Friday, January 11, 2019

Princess Caroline of Monaco - Christmas Reply

Not the kind of reply I wanted. Today, my Christmas letter to Princess Caroline was returned.

The envelope has a yellow sticker that says:
Return to SenderNot Deliverable as AddressedUnable to Forward
I know a few people have also gotten their mail to Princess Caroline sent back as well. The address I used is the one for all the Monaco royals, that is listed on the Monaco royal website. I know the address works. I've gotten a reply from Caroline in the past & I know people who got a reply from her this Christmas using this address.

My guess would be the problem has to do with the Monaco Cedex. The Cedex (Courrier d'Entreprise à Distribution EXceptionnelle is a special delivery for organizations that receive large volumes of mail.

I've only ever seen this problem with Princess Caroline. I know she doesn't always reply, as I've written to her a number of times over the years and have only gotten one reply for her birthday in 2017. But it's odd that the mail didn't even get to her.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

King Albert & Queen Paola of Belgium - Christmas Reply (2018)

My first reply of 2019 arrived today from Belgium! I had written to King Albert & Queen Paola to wish them a very Merry Christmas.

The envelope is interesting. First, it's missing it's postage & postmark. I am a bit amazed it managed to get to me without postage, and I rather like how clean the envelope looks without the postmark.

The other thing I find interesting about the envelope is that I haven't received this design before, with the red crown on the front. I counted, this is my 23rd reply from the Belgium Royals and this is the 11th different design of envelope I've received in 4 years. (This is counting all my replies from the Belgium Royals, not just Albert & Paola)
  1. Purple Crown, Palais de Bruxelles - Front (6 times)
  2. Purple Crown, Belvedere - Front (3x)
  3. Red F/P&M monogram - Front (3x)
    • Always Philippe & Mathilde's Christmas Reply
  4. Purple Crown, Secretariat de la Reine - Front (2x)
  5. Purple Crown, Belvedere with address - Back; Purple tissue paper - Inside (2x)
  6. Dark Purple Crown - Back, Purple - Inside (2x)
  7. Red Crown - Front  (1x)
  8. Red Crown - Back; Extra Large Envelope (1x)
  9. Purple Crown, Palais de Bruxelles, with address window - Front (1x)
  10. Tiny Purple Crown - Back; White lining - Inside (1x)
  11. No Crown; Extra Large Envelope (1x)
It's surprising that they would have so many different envelopes. I understand having different ones for the different residences, royals, or offices, but that would not explain all the different envelopes I've received. 

The Belgium Royals' frank their own mail, with a machine. So, it was some mistake in their office, which is understandable given how much mail they get. This is what it normally looks like:

King Albert & Queen Paola Christmas reply is similar to past years, a flat card with photo on the front and message on the back. Although, it is interesting to see them do things a little different each year.

This year's card is smaller than last year, and slightly bigger than the year before. This year King Albert & Queen Paola feature a photo of them in nature. (It is unclear when or where the photo was taken.) And this is the first Christmas reply I've gotten from them with a border design. 

The back of the card features a crown with the message "Best Wishes for the New Year" in Belgium's 3 official languages (French, Dutch, German), and Italian (Paola's native language).

The signatures are printed on and are the same use in past years. I really like that they made the signatures gold to match the boarder. I think it make it look extra elegant.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Writing to the Royals Q&A - January (2019)

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 love to sketch dresses and fashion outfits. I have made some sketches of dresses I imagined for Kate. Would it be appropriate to show her my sketches by attaching them with a letter? 

Answer: Yes, it would be perfectly fine to send your sketches to Kate. 

Question 2: When you write to Prince Philip, do you write on the envelope "The Duke of Edinburgh's Office" or just "Buckingham Palace ... etc."?

Answer: You need to have something on the first line of the envelope to denote which office at Buckingham Palace this should be sent to. You can either write "Duke of Edinburgh," "HRH Prince Philip," etc. 

You only need to include "Office" when you are sending a letter to a royal office, but it's not for that royal. For example, letters to Princess Beatrice & Princess Eugenie should be sent to The Duke of York's office. So, you would write something like: 

HRH Princess Beatrice
Duke of York's Office
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

Question 3: Do you know if anyone has received the Sussexs's pregnancy reply yet?

Answer: I haven't seen anyone get their reply yet. But I know Clarence House is very busy right now. I saw someone get their wedding reply earlier this week so they are months behind. I'm waiting on at least 6 replies from them. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Sarah, Duchess of York - Christmas Reply (2018)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Duchess Sarah for Christmas.

The envelope looks like the typical from British Royals. But you will notice it doesn't feature the EIIR or circle with the date and Buckingham Palace/Windsor Castle. This is likely because this didn't get process through either the Court Post office at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace.

It is interesting to see that Sarah is again using the Royals PPI number, W7047. The PPI (Printed Postage Impressions) 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 uses that number to charge the correct account.

Sarah has her own PPI number, HQ6515. But it seems like whenever 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.

The back of the envelope features Prince Andrew's badge. It's understandable if the Yorks are ordering their Christmas Cards, that they would also order a set of matching envelopes. So, it's understandable that Sarah would use Andrew's envelopes for the Christmas Card.

Sarah replied with the York Family's personal Christmas card. This would have been sent out to family, friends, etc. The card is a lovely tri-fold. 

The outside of the card

Like past years, the front of the card feature's Prince Andrew's badge. The badge contains the York Rose, surrounded by the Order of Garter belt and topped with a coronet (smaller crown).  This year, however, the front of the card also includes a photo of Princess Eugenie & Prince Andrew walking into St. George's Chapel on her wedding day.  This was arguably one of the most important days in 2018 for the York Family. 

That side of the card also features a photo of Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank during the post-wedding carriage ride through the streets of Windsor. The photo isn't the best quality and I was initially wondering why they didn't choose the stunning photo of the couple in the carriage kissing that was released as part of their official wedding photos. 

But then, I thought about when this photo was taken, and who took it. This was from right in front of the steps of St. George's Chapel, moments after they got in the carriage. And if you remember, outside St. George's Chapel was a large group of people who had been specially invited into the grounds of Windsor Castle. They included Royal Staff, charity representatives, school children, etc. 

So, I'm thinking this photo was taken by some family friend of the Yorks. I'm thinking it could have been Jessie Huberty, the women Sarah hugged when she arrived at the Chapel, or someone with Jessie, as it appears to be taken from where she was standing. 

You can actually see a clip of the moment this photo was taken here

The photo on the back features Prince Andrew during Trooping the Colours. This was an especially important moment for Andrew as this was the first time he had ridden on horseback during Trooping the Colours. This new honor was because Andrew is now Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. The honorary military appointment had previously belonged to his father, Prince Philip. 

The Inside of the card

The inside of the card features a lovely blue background that matches the blue in Andrew's badge. This is the 1st time I've seen the York's include a blue background on their card, and I think it is rather lovely.

The photos on the left of the inside feature Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank at Balmoral Castle.  It is unclear when exactly this photo was taken, but as they are at Balmoral and Eugenie is wearing her engagement ring, this would likely have been taken this summer sometime during the Queen's annual stay at the Castle. 

The center of the card features a lovely message: "Life is such a celebration. Wishing you Joy & sparkles at this time." The signatures of the York family are in gold and embossed onto the card. The signatures are the same ones used on past Christmas cards, except for Jack's which was copied from Eugenie & Jack's wedding reply.

The inside of the card also features a photo of Princess Eugneie & Princess Beatrice at the Serpentine Summer party in June. The photograph was taken by David M. Benett.  

It is interesting to see that for the 2nd year in the row, Sarah is not included in any of the photos.
I assume Andrew is always paying for the Christmas cards, which is why they feature his badge on the front and envelope and why he is always featured predominately.

It's also interesting to see the York's Christmas cards year to year, as they vary slightly in size and style.
The York Family Christmas Cards: 2016, 2017 & 2018. All tri-folds
Included with the York Christmas Card was a leaflet for Street Child UK, one of Sarah's patronages. Sarah founded the charity, Children in Crisis in 1993. It merged with Street Child UK earlier this year. Sarah serves as Street Child UK's Founder Patron. Eugenie & Beatrice, who had been ambassadors of Children in Crisis, have continued on as ambassadors of Street Child UK.

I had mentioned Sarah's work with Street Children UK and it's merger with Children in Crisis in my Christmas letter to Sarah, which is why this was included.

The front of the leaflet says:
Count Me In 
Give before 21st Feb 2019 and public donations to Street Child's 'Count Me In" campaign will be matched by the UK government. 

The back of the leaflet says:
Count Me In 
There are 121 Million school-aged children around the world who are not in education. That's not acceptable. Millions more are not in school but failing to learn because the resources simply aren't good enough.  
We won't stand by and let this continue. 
 At Street Child, we are fighting for a world where it is seen as unacceptable for a child not to be in education.  
Street Child provides simple and sustainable solutions such as paying school fees, buying uniforms and learning materials, training teachers, refurbishing classrooms and building schools to ensure that children have access to education.  
By providing more children with access to a quality education we give them better life chances through employment opportunities, better health and we empower girls to have a voice in decisions that affect their life. 

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Prince Albert & Princess Charlene of Monaco - Christmas Reply (2018)

A lovely reply arrived today from Monaco. It is from Prince Albert & Princess Charlene for the Christmas letter I sent them.

The envelope is the typical from the Monaco Royals. The top left corner ways "Service of HSH the Prince of Monaco." The postmarks says, "Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, commit to sea turtles."

The 2018 stamp features the sailing ship, Viola, which is part of the fleet of classic yachts at the maritime museum of La Rochelle, in France. Viola won the Monaco Classic Week Trophy in 2017.

The back of the envelope features Prince Albert & Princess Charlene's joint monogram. You can't tell from the photo, but the envelope has some sparkles in it.

Inside is Albert & Charlene's Christmas card, which is similar to their reply from past years. Unfortunately, the card got kind of bent in the mail.

The front of the card features an embossed red border with the couple's monogram. The photo features Albert & Charlene with their two children, Crown Prince Jacques & Princess Gabriella and the family's pet. What is really nice about the card is the photo is printed on photo paper and then attached to the card.

The photo was taken by Vanessa Von Zitzewitz, who took their Christmas card photo last year.

Like last year, their Christmas card also features a photo inside the card. They used this interesting filter again. I find it a little weird, but it looks much better than last year's inside photo.

The inside of the card features their message in 3 languages: French, English & Monégasque. The signatures are printed on and are the same as past years. 

The card reads:
May the Christmas Season fill your home with joy, your heart with love and your life with laughter. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2019. Albert de Monaco Charlene de Monaco
In my Christmas letter, I also mentioned the Twin's birthday. They usually send a reply for the Twins birthday separately. So, hopefully, I will get that soon.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Prince Charles - 70th Birthday reply (2018)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Prince Charles last month for his 70th Birthday. 

The envelope is the usual from the British Royals.

The back of the envelope features Prince Charles's red Prince of Wales feathers.

Instead of the usual postcard-size photo card, Clarence House sent a lovely folded card for Charles's milestone birthday. This is the 1st time I've gotten a card like this from Clarence House.

The front of the card features Charles's Badge? It's always been unclear what exactly this type of thing is called. It's not a monogram, a coat of arms or a cipher. (But whatever exactly it is called, it is very similar to what Prince Charles & Prince Andrew use on their stationery.)

What I do know is it features the Prince of Wales Feathers in the center, surrounded by the Order of Garter Belt, and topped with the Prince of Wales coronet. 

We don't normally see this on mail to well-wishers from Prince Charles. Normally, his mail just features the red Prince of Wales feather. But, Charles does use this a lot on his more personal correspondences, like his personal Christmas card. 

The inside of the card features a photo of Prince Charles & a typed message. The photo was taken by Matthew Brookes as part of Prince Charles's GQ interview in honor of winning GQ Men of the Year award.

The message inside the card is pretty typical of what we see from Clarence House for Birthdays. 

The card says: 
The Prince of Wales was very touched you took the trouble to write as you did on the occasion of his 70th Birthday. 
His Royal Highness greatly appreciated your thoughtfulness and sends you his warmest thanks and very best wishes. 

The back of the card is blank except for a note about the photographer and The Forest Stewardship Council mark that notes this card was made with paper from a sustainable forest.

The reply also included a letter, written by Claudia Spens, the head of the correspondence section at Clarence House. The letter mentions other things I had included in my letter, like my congratulations on the announcement of a new grandchild.

The letter reads: 
Dear Miss Daly,  

The Prince of Wales asked me to thank you for your letter of 8th November.  
His Royal Highness is grateful to you for taking the trouble to write as you did. The Prince of Wales is delighted by the announcement that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child.  

His Royal Highness thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Autumn Tour and was overwhelmed by the lovely welcome and warm reception he received from the countries he visited.  

The Prince of Wales greatly appreciated your good wishes which you have sent on the occasion of his 70th birthday and has asked me to send you the enclosed card along with his warmest thanks and very best wishes.  

Yours Sincerely,  

Claudia Spens
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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Hereditary Prince Alois & Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein - Christmas Reply (2018)

A lovely reply arrived yesterday from Liechtenstein. This is my very first reply for Christmas 2018!

The envelope is the usual from the Liechtenstein Royals and features a Christmas 2018 postmark and stamp.

The back of the envelope features the address for Vaduz Castle, the Liechtenstein Royal's home.

Inside is the Liechtenstein Royal's usual reply. The reply features an embossed coat of arms at the top and lovely textured edges. 

The card is written in German and reads: 
Blessed Christmas and all the best in the New Year.
Sophie Liechtenstein Alois Liechtenstein 

Over the years, I've been conflicted about whether or not the Lichtenstein Royals' signatures are real. I've definitely gotten a number of different versions of the different royals signatures. But when comparing this reply with the Christmas reply from 2017 & 2016, it is obvious the signature is printed on. 

I think they might do a mixture of printed on and real signatures. The printed on signatures are in this thicker blue, and the real signatures are from something that looks more like a pen. (See Hereditary Princess Sophie's 2018 Birthday Reply)

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