Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Prince Joachim of Denmark - 50th Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from Denmark. I had written to Prince Joachim in June for his 50th birthday.

I have written to Prince Joachim & his wife, Princess Marie, a number of times over the years. Princess Marie's birthday, earlier this year, was the 1st time I got a reply from them. This is the 2nd.

The envelope is pretty usual from the Danish Royals. The red crown/ Amalienbourg appears on Queen Margrethe & The Prince Couple's envelopes, but not the Crown Prince couples.



The back of the envelope features a blue crown. This is the Royal Crown of Denmark and is the same one featured on the postmark & card.



Inside is a premade card that has been personalized and signed by Charles-Henri Keller. Charles-Henri Keller is Prince Joachim's cousin on his father's side.

Charles-Henri is officially listed on the Denmark Royal website as a "Funds Secretary" for the Office of Treasury in Queen Margrethe's Household. But since Princess Marie's lady-in-waiting resigned last October, Charles-Henri has been seen accompanying Marie on official engagements. So, it looks like Charles-Henri now has some official role in Joachim & Marie's office. Although, I'm not sure what exactly his position is.



The card reads:
August 2019
Dear Miss Daly  
His Royal Highness Prince Joachim has asked me to thank you for you kind congratulations on the occasion of His Royal Highness's birthday.  
Best Regards, 
Charles-Henri Keller
It's not very often that you will get a personalized flat card like this. So, this is especially lovely. And I am always quite excited when they include the date. I think it makes it a little nicer momento, as you can look back years later and know what year this reply was from.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

Duchess Camilla - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Duchess Camilla last month to wish her a happy birthday.

The front of the envelope is pretty typical of the British royals, except for the fact that this is a larger envelope.


The back of the envelope feature's Camilla's monogram. Since the monogram is blue, we know came from Clarence House. Camilla uses an envelope with green monograms for Birkhall in Scotland, where she is spending her summer break with Prince Charles.



Inside is the usual sort of reply for Duchess Camilla's birthday, a large photo card with typed message on the back. This card is twice the size as the normal photo cards that Clarence House sends out for other royal birthdays.

The front features a photo of Duchess Camilla at the Hermitage Plantation House in Saint Kitts and Nevis during her Spring tour with Prince Charles in March. The photo was taken by royal photographer, Arthur Edward.


The back of the card features a typed message along with Camilla's auto-penned signature.


The card reads:
So many thanks for your kind birthday message.
As always, it was greatly appreciated.
From 
Camilla


Each year, for events like her birthday, Camilla does hand-sign a selection of cards and rest are auto-penned. The last few years I've written I've been lucky enough to get a real signature. But you can't expect to get lucky every year. Either way, it is an absolute treasure.

There are a few ways you can tell something has actually been signed by Camilla:

  1. There is some personalization that makes this card just for you, like "Dear _,"
  2. Usually closes "With best wishes," instead of "From"
  3. The reply is sent by registered/certified mail
  4. Not from the correspondence section 
    1. Camilla's personal staff will often write the address with each line indented (See 2017 birthday reply)
    2. Replies from Birkhall use green monogrammed envelopes
Autopenend signatures:
  1. Look the same as other people's replies
  2. No personalization
  3. Usually say "From," instead of "With best wishes,"
  4. Handled by the Correspondence Section
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Wessexs - 20th Anniversary Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Prince Edward & Countess Sophie last month for their 20th wedding anniversary.

This was a wonderful surprise. The Wessexs very rare reply. It seems like their office just picks out a few letters & cards for each occasion to reply to. So, I was not expecting anything. This is my 3rd reply from the couple.

The front of the envelope looks very different than most of the replies you see from the UK Royals. The main reason is the Wessexs's mail isn't processed through the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. So, their mail doesn't feature that postmark. (For more on the Court Post Office, and different UK postmarks.)

Unlike other UK Royals, The Wessexs's mail isn't sent to their office in London. Instead, letters to the couple should be addressed to their home, Bagshot Park, where they have staff there to answer them.

This postmark has been used in the past for various royal residences, which is why it is not specific to Bagshot Park.

What is interesting is the postmark still feature's the old royal PPI (Printed Postal Impression) number W7047. The Royals changed the number in March to W4047, which is why they redesigned a number of their postmarks, including the one for the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. I expect they will update this postmark eventually. But, it's understandable that they would be a few months behind.



The back of the envelope features Prince Edward & Countess Sophie's joint coat of arm, along with the name of their residence, Bagshot Park. This envelope is used for both joint things from the couple, and solo letter sent on behalf of one of them.


In the envelope is a simple letter written by Jackie Phipps, their Secretarial Assistant.  


The letter reads: 
Bagshot Park 
05 July 2019 
Dear Miss Daly 
The Earl and Countess of Wessex thought it very kind of you to write to them on the occasion of their 20th wedding anniversary. 
 Although unable to reply personally, Their Royal Highnesses send you their best wishes,  
Jackie Phipps
Household of TRH the Earl and Countess of Wessex

The bottom of the letter features the address for Bagshot Park, which is what you want to use if you write to them. There is also a telephone and fax number. 

Wessex Family Replies - Main Page

Here are my replies for Prince Edward & Countess Sophie, AKA the Earl & Countess of Wessex. 

Their office very rarely replies to letters. So, while I've written to them a number of times over the years, I've only gotten a few replies. 

2019
2018
2017
2016-2015
  • None
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Monday, July 8, 2019

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Prince William & Duchess Kate for Princess Charlotte's birthday.

The envelope is usual from the British Royals.



The back of the envelope features the black crown/Kensington Palace that is used by the Cambridges.



Inside is a letter and a postcard-sized photocard.

The photocard features a lovely photo of Princess Charlotte taken by Duchess Kate. This is from the
set of official photos that were released for Charlotte's birthday.


The back of the card features the usual sort of message. It is similar to past years, but they change it up slightly every year. The top of the card features the black crown/Kensington Palace. This was added to the Cambridge & Sussexs cards in January, so this is the first time we've seen it on Princess Charlotte's birthday reply. 


The card reads:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appreciated your kind thought in writing to Princess Charlotte as you did on the occasion of her fourth birthday.  

This was greatly appreciated by Their Royal Highnesses who send you their best wishes.
Included with the card is a letter from Claudia Spens, head of the correspondence section at Clarence House. In my birthday letter to Princess Charlotte, I had also sent my congratulations to Duchess Kate on being appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen. I had sent my anniversary wishes to the Cambridges in my birthday letter for Prince Louis, and received a letter in reply. But as I had written & sent that letter before their anniversary, when this honor was announced, I wasn't able to include my congratulations to Kate for her Royal Victorian Order.



The letter reads:
Dear Miss Daly,  
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to thank you for your kind letter of 2nd.  
Their Royal Highnesses are grateful to you for taking the trouble to write as you did and were touched by your kind words of support regarding Her Royal Highness's recent appointment as Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO). It really was most thoughtful of you. You may be interested to know that the order of chivalry was established in 1896 by Queen Victoria to recognise personal service to the monarch. 
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to send you their warmest thanks and best wishes.  

Yours sincerely,  

Claudia Spens

Clarence House's annual report reveals that they received 123,303 letters/cards from well-wishers from April 2018-March 2019.  (Clarence House answers all of Charles, Camilla, The Cambridges & Sussexs mail.) This is a big increase from previous years:

2018-2019:   123,303
2017-2018:   53,716
2016-2017:   39,783
2015-2016:   43,036

To deal with the increase in mail, Clarence House has hired more staff for their Correspondence Section. They now have equal to 5.0 full-time staff members.

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Prince Philip - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Prince Philip earlier this month to wish him a happy 98th birthday.

The front of the envelope is the usual from the British Royals. One interesting thing is my address is printed on a label, instead of straight on the envelope. This is often a sign of a form reply. It allows them to prepare replies in bulk, with form letters in unaddressed envelopes. They can then print out batches of labels as they go through the letters and cards from well-wishers.


The back of the envelope features Prince Philip's badge. There has been some discussion about what exactly this thing is called, as it is not a monogram, cypher or coat of arms. And I can confirm that this is called a "badge." I found an article on the old Royal website where they refer to it as a badge. 

In the center of the badge is Edinburgh Castle. It is surrounded by the Order of Garter belt and topped with a coronet. 



Inside the envelope is a form letter. Pretty much everyone who wrote for Philip's birthday got the same thing.

The letter is from Mrs. Suzy Lethbridge, Prince Philip's correspondence secretary. The signature is printed on the letter. Everyone who received this form letter had the same signature.

But it is not the same signature as past replies (e.g. Philip's birthday last year). It looks like, each time they create a new form letter, Mrs. Lethbridge creates a new copy of her signature. This is done to make harder to tell the signature isn't real. If I compare this letter with other replies I received, the signatures are all slightly different, which usually means it's real.  But when I compare my reply with other people's, for both this birthday & past events, I can see the form letters for each occasion use the same signatures.


The letter reads: 
Buckingham Palace

June, 2019

Prince Philip is most grateful for your message of good wishes for his birthday.  
Suzy Lethbridge 
Correspondence Secretary to 

H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh
The bottom of Prince Philip's stationery has the address, telephone number and fax number for Buckingham Palace. The numbers are general for the Palace, not specific for Prince Philip's office. 

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Queen Mathilde of Belgium - Birthday Reply (2019)

I received this reply way back in March, but because I was really busy at the time, I never posted it. I had written to Queen Mathilde of Belgium in February for her birthday.

The front of the envelope is pretty usual for the Belgium Royals. They have they have a lot of different ones that they use, but this one is pretty common. The front features a Palace of Brussels underneath.


Inside is a typed card & a photo of Queen Mathilde.

The photo was taken at Castle of Laeken, the King & Queen's residence. The [Royal] Palace of Brussels is a working palace where they have their offices.

The card is the usual from Queen Mathilde.



The card reads:

Palais fo Brussels

Her Majesty The Queen thank you wholeheartedly for the wishes you have addressed to her on the occasion of her birthday.

The kind words you have expressed greatly her heart.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Cambridges - Louis's birthday & 8th Wedding Anniversary (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written in April for Prince Louis's 1st birthday. As Prince William & Duchess Kate's anniversary was only a few days after, I, of course, mentioned it in my letter.

The front of the envelope is the usual from the British royals.


The back of the envelope features the usual black Crown/ Kensington Palace that is currently being used by the Cambridges & Sussexs. No word on when the Sussexs will update their stationery to reflect their office move to Buckingham Palace. But I would expect the Cambridges will likely keep this stationary. At least for now.


Inside is a photocard & letter. The photocard is for Prince Louis's birthday. The front features the photo of Prince Louis that was released for his birthday. The photo was taken by Duchess Kate at Amner Hall. 

The back of the card features the usual sort of message. I must say the card redesign, that debuted earlier this year, is growing on me. I do like the addition of the black crown/Kensington Palace at the top. But the message doesn't seem as formal as before. 


The card says: 
Kensington Palace 
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are most grateful for the thoughtful message you sent to Prince Louis on the occasion of his first birthday. 
It really was kind of you and greatly appreciated. 

Included with the card is a letter from Claudia Spens, Head of the Correspondence Section at Clarence House. Like the letter for Archie's birth, the "From" line on the letter has been changed to reflect the Cambridge/Sussex household split. Previously, it said "The Office of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex."


The letter says:
From: Miss Claudia Spens M.V.O.The Office of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge 
6th June, 2019 
Dear Miss Daly,  
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to thank you for your letter of 22nd April, and kind message which you have sent on the occasion of their eight Wedding Anniversary.  
Their Royal Highnesses are most grateful to you for taking the trouble to write as you did. The Duke of Cambridge was particularly touched by your kind words of support following his poignant visit to Christchurch in New Zealand. His Royal Highness was moved by the strength and courage of the people of Christchurch in the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attack.  
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greatly appreciated your good wishes which you have sent on the occasion of Prince Louis's first birthday and have asked me to send you the enclosed photograph along with their warmest thanks and very best wishes.  
Yours Sincerely,  
Claudia Spens

It is always very touching to get a personal letter. I especially like the mention of Prince William being "moved by the strength and courage of the people of Christchurch." As William was visiting New Zealand in a few days, I had wished him a productive trip. I, like the rest of the world, was deeply shocked and saddened by the attack at the mosque in Christchurch. And, I was glad to see William was going to be meeting with those affected by the attack. So, I had mentioned that in my letter.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Queen Elizabeth - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to The Queen in April to wish her a happy 93rd birthday.

The envelope is the usual from the British Royals. This is my first reply from the Queen since the postmark changed. This new postmark is growing on me. I like that the crown is bigger and the "EIIR" is a little clearer.


The back of the envelope features the Queen's coat of arms.


Inside is a form letter thanking me for my birthday and Easter wishes. I don't normally write for Easter, but as it fell on the Queen's birthday this year, I mentioned it in my letter.


The letter reads: 
The Queen thanks you for the message you sent for Easter and on the occasion of Her Majesty's ninety-third birthday.  
The Queen is most grateful for your kind words and your thoughtfulness in writing as you did at this time.  
2019
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Monday, June 10, 2019

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the Netherlands. I had written to Queen Maxima last month for her birthday.

The envelope is the usual from the Netherland Royals. It features the blue crown with "Service of the Royal House" written underneath in Dutch.



The card is identical to Maxima's birthday reply from past years.


The card reads:
Her Majesty The Queen of the Netherlands would like to express her thanks for the good wishes she received on her birthday. 

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor - Birth Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan last month to send them my warmest congratulations on the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

The reply arrived just under a month after I had written. This is a very excellent and a bit surprising of response time. But don't expect to get so lucky, or start worrying if you wrote for an earlier event and haven't gotten a response yet. Clarence House gets a lot of mail for big events like this, and it can take them months of answer everyone. And, they don't answer letters in the order they arrive. So, be patient. They will likely take 4 or 5 months, maybe more, to send out all the replies.

The front of the envelope is usual from the British Royals and features the new postmark from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace that debuted in March. The Court Post Office is mail's first stop on its way to well-wishers after being picked up at Clarence Hosue by the Royal Mail.


The back of the envelope features the Black Crown/Kensington Palace we have seen since 2016. This is currently used by both the Cambridges & Sussexs. I would expect the Sussexs to get new stationery eventually to reflect their office move.


Instead of the usual photocard from Clarence House, I received a personal letter from Claudia Spens. Miss Spens is the head of the correspondence section at Clarence House and is in charge of the team that answers all of Charles, Camilla, Cambridges & Sussexs' mail. 

While they are still using Kensington Palace stationary, it is important to note that the "From:" line now reads, "The Office of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex." This is the first time I've seen this. The letter I got from the Sussexs for Christmas in April, still listed them together with the Cambridges. 


The letter says:
Dear Miss Daly,  
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have asked me to thank you for your letter of 8th May.  
Their Royal Highnesses are grateful for your kind words of support and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were touched that you took the trouble to make a donation to The Rainforest Alliance on the occasion of the birth of their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Your thoughtfulness and generosity were very much appreciated.  
Their Royal Highnesses have asked me to send you their warmest thanks and best wishes.  
Yours sincerely, 

Claudia Spens
It would have been great to get the typical photo card, as I would love a photo of little Archie. But it is nice to get a personal letter that mentions specifically the charity I donated to. As I choose this for personal reasons. I had mentioned in my letter I had made a donation to The Rainforest Alliance and had written a bit about why I had chosen this charity specifically. I even included a little fact sheet about The Rainforest Alliance's work.

(Fun Fact: Prince Charles received the Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award from them in 2008.)

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Grand Duke Jean Condolence Reply from King Albert & Queen Paola of Belgium (2019)

A very touching reply arrived today from Belgium. I had written to King Albert in April to send my condolences on the death of his brother-in-law, Grand Duke Jean. Grand Duke Jean had married King Albert's sister, Princess Joséphine Charlotte (1927-2005).

The Belgium royals have 10 or so different envelopes that they use. But this one is my favorite.

The front of the envelope is pretty typical for the Belgium Royals.


The back of the envelope features a purple crown, with the name of Albert & Paola's residence, Belvédère. And on the side of the flap is the partial address in French and Dutch. 


But the most beautiful part is the inside, which is lined with purple tissue paper.



The card is pretty typical of Queen Paola, and is on cream colored paper. This is similar to the condolence reply I received from Paola for the passing of her brother, Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria, in 2017.


The card translates to:
Belvédère 

Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen Paola thank you wholeheartedly for the note of sympathy and compassion that you have addressed to them on the occasion of the death of their dear brother-in-law, His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg.
You can look back at all of my replies from Grand Duke Jean here.

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Replies from Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (2016-2019)

All of my replies (2016-2019) from Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. Grand Duke Jean passed away on April 23rd, 2019.

2016
Condolence Reply for Jean's Passing

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived last month from Luxembourg. I had written to Grand Duke Henri for his 64th birthday.

The envelope is the usual from the Luxembourg Royals. The back of the envelope features the same blue crown as the card.


The card is similar to past years. But the message is gets changed each year. 


The card reads: 
Luxembourg, April 2019 

All my thanks for your kind wishes on the occasion of my 64th birthday.  

Henri
Included with the card is a photo of Grand Duke Henri. The photo is from a set that was released in December 2017. This is the first time I've gotten a photo from the Luxembourg royals included with a birthday card.

Credit: Grand Ducal Court / Lola Velasco

The back of the photo includes a notice about "conditions of use of this photo," which are all pretty standard. 


Monday, May 20, 2019

Princess Eléonore of Belgium - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely, unexpected reply arrived today from Belgium. I had written to King Philippe last month for his 59th birthday and got a reply for that last week.

One of the things I mentioned in my birthday letter to the King was his daughter Princess Eléonore's birthday, as it is the day after the King's. I usually do this, if I can remember. Normally I've just gotten King Philippe's birthday reply. But this year, I got a 2nd reply for Princess Eléonore's 11th birthday.

It is interesting that is was sent separately and postmarked 4 days after the King's.

The envelope is the same as the one for King Philippe's birthday reply, except the postmark is different. The different postmarks could indicate that there is different staff working on mail for the two events/royals. Based on what I've seen over the years, it seems like King Philippe mail is answered by one set of staff and then the Queen & their children's mail is answered by another set.

But given that I've gotten 11 or 12 different envelopes from the Belgium Royals, using 5 different postmarks, it not really clear.


The card is usual from the King's family. it is a flat card with a pre-typed message.


The card reads:
Their Majesties the King and the Queen thank you for the kind greetings that you have addressed to the Princess Eléonore on the occasion of her 11th birthday.
With the card is a photo of Princess Eléonore. I don't know much about the photo except that is was released on her birthday.


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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

King Philippe of Belgium - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from Belgium. I had written to King Philippe last month to which him a happy 59th birthday.

The envelope is pretty usual from Belgium and features the purple crown with "Palais de Bruxelles" (Palace of Brussels) underneath. The back of the envelope is blank. 


Inside is the usual flat card along with a photo of King Philippe. The card is written in French.  


The card says: 
Palace of Brussels
His Majesty the King has received the kind greetings that you have addressed to him at the occasion of his 59th birthday. 
The King thanks you very cordially.
Brussels, April 2019 

Included with the card is a photo of King Philippe. I don't know much about this photo, other than it was released for his birthday this year.


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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Queen Margrethe of Denmark - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived from Denmark recently. I had written to Queen Margrethe last month for her birthday.

The front of the envelope is the typical from the Denmark Royals.


The back of the envelope features a black crown. And if you look closely, you can see the lovely patterned edge on the envelope flaps. 



Inside is a letter written by Commander Peter Herman Gandrup, one of the Queen's aides-de-camp.     
                                                                                                             
The letter reads:
Dear Miss Gertrude Daly  
Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to express to you Her sincere thanks for your kind greetings on the occasion of Her Majesty's birthday.  
Yours Sincerely
P. H. Gandrup 
Aide-de-camp
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