Thursday, 30 June 2016

Duchess of Gloucester - Birthday Reply (2016)

Another piece of Royal Mail arrived today!

I had written to the Duchess of Gloucester for her 70th birthday earlier this month, June 20th. This was a great response time. It arrived a little less than a month after I sent my letter.

You will notice that the letter and envelope are dated June 24th, a few days after her birthday, meaning her office is right on top of things. Which is always great.

Two interesting things about the envelope: 

The 1st interesting thing is the envelope had the wrong address. Most of my address is correct, except for the name of the State. My guess is they read the name of the city and thought Massachusetts. Massachusetts has a city with the same name as mine, which it is much more famous
(and definitely more recognisable for a Brit, since it was named after a city in England). 

The US Postal Service had no problem getting the letter to me, and there wasn't even a delay since the other info was all correct and doesn't exist in Massachusetts (Street name, postcode, etc). This, however, is a good lesson: make sure to write your address very clearly. 

The 2nd interesting thing is the stamp "Office of HRH Duke of Gloucester" on the front. The front is stamped, to make up for the lack of monogram on the back of the envelope. The reason the Gloucesters don't have a monogram on the back is because they get their envelopes from a different company. 

The Gloucesters use Conqueror stationary, which is popular among a number of foreign royals (Monaco, Norway). Most of the other British royals use Wren Press, which holds a Royal Warrant from both the Queen and Prince Charles. The Gloucesters using different stationary doesn't mean anything significant, it is just their personal taste in paper. 

I personally like Conqueror better. But that is probably because Monaco uses it and they send the nicest replies (In My Opinion).

The letter was written by the Duchess's Lady-in-Waiting, Mrs. Lucinda Baker.  Pardon the smudged name that was all me! 

This is a form letter. You can tell since it is generic, and could be used for anybody who wrote for the Duchess's birthday. No part is specific to me.

Last year's Birthday response was a bit more personal and written for me. You can tell since it mentions specifically what I wrote about in my letter, and has my name printed at the bottom.

A little difference I noticed in this letter compared to last year's is three little letter on the top left of the page, LVO. Mrs. Lucinda Baker was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order for the Queen's 2016 New Years Honors.

Something I always look out for is the fold in the paper. You will notice the text isn't perfectly formatted so the fold falls between the paragraphs. Formatting the letter just right so, so it doesn't fold over any text is hard to do. When you do see it, you can tell that person took great care. This is also why the body of the letter is usually in the middle of the page.

NOTE: The Royal Summer holidays are fast approaching. This means little engagements, few pictures, and Royal Watcher Madness! Because there is little Royal going on in Late July and all of August, the Royal's staff often uses this time to take a well deserved holiday. That can mean responses to letters take a little longer than normal. Last year I got replies 4 months after I wrote. So be prepared.

Also Check Out: 
Other Replies
Other Replies from British Royals

Monaco Royal Wedding Review (Day 4)

As exciting as July 1st was, Their religious ceremony the next day was even more glamorous and elegant. The Religious Ceremony took place in the inner courtyard of the Palace.

The Outer Courtyard was opened to the public, with two big screens showing the ceremony.

Smaller screens were places throughout the principality as well.

More than 40 Royals attended the ceremony.

Princess Charlene's father walked her down the aisle.

Religious Ceremony (43 mins)

Princess Charlene's silk Wedding dress was created by Giorgio Armani. The dress took over 2,500 hours to create, with 700 hours of embroidery work. It had 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops & 30,000 stones in gold shades.

(Left is Chris Levine the Best Man & Right is Donatella Knecht de Massy, Maid of Honor).

The 7 young Bridesmaids wore Monaco's Traditional Dress. Prince Albert's sister Princess Caroline helped to design the dresses. Each dress had the girl's name and place in Monaco where she was from embroiled on it.

After the ceremony, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene drove by car through the streets of Monaco to Sainte-Dévote Chapel.

At Sainte-Dévote Chapel, Princess Charlene lays her Boquet, to honor Saint Dévote, the Patroness of Monaco.

Princess Charlene tears up during visit to Sainte-Dévote Chapel (4 Mins)

The evening reception was held on the terraces of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Reception + Prince Albert's Speech (5 mins)

Day 5 will look at their Honeymoon and 1st year.

Monaco Royal Wedding Main Page

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Monaco Royal Wedding Review (Day 3)

1st July 2011 finally arrives. It is the day of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock's Civil Wedding Ceremony, and Monaco is filled with anticipation.

Per Monaco Royal tradition, there is both a civil (1st July) and religious ceremony (2nd July). The small intimate civil ceremony last 20 minutes, and takes place in the Throne Room at the Royal Palace. Upon signing the marriage registry, Charlene Wittstock officially becomes Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco.

Civil Ceremony (5 Mins - French) 

Civil Wedding (2 Mins- English)

After the Civil Ceremony, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene appear on the balcony to greet well-wishers, and share a kiss.

The couple then join well-wishers in the Palace Square for a buffet specially prepared by multiple Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, and other Monegasque and South African chiefs. The buffet featured Mediterranean and South African dishes, to reflect Prince Albert and Princess Charlene background.

The couple do a short walkabout to meet the well-wishers.

That night, Monaco threw a huge free concert for the people of Monaco to celebrate the couple's nuptials.

Interview at Concert after Wedding (3 mins)

Beginning of Concert with Intro by Prince Albert (9 mins)

The night ends with fireworks!

Day 4 will look at the Religious Ceremony the next day.

Monaco Royal Wedding Review Main Page

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Monaco Royal Wedding Review (Day 2)

After the Engagement Announcement: 

Immediately following the engagement announcement, rumors begin to swirl that Princess Charlene was pregnant.

Those rumors turned out to be false. But Charlene and Albert left the public know: when they do become parents, they are going to be Cool Parents, or at least Embarrassing.

For one of their 1st post-engagement appearances, Prince Albert and Charlene attending a Iggy Pop and the Stooges and ZZ Top Concert held at Monaco's Palace. Albert's sister Princess Caroline accompanied them.

Charlene continues to support Prince Albert with his official engagements. Charlene makes her first appearance at Monaco's National Day that year.

2010 National Day (1 Min)

Charlene even accompanied Prince Albert on a Official State Visit to Ireland.

Charlene also starts to take on her own engagements.

Charlene opens School Swimming Pool & Midmar Mile Race
(3 mins)

Then of course comes all the Wedding Planning for the July 2011 Wedding!

Pre-Wedding Interview (6 min)

Wedding Preparations (3 Mins)

Princess Charlene - Monaco Grand Prix Interview
(1 Min)

Royal Wedding Mont Blanc Pen (4 Mins)

Yes! There was an Official Royal Wedding Car! 
(2 Mins)

Rumors Wedding will be called off? (2 Mins)

For Day 3, we will look at Civil Ceremonies and Celebrations on July 1st. Day 4 will look at the Religious Ceremony. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Monaco Royal Wedding Review (Day 1)

The Beginning:

Charlene Wittstock was born in Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe). She grew up in South Africa and became an Competitive Swimmer for South Africa. She competed in a number of international events, including the 2000 Olympic Games.

Prince Albert was heir to the Monaco Throne, and had served on Monaco's Olympic Bobsleighing team. He competed in 5 consecutive Winter Olympics (1988-2004).

The couple meet at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo, Monaco in 2000.

On 6th April 2005 Prince Albert's father Prince Rainier III dies. Prince Albert II ascends to the throne.

Prince Rainier's Funeral (3 mins)

Days before taking the throne, Prince Albert confirmed paternity of 22 month old Alexandre Coste, the child of Nicole Coste, who he had a five year relationship with. (Albert and Nicole in Royal Box at Monaco Tennis Open in 2002.)

Albert and Charlene's make their first appearance as a couple at the Torino 2006 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Turin, Italy.

Charlene moves to Monaco that year, and begins to attend select Official Engagements with Prince Albert.

That Summer (2006) news broke that Prince Albert had a secret daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, living in the USA. Prince Albert confirmed paternity of 14 year old Jazmin (Born 1992).

Prince Albert's Secret Child (2 Mins)

2007 Italian News Story about Prince Albert and Charlene
(1 Min)

Charlene suffers a shoulder injury which prevents her from swimming competitively. Charlene fails to qualify for the Olympics in 2008 and ends her competitive Swimming Career.

Prince Albert focuses on the environment, signing a environmental agreements, making trip to both Poles, & creating the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

2009 "The Green Prince" (8 Mins)

Over the next few years Albert and Charlene relationship deepens. Charlene accompanys Prince Albert on even more engagements.

In 2010 Prince Albert gets special permission to bring Charlene as his date to Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's Wedding to Daniel Westling.

One week latter Prince Albert and Charlene announce their engagement.

Day 2 will focus on Post Engagement and Build up to the Wedding. Don't worry there will be more videos!

Back to Monaco Royal Wedding Review Main Page

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Prince Albert & Princess Charlene of Monaco - 5th Anniversary Reply (2016)

This arrived while I was on Holiday.

I had written to Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco to congratulated them on their 5th Wedding Anniversary, which is July 1st/2nd (Civil/Religious). I had written much earlier than I normally do because I had gotten June and July mixed up. Surprisingly this arrived well before their actual anniversary.

The front of the envelope looks like typical mail from Monaco.

The Stamp is for the 150th Anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union. It was released in May 2015. The Postmark is for Jardin Exotique de Monaco (Exotic Garden of Monaco).

Two interesting about this envelope: (1) No monogram on the back. (2) The envelope is not as nice quality as we normally see from Monaco. It is hard to tell from the picture, but you can definitely feel and see the difference in person. Monaco envelopes usually vary in colour (white, cream, etc) and have different textures, but they are very nice quality. This envelope is a very basic envelope.

Many Royals use basic envelopes with little/no adornment, which is fine. It's just surprising for Monaco. Their Royal Family has a long history of being Stamp Collectors (Philatelist). There is a Royal Stamp Collection museum, and every Stamp & Postmark that Monaco uses has been approved by the Prince for generations.

So obviously mail is an important thing for the Royal Family. They take great care & pride in it. (I have long considered them to send the nicest replies out of all the royals). They are also one of the only royals to use actual stamps on their royal mail.

Another interesting thing is the reply, that it is a letter. Normally they send a pre-typed card for the occasion. (Which are always very lovely, on very nice quality paper). I wonder if they are planning on sending out a pre-typed card as their anniversary reply, but because I wrote so early, and it was replied to early, I got something different.

Letter replies are usually sent, when they don't have a pre-made card (either because they didn't make one for that occasion, or you wrote too early or late).

I have previously received a letter from Prince Albert for His 10th Anniversary on the Throne (which could be a case of writing too late). His 10th Anniversary was in April 2015, and I had written in July 2015, when they were having the big celebration for his 10th Anniversary.

The letter was written by Christine Sprile, Prince Albert's Private Secretary, and is fairly short, printed on nice paper. You will notice they took care to put the text between the two folds.

What is interesting is the date on the letter, July 4th, which is next week. (Obviously not when the letter was written.) Sometimes replies are dated with the date of the event, but their wedding anniversary is on July 1st/2nd, not 4th. This letter was also written to late for it a June/July mistake, where they had meant to write June 4th.

The red print on the top of the page reads "La Secrétaire Particuliére De S.A.S. Le Prince Souverain De Monaco" which translated mean "The Private Secretary of His Serene Highness, the Sovereign Prince Of Monaco."

TT.SS.HH. means Their Serene Highnesses. I'm not really sure why they write each letter twice since TSH (Their Serene Highnesses) is already the plural of HSH (His/Her Serene Highness). But they do it in French as well, writing LL.AA.SS (Leurs Altesses Sérénissimes), which is plural of S.A.S. (Son Altesse Sérénissime). Monaco and Luxembourg are the only Royal countries I have seen do this.

Starting Tuesday (June 28th), we will have our Monaco Royal Wedding Review to celebrate their 5th Wedding Anniversary!

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Friday, 24 June 2016

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands - Birthday Reply (2016)

I'm finally back from holiday, a little tan, and happy to find this waiting for me.

I had written to Queen Máxima of the Netherlands for her 45th Birthday in May.

The envelope looks exactly like every piece of mail I have received from the Netherland Royals.  The message under the Blue Crown reads Dienst Van Het Koninklijk Huis (Bureau of the Royal Household).

Inside is a simple pre-typed thank you note. I really like the simplicity of Máxima's monogram.

The thank you card is formatted exactly like her Husband's birthday reply from earlier this year.

The reply was sent just under a month after her birthday, Which is a great response time.

Also Check Out:
Other Replies
Replies from the Netherlands

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Monaco Royal Wedding Review (Main Page)

In April, Gert's Royals shared with you the Cambridge's Royal Wedding Review to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary, now get really for the next Royal Wedding Review!

TSH Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrate their 5th Wedding Anniversary on July 1st/2nd!

To celebrate this milestone anniversary Gert's Royals is hosting a Royal Wedding Review. Look back at your favorite moment, or watch it for the first time. 

If you are joining us late to the celebration, whether a few day, a week or a month, feel free to start on Day 1. Don't feel like you need to keep up with everyone.

Also Check Out:

Monday, 13 June 2016

Royal Ascot - Main Page

Ascot Racecourse:
Ascot is a racecourse located in Ascot, Berkshire, England. It is 15 minutes from Windsor Castle. The Racecourse was opened by Queen Anne in 1711. Queen Elizabeth II reopened the racecourse in 2006 after renovations to the grandstand.

Royal Ascot:
Royal Ascot is a week of races at Ascot Racecourse. Royal Ascot is always the Tuesday-Saturday after Trooping the Colours. The Queen attends each day of Royal Ascot with members of the Royal Family. Each day begins with the Queen arriving in a carriage procession, at 2:00 PM, with select members of the Royal Family and special guests.
Dress Code: 
Royal Ascot has a strict dress code for men and women, that vary depending on the enclosure. All the Royals will be in Royal Enclosure. Details on Dress Code can be found here:

Each person in the Royal Enclosure is given a badge for a Specific Day with their Name on it. Each day is a different colour.

Royal Ascot Carriage Procession - 2016

The Queen rides in the carriage procession each day, with other members of the Royal Family and special guests.  There are usually 4 carriages, each with 4 people. The Queen always rides in the 1st carriage. The Carriage Procession begins at 2:00 PM. (Not every royal in attendance rides in the carriage procession.)

Who will be in the Royal Ascot Carriage Procession is not usually announced in advance. 
For Foreign Royals, Royal Family is in (Green).

Day 1 - Tuesday 14th
  • Carriage 1 
    • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip
    • Prince Andrew
    • Prince Harry
  • Carriage 2
    • Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla
    • Princess Beatrice
    • Charles Fellowes
  • Carriage 3
    • Princess Anne 
    • Duke & Duchess of Gloucester
    • Lord Vestey
      • Royal Household's Master of the Horse
  • Carriage 4
    • Duke & Duchess of Argyll
    • Viscount & Viscountess Petersham
Day 2 -Wednesday 15th
  • Carriage 1 
    • Queen Elizabeth  & Prince Philip
    • Duke of Argyll
    • Mr. William Farish
      • Former US Ambassador to UK
  • Carriage 2
    • Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla
    • Lord Vestey & Lady Vestey
      • Lord Vestey is the Royal Household's Master of the Horse
  • Carriage 3
    • Prince Edward and Countess Sophie
    • Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary (Denmark)
  • Carriage 4
    • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
    • Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth Beaumont
Day 3 - Thursday 16th 
  • Carriage 1 
    • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip
    • Prince Andrew
    • Mr John Warren
      • Queen's racing manager
  • Carriage 2
    • Princess Anne
    • Sir Christopher Geidt
      • Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth
    • Prince El Hassan bin Talal & Princess Sarvath El Hassan (Jordan)
  • Carriage 3
    • Princess Alexandra
    • Princess Eugenie 
    • Duke & Duchess of Fife
  • Carriage 4
    • Earl & Countess of Hopetoun
    • Mr & Mrs Simon Brooks-Ward
Day 4 - Friday 17th 
  • Carriage 1 
    • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip
    • Duke of Fife
    • Viscount Linley 
  • Carriage 2
    • Prince & Princess Michael of Kent
    • Prince El Hassan bin Talal & Princess Sarvath El Hassan (Jordan)
  • Carriage 3
    • Earl & Countess of Hopetoun 
    • Mr John Warren & Lady Carolyn Warren 
      • Mr. John Warren Queen's racing manager
  • Carriage 4
    • Lieutenant Colonel & Mrs Francis Lukas 
    • Mr & Mrs Stuart Janney
Day 5 - Saturday 18th 
  • Carriage 1 
    • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip
    • Major General Sir Edward Smyth-Osbourne 
    • Mr Anthony Oppenheimer
  • Carriage 2
    • Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla
    • Mr & Mrs Roger Weatherby 
  • Carriage 3
    • Mr John Warren 
    • Lady Smyth-Osbourne 
    • Mr & Mrs Andrew Merriam 
  • Carriage 4
    • Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt 
    • Mrs Anthony Oppenheimer
    • Mr & Mrs Ben Pauling

For More on Royal Ascot

Royals Attending Ascot - 2016

Attendance is not usually announced in advance. The Queen attends everyday, with other members of the Royal Family.

Trophies presented are in (Bold). For Foreign Royals, Royals Family is in (Green).

Day 1 - Tuesday 14th
  • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip
  • Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla
    • Prince Harry (St James Palace Stakes)
  • Prince Andrew
    • Princess Beatrice
  • Princess Anne (Kings Stand Stakes)
    • Zara Philips & Mike Tindall
  • Prince Edward & Countess Sophie
  • Duke & Duchess of Gloucester
  • Princess Haya & Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum  (Jordan & Dubai, U.A.E.)
Day 2 -Wednesday 15th
  • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip
  • Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla (Prince of Wales's Stakes)
    • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Duke of Cambridge's Stakes)
  • Prince Edward & Countess Sophie
  • Princess Anne
  • Lady Gabriella "Ella" Windsor 
  • Crown Prince Frederik & Crown Princess Mary (Denmark) 
  • Princess Haya & Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum  (Jordan)
Day 3 - Thursday 16th (Ladies Day)
  • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (Gold Cup)
  • Prince Andrew
    • Princess Eugenie (Tercentenary Stakes)
    • Princess Beatrice 
  • Countess Sophie (?)
  • Princess Anne
  • Prince & Princess Michael of Kent
    • Lord Frederick Windsor
  • Princess Alexandra
  • Prince El Hassan bin Talal & Princess Sarvath El Hassan (Jordan)
  • Princess Haya & Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum  (Jordan & Dubai, U.A.E.)
  • Prince Nikolaos (Greece)
Day 4 - Friday 17th 
  • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip
  • Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla
  • Prince Andrew (Coronation Stakes)
    • Duchess Sarah
    • Princess Beatrice
  • Viscount Linley 
  • Prince & Princess Michael of Kent
  • Prince El Hassan bin Talal & Princess Sarvath El Hassan (Jordan)
  • Princess Haya & Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum  (Jordan & Dubai, U.A.E.)
Day 5 - Saturday 18th 
  • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (Diamond Jubilee Stakes,  Leading Trainers Trophy)
  • Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla
  • Princess Beatrice (Hardwick Stakes)
    • With boyfriend Dave Clark
  • Princess Eugenie