Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Duchess Sarah - Birthday Reply (2018)

Today I received a reply from the UK. I had written to Duchess Sarah last month for her 59th birthday.

The envelope is pretty typical of the British Royals. One interesting thing is that Sarah is using the Royal's PPI (Printed Postage Impressions) number, W7047.  The PPI number is a way of pre-printing the postage on the envelope (see the red box on the envelope). Each account has a unique number, the Royal's is W7047. The Royal Mail then uses that number to charge the correct account. Since 2001, the Sovereign Grant has paid for the Royal's postage. Previously, the service was provided for free by the Royal Mail.

I've noticed that whenever Sarah uses her own envelope with her monogram she uses her own PPI number, HQ6515. But when she uses one of Andrew's envelopes, she uses the Royal's PPI number. I don't know if she is repaying the Royal Household for the postage, or envelopes.



You might also notice the lack of EIIR Postmark or the red circle with "Buckingham Palace/Windsor Castle" and the date, that we usually see on British replies. You only get that postmark if the envelope is processed through one of the Court Post Offices, which this was not.

The back of the envelope features Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank's joint monogram. These envelopes were printed specially for the couple's wedding reply.



In my birthday letter to Sarah, I had also mentioned her daughter's upcoming wedding, so in the envelope was two replies.

The first reply is for Duchess Sarah's birthday and features a home-made card. The card is a thick piece of cardstock, with an attached purple ribbon. The card has a lovely photo of a flower that has been glued onto the front.



Sarah used a lot of different photos and color ribbons for her birthday reply. While there were a number of repeats, I think people getting different photos makes it extra special.

I'm pretty sure Sarah took all the photos. She is a very avid photographer and even released a charity photobook years ago. This photo looks to be one Sarah posted on Instagram over Easter.

A post shared by Sarah Ferguson (@sarahferguson15) on 

The back of the card feathers a typed message that has been glued onto the card. The signature is printed on. I like that Sarah used blue ink for the signature. It makes it look real, even though it isn't. The date on the card is Sarah's birthday.


The card reads:
Thank you so much for your birthday greetings. It was most kind of you to remember my birthday. I take great pleasure in sending you my best wishes.  
Sarah 
15 October 2018
With the birthday reply, I also received a reply thanking me for words about Eugenie's wedding. The card is the same as Princess Eugenie's wedding reply, except that this has a blank inside, that Sarah glued a message into.



This was a version of Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank's wedding reply with a blank inside, featuring only the couple's monogram. This version of the card would have been used to send personal replies to family and friends.


Sarah took the blank card and personalized it with a typed message, that was glued to the card.


The message reads:
Thank you so much for your congratulation to us and warm wishes for the future happiness of Eugenie and Jack.  
Their wedding was the most fabulous day. Eugenie looked so beautiful and Jack so handsome; the wedding service was a wonderful celebration of their love. We are so happy to welcome Jack into our family, he is the most marvellous person and enriches Eugenie's life. They are such a devoted couple.  
Thank you for your kindness and loyalty over the years. 
Sarah
The signature is printed on here as well.

It is interesting to see Sarah use that monogram at the top of her card. While it is quite lovely, it's actually the logo that was created for Sarah's Duchess Blend Tea. (Sarah's actual monogram features an 'S' under a crown.) So, it's interesting that Sarah would choose to make a nod towards her Business products with this card.

A post shared by Sarah Ferguson (@sarahferguson15) on


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Princess Alexandra - Illness (2018)

Today, I received a reply from the UK. I had written to The Queen's cousin, Princess Alexandra, last month to say I was very sorry to hear about her broken arm and health issues. 

Princess Alexandra (81) has been off of engagements since mid-September, due to some health issue. We haven't been given any details. We were told the reason Princess Alexandra missed Princess Eugenie's wedding was because of a broken arm. But there is likely some underlying issue that lead to the fall which broke her arm. Princess Alexandra had a similar fall last year and broke her wrist.

Princess Alexandra is scheduled to return to official engagements at the beginning of December. But we will see what happens as she has been only canceling a month of engagements at a time. So engagements on the schedule is no guarantee she will be back.

The front of the envelope is the typical for the British royals.



What is interesting about the back is it features the Queen's coat of arms, not Princess Alexandra's. I'm not sure why she does this. All of the replies I've received from Princess Alexandra so far, have all used this same envelope.

One would think that this might be a sign that the Queen & Princess Alexandra are using the same envelopes. But these are all smaller than the Queen's envelopes as Alexandra typically replies with a half-size letter, opposed to the full-size the Queen sends.



The reply is the typical from Princess Alexandra and features her monogram at the top. The monogram is two interlocked 'A's. We don't see it often for the British Royals, but it's common for royal monograms to feature the royal's first initial double like this.


The letter reads: 
Dear Miss Daly,  
Princess Alexandra was grateful to receive your recent letter and was very touched by your kind words about her health.  
In thanking you, Her Royal Highness sends her good wishes.  
Yours sincerely,  
Mrs. Diane A Duke LVO DLPrivate Secretary and Comptroller to HRH Princess Alexandra

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Writing to the Royals Q&A - November (2018)

As always post your questions about Writing to the Royal, and we will get to them as soon as possible. If you have questions about the royals in general check out our main site.

Question 1: I wrote to Princess Eugenie on the occasion of her wedding but I didn't put my address on the letter, only on the envelope. Would it be a problem?

Answer: It shouldn't be a problem. you don't absolutely need the address on your letter, but it's just good practice, in case the envelope gets separated from the letter. It also makes it much easier for them to reply if the address is on the letter. 

Question 2: Is there a chance to reply from the wedding H & M? 

Answer: If you wrote back in May for their wedding and are still waiting for a reply, just be patient. Clarence House received thousands of letters & cards for the different royal events this year. They are still working on sending out all the replies for Harry & Meghan's wedding. I haven't gotten mine yet.

Question 3: Have you ever wrote to Royal Family from Greece or another Dynasties deposed? 


Answer: I have written to the Greek Royals, I think at least twice. I never got a reply from them, but I have seen other people get replies. 

I have written to a few other former Monarchies over the years. I don't write a lot as I am not as interested in them. Most of the time I haven't gotten a reply, but I do have two replies from former monarchies. You can see them here

Question 4: Do you write to Sweden royal family on Christmas? 

Answer: I have written to King Carl Gustaf & Queen Silvia a number of times in the past for Christmas, but have never gotten a reply. 

Question 5: Are replies from Sandringham rare?

Answer: It depends on what you mean by rare. The Queen's mail is normally answered by her ladies-in-waiting at Buckingham Palace. So most people get a reply from Buckingham Palace.

But when the Queen's is at one of her other residences, her ladies-in-waiting bring along some mail to answer while they are there. Not all the mail, but some of it. (I'm not sure to what degree the mail is pre-sorted to decide what is taken, and what will just be answered at Buckingham Palace.)

So, there are a lot of people each year who will get a reply from Sandringham, Windsor, or Balmoral. I think of it as being extra special and I guess it is little rarer, but not super rare.

I've gotten two replies from Sandringham before for Christmas 2014 & 2015.

And no, I wouldn't try to write to the Queen at one of these residences, just to get a reply from there. That will only cause delays and possible non-answer. Mail to the Queen should always be sent to Buckingham Palace.

Question 6: Do you think the Cambridges will use the family pics from Charles birthday for their christmas card?

Answer: I don't think so. It's not a photo of just all 5 of them, so I don't think they will use it. We might see the family photo from Louis's Christening or a new photo.

Question 7: Do you think that the Prince of Wales will do anything special for his 70th birthday reply?

Answer: I don't think so. Clarence House doesn't really do special replies for extra special occasions. It's always the same type of photo card.

I think part of this is just because they always do nice replies. Not many royals send out a high-quality photocard like that for pretty much any event you write for.

Other royals send special cards for extra special occasions because their usual reply isn't all that special.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank - Wedding Reply (2018)

Today I received a lovely reply from the UK. I had written to Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank last month to congratulate the couple on their wedding.

The front of the envelope is the typical from the British Royals, featuring the red postmark from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. Obviously, as this reply is bigger than usual, this envelope is bigger than usual.


The back of the envelope features the couple's joint monogram. You will notice the lack of crown on the monogram. As Jack is not an HRH, his monogram & the couple's joint monogram does not feature a crown. Princess Eugenie's solo monogram still features a crown though.


The reply is the same size as their engagement reply, except that the card is landscape instead of portrait. (This is about 2x the size of the typical photo card from Clarence House.)

The front of the card feature one of the couple official wedding photos taken by Alex Bramall. Bramall previously photographed Princess Eugenie for Harper's Bazaar back in 2016.


The picture was taken in the White Drawing Room, at Windsor Castle.
Back row: Prince George; Princess Charlotte; Theodora Williams; Jack Brooksbank; Princess Eugenie; Isla Phillips; Louis De Givenchy 
Front row: Mia Tindall; Savannah Phillips; Maud Windsor
Inside the card is a copy of a handwritten note, likely written by Princess Eugenie. She would have written the note once, and then it is printed on all the cards.


The signatures are also printed onto the card. Eugenie & Jack's signatures are different than the ones featured on the couple's engagement reply, The York's tend to reuse their signatures, for their family Christmas card, so it is nice to see they didn't to that this time. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan - Wedding Reply (2018)

I long awaited reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Harry & Meghan back in May to congratulate them on their wedding. This reply came about 5.5 months after I had written, which is a long response time, but not the longest I've seen. (That honor would go to the Queen's 90th Birthday Reply.)

The envelope is the usual from the British Royals, with the red postmark from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace.


The back of the envelope features a black with Kensington Palace written underneath, that is used for the Cambridges & Sussex's mail.  


The reply is the typical photo card, along with a letter.



The photo is one of the couple's official wedding photos taken by Alexi Lubomirski at Windsor Castle. This was my favorite one of their wedding photos. I like how relaxed it seemed. But I'm not sure how I feel about a black and white photo being used for their photo reply. I think a colored photo would have been more elegant.

The message on the back of the card is the usual sort of thing.



The card reads:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been overwhelmed by all the incredibly kind cards and letters they have received on the occasion of their Wedding, and are so touched that you took the trouble to write as you did.  
It really was most thoughtful of you and greatly appreciated by Their Royal Highnesses who send you their very best wishes. 
I also received a letter from Claudia Spens, head of the Correspondence Section at Clarence House, thanking me for the donation I made in honor of the couple's wedding. I had made a donation to Myna Mahila Foundation, which was one of the seven charities Harry & Meghan suggested well-wishers donate to in lieu of sending a gift.



The letter reads:
Dear Miss Daly, 
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have asked me to thank you for your letter of 24th May and I must apologise for the delay in responding to you. As I am sure you can imagine, this has been a particularly busy time for this office and we have, consequently, been unable to reply as quickly as we should have liked to. 
It was so kind of you to take the trouble to write as you did and Their Royal Highnesses were immensely touches by your generous words of support. The Duke and Duchess were heartened to learn of the charitable donation you made to the Myna Mahila Foundation in their honour; this was most thoughtful and commendable of you and Their Royal Highnesses are incredibly grateful.  
Although unable to reply to you personally, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have asked me to send you their warmest thanks for your letter and their very best wishes.  
Yours sincerely,  
Claudia Spens
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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Writing to the Royals for Christmas - 2018 Guide

King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima's Christmas Reply from 2016, 2017 & 2018.


The Royals absolutely love to get letters and cards from the public, and Christmas is no different!

Writing for the 1st time?

If you are writing to the Royals for the 1st time (or want a refresher on the basics) check out our "How To" tab. This post will only cover the specifics for Christmas 2018. 

When to start writing?

My feeling is Christmas letters and cards should arrive no more than a month before Christmas (i.e. after November 25th). So I usually start writing mid/late November. 

You don't want to start writing too early. As it can affect what you get in reply. (Same with being too late.) If they don't have the Christmas reply printed when they opening your letter, the office staff may just send you some generic reply, as they don't want mail stacking up in the office, given that they already hundreds a day. 


Send by Date?

It is always hard to choose a "Send by Date" to recommend to you all. When you should send your letters varies from country to country, where you are sending it to, the type of mail (economy, standard, first class, priority, etc.), if it is a standard size envelope, etc.

Our general recommended Send by Date is: Saturday, December 8th! 


To find the exact "send by date" for you, check out your national postal service's website. Some of you may need to send your letter earlier, while others will have more time.


Remember during the Christmas season, it often takes longer for mail to arrive. 


What if I miss the Dec 8th send by date?

That is perfectly okay. Feel free to continue sending your letters/cards after this date, it just may not arrive by Christmas. And that is fine.  

If you are sending your letter after Christmas, I would re-focus it a little and wish them a Happy New Year and 2019. I think at the lastest you can write until the end of the first week January. 


Addresses?

You can find all the addresses for the Royals under our "Addresses" tab.

Note:  A lot of Monarchies outside Europe are not Christian and don't celebrate Christmas. If you wanted to write to them, I would figure out what it is they are celebrating this time of year, or just send them good wishes for the season/new years.  


What if I don't celebrate Christmas?

Don't worry! You can still send the Royals a Holiday/ Winter Season/ New Years letter or card, whatever it is you are celebrating this season. Be aware, however, most royals send out pre-made cards, that aren't personalize for each person, so their reply may thank you for your Christmas wishes.

What to write?

I very often get asked this question. The answer is, write whatever you feel like writing about. There is no one right answer. As long as you are being respectful and thoughtful, it is hard to go wrong.

For Christmas you could mention things like: 

  • Some event in 2018 that was particularly meaningful to you
    • or a cause, royal visit or tour, etc. 
    • Royal wedding, baby/pregnancy announcement, etc. 
  • What you are most excited for in 2019 
  • How this royal has inspired you 
  • What you admire about the royal family 
  • December or January birthdays/anniversaries
  • etc.
We have some sample letters/card to the Royal on the "How To" tab. 

What to expect?
Royals get thousands of Christmas cards and letters each year, full of well-wishes and hopes for the coming year. Unfortunately, most are unable to send out personal responses. Responses vary greatly across the different royals. Most respond with a pre-made thank you, and the response will usually be sent sometime in January, or February (December if you are lucky!  March if you are unlucky! & possibly longer for Clarence House). There are sadly some royals don't send replies or don't reply to everyone who writes.

But do remember that it takes them a while to answer everyone. So people may get their replies weeks or months apart. 


You can check out my replies from past Christmases here. And more on average response time here


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Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Should I type or handwrite my letter?

Answer: Either is fine. There is no wrong answer! The important thing is that the person can read & understand your letter. Do whatever you are most comfortable with and what looks good.


I usually type my letters because it looks neater. I don't have the prettiest handwriting. It also allows me to edit it, and check my spelling. I usually take a lot of time and care with each letter. Having it on my laptop, where I can work on it a little bit at a time, works well for me.

But when I do want to handwrite a letter, I always make sure to plan it out. I usually handwrite things when I don't have a lot to say, when it is a simple and short message. I don't want to make a mistake on my nice stationery or run out of room, so I usually start by typing my note so I can organize my thoughts and edit. Use a font & size that is like your handwriting so you can figure out how much will fit on the page.

Question 2: How long should my letter be?


Answer: How long your letter is depends on how much you have to say, and the occasion. It can just be a few lines, or something longer.


I would not write anything longer than a page. The best letters are not the longest, but clear, to the point, and personal. Anything you need to say in 5 pages can probably be said in 1 & much more elegantly.

Question 3: What language should I write in?

Answer: It is perfectly fine to write to a royal in one of the countries official languages, English, or that Royal's native language. I think all of those choices are perfectly fine and equal. So I would write in whatever you are most comfortable in and will be clear and understandable.


Don't feel like you need to write in the official language instead of English. For me, as an American, my English is great. There is no reason for me to write something messed up in another language when I can write in English. Although sometimes, I will include the phrase "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations" in their language. I think that is a very nice and considerate touch.

Question 4: I haven't received a reply from ____ yet, and I've waited SO LONG!!!!!!!

Answer: Has it been 2 months yet? 

No: Then be patient. It takes time for them to reply. They are busy with many things and get a lot of mail. 1-2 Months is a perfectly normal response time.


Yes, It's been over 2 months: Again, don't worry. They are busy with many things and get a lot of mail. I have received a lot of replies after 2 months. My longest wait has been 6.5 months waiting for a reply.

Remember for big occasions (e.g. Jubilees, Milestone Birthdays, Births, Weddings, etc.) they receive a lot of mail, and it can take longer than usual for them to send out replies.

They also tend to be very slow over Christmas holiday and during Summer since a lot of their staff is on holiday.

Of course, there are some Royals who don't send replies. We have a list of average response times here & we do note those royals who don't, or only occasionally, send out replies.

Question 5: Someone got a reply for ___ and I didn't?

Answer: Don't worry. Royals get a lot of mail, and can't send out all the replies at once. It takes time. I have seen people write at the same time, for the same thing and get replies months apart.

Occasionally, we do see some people get replies and others not. But most royals reply to everyone.

Question 6: Do I need to send a self-addressed envelope or stamps with my letter?

Answer: No. The Royal's office takes care of all that.

Question 7: If I'm writing for a child's birthday should I address my letter to the parents or the child?

Answer: Either is acceptable. The important thing is the letter is delivered to the right place. The child's and the parent's mail is usually answered by the same office, so there really isn't any difference.


I would address the envelope to the person you wrote the letter/card to. Most of the time people are really writing to the parents, so you should address the envelope to them. They are also usually the ones sending the Thank You card.

A letter/card to a child is going to be different than for an adult. A baby who can't read yet is only going to be interested in your letter if they can chew on it. A letter for a child should be simple & playful, with cute drawings or stickers, etc.

Question 8: When should I write? Is it too early or late?

The perfect time to send a letter depends on the occasion. You don't have to write in the window I mention below, but I recommend it. If you write too early or too late, it will affect response time and possibly the type of response.

Writing ahead of the event:
There are some events where you want to send your letter ahead to time (Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc). 

It's always great when you can send your letter early enough that it arrives on or before the event. I recommend 2 weeks ahead of time. That will usually give your letter enough time to get there and give their office time to go through the mail. (But of course, it depends on how long it takes mail from your country to get to the Royals country. And that can vary greatly across the world.)

However, you can't always sit down to write 2 weeks ahead of time for every event. Don't worry. As long as you can get your letter out sometime that month it's fine. Sometimes that means sending it out 30 days ahead of time or sending it out on the person's birthday. 

Writing after the event:

There are some events where you will send your letter after (Births, Deaths, Weddings, etc.). 


It is going to take you time to write and process the event. They are also going to be busy during this time. So don't feel like you have to write as soon as the announcement is made. Feel free to wait a few days. But I would try to get your letter mailed out within 2-3 weeks.

What if my timing is way off?

If you want to write to someone and it's way past whatever event, or way before. Don't fret, you don't need a specific occasion to write. Write a more general letter and put in a small mention about the event.

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