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Author Archive: "Julia Stuart"

The Determined Approach of the Postwoman

When kings and queens from all over the world came to Windsor Castle for luncheon with the Queen to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, they greeted their hostess in a remarkable variety of ways. Some amongst the illustrious gathering, which included an emperor, a sultan and an emir, plumped for a modest bow and a handshake. There were several mutters of "Your Majesty." The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, however, who is the Queen's third cousin once removed, was clearly taking no chances. In a breathtaking catchall combination of formal and chummy hails, he planted a kiss on both cheeks, shook her hand, and finally kissed it for good measure. All that seemed to be missing was a high-five followed by a slap on the royal posterior.

If how to address Elizabeth II left the foreign monarchs wringing their hands in anxious confusion, their angst was nothing compared to that of the Victorians, whose lives were dominated by correct form. Countless etiquette books were published offering advice on such dilemmas as when a visiting gentleman should carry his hat and cane into the drawing room, to dark warnings of the vulgarity ...

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