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

Wednesday 15 February 2017

2017 British Garden Parties

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, Philip, William, Kate, Edward, Anne, Beatrice, Duke of Kent, Prince & Princess Michael of Kent
Tuesday 23rd
  • Queen's Garden Party
    • Hosted by Queen
    • Attending: Queen, Philip, Charles, Camilla, Eugenie, Andrew 
    • (Andrew arrived late)
Thursday 25th 
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents 100th Anniversary Garden Party
    • Host by Andrew
      • Attending: Andrew, Eugenie
Tuesday 30th 
  • Not Forgotten Association Garden Party
    • Hosted by Harry
    • Attending: Harry

Thursday 1st 
  • Queen's Garden Party
    • Hosted by Queen
    • Attending: Queen, Philip, Duchess of Gloucester, Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra
Wednesday 14th 
  •  Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps Association Garden Party at Bagshot Park
    • Hosted by Countess Sophie

Tuesday 4th 
  • Queen's Holyrood Week Garden Party
    • Hosted by Queen
    • Attending: Queen, Philip, Andrew

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 should 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 I have seen people get photos. 

Question 2: I would like to send a present to some royals such as Prince Harry, Duchess Camilla and Princess Charlene. I think the present 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 year, 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 organisations 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 Royal's 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 haven'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 a 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 utilise 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 looks a lot like a "hand-signed" signature. And since it uses a pen it will smudge just like a "hand-signed" signature. With an "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. They get the best signature for the "Auto-penned," because you can take your time and re-record it till you get it perfect. 

With "hand-signatures," no two are going to be exactly alike and they aren't going to be perfect. 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. Try writing your name ten times, and comparing 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. They simply don't have the time to personally reply to all the mail they get. Usually, you will only see real signatures 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.