On my other blog today (http://www.jungleredwriters.com/) I've posted about manners, or rather lack of them in today's society. Since the royal wedding is fast approaching I thought I'd better give a few pointers on brushing up on royal protocol--which is manners in the extreme.
Even today one is expected to leave the queen's presence backward (a rule which has always spelled disaster for Lady Georgie with her tendency to knock into things)
One addresses a royal person by "sir" or "ma'am (pronounced like ham and not like harm). Even their close friends do this in public. This was one of the red flags when Mrs. Simpson first came on the scene with the Prince of Wales in the 30s. She called him David all the time, never sir. There were gasps all around but she didn't care. She also made fun of the future King's famous stutter.
One does not speak to a royal until they speak to you. One does not squeeze the hand they extend to shake (have pity, for God's sake. They shake hundreds of hands a day). When presented one should drop a small curtsey or bow. Not an extravagent sweep to the floor.
When I was young I had tea with the queen. We were instructed that one only eats what the queen eats. She had one piece of brown bread while we looked longingly at all the little cakes and scones and cream. I used that scene in the first royal spyness book. In fact encounters with upper class Brits have provided many of the funny and embarrassing scenes in my books.
So remember if you go to the wedding, once Kate is married she's no longer Kate. She is your royal highness, or ma'am. And I expect cameras will be frowned upon in Westminster Abbey. Oh, and one always wears a hat to a wedding in England. It can be a tiny little frivolous feather thing or a great big impressive one, however you will not be popular in the Abbey if your hat is huge enough to block the view of those behind you.
And if you go, please tell Will and Kate that Rhys sends her love.