Thursday, December 14, 2017

Etiquette of Royal Court Precedency

Consuelo Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, was a member of the prominent American Vanderbilt family. Her marriage to Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough became an international symbol of the socially advantageous, but loveless, “Dollar Princess” marriages, which were so common during the Gilded Age.

The new Duchess of Marlborough takes the lead in the order of precedency at Court. According to English Court etiquette, women take the same rank as their husbands or brothers. The order of precedency is as follows down to Dukes: The Sovereign, the Prince of Wales, the Queen's younger sons, grandsons of the Sovereign, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord High Chancellor, Archbishop of York, Lord President of the Council, the great Lord Chamberlain, the Earl Marshal. 

The last four named rank above all peers of their own degree; Dukes according to their patent of creation (1, Dukes of England; 2, of Scotland; 3, of Great Britain; 4, of Ireland). 

The following is the date of creation of twelve of the twenty-two Dukes:

  • Marlborough, 1702; 
  • Brandon, 1711:
  • Portland, 1716;
  • Manchester, 1719;  
  • Newcastle 1756; 
  • Northumberland, 1766; 
  • Cumberland 1799;
  • Wellington, 1814; 
  • Sutherland, 1833; 
  • Westminster, 1874; 
  • Fife, 1889; and 
  • Argyll, 1892
                         From the San Francisco Call, 1895

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


Suffering Etiquette of Victoria’s Table

Dinner with Queen Victoria could be quite trying... “The etiquette is, do not open your month unless Royalty condescends to speak to you. Do not expect such a compliment. That is reserved for a few favored guests in the immediate vicinity of the regal hostess. The dinner occupies from sixty to ninety minutes, and, when ended, the Queen rises, all other ladies rising and retiring with her.” –1862

When Dining with a Queen

The London correspondent of the Philadelphia Press gives the following description of a dinner at Windsor Castle, with Queen Victoria:


At this season, except that fashion is slightly less bustling in Lent, London is generally very much alive— taking its tone from the Court. Queen Victoria’s little dinners always draw a certain number of invited - no, commanded guests; for the etiquette is, not that Royalty requests the pleasure of one's company, but orders it, indeed, for very autocratical is the system, that supposing you have arranged to give a dinner to a number of your own friends, and received a card from the Lord Chamberlain of the Queen’s household, desiring you to dine, on the same day, at the Queen’s table, there is no refusing on any other plea than that of positive illness. 

Not to go would be a sort of petty treason, and you would have to send a circular round to your own guests, stating that the Queen’s command, compelling you to dine at the palace, has compelled you to uninvite them. Nor, except the honor and glory of the thing, can there be much comfort or satisfaction in having one’s legs under the Royal mahogany. First of all, the guest must put himself into a Court dress, which makes him look like a footman in private life, with knee breeches and silk stockings, lace cravat and ruffles, amplest of waistcoats and shad bellyist of coats. Then, if he does not keep his own coach he must hire one looking like a private vehicle, for it is doubtful whether, since creation commenced, any one ever walked to a Royal dinner, and the idea of going thither in a cab would probably have a moral effect on the enormous porter, in scarlet and gold toggery, who receives your card of invitation when he admits you. 

Nor, supposing all the preliminary trouble ended — supposing that you have found your way to the drawing-room, and bowed to the Queen, and stealthily looked round at the pictures, and counted over (all the time in solemn silence) the spots of flowers on the carpet, for the tenth time, and marched in file into the salle a manger — supposing all this, do not imagine that you are going to enjoy yourself. No, indeed. None but Mark Tapley could be “jolly” at such a feast. Royalty has already dined, about 3 o'clock, probably off the hereditary leg of mutton and turnips, and has added the usual quantum of rice pudding, and the bit of old Cheshire, or rich Stilton, or double Glouster cheese, and imbibed the accustomed mug or two of Guinness or Meux. This repast, called lunch, is really a good, homely filling of dinner, and at the solemn repast, five hours later, people are expected to merely tip and taste through several courses, so that one is reminded of the famous feast of the Barmecide. 

The viands are of the best, the cuisine perfect, the vintages superb — but one can merely taste. Royalty’s appetite was blunted on the leg of mutton and pudding, the cheese and the bottled porter, and the guests should have taken the edge off theirs by a similar process. At these sadly solemn reunions dull silence grimly reigns. There is not even a whisper to your neighbor — if you know him. The etiquette is, do not open your month unless Royalty condescends to speak to you. Do not expect such a compliment. That is reserved for a few favored guests in the immediate vicinity of the regal hostess. The dinner occupies from sixty to ninety minutes, and, when ended, the Queen rises, all other ladies rising and retiring with her. The male guests remain some ten minutes longer, silently sipping their wine, or whispering in small knots with bated breath. 

At last the senior officer of the household present, rises on his hind legs and majestically gives “the Queen” as a toast, which every one drinks. It any male member of the Royal family be present, he bows an acknowledgment. Coffee follows, and then the guests depart— a few to the drawing room where the Maids of Honor are yawning, the rest going home, where it is supposed each man gets out of his livery, at once, and gets rid of his gnawing hunger by means of oysters and stout. Such, I am informed by one who experienced it, is the routine of a royal dinner. He was an East Indian, and suffered much . – Daly Alta California, 1862

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


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Etiquette and Polite Policing

The manual, “Courteous Selective Enforcement” takes its text from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.” Gibbons says he is going to keep drumming at it until his men are as polite as a Bobbie at the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Courtesy Kick Irks Police In Philadelphia 

The city's policemen have given their new etiquette book a whirl and now, many of them say, they feel like a bather who wades ashore and finds that someone has taken his clothes. Issued at the bidding of Police Commissioner, Thomas J. Gibbons, the manual aims to refine police behavior, purify the cops' language: introduce at least a bit more patience; and improve his posture. “Please” and “thank you” are musts in the new vocabulary from have been expurged all coarse phrases, withering insults, juicy hyperbole, and richly elaborate sarcasms addresses to erring motorists.

The manual, “Courteous Selective Enforcement” takes its text from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.” Gibbons says he is going to keep drumming at it until his men are as polite as a Bobbie at the gates of Buckingham Palace. The book was thrown at the cops after the commissioner's office got a flock of complaints that many policemen were too quick to make arrests at intersections, grabbing drivers for going ahead on the amber signal; and that “wholesale ticketing” was coupled with insults and rough talk generally. – Philadelphia (UP), 1957


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

Court Etiquette Denies A Queen

It was a proud day in the British Empire, but of all its millions, the one who perhaps had the most reason to be proud, was denied by Court etiquette the joy of witnessing the triumphal event. At Sandringham Palace, Queen Mother Alexandra, who, forty-six years ago this month, gave Britain a King, awaited the news that her son had taken his place in the long line of British Monarchs.

All London Resplendent in Glory at Grandest Event in Modern History of Monarchies
————————————————
Golden Crown Sparkling With 3,000 Diamonds and Other Jewels is Bestowed

LONDON, June 22. King George V, Eighth of the House of Hanover, was today crowned King of the British Empire and given the public homage of his world-wide subjects. With his consort, Queen Mary, his Majesty was crowned in the Abbey of Westminster with all the wealth of religious rites and Royal ceremonial prescribed by custom. The picture within the gray-walled Abbey was one of medieval splendor. The coronation services, solemn and imposing, were those handed down from the earlier centuries, and the actors in the principal and secondary roles of today's great function were garbed in reproductions of the multicolored, gold-embroidered trappings worn by their ancestors. The latter made a wonderfully effective setting around the central figures. 


Outside, the usually dull streets had been transformed into a mass of color. The King and Queen's progress to the Abbey and the route to Buckingham Palace was one unbroken ovation. The route was hedged with a vast ployglot host with a background of gaily decorated viewing stands and windows and roofs, all of which were crammed to their capacity. The pressure of the crowds was so intense at many points, that the police cordon was broken and the aid of troops was required to restore order. 

When dawn broke the skies were heavy and showers fell during the progress of the processions of the Royal guests and the junior members of the Royal family to the Abbey; but as the King and Queen left Buckingham Palace to be crowned, the heavens smiled and a flood of sunshine brightened the splendid pageant. It was a proud day in the British Empire, but of all its millions, the one who perhaps had the most reason to be proud, was denied by Court etiquette the joy of witnessing the triumphal event. At Sandringham Palace, Queen Mother Alexandra, who, forty-six years ago this month, gave Britain a King, awaited the news that her son had taken his place in the long line of British Monarchs.

Those who think the Britisher too cold blooded to enthuse, should have seen him “coronate” today. He is fit to stand beside the most rampant American “Fourth of July” or Gaelic celebrator of the anniversary of the proclamation of the republic. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, Germans, Frenchmen and natives of all lands, from China to Peru, joined the hustling throng and yielded themselves up with magnificent enthusiasm to the coronation glamour. – Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 1911

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Queen’s Acts “Contrary to Etiquette”


A bodyguard was just what Queen Victoria was in need of, when she decided to eschew the constraints of etiquette, especially in the Scottish Highlands. John Brown fit the bill, but Victoria's children and ministers resented the high regard she had for Brown, after the loss of her husband, Prince Albert. Predictably, rumors that there was something improper in Victoria’s relationship with John Brown, circulated throughout Royal circles . The 15th Earl of Derby, Edward Stanley, noted in his diary, that Brown and Victoria slept in adjoining rooms, “contrary to etiquette and even decency,” while the Queen's own daughters joked that the burly Scotchman was their, “mama's lover.” The Queen dismissed all this chatter as “ill-natured gossip in the higher classes.”

John Brown is a burly, grey-haired Scotchman, who is known as Queen Victoria’s bodyguard. A gentleman seeing from a tavern door, the Queen riding by, and Brown seated at the back of the carriage, was thus spoken to by the host: “There he goes to take of her. Shouldn't like to be the man who tried to touch her when he was by. He's as big as a house, and as strong as a lion. He looks after her, he does, and quite right of him too; he’s paid to do it.” This was not bad as a rude definition of the position and definition of this favored servant. 

The extreme simplicity of the Queen’s life has long made some domestic of this sort necessary. In the Highlands, the Queen loves to roam about in perfect freedom from etiquette and ceremony, and yet it would not do to have her roam quite alone. She is no longer young; there are dangers by flood and field in such a region; and besides there are more fools than a passing stranger in the world. 

Brown exactly supplies the want; he would lay down his life for her, not without requiring two or three in return, and, en attendant, he thinks nothing of carrying her in his arms, and perhaps a Princess or two to follow her, across a fordable stream. When she rides, he takes his place at the head of the pony, and if the pony were too troublesome, he probably would not make much difficulty about carrying him. Brown is not a lacquey—he wears no livery; on the other hand; he is not a gentleman by birth. He has a sort of undeterminate office as Strong Man. He is death on all intruders on the Queen’s privacy. 

Once when he met some reporters whom he suspected of dogging her footsteps for “copy,” he ordered them off the public highway as though he held all the Highlands in fee. It was grossly illegal, but they went. He has saved the Queen in a greater strait. When young, mad O'Connor darted out on her from the shrubbery at Buckingham Palace, pistol in hand, he positively plucked the puny wretch up from the ground as if he had been an offending kitten, and held him out so, clawing the air with his paws, until the Queen had passed out of harm’s way. He is a true clansman in the character of his service; he worships the Queen. He thinks there never was such a Queen, and there never was such a woman in the wide world. 

The Queen treats him with the condescending confidence which often subsists between the very great and the very little in our older society. She knows there can be no mistake about their positions; it is those who are nearer to her who are kept the farthest off. He is “the old servant” who is also the old friend of the family. He has seen most of  “the children’’ grow up. He probably knows a good deal more about family affairs than many a minister of state. To do him justice, he lets nothing out to his more distinguished colleagues of the Cabinet. A true Scotchman, he is as close as the grave. It is rather through the Queen’s own frank avowal, that we may judge of the extent of her confidences to him. – Youth’s Companion, 1879

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

Obsolete Royal Court Etiquette

The Royals at the Empire Exhibition – This was the first time he was induced to speak for “distribution” — due mainly to obsolete Court etiquette, which had always required the Sovereign’s words to be conveyed strictly and literally by “word of mouth” (and hearing.)
  
Out with the Old and In with the New!
King George to Talk by Radio 

LONDON, April 22 (United Press)—Britain’s great $100,000,000 “empire boosting” exhibition will be officially opened tomorrow by King George —appropriately enough on St. George’s Day, the feast of England’s patron saint. For the benefit of those unable to attend the opening ceremony, King George's speech will be broadcasted by wireless — the first time the British Monarch has been broadcasted. 


Elaborate ceremonial will mark the opening, and the general public admitted at the scheduled price of one shilling, and expence will be strictly marshalled to conform with the occasion. Wemberley Park being some eight miles from Buckingham Palace, the Royal party will motor the greater part of the distance, changing into state carriages drawn by four horses about a quarter of a mile from the exhibition. 

The King is immensely interested in the arrangements for broadcasting for, although a wireless fan, this was the first time he has been induced to speak for “distribution” — due mainly to obsolete Court etiquette, which has always required the Sovereign’s words to be conveyed strictly and literally by “word of mouth” (and hearing.) The Royal party will also witness a section of the “Pagent of Empire,” depicting the history of the British race and the growth of the empire, and make hasty tour of the exhibition. – Madera Tribune, 1924

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

Victorian Royal Ball Dress Etiquette

A gentleman ventured to appear in the regulation Court coat and vest, but with trousers. A functionary beckoned him into a corner, and communicated to him the awful fact that be had been guilty of a breach of breeches, which must never happen again. 

Of Bare Shoulders and Breeches

Low dress is de rigueur at the balls at Buckingham Palace, and a few ladies who have thus far ventured to depart from it have been severely commented on by others of their sex. One great lady took the precaution of writing to the Lord Chamberlain, explaining that her shoulders had recently grown so dreadfully thin during a long illness, that they were not fit to be seen, and should be grateful to be allowed to wear a half high dress. This was graciously permitted. 


At the St. Patrick's Day ball at Dublin, a few years ago, a gentleman ventured to appear in the regulation Court coat and vest, but with trousers. A functionary beckoned him into a corner, and communicated to him the awful fact that be had been guilty of a breach of breeches, which must never happen again. When the culprit faltered out that he had been informed that trousers were now permissible, the functionary replied, severely, “at a levee, sir, but breeches, always breeches at a ball!” – Daly Alta California, 1876

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