Saturday, November 27, 2021

Guide to Writing to the Royals for Christmas (2021)

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 2021. 

When to start writing?

My feeling is Christmas letters and cards should ideally arrive sometime in December. So I usually start sending out my letters in 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 open your letter, the office staff may just send you some generic reply, as they don't want mail stacking up in the office. Or alternatively, your letter could get set aside and as it is at the bottom of the pile, it could be one of the last to get replies. 

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 for International Mail is:

Monday, December 13th!

This may not get your letter/card there by Christmas, but it should be there in a timely fashion. 

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 takes longer for mail to arrive.  


What if I miss the Dec 13th Send By Date?

That is okay. Feel free to continue sending your letters/cards after this date, it just may not arrive until after Christmas, or in January. 

If you are sending your letter after Christmas, I would re-focus it a little and wish them a Happy New Year and 2022. I think at the latest you can write until the end of the first week of January. But do keep in mind that writing late, might also affect what you get in reply. Some royals will only print a limited number of cards, and so if you write too late they might. 

Addresses?
You can find all the addresses for the Royals under our "Addresses" tab. There have not been any recent changes in Mailing Addresses. 

(We also created a Google Doc two years ago with all the addresses for the Current European Monarchies, which you can print off.)

Note: The Correspondence Section at Clarence House is no longer handling the Sussexes mail. & The Sussexes do not have a public USA mailing address. 

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 personalized 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 2021 that was particularly meaningful to you
    • or a cause, royal visit, etc. 
    • Royal wedding, baby/pregnancy announcement, etc. 
  • What you are most excited for in 2022
  • How this royal has inspired you 
  • What you admire about the royal family 
  • December or January birthdays/anniversaries
  • etc.
We have some sample letters/cards to the Royal on the "How To" 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 Year.  

What to expect?
The 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. And, t
here are sadly some royals who don't send replies or don't reply to everyone who writes.

Most respond with a pre-made thank you, and the response will usually be sent sometime in January, or February.  (You might get lucky with a December reply, or be made to wait until March. We have gotten a Christmas Reply in April before, and with the Pandemic slowing things down, some royals might have longer than usual response times.)

And, do remember that it takes them a while to answer everyone. So people may get their replies weeks or months apart. You can find a chart of past Christmas Response times here.

You can also check out my replies from past Christmases here.  


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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Prince Louis & Princess Charlotte's Birthday + Cambridges 10th Wedding Anniversary (2021)

I received this reply last month from the UK. I had written to the Cambridges back in April for Louis & Princess Charlotte's Birthday and the Cambridges' 10th Anniversary.

The front of the envelope is the usual from the British Royals, featuring the postmark from the Court Post office at Buckingham Palace.

The back of the envelope is the usual from the Cambridges, featuring Kensington Palace under the coronet of the child on the heir apparent.  

Inside are three photo cards, one for each event. 

The first card is for Prince Louis's birthday. It features a photo of him taken by Duchess Kate on his first day of nursery school. This photo was released to mark his birthday.  

The back of the card features a typed message. 

The card says: 
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are most grateful for the very kind message you sent to Prince Louis occasion of his third birthday.  
This was greatly appreciated by Their Royal Highnesses who send you their best wishes. 

It looks like there was a little mistake in the card.  The first sentence doesn't quite make sense grammatically, it should be something like "[...] Prince Louis on the occasion of his third birthday. " 

The 2nd card is for Princess Charlotte's Birthday. It also features a photo by Duchess Kate that was released on Charlotte's birthday. 

The back of the card features a typed message. The message is similar, but slightly different than Prince Louis's birthday message. I think it is nice to switch the message up. I also really like it when cards mention the person's age, as it allows you easily tell which birthday the reply is for when looking back at your collection. 

The card says: 
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appreciated your kind thought in writing to Princess Charlotte as you did on the occasion of her sixth birthday.  
It really was most thoughtful of you and greatly appreciated by Their Royal Highnesses who send you their best wishes. 

The 3rd card is for the couple's 10th wedding anniversary. And features a photo taken by Chris Floyd at Kensington Palace to mark the occasion.  

The back of the card features a typed message. 

The card says:  

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were touched by your kind message on the occasion of their 10th wedding anniversary. 
This was most thoughtful of you and greatly appreciated by Their Royal Highnesses who send you their warmest thanks and best wishes. 

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Monday, September 6, 2021

Condolence Replies for Prince Philip


Following Prince Philip's death in April, I wrote to a number of members of the British Royal Family to express my condolences. I received replies back from everyone, except for the Sussexes. You can find a detailed blog post about each reply via the link below. 

1 reply used black edging on the envelope (Wessex).

2 replies make no direct mention of Prince Philip: Charles's & Anne.

3 replies used special mourning envelopes: The Queen, Charles & The Wessexes

4 of the replies feature a photo of Prince Philip. Prince Charles's reply used the oldest photo, from 1958. And the other photos were from 2011 (The Queen), 2012 (Cambridges) & unable to identify date (Wessex). 

5 Replies used black edging. Prince Andrew's was the only one not to. 

The replies and envelopes featured 

  • 4 different Badges (Philip, Charles 2x, Andrew)
  • 3 different Monograms (William, Kate, Anne)
  • 2 Different Coat of Arms (Queen, Wessex Combined)
  • 1 Cypher (Queen)

Prince Philp is referred to as: 
  • "His Royal Highness Prince Philp, Duke of Edinburgh" (Queen & Wessex)
  • "His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh" (Andrew)
  • "The Duke of Edinburgh" (Cambridges)

3 cards mention the royal's relationship to Prince Philip
  • "My Husband" - Queen
  • "My Father" - Andrew
  • "Their much loved Grandfather & great-grandfather" - Cambridges

Condolence Reply for Prince Philip from The Queen (2021)

This reply arrived a while ago from the UK. I had written to The Queen to send her my deepest condolences following the death of her husband, Prince Philip. 

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

While the back of the envelopes may look like the usual from the Queen, this is actually a special mourning envelope, with her coat of arms in black instead of red. 

Inside is a folded card. The card is simlar to Queen's 90th Birthday, and Queen & Prince Philip's 70th Wedding Anniversary replies. 

The front of the card is identical to The Wessexes condolence card and feature's Prince Philip's badge. The center of the badge is Edinburgh Castle, chosen as a nod to Prince Philip's title, The Duke of Edinburgh. The belt surrounding that is the Order of Garter Belt, with the Orders' motto, Honi soit qui mal y pense (Middle French for Shame on him who thinks evil of it). The badge is topped with the coronet of the child of the sovereign. (Philip started using this coronet when he married Elizabeth and was the son-in-law of the Sovereign. As there is no special coronet for the spouse of a Queen, he kept this.) All of these elements are also features on Prince Philip's Coat of Arms. 

The front of the card says, 

"In memory of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021"

Inside is a photo of Prince Philip along with a typed message. The photo was taken by Julian Calder at Buckingham Palace in early 2011. The photo is part of a special set of official photographs by Royal Images. Royal Images is an organization that manages the set of official photos that are available for Royal's charities, government organizations, etc. for official use.

The Palace used another photo from this set for The Queen & Prince Philip's 70th Wedding Anniversary Reply back in 2017. 



The message says: 
Buckingham Palace 
I send you my sincere thanks for your kind words of sympathy on the death of my husband.  
Elizabeth R


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Condolence Reply for Prince Philip from York Family (2021)

This reply arrived a few months ago from the UK. I had written to the York Family to extend my deepest condolences for the death of Prince Philip.

The front of the envelope is the usual from the British Royals. From the postmark, we can tell this envelope was processed through the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. Despite stepping down as a working royal in November 2019, it appears Prince Andrew still keeps an office at Buckingham Palace. And the Sovereign Grant is still coving the cost of postage, as the envelope uses the Grant’s PPI number W4047.

The back of the envelope is the same Prince Andrew has been using for years, featuring his badge in blue. Andrew's badge is the York Rose, surrounded by the Order of Garter belt and topped with the coronet of the son of the sovereign. 


Inside is a letter from Libby Horsley, an "Assistant Private Secretary" in Prince Andrew's office. Libby previously worked for Pitch@Palace, but started working for Andrew's office after Pitch@Palace temporarily shut down "to reassess its future direction."

The stationary is the same as we have always seen from Prince Andrew. Although I had addressed my letter to the York Family, the letter is just on behalf of Andrew. This is likely because it's just a form letter, that was sent out to everyone who sent a letter to Andrew's office to express their condolences. 



The letter says, 
Buckingham Palace
25th May, 2021

Dear Ms Dale,  
The Duke of York had asked me to thank you for your kind message of condolence on the death of his father, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal highness is touched that you had thought to write to him and has asked me to send you his best wishes. 
Yours sincerely, 
Libby Horsley 
Assistant Private Secretary
Household of HRH The Duke of York

They did misspell my last name on both the letter and envelope.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Condolence Reply for Prince Philip from Prince Charles (2021)

I received this reply a while ago from the UK. I had written to Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla to extend my condolences following the death of Prince Philip. While I had written to the couple, the reply is from Prince Charles. 

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

The back of the envelope may look like the usual from Prince Charles with his Prince of Wales feathers. But, actually, this is different. Normally, Prince Charles's envelopes have the feathers in Red. This envelope uses black as part of the mourning of Prince Philip. 



Inside is a folded card. The front of the card features Prince Charles's Badge. The center of the badge has the Prince of Wales feathers. They are surrounded by the Order of Garter Belt and topped with the coronet of the heir apparent.

The black edge is a victorian era tradition for mourning. 


The inside left features a photo of Prince Philip & Prince Charles at a boat race in Isle of Wight in 1958. Prince Charles would have been 9 years old then. 


This photo was part of the set of photos shared after Prince Philip's death. But the photo isn't new, having been shared by Clarence House a number of times over the year. 

 

---

The inside right features a typed message.

The card says: 

The Prince of Wales thanks you so much for your kind message of sympathy. 

His Royal Highness has been enormously touched by the many generous messages that have been received in recent days; they have provided great comfort at this very sad time. 

The Prince of Wales sends you his warmest thanks and best wishes. 

The back of the card had a note about the photo. And includes the Forest Sustainable badge, which notes the paper is from a sustainable forest. 

 

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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Condolence Reply for Prince Philip from the Wessexes (2021)

I received this reply last month from Prince Edward & Countess Sophie. I had written to them to express my condolences following the death of Edward's father, Prince Philip. 

Other than the black edge for mourning, the envelope is the usual from the Wessexes. You may notice their mail does not feature the usual postmark that we see on other British Royals' mail. This is because the Wessexes's mail is not processed through the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace, which processes all the mail from the London-based Royal offices. Instead, the Wessexes's mail is handled by their staff at their home at Bagshot Park in Surrey. 

This postmark features their Sovereign Grant's old PPI number of W 7047. This was not redesigned in 2019 like the other royal postmarks to coincide with the switch to W 4047. You can find more the different Royal Postmarks here.

The back of the envelope features Prince Edward & Countess Sophie's joint coat of arms, above "Bagshot Park" the name of their home where the mail was sent from.  



Inside is a folded card. The front of card feature's Prince Philip's badge. The center of the badge is Edinburgh Castle, chosen as a nod to Prince Philip's title, The Duke of Edinburgh. The belt surrounding that is the Order of Garter Belt, with the Orders' motto, Honi soit qui mal y pense (Middle French for Shame on him who thinks evil of it). The badge is topped with the Coronet of the Child of the Sovereign. (Philip started using this coronet when he married Elizabeth and was the son-in-law of the Sovereign. As there is no special coronet for the spouse of a Queen, he kept this.) All of these elements are also features on Prince Philip's Coat of Arms. 


The front of the card says 
"In memory of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021"

The inside of the card features a photo of Prince Philip along with a typed message. 


I did try tracking down the photo to figure out what event it was from. I wasn't able to find that out. But the photo has been used by the Duke of Edinburgh Awards a number of times. So, I would assume it is from Duke of Edinburg Awards event. 

Choosing a Duke of Edinburgh Awards Event would be particularly meaningful to the Wessexes as they are heavily involved with the organization.

The card says:

Thank you for your kind message of condolence. We are extremely grateful for your thoughtfulness in writing at this sad time.  

TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex and Forfar

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