Thursday, 23 February 2017

Princess Charlene - Birthday Reply (2017)

Another piece of royal mail arrived yesterday. I had written to Princess Charlene of Monaco for her 39th Birthday last month.

The reply is her usual birthday reply. They send the same card each year, except the message changes slightly. The signature is printed on.

I do find the different line break in the French and English text interesting.



The letter was sent on Valentine's Day. Sadly, Monaco doesn't do a special Valentine's Day postmark, that would have been extra lovely. Instead they have a Théâtre Princesse Grace postmark on the envelope. The theater was of course named after Princess Charlene's mother-in-law, Princess Grace.

Monaco's Postmarks don't change much year to year. They use this Théâtre Princesse Grace postmark during the same period each year (Assuming there isn't some important event that needs it's a special postmark). One of my previous Birthday reply from Princess Charlene was sent during the same period, so it has the same postmark.

Also Check Out:
Other Replies 
Writing to the Royals

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Grand Duke Jean & Crown Prince Couple of Denmark - Replies

Two Replies came over the weekend!

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg 

The first reply came from Luxembourg! I had written to Grand Duke Jean at the end of December to wish him a Happy 96th Birthday and a speedy recovery. Grand Duke Jean had been hospitalized around Christmas & New Years with Bronchitis. Luckily, he didn't have to spend his birthday in the Hospital.



Grand Duke Jean has been doing well since then, and has even been well enough to do an official  engagement last month. 

Crown Prince Couple of Denmark

The 2nd reply is from Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. I had written to the family in November to wish them a very Merry Christmas.

The reply is identical to one's I've received previously. This is their generic "thanks for writing" reply, not their generic "Christmas" reply. I know other people got their Christmas reply this year, so I expect this was just a case of running out of pre-made cards.

 

This reply came about 3 months after I wrote, which is one of the longest response time's I've had from the couple. Assuming any other Christmas reply I might get comes by the end of the month, this reply will be my longest Christmas wait time of the year.

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Other Replies 
Writing to the Royals

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

2017 British Garden Parties


**For many Royals, attendance for Garden Parties is often not announced ahead of time, so do expect the usually people, even if they aren't currently listed.**

May
Saturday 13th 
  • "Party at the Palace" Children's Tea Party 
    • Hosted by William, Kate & Harry
    • Attending: William, Kate, Harry, children of members of the armed forces who have died
Tuesday 16th 
  • Queen's Garden Party
    • Hosted by Queen
    • Attending: Queen
Tuesday 23rd
  • Queen's Garden Party
    • Hosted by Queen
    • Attending: Queen
????
  • Not Forgotten Association Garden Party
    • Hosted by _____ (Differnt royal each year)
    • Attending: 

June
Thursday 1st 
  • Queen's Garden Party
    • Hosted by Queen
    • Attending: Queen

July
Tuesday 4th 
  • Queen's Holyrood Week Garden Party
    • Hosted by Queen
    • Attending: Queen

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Duchess Kate & Princess Caroline - Birthday (2017)

Two replies came in the mail today!

Duchess of Cambridge

The first reply is from Duchess Kate for the birthday letter I sent her. It the typical reply from the Cambridges. It is nice to see they finally changed up Kate's Birthday reply picture (previously they had used a picture from 2013). The new picture is from the Canada Tour last year.


The message on the back of the card is the same as previous years.


Princess Caroline of Monaco

The 2nd reply is from Princess Caroline of Monaco for the letter I sent last month for her 60th Birthday! Princess Caroline is Prince Albert's sister.

This is the smallest piece of Royal Mail I have ever received. It came in a cute little envelope, which you can see compared the Cambridges' envelope.

 

The postmark reads: "Carabiniers du Prince - Bidentenaire 1817-2017" which translates to "Carabiniers of the Prince - Bicentennial 1817-2017" or "Palace Guards - Bicentennial 1817-2017". The Carabiniers are a military division in Monaco that protects the Sovereign and the Prince's Palace. They are commonly called the Palace Guards and they celebrate their 200th Anniversary this year, on December 8th.

This postmark coincides with Palace Guards' celebration of their Patron Saint on 20 January, Saint Sebastian's Day.

The Stamp is just the classic overseas stamp of the sovereign. It was originally published in 2006 and is still in print.

Inside is the very lovely card. As I said the smallest piece of Royal Mail I have ever received. (The biggest being Duchess Sarah of York's auto-penned photo)

This is 1st reply I've gotten to Caroline. I did write for her birthday last year, but did not get a reply.




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Other Replies 
Writing to the Royals

Monday, 13 February 2017

Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark - Christmas Reply (2016)

Yet another Christmas Reply! Christmas is one of my favorite times to write to the Royals. Christmas replies are always very lovely replies, and it is great getting so much royal mail in January,.... but February can try my patience. It's always an interesting month. There are some replies I know I will get, but haven't yet. Some I know not to expect anything from. And then there are those uncertainties, where they may or may not reply or where other people got a reply, but I'm not sure I will.   

I'm not sure exactly how many more Christmas Replies to expect. But I think 2 or 3 more. Usually it takes to the end of February to get them all. 

This reply is from Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark!  

I really liked the back of this envelope. It has a very lovely edging. Margrethe and Henrik's are the only envelopes I've seen to have edging.

For someone who spends a lot of time talking about envelopes and such, I must admit I didn't notice this last year on their Christmas reply envelope. But in my defense that was the 1st time I had gotten a reply from Margrethe and Henrik, so I was focusing more on the letter.


Inside is a letter written by the Queen's personal assistant, Ingelise Tiedel. It's almost exactly the same as last year's. The big difference is that Prince Henrik is no longer called the Prince Consort. He dropped that title last year, when he retired from full-time royal duties. 


Not too much to say about the letter. They made a little typo at the end of the letter, and put two periods. It amuses me. 

I do want to point out last year, Margrethe and Henrik's thank you note was the 1st Christmas reply I received (arrived Dec 16th). And this year it is one of the last. I had sent my letters at about the same time in November both years. That just shows you replies don't come consistently each year. I'm into my 3rd year writing, and can say response times each year very greatly. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Netherlands' Christmas, Birth of Prince Liam & Countess Sophie DofE Challenge

I've received a few replies over the last few days. 

Netherlands Christmas 

The first reply is from the Netherlands. I had written to King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima in early December to wish them a very Merry Christmas!

They sent a very lovely card in reply. The card is the same as their Christmas Card from last year. The big difference is this year I got the card in English, instead of Dutch. And the picture on the front is different. 





This card was produced by Belarto in the Netherlands to raise money for UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund). This year and last year's card come from the same Christmas Card set, called "Classic Winter Paintings." The Christmas cards are still available for sale from UNICEF

It's really great to see the couple using their Christmas Card to support such a great cause. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima have been long supporters of UNICEF and the United Nations. Both of them have sat on various advisory boards for the UN.

Queen Máxima is currently a United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate. She is working with their Inclusive Finance for Development program, which helps and encourages countries to create financial programs, such as saving accounts, insurance, loans.

What was also interesting is this card was sent to my old address, which means The Netherlands also has a system where they store people's address when they write. 

Birth of Prince Liam 

I had written to Prince Felix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg in late November to congratulate the couple on the birth of their son, Prince Liam. And yesterday I received a very lovely note in reply. 


Not much to say about that. But one thing I found very interesting about this reply is the font. I guess I'm just really use to Royals always sending pretty identical replies. So it is very interesting to see the Luxembourg Royals mix it up with different fonts, colors and alignments. 



Countess Sophie Thank You Email!

This was a big surprise when I opened my inbox last week and found a email from the Countess of Wessex. I had donated to Countess Sophie's Duke of Edinburgh's Diamond Challenge's Just Giving Page back in September. 

Countess Sophie had biked 445 miles from the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in support of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Anniversary Appeal.


This email was sent out to all those who donated to her Just Giving Page. Of the £ 307,491 donated, only 8% (£281,804.00
) of that came from online donations on her Just Giving Page. 

The email is very interesting because (1) it the first Royal Email I've gotten, and (2) I've sent a number of letters to the Wessexs over the years, including to congratulate Sophie on completing her DofE Challenge, and never got a reply.

Also Check Out:
Other Replies 
Christmas 2016 Replies
Writing to the Royals

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

February Q&A (2017)

As always, post your Royal Questions & I will get to them as soon as possible.

Question 1a: Will thank you cards be sent out if you send a message for Queen Elizabeth's sapphire jubilee?


Answer: Everyone who writes to the Queen will get a reply. But I don't expect them to send out cool cards like they did for the Queen's 90th Birthday last year. The Queen's Sapphire Jubilee isn't a big event for the Palace. They aren't doing anything special to celebrate it. So I would expect the reply would just be a letter, probably like the reply for the Queen's longest reign.

Question 1b: If I ask in my letter to Queen for a picture do you think they will send me one?

Answer: I've never asked the Queen for a photo, But Yes. I have seen people get photos. 

On a more general note, I know people who have asked other royals for a photo, and often they have gotten one in reply. But I don't know too much about that, as I have never asked for a photo.

Question 2: I would like to send a present to some royals such as Prince Harry, Duchess Camilla and Princess Charlene. I think the presents would not be so big maybe something for home or album of pictures from Invictus for Harry. I will also enclose a letter with the package. Do you think I will get a response and what will be the form of these responses? 

Answer: The royals are always very touched that you would think of them and send them a thoughtful gift. They usually reply with a letter written by a secretary thanking you for the gift. If it's a big event, that a lot of people are sending gifts for, they may have a pre-made reply. 

The Royals are always very touched by gifts, but they actually prefer it if you were to make a donation to a charity instead.


They get so many gifts a years, all very thoughtful and kind, but they can't keep all of them or meaningfully appreciate them. There are some Royals who don't accept any gifts that come in the mail for security reasons. Or will only accept certain types of gifts. Or gifts under a certain value. Or will only accept gifts from people or organizations they know. 


Some gifts will be sent back, or donated if possible. 


I think they are much more accepting of handmade gifts, but prefer donations above all. I know a lot of people want to be creative and are inspired by the royals to make something. So what I often suggest, is make a gift. Then maybe you can donate it to a charity, or sell/auction it and donate the money to charity. 


The Royals would love to hear about how you were inspired by them to go help other.


Question 3: What studies should a person finish to have a chance to work for royal family? And I am not talking about the workers who are taking care of palaces or making them clean. I am thinking about those who work specifically for the royals such as press agents, private secretaries, assistants to private secretaries, those who run their Twitter and Instagram pages and those who run their foundations etc.


Answer: First let me say, just because you work in an office doesn't mean you are working closely with the Royals or have a close relationship with them. Running "the Firm,"as the royals call it, is a huge operation. There are many people at all levels, in a lot of different fields. These offices are quite big, and some of the staff are actually in whole other buildings than the Royals main office. 

For example: the Cambridge+Harry main office is in Kensington Palace. But part of their staff has offices in St. James Palace. This is partly because they need the room and partly because the Cambridge+Harry still hasn't fully broken off from Prince Charles' Office at Clarence House, which spills over into St. James Palace. 

Some of the staff the royals have had close relationships with have been people taking care of the palaces or cleaning. Prince Charles is very close to some of the gardeners at his various homes because he enjoys gardening and spends a lot of time doing that. The Queen is close to some of the people who take care of her beloved horses. William and Kate's housekeeper previously worked for the Queen, and through that close connection with the Queen she got the Cambridge job, etc. And there have been a lot of trusted butlers and enquiries over the years. And we have even seen former royal staff continuing to have close relationship with the Royals, coming back to work on special projects, or starting a company which the royals will use, etc. 


So if you want to work for the Royals, you can do anything. They employ or utilize people in every single field from doctors, engineers, cooks, finance, business, computer science, etc. Study something you are good at, passionate about, and willing to work hard at. 


Question 4: I just got back my reply for the letter I sent to Princess Charlene for her birthday and it looks like her signature is used with sharpie. It doesn't look printed on because I accidentally smudged it and it looks like it would if you smudged sharpie. Do you think she actually signed it or was it printed on like that? 


Answer: There are 3 different options for signatures. It could be printed on, hand signed, and auto penned. 

"Printed on" signatures are often easy to spot, because it's just an image of the signature that was printed onto the card. Usually there is only one "Printed on" signature, so they all look exactly alike. 

"Auto penned" signatures are written by a machine that has recorded the person's signature. (Newer machines can have big memories, so it can write out a lot more than just the signature). The machine uses an actual pen or marker, so it look a lot like a "hand signed" signature. And since it uses a pen it will smudge just like a "hand-signed" signature. With a "auto penned" signature, the signatures come out looking the same each time, but there may be some small little differences. Some machines will record a few versions of the signature, for variety. It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between "auto penned" signatures and "hand-signed" ones. 

Because of the machine used, "auto penned" signatures often have the same thickness and pressure throughout. They are a little shaky, and will start and stop abruptly because the machine is picking up the pen and put it down. 

With "hand signatures" no two are going to be exactly alike. And they aren't going to be perfect. They get the best signature for the "Auto penned," because you can re-recorded it to get it perfect. But when you are just signing your name, especially if it's for the billionth time that day, it often a bit messy. You will likely have uneven & misshapen letters. You might be missing some letters, or it just turns into scribbles at the end, etc. Just writing your name ten times, and compare them. 

I know Monaco uses an auto pen machine, so that is my guess. Most Royal signatures you get are going to be printed on, or auto penned. Very, very rarely will you get an actual signature. Usually only when the note is personalized for you. (But be aware sometimes, it's an "auto penned" signature, and then a secretary fills in the Dear____,).


Question 5: Do you think I will get a response if I send a letter to Prince Hans-Adam on the occasion of his birthday?

Answer: I would expect so. I've never written to Prince Hans-Adam, but I written to Alois & Sophie a few times and have always gotten a reply from them. 

Question 6: How long we should wait for the response to letters on Princess Stephanie birthday?

Answer: About 1-2 months! But I don't know if Stephanie always replies. 

I've never written to Stephanie. But, I have written to Caroline for her birthday this year and last year. This year got a reply about a month after I wrote. Last year, I didn't get a reply. 

Question 7: When does Camilla usually respond personally for her letters? When its a "normal" letter or a letter for birthday or Christmas?  And how long we must usually wait? 


Answer: The "personal replies" are usually generic cards or letters that she just signs her name to. Some secretary had already typed the card up, printed them out, etc. So we usually see these for things where they send a generic card or letter (Birthday, Christmas, etc.). But not everyone who writes for these events will necessarily get a "personal reply". 

If you write for something that they don't have a generic reply pre-made for, you will likely just get a letter from someone in the correspondence section.

If you write to Charles and Camilla together, you won't get a personal response from Camilla. You will get what ever Charles and Camilla's joint reply is. 

Response times for a personal reply are similar to any reply from Clarence House. They get to it when they have the time, usually 1-2 months. Response time varies each time, because obviously this isn't just something the Correspondence Section can  just do. They have to schedule a time with Camilla to sit down and sign all of the cards. So when they are able to do that depends on Camilla's schedule, their schedule, when they think they will have most of the letter received and sorted, when the replies are made, etc. Some times we see Personal Replies come in batches. 

There are two types of "personal replies": (1) Camilla writes Dear (persons name), and signs it; (2) Camilla just signs it. 

With the 1st, it's personally signed by Camilla for a certain person. Not something they can do if they don't have your letter yet. It's definitely a more personal personal reply, and it takes a lot more work and planning for Camilla and her office. When Camilla signs the card for you, someone has already opened your letter, sorted it, picked out the appropriate reply, printed out an envelope with your address on it, etc. 

I know Camilla is shown a section of letter and cards for different events. But I would think for most of these replies, She's just getting the name off the envelope. 

With the 2nd, Camilla is just signing a stack of cards. It's much easier because there isn't a specific reply for a specific person. When the correspondence section at Clarence House gets to a letter to Camilla for that event they can just grab a signed reply off the stack and stick it in an envelope. 

Question 8: Does Prince Andrew send responses to birthday letters from royal fans? 
Answer: Yes, 

My 2016 Reply
My 2015 Reply

Question 9: How long we must usually wait for responses to birthday letters send to Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg?

Answer: For every royal my answer is usually 1-2 months. If they are really busy or it's a huge event it will take longer.  

We have a more detailed list of response times for each Royal family here

Question 10: How does the responses to birthday letters to Andrew usually look like? Do they send photos along normal letters?

Answer: See Answer to Question 8, which has links to my 2016 & 2015 reply. 

Question 11: I've send a letter to Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg. I know they send a Generic reply, but do they send photos?

Answer: I've never written to Princess Stephanie, so I don't know how she handles her birthday replies. But based on what I've gotten from my other Luxembourg Replies I would guess not. The only photo I've gotten from Luxembourg is from Princess Tessy, but her reply wasn't handled by the Luxembourg Palace and wasn't the typical reply I've seen from them. 

You can check out all of my replies from Luxembourg here

Question 12: Do the Swedish royals usually reply to birthday cards/letters?


Answer: No. 

Question 13: Have you received a Christmas reply from Queen Elizabeth yet? I sent her a card In December and haven't gotten anything back yet.



Answer: I haven't gotten my reply yet either. But don't worry her office has been very busy, and they are working on it. It's not unusual for them to still be sending out replies at this time. 

Plus they got slammed with mail last year because of the Queen's 90th Birthday. I think I saw them still sending out replies for that in December. So they are obviously still a bit behind.