bernadette Petrotta (more of a lament than a query) on etiquette and gloved hands with drinks in them, on the popular period drama, Downton Abbey.  She was lamenting the fact that they were so incorrect with their glove manners on such an otherwise great show.  I had told her that I gave the show a pass on that particular faux pas, as they get so many other things historically accurate, and I then quoted Judith Martin, who once wrote, "The only place where it seems to be traditional for ladies to eat or drink with gloved hands is in costume dramas. In real life, it was always considered crude, not to mention yucky, but in every period film, television show, play and opera, it is evidently intended to add a touch of what passes for 'class.'"

Another etiquette violation in period film: To not wear gloves while dancing in the Regency Era, would find a young woman shunned by "good society."
I received another glove etiquette query, which I have had no success in finding an answer to in any of my old books.  This one was asked on Google+ by a reader, and she even included a photo.  The photo is of Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie "Emma," wearing gloves while playing the piano.
I could only find information on one woman, who was not a cartoon character, who wore gloves and played the piano.  Hers was a cabaret act, however, and I am not sure people actually went to hear her skills as a pianist.  So with regard to etiquette, wearing gloves while trying to play the piano is a "no-no."
A few weeks later, I received this email below,  from royal glove maker, Genevieve James.  
Hi Maura
I came across your blog when I was looking for our images of our gloves.  For your interest we made the gloves for Downton Abbey for the last series and the one before.
I thought your blog was great and lovely to see an interest in the etiquette of wearing them.
With my best wishes,  Genevieve   
 Genevieve James  Design Director  Cornelia James Ltd
Cornelia, Genevieve's mother, founded the company.
I immediately called Bernadette, who had asked me the original question about Downton Abbey and the glove etiquette.  She and I had previously discussed her love of the fashions on Downton Abbey and she had been looking to purchase some.  I sent a response to Genevieve, and asked if she sold her gloves online, and if she shipped to the U.S.  Her answers were "Yes" and "Yes."  So if you are inclined to take a look at the beautiful gloves she has available for purchase, you will find them at Cornelia

She offers day gloves, evening gloves, lace gloves, leather gloves, and more.  I may even order a pair, as I have a birthday coming up, though I really only wear gloves for driving.  I am the only person I know anymore, who actually has gloves in the glove compartment of my car.  I keep three pairs of gloves in there and people are always a bit surprised.  But even in sunny, Southern California, my hands can, and do, get cold driving at night.
More gloves by Genevieve James; Downton Abbey can get it very right... Downton Abbey's gloved ones with not a drink, nor morsel of food, cigarette, or piano in sight!
Etiquette rules regarding gloves for men were just as strict as the etiquette rules for women wearing gloves.
"To be in the fashion, an Englishman must wear six pairs of gloves in a day"
On the subject of gloves, Cecil B. Hartley wrote in "The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness" of 1860 

"An English writer, ridiculing the whims of Fashion, says: —
'To be in the fashion, an Englishman must wear six pairs of gloves in a day:
In the morning, he must drive his hunting wagon in reindeer gloves.

In hunting, he must wear gloves of chamois skin.

To enter London in his tilbury, beaver skin gloves.
Later in the day, to promenade in Hyde Park, colored kid gloves, dark.
When he dines out, colored kid gloves, light.
For the ball-room, white kid gloves.
Thus his yearly bill for gloves alone will amount to a most extravagant sum.'"

Below is a variety of rules from different authorities on glove etiquette for men and women: 

From “Martine's Hand-book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness.” 1866

Under Habits at Table 

“Neither ladies nor gentlemen ever wear gloves at table, unless their hands, from some cause, are not fit to be seen.” 

Under Street Etiquette 
“Never offer to shake hands with a lady in the street if you have on dark gloves, as you may soil her white ones.”

“You need not stop to pull off your glove to shake hands with a lady or gentleman. If it is warm weather it is more agreeable to both parties that the glove should be on—especially if it is a lady with whom you shake hands, as the perspiration of your bare hand would be very likely to soil her glove.”

Under Marriage 

“When arrived at the altar, the father of the bride, or, in default of such relation, the nearest connexion, or some old friend, gives away the bride. The bridesmaids stand near the bride; and either her sister, or some favorite friend, will hold the gloves or handkerchief, as may be required, when she ungloves her hand for the wedding-ring.”

Under General Society 
“Never allow a lady to get a chair for herself, ring a bell, pick up a handkerchief or glove she may have dropped, or, in short, perform any service for herself which you can perform for her, when you are in the room.”

“Gloves should be worn by ladies in church, and in places of public amusement. Do not take them off to shake hands. Great care should be taken that they are well made and fit neatly.” 

Under Dress “With this suit, and well-made shoes, clean gloves, a white pocket-handkerchief, and an easy and graceful deportment withal, he may pass muster as a gentleman.”

From Agnes H. Morton's “Etiquette.” 1919 

Under A Few Points on Dress “Where dancing is expected to take place, no one should go without new kid gloves; nothing is so revolting as to see one person in an assembly ungloved, especially where the heat of the room, and the exercise together, are sure to make the hands redder than usual. Always wear your gloves in church or in a theater.”
“At the funeral of a near relative, a man wears black, including gloves, and a mourning band around his hat. Subsequently he may continue to wear black for several months, or, if this is not feasible, the hat-band of bombazine is accounted a sufficient mark of respect.” 

“The well-dressed man will consult his tailor and furnisher. Hats, boots, and gloves, the extremes of every perfect costume, are important exponents of good style; and careful attention to their choice and wearing is essential to complete and effective dressing.” 

Under Public Assemblies “Shall ladies join in applause? As a matter of fact, women seldom applaud, but not because  propriety necessarily forbids; it is chiefly because the tight-fitting kid glove renders "clapping" a mechanical impossibility. Feminine enthusiasm is quite equal to it at times, as, for instance, when listening to a favorite elocutionist or violinist. There is no reason why ladies may not "clap," if they can. It certainly is quite as lady-like and orderly as for them to give vent to their enthusiasm, as many do, in audible exclamations of "Too sweet for anything!" "Just too lovely!" etc., all of which might have been "conducted off" at the finger-tips if hand-clapping had been a feasible medium of expression.”

From Emily Post, "Etiquette" 1922

Under “Etiquette Of Gloves And Napkin"

Ladies always wear gloves to formal dinners and take them off at table. Entirely off. It is hideous to leave them on the arm, merely turning back the hands. Both gloves and fan are supposed to be laid across the lap, and one is supposed to lay the napkin folded once in half across the lap too, on top of the gloves and fan, and all three are supposed to stay in place on a slippery satin skirt on a little lap, that more often than not slants downward.

It is all very well for etiquette to say "They stay there," but every woman knows they don't! And this is quite a nice question: If you obey etiquette and lay the napkin on top of the fan and gloves loosely across your satin-covered knees, it will depend merely upon the heaviness and position of the fan's handle whether the avalanche starts right, left or forward, onto the floor. There is just one way to keep these four articles (including the lap as one) from disintegrating, which is to put the napkin cornerwise across your knees and tuck the two side corners under like a lap robe, with the gloves and the fan tied in place as it were. This ought not to be put in a book of etiquette, which should say you must do nothing of the kind, but it is either do that or have the gentleman next you groping under the table at the end of the meal; and it is impossible to imagine that etiquette should wish to conserve the picture of "gentlemen on all fours" as the concluding ceremonial at dinners.”


New Youth Etiquette Classes for Spring


The RSVP Institute of Etiquette’s newest coed “Teen and ‘Tween” Course at the Graber Olive House in Ontario is on Sundays, starting April 13th. The fee for the three, 2-hour classes (April 13, Apr. 27th & May 4th) is $70.00 per student. Classes are from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The fee covers all classes, foods & handouts. 

The classes focus on:
• Key Skills~ Basic Manners, including; Introductions & Responses
• Dining Skills & Table Manners (w/foods to practice dining skills) 
• Manners; Home & Abroad, Cultural Diversity, Respect for Others 
• Deflecting Peer Pressure, Tech Etiquette, “Thank you" notes
Social Media Manners, Cell Phone Manners, Text Manners, etc... 
• Making Eye contact, Developing Great Posture & Good Grooming

Questions? Email 

Call RSVP Institute: 909 923-5650 

      The Graber Olive House is located at: 315 E. Fourth Street, Ontario 91764   Phone  909-983-1761      
Call or email by April 10th to secure registration!