05/26/2011

An etiquette guide for meeting royals

Diana-canada Diana Princess of Wales on an official visit to Canada in 1983. (Toronto Star file photo)

Those rushing to buy fascinators as the royal couple’s trip to Canada approaches beware –-the latest rulers of Cambridge will be aghast if you sport one after 6:30 pm.

Wondering why? Then it’s time to turn to Canadian Heritage's royal etiquette guide before you bungle your courtesy.

Here's a step-by-step guide for would-be royal stalker.

First, what to call Prince William and his bride when they approach to admire the royal wedding souvienir towel you started waving in the crowd? To kick things off on the right note go with "Your Royal Highness" for him and her followed by "Sir" and "Ma’am" respectively. (The Canadian Heritage website reminds that “Ma’am” rhymes with “jam,” just in case you forgot.)

Now that you’ve got their attention with your immaculate pronunciation, it’s time to hold their gaze with your royally appropriate rags. According to Canadian Heritage the heir to the throne doesn’t want you to shell out your weeks salary on some new clothes, but as we all know you’ll be eager to impress Kate and are looking for any excuse to buy some headgear, here are the ground rules: No hats after 6:30 p.m., don’t take your gloves off before you shake their hands, lounge suits are permissible at black tie events.

Hopefully by now you’ve got through the small talk and you’re not wearing the same Warehouse top as the Duchess, which means it’s probably time to invite the couple over for dinner and memorize another set of rules.

The royals generally get fidgety if the meal is longer than 1 hour 15 minutes and will start looking bored if you try to slip in more than three courses. It's also smart to remember that the Windsors like to sit at round tables to aid conversations (and set Prince Philip on more than one person). Don’t have time to sand your dining table down to a sphere? Then royal couples like to sit across from each other on opposite sides of the table.

The site notes that the royals are aware their presence can put a strain on your catering system, so make sure your husband and kids look perky between the appetizers and main course and keep and eye on any finger licking before dessert is served.

 

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