Decide how I'm going to spend my Friday Evening! If you can correctly guess (1) who this reply is from and (2) why I wrote, I will create a blog post about it tonight. Guess Incorrectly and I will be curled up on my couch watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. ........... Feel free to work together. I expect your decision on how I will be spending my evening to be made by the time I'm done running errands. #royalmail
Our friend @LcrTrc of The Royal Courts/ Les Cour Royales blog was the first to guess correctly!
This reply is of course from Prince Albert of Monaco. I had written for his Birthday in March.
The Envelope looks exactly like you would expect from Monaco.
What got me really excited was the stamp. Not just because I love Monaco's stamps, but because I mentioned the Lillehammer Youth Olympics in my letter to Prince Albert. So it was a lovely touch they used the Lillehammer stamp on the envelope.
Even though they have zero Olympics medals and only 1 Youth Olympic medal Prince Albert has always proudly supported and encouraged Monaco's athletes. Prince Albert flew to Norway in February to watch Monaco's 1 athlete compete at the Youth Olympic Games. And we of course expect to see him at the Rio Olympics this summer. (I'm thinking it will be unlikely Charlene and the Twins, Gabriella and Jacques will join him. But you never know.) Currently, Monaco does not have any Athletes qualified for the Rio Olympics. But there is still time, and they haven't missed a Game since 1980.
Monaco is always very predictable when it comes to sending replies. They usually send pre-made cards, DL sized (i.e. size of a normal envelope), on very nice quality paper, and with the message in English & French. The reply will have the Royals' monogram (either engraved or embossed) and their signature printed on.
This reply is a little different than usual. It doesn't look pre-made. My guess is they ran out of time to special order a reply for Albert's birthday, and decided to just make their own.
It is pretty standard to have blank cards you can print a message on. Sometimes the pre-made card you have isn't a appropriate response for what they received. Other Royals, like William, Catherine and Harry, do the same thing. Usually the more personal cards are send to schools or organizations. They don't want to just say thank "You," they want to thank the organization by name. So the cards with blank message allows them to include the name of the organization in the message.
The reason this doesn't look pre-made is the font, the message, the signature, and the paper.
- The font isn't what we usually see for Monaco's replies. The pre-made replies usually have a font that is a little more fancy. However, I have seen this font used in a letter from Monaco, which was not pre-made.
- Monaco's messages are usually a little longer, and not so direct. Their pre-made replies are always written in both French and English (with Monégasque occasionally). French is their official language, so we would never see a pre-made reply in just English. However if they are making a reply for a specific person who speaks English, that would explain why there was no French message.
- Pre-made replies have the signature printed on, by the computer, when the message is printed. This signature was written in pen. (It is the same signature we've seen before, so this has obviously been auto-pened). If you were pre-making a reply you would just have the signature printed on, so you don't have a 2nd step of auto-penning everything.
- They always use really nice paper, which they did this time as well. But what is unusual is that the envelope and card match. A lot of times the pre-made replies have different cards and envelopes because the cards are special made and the envelope are their every day ones. The fact that both are on the same basic everyday paper, opposed to the card on a more special paper definitely makes me think this was not pre-made.
- You can't tell from the picture, but the paper is gorgeous. It is a very lovely cream color, it has a nice weight to it and it is laid paper so it has this nice texture. (Laid paper has these lines in it from how the paper is manufactured.)
At the end of the day does the fact that this wasn't pre-made mean anything?
Pre-made replies by definition lack any personalization. They are generic, so they can be sent to pretty much everyone.
Even though this reply seem incredibly generic, there are two points of personalization I should point out.
- The reply is in English. Monaco's official language is French. The most generic reply would be in French. They did have to take the time to send a message in English.
- The used a Lillehammer Stamp. The Stamp is from February, which is pretty recent. Monaco's stamps on replies aren't always that recent. So I would like to think this stamp was used because I mentioned the Games in my letter.
I hope you found all this detail interesting, if not maybe you will find this next bit interesting. Gert's Royals is doing something extra special for Prince William and Duchess Catherine's 5th Wedding anniversary latter this month. We can't reveal any of the details right now, but be sure to keep a eye on this page, 2011 Royal Wedding Review.
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