Friday, 8 April 2016

Prince Albert Birthday Reply (2016)

So we played a little game today, where I asked you on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to guess (1) who the reply was from and (2) what I wrote for before I made this post.

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. 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.

Even though Monaco has 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 one athlete competeing in 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 usually 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," like they special ordered it from the paper company. My guess is they ran out of time to special order a reply for Albert's birthday, and decided to just make their own using blank monogrammed cards and their office printer.

I'm not saying this card was specially printed for me, but it's not their usual "pre-made" ahead of time type of reply. This looks like it was done last minute.

It is pretty standard to have blank cards you can print a message on. Sometimes the pre-made card you have isn't an 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 a blank card allows them to personalise the message.

I'm thinking here, they just ran out of time or possibly ran out of the "pre-made" replies.

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 pre-made Monaco's replies. The pre-made replies usually have a font that is a little more fancy. And since you are ordering from the paper company you can do things a normal office printer can't, like emboss and engrave the message. I have seen this font used in a letter from Monaco. So, again pointed to this being something they just printed out in their office. 
  • 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 to a 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-penned). 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 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.)
But at the end of the day, it is still a lovely card. And it is certainly nice to have a auto-penned signature, opposed to printed on. 

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  1. "this has obviously been auto-pened" so you mean that Prince Albert didn't sign it by himself?

    1. Gert's Royals9 April 2016 at 13:52

      Yes, Prince Albert didn't sign it himself. Auto-Pen is a Machine that writes a persons signatures on documents for them. It is used when a person needs to sign a lot of things. It's not really used for official documents, but for things like letters and cards.

    2. I see, I asked because I got the same response but the signature is obviously different than the one you got.

    3. Gert's Royals9 April 2016 at 14:15

      I'm pretty sure mine Auto-penned, it's exactly the same as the printed on signatures I've seen.

      If the signature on your is different, then there is a chance you could have a real signature.

    I was looking at the a's and l's. I'm very happy if I got real signature :D

    1. Gert's Royals9 April 2016 at 14:51

      Our signatures are definitely different.

      I'm not expert on things like this. But Auto-pens can have a few different versions of the signature, so things don't always look exactly the same. Since your signature and my signature look almost exactly alike, except for these really small differences, I think they are both Auto-signed.

      If they were both hand-signed I would expect to see bigger differences, like different size letters, different line lengths, and a different number of up&downs in Monaco.

    2. Gert's Royals9 April 2016 at 14:53

      Important Question, What stamp was on your envelope?

    3. This one

  3. For me letters from Monaco are unlucky because in February I sent a letter to Princess Caroline and I am still waiting and before Easter I sent a letter to Charlene and I am still waiting for a response. A lot of people have got their responses so fast. Maybe I addressed it wrong. But Congratulations!!

    1. Gert's Royals9 April 2016 at 16:14

      You just need to be patient. I wrote to Prince Albert in Late February and just got a response now. So it's too early for you to expect anything from Charlene.

      Responses usually take 1-2 months, but it can be longer. Unless you sent your letters before February 9th, It's been less than 2 months, so don't worry yet.

      As for your letter to Caroline. I don't know too much about how long it usually take for letters to Caroline or Stephanie, or how they handle responses, but their office is going to be much smaller than Albert and Charlene, so it likely take longer for them to send out responses.