Our columnist solves your social behaviour problems. This week: addressing Royalty
For the last 30 years myself and and other volunteers have laboured tirelessly working for a charity that raises money to help terminally ill children. Now, as a reward for all our hard work, we are to be visited by HRH the Countess of Wessex. She will deign to spend three minutes of her time visiting our workplace, where she will pretend to drink a cup of tea, force down a Jammie Dodger, and indulge in forced, awkward, desultory conversation with myself and my colleagues before leaping into her chauffeur-driven Daimler as soon as she possibly can to zoom back to Buck House. Now, obviously we’re all terribly thrilled about this visit, but one thing worries me; I’m sure I heard it said that one is not supposed to speak first when meeting a royal. However, I mentioned this to my husband and he said that this only applies to the Queen. So which is it? I would hate to make a faux pas on what is surely to be the most exciting day of my life.
Olive Weeks, Aldrington
Oh dear, the old “do you speak before a member of the Royal family” chestnut! I have been asked this question so many times I sometimes think it would be easier to have the answer printed on a placard which I could smash over peoples’ heads. It’s perfectly simple, just remember the following:
With The Queen one must always wait for her to speak first.
With Prince Philip one must always speak first. The poor man will be quite unable to say anything until you do.
With Prince Charles, neither of you may speak until a third party has spoken.
With Princes Andrew or Edward the person whose christian name comes first alphabetically must speak first.
With Princes William or Harry, nobody may speak until the clock strikes three, whereupon the tallest person present clears his throat and says: “Forgive me Lord Chesterfield.” At this point William or Harry may speak, but only to utter a rhetorical question, such as: “Well, this is all very nice, isn’t it?”
For any other lowly or undistinguished Royal, such as Sophie Rhys-Jones or that German one who plagiarised that book either party may speak first. Only the royal, however, may swear first.
So there you go. Hope this has been of help, and good luck!
Hetty Kwett XXX
Moonbubbledog – Lend Me Your Ears
Renowned theatre company MoonBubbleDog (Take The World Away And Wrap It In A Box, Wargasm) offer this new, heavily-subsidised piece, six years in the making. A meditation on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, with a cast of 19, this production mixes dance, physical theatre, film, installation art, all staged in a disused frozen food factory in Telscome you have virtually no chance of finding, even with the aid of a map.
Until 25th May, 9PM–1AM, £99/£98