Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Crown Prince Jacques & Princess Gabriella of Monaco - 1st Birthday (2015)

It was quite exciting to find this reply waiting for me at home when I returned from my Christmas holiday. The card is from Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco. I had written to them for their twins, Crown Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella's, 1st Birthday on December 10th.

The postmarks and stamps from Monaco are always really interesting. This postmark features a nativity scene and with the words "Joyeuses Fetes," which is French for Happy Holidays. The stamp is for the Monaco Yacht Show, which was September 23-26th.

One of the interesting things about the envelope was that it didn't feature any monogram/ cypher on the back. Replies sent from Prince Albert and Princess Charlene usually feature their joint monogram, a red "AC" with a crown on top.

Inside was a bi-lingual thank-you card. The card is written in both French and English. The top of the card features Jacques and Gabriella's monogram as well as the Royal Family's coat of arms.

One of the interesting things about this card was the use of the term Crown Prince. We have seen Prince Jacque been called both Crown Prince and Hereditary Prince. They both mean the same thing, that Jacque is the heir apparent.

Crown Prince/ss is the more common term used by other european monarchs, but I feel like Hereditary Prince has been used more by Monaco historically. In French, there is just one term "Prince Héréditaire" which is always used.

The card says:
Their Serene Highnesses Prince and Princess of Monaco were very touched by your kind wishes, sent on the occasion of the 1st birthday of H.S.H. Crown Prince Jacques and H.S.H. Princess Gabriella, and would like to thank you most sincerely. 
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene gave an interview to mark the Twin's 1st birthday. (It is bilingual- both French and English with subtitles).

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Queen Margrethe & Prince Henrik of Denmark- Christmas (2015)

The 1st response to my Christmas letters arrived today. Although this was one of the 1st letters I managed to mail out, I certainly wasn't expecting a reply so quickly! The letter comes from Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark.

I had previously written to their son, Crown Prince Frederik, and Crown Princess Mary.  Their replies were usually sent Economy and often took 45 days to arrive. This letter was mailed Priority and took 6 days to arrive.

The envelope looks similar to one I have received when writing to the Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, except the crown on the card and the back of the envelope was blue instead of black.

The letter is a typical Christmas response, it has a generic message. But the letter is personalized with my name, the date the letter was written and the signature of Ingelise Riedel is hand-signed.

The letter reads:
Miss Gertrude Alexandra Daly(Address) 

Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince Consort have asked me to thank you for your kind Christmas Greetings, which Her Majesty and His Royal Highness appreciated very much to receive.  

Yours Sincerely, 
Ingelise Riedel 
Personal Assistant to Her Majesty the Queen
If you still want to mail Christmas Cards to the Royals, there is still time. We have reached that point where if you are mailing internationally, your letter may not arrive by Christmas.  But as long as you get your card out in a reasonable time it is fine if it doesn't arrive on time. It takes a while for royals to send out replies.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Prince Harry - Birthday Reply (2015)

Today I received a reply from Prince Harry for the birthday message I sent in September.

This reply certainly came a lot quicker than Prince William's birthday reply this year, which was an unheard of 4 months, which is the longest response time I've received so far. Clarence House had been backed up most of the summer, with the huge number of correspondences for Princess Charlotte's birth and then taking time off for the summer holiday.

This reply was mailed on October 30th, 1.5 months after Prince Harry's birthday. Last year's reply is postmarked October 3rd, so quite a bit quicker, but the delay in this year's response is understandable given Clarence House's busy summer and still falls into the normal response time.

The front of the card features a photo by Chris Jackson, who coincidently also took the picture featured on Prince Harry's birthday response from last year. The photo was taken September 30th when Harry joined Walking with the Wounded for part of their 1,000-mile "Walk of Britain."

The reply on the back of the card is your standard birthday message. The message reads:
Prince Harry was touched you took the trouble to write as you did on the occasion of his 31st birthday.

It really was most thoughtful of you and His Royal Highness sends you his warmest thanks and best wishes.
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Monday, November 2, 2015

Queen Elizabeth - Longest Reign Reply (2015)

A letter came today from Buckingham Palace. I had written to Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her becoming the longest-reigning monarch in British History. 

The envelope is the usual from the British royals. 

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

It is your basic form letter, the exact same most people will receive if they wrote to the Queen for this occasion. 

The letter reads: 
Buckingham Palace 
The Queen thanks you for the message you have sent on the occasion of Her Majesty becoming the longest reigning Monarch in British history.  

The Queen is very touched by the support and affection she has received throughout her long reign, and thanks you so much for your thoughtfulness in writing at this time. 
October 2015

There isn't really too much to say about the letter. Even though this isn't the most exciting of letters, it will definitely hold a special place in my collection, since it represents such a defining moment in British History.  

The Queen became the longest-reigning British monarch on 9th September 2015, having reigned 63 years, 216 days.

Prince Charles, if he ascended to the throne today, would have to live and reign to age 130, to surpass the Queen. And for every additional year of the Queen's reign, you would have to add 2 years to his "must reign too" age. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Prince George of Cambridge - Birthday Reply (2015)

I've been waiting for this reply for a while. I saw a few people got their responses in the last few weeks and so, I was very eagerly awaiting mine.

I immediately knew this was from the Cambridges, by Prince William's Wren Press Red monogram on the back of the envelope. For the British Royals, when a couple does something jointly they use the monogram of the more senior royal. Other European Royals use joint monograms.

The response was of course for Prince George's 2nd birthday. It is the usual reply from the Cambridges: photo on the front and typed message on the back.

The photo is one taken earlier this year by Duchess Kate.

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 George on the occasion of his second birthday.
It really was most thoughtful of you and greatly appreciated. 
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Princess Charlotte's Christening Reply (2015)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to The Cambridges in July for Princess Charlotte's Christening.

It's the usual Cambridge/Harry reply.  The picture is, of course, one of the official photographs taken by Mario Testino at Sandringham after the Christening.

The back of the card says:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are most grateful to you for taking the trouble to write as you did on the occasion of the Baptism of their daughter, Princess Charlotte.  
It really was most thoughtful of you and Their Royal Highnesses send you their warmest thanks and best wishes. 

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Prince William - Birthday Reply (2015)

Three lovely replies arrived today from the UK. This was the one I waited longest for, Prince William's birthday. He turned 33 in June. It is the usual reply for the Cambridges/Harry. A postcard size card with a picture on the front and a typed message on the back.

The picture on the front was taken by Victoria Dawe and is from shoot for the Queen's Young Leaders' video message William and Harry did early this summer. The video was released June 15th.

The message on the back in is pretty much the exact same as the message from Kate's birthday this year, and Harry's last year.

The card says:
The Duke of Cambridge was touched that you took the trouble to write as you did on the occasion of his birthday.  
It really was most thoughtful of you and His Royal Highness sends you his warmest thanks and best wishes. 
You can see the Queen's Young Leaders' video message here.

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Prince Carl Philip & Princess Sofia of Sweden - Wedding Reply (2015)

A reply arrived today from Sweden. I had written to Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden following their wedding in June. And finally 4 months later I received a beautiful reply from the couple.

The envelope is pretty standard for replies from Sweden. It does not have a monogram or cypher on the back like you often see with other royal mail.

Inside is a very lovely card. The front features the couples joint monogram.

Inside the card was a typed message and photo of the couple. The photo is from the set of official photos taken at the Palace after their wedding. Underneath the photo is the couple's wedding date.

The message is bilingual, in Swedish and English, and says:
We wish to extend our sincere gratitude for all the consideration shown to us on the occasion of our wedding. We highly appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Carl Phillip & Sofia
The signatures were printed on to the card, not handwritten.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Queen Paola of Belgium - Get Well Soon Thank You Reply (2015)

Today a piece of royal mail arrived. By all appearances, it certainly looked underwhelming. It lacked the pomp and circumstance of other pieces of royal mail and the crown on the back of the envelope is the smallest I have seen.

I certainly wasn't expecting to find what is probably one of the most favorite pieces of royal mail.

I had written to Queen Paola of Belgium after it was announced in August that she was taking a period of “total rest” under doctors' orders, and would be canceling all further engagements. It was reported by a number of papers that Queen Paola had suffered a stroke, but the Palace made no comment. She has yet to resume official duties.

Queen Paola is the mother of King Philippe of Belgium. Her husband, King Albert II, abdicated in 2013.

Inside the envelope is a flat card. The front is pictured below, and features a number of messages for all occasions in a number of languages.

The back of the card features Queen Paola's monogram and a picture of her, with a message from Queen Paola. The message is actually printed on the card.

Queen Paola had written a handwritten message, that her office scanned and then printed. This done so that Queen Paola can send a handwritten message to everyone, without having to write out cards for each individual person. This is very lovely and makes each recipient feel very special.

The message is bilingual, writing in French and Dutch, both official languages of Belgium. The message translates roughly:
Wholeheartedly thank you for your kind wishes. 
Sept, 2015

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Princess Beatrice - Birthday Reply (2015)

A lovely reply arrived yesterday from the UK. I wrote to Princess Beatrice in early August for her 27th birthday.

It's a brief letter, which is very typical of the Yorks. The letter is signed by Prince Andrew's Assistant Private Secretary, James Upsher. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie don't have their own staff, so all their correspondences are dealt with by Prince Andrew's office, which is why the stationary features Prince Andrew's badge on the letter and envelope.

The letter reads: 
Buckingham Palace
24th September, 2015 
Dear Miss Daly,  
Princess Beatrice has asked me to thank you for your kind Birthday letter.  
Her Royal Highness sends her best wishes.  
Yours sincerely, 
James UpsherAssistant Private Secretary to The Duke of York 

The reply was written on September 24th, but wasn't mailed till the following week. The reply arrived 65 days (just over 2 months) after I had sent my letter. This is a pretty standard response time.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Duchess Kate - Birthday Reply (2015)

Today I received a reply from the UK. I had written to Duchess Kate for her birthday.

The envelope is the typical from the British Royals with the EIIR postmark from the Buckingham Palace Court Post Office.

On the back of the envelope is Kate's Golden Monogram. (The Cambridges & Sussexs no longer uses their individual monograms for normal replies. Instead, The Cambridges & Sussexs use a black Kensington Palace.)

The reply is the usual of the Cambridges, a photo reply with typed message on the back. The picture was taken by Arthur Edwards during the Cambridges' visit to Only Connect's Head Office in November 2013.

The message reads:
The Duchess of Cambridge was touched that you took the trouble to write as you did on the occasion of her birthday. It really was most thoughtful of you and Her Royal Highness sends you her warmest thanks and best wishes. 

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Prince Albert - 10th Anniversary of Accession Reply (2015)

I knew this letter was going to be different from the usual Monaco reply when I noticed the back of the envelope was missing Prince Albert of Monaco's usual monogram (2 red A's under a crown). 

This reply was for my letter to Prince Albert to congratulate him on his 10th anniversary of accession. The response was written on July 22nd and mailed on the 24th. It took 12 days in the mail, which is a little longer than usual.

Besides the lack of monogram on the back, the envelope looks exactly like usual. And yes, that is Prince Albert on the stamp.

Normally, Monaco sends out bilingual, pre-typed notes on really nice quality cardstock. I've received these type of replies for Prince Albert's birthdayPrincess Charlene's birthday and the birth of their twins.

This time, the reply was a letter written by Prince Albert's Private Secretary, Christine Sprile and hand signed. I assume this is because there was no prepared card. 

The note is brief but mentions why I wrote and thanks me for writing. The red print on the top of the page reads "La Secrétaire Particuliére De S.A.S. Le Prince Souverain de Monaco" which translated mean "The Private Secretary of His Serene Highness, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco."

The letter reads: 
Palace of Monaco 

July 22nd, 2015
Dear Ms. Daly,  
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II has received with great pleasure your kind wishes, sent on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of enthronement.  
The Prince has asked me to send you His most sincere thanks for your thoughtful attention which was very much appreciated.  
With all my best regards, 

Christine Sprile

This letter is very sweet with a lot of nice adjectives: great pleasure, kind wishes, sincere thanks, thoughtful attention, much appreciated, best regards. 

Another interesting thing is the salutation "With all my best regards,". For the most part, I've always seen "Yours sincerely." "With my best regards" seems more personal than the typical response, especially since the writer is normally writing on behalf of a royal and sending the royals thanks and best wishes, not their own.

And the last thing I have to say about this letter, is check out the awesome watermark, "opale". Only a handful of letters I've gotten have had watermarks. Opale is a brand of paper created by the UK company, Arjowiggins. Arjowiggins also make the brand Conqueror commonly used for Monaco's typical pre-typed responses.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Duchess Camilla - Birthday Reply (2015)

I was very excited when I spotted this envelope lying on my kitchen counter.

I could tell immediately from the front of the envelope that this letter was from Camilla. Not because there was a Monogram/Cypher on the front, but because Camilla is the only BRF I have ever gotten a larger sized envelope from or piece of mail sent by registered mail.

 One interesting thing I noticed was the color of Camilla's monogram on the back of the envelope.

Last time, it was green and this time it was blue. The green monograms are letters sent from Birkhall. Birkhall is Charles and Camilla's residence in Scotland. The blue monogram is for letters sent from Clarence House, their official residence in London.

Camilla replies with the usual photo card, with a typed message on the back. Camilla's cards are a little extra special compared to the other birthday replies from Clarence House. This card is double the size of the typical Charles/Cambridges/Harry birthday replies.

On the front of the card, is a very lovely picture of Camilla at the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts on June 2nd. The picture was taken by Thomas Alexander. I especially love this photo, because we see Camilla making a rare tiara appearance, and wearing her Royal Victorian Order and her Royal Family Order.

The reply was sent 3 days after Camilla's birthday and took 8 days to arrive in the mail.

And to make it extra special, Camilla hand-signed the note, which is why this was sent by registered mail.

The message reads:
Dear Gertrude,  
Thank you for remembering my birthday and for sending me such a lovely message.  
With best wishes, 
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Queen Sonja of Norway - Birthday Reply (2015)

I got a reply today from Norway. I had written to Queen Sonja of Norway for her 78th birthday on July 4th. I don't remember the exact date I sent my letter, but based on when I normally send letters, this reply came in just under a month, which is a great response time.

The envelope is pretty basic. But one of the things I love about getting mail from the Royals is each country has it own distinct postmark and markings. The envelope's postmark "Norge" means Norway, and was sent priority on the 21st (2 weeks after Queen Sonja's birthday). It took 6 days to arrive in the mail.

"Det Kongelige Hoff" written on the bottom of the envelope is Norwegian for "The Royal Court." There was no monogram on the back of the envelope. 

This was the first time I had written to the Norway Royals. The letter is brief, but cute. (First letters are always very exciting.) The letter is written by the Queen's senior secretary, Reidum Norberg, on a half-sheet sized paper, and hand signed. The telephone and fax on the bottom are the general numbers for the Royal Palace.

The message on the letter:

Dear Miss Daly, 

H.M. The Queen has asked me to thank you for your kind greetings on the occasion of Her Majesty's birthday. 

Yours sincerely, 

Reidun Norberg
Senior Secretary

The letter was written on a very nice quality paper. The watermark indicates that it is the brand "Conqueror," manufactured by UK company, Arjowiggins Creative Papers.  I found this interesting because it is a British company, and because I've seen the name, Conqueror, on a number of envelopes from different royals. (The Conqueror watermark is only present on a few sizes and colors, depending on the style of paper.)

This letter is written on cream colour paper, and the lines you see in the watermark are part of the "Laid" papermaking process. 

As I looked through all my different letters, I realized many of them are on Conqueror stationary (e.g. Norway, Monaco, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Duchess of York). There are a whole bunch of different types, style, colours and finishes. 

For those wondering what Stationary the British Royals use, no need for a watermark. The Queen and Prince Charles have both given out Royal Warrants to The Wren Press.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Prince Philip - Birthday Reply (2105)

I had written to Prince Phillip for his 94th Birthday last month. This reply came about a month after I sent my letter. Which is a very reasonable response time.

This response is obviously a form response, sent to everyone who wrote. There is nothing about this letter that would suggest it was in a way specifically written for me. This is also the first letter I have received from a British Royals where it looks like the signature was printed on.

This response was written on a half sheet sized paper. Prince Philip's stationary look different than other British royals. Over the years royals have changed their stationary, but Philip has kept this older look.

The telephone number and fax are the general numbers for Buckingham Palace.

The letter says: 
I have been asked by Prince Philip to say how much he appreciated your good wishes for his Birthday. 
Fred Moynan
Assistant Equerry to H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Queen Elizabeth - Birth of Princess Charlotte Reply (2015)

 Today I received a letter from Queen Elizabeth II. I was really excited when I saw her Red monogram embossed on the back of the envelope.  I had written to Queen Elizabeth, last month, to congratulate her on the birth of her newest Great-Granddaughter, Princess Charlotte. I had also written to William & Kate and Charles & Camilla congratulating them on the birth as well.

I think I would have been more enthusiastic about this reply if it had included a sentence about the Queen's feelings about Princess Charlotte's arrival.  In the reply for the Queen's 89th Birthday, Mary Morrison, one of the Queen's Ladies-in-Waiting, wrote to me that "the arrival of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge has given much pleasure to the whole Royal Family."

The letter says: 
The Queen thanks you very much for your message of congratulations on the birth of her great-granddaughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.  
Her Majestty is most grateful for your kind words and greatly appreciated your thought for her family at this time.
June 2015

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Letter From Rebecca Deacon (2015)

After the Birth of Princess Charlotte last month I wrote to William and Kate to congratulate them on the birth of their 1st daughter. I also wrote a letter to the Cambridge's Staff congratulating them on what I thought was a job very well done at Lindo Wing. I thought they had learned a lot from Prince George's birth and did an incredible at making Princess Charlotte's birth a lot smoother and easier for everyone involved. It was amazing how even though you could be on the other side of the world, they created a feeling like you were a fan on the streets outside the hospital, although we probably had a better view.

I addressed the letter to Rebecca Deacon, Miguel Head, Jason Knauf, Nick Loughran, Katrina McKeever and the others member of staff who had assisted at Lindo Wing. The envelope I addressed to Rebecca Deacon, the Duchess of Cambridge's Private Secretary, and I sent it to Kensington Palace, where the Cambridges' office is located. Normal correspondence for the Cambridges are dealt with and should be sent to Clarence House.

I wasn't 100% expecting a reply since the letter was addressed and meant for the Cambridge staff, not the couple. I wasn't sure how they would feel about a letter being written to them personally. So I was very excited when I received an envelope in the mail with Catherine's monogram on the back. The envelope and stationary are the exact same as is used when Rebecca Deacon or others mail letters on the Duchess's behalf. When letters are sent on the couple's behalf Prince William's stationery is used. The reply was sent a month after I had mailed the letter and took 4 days to arrive. That is pretty good timing when writing to a British Royal.

The letter was pretty standard of what you see when writing to a British Royal. They usually start with addressing your letter, mention how touched they were and send their best wishes.

The letter says:
Dear Miss Daly,  
Thank you very much for the supportive letter which you so kindly sent on the occasion of the birth of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's daughter, Princess Charlotte.  
I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed the occasion and celebrations; it is a very happy time for Their Royal Highnesses as a family.  
It was extremely kind of you to take the trouble to write as you did and this comes this comes [sic] with my warmest thanks and best wishes.  
Yours Sincerely, 
Rebecca Deacon
Even Rebecca Deacon is prone to a few mistakes, in the last paragraph of the letter Rebecca accidentally repeats "this comes" twice and on the envelope, the word "Private" is misspelled.

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Birth of Princess Charlotte Reply (2015)

Yesterday, I was very excited when I got the mail since on the back of one of the envelopes was William's unmistakable "W"! I know exactly what this was. I had written to the Cambridges in May to send my congratulations on the birth of Princess Charlotte.


It is your standard reply from the Cambridges, a postcard-sized photo with a typed note on the back. The photo is of the Cambridge's leaving Lindo Wing with Charlotte on the day of her birth. It was taken by James Whatling; who is an independent photographer.

The card says:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were most touched that you took the trouble to write as you did on the birth of their daughter, Princess Charlotte.  

Their Royal Highness are extremely grateful for the wonderful messages they have received and send you their warmest thanks and best wishes. 
HRH Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge 

2nd May, 2015 

Kensington Palace shared a look behind the scenes of all the letter they received from around the world for Princess Charlotte's birth.

Because I know this has long been a point of interest, I just wanted to confirm that yes, technically you can send your letter to the Cambridges/Harry to Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace or Clarence House. But Clarence House is where the letters are replied to by Prince Charles's correspondence section. If you send it anywhere else, it is collected and taken to Clarence House.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Queen Elizabeth - Birthday Reply (2015)

I received this letter in the mail yesterday. I had written to Queen Elizabeth for her 89th Birthday. The letter was written by one of her Lady-in-Waiting, Mary Morrison, and looks very similar to other letters I've received from Queen Elizabeth.  The letter also thanks me for sending best wishes on the then-upcoming birth of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, who was born May 2nd. 

(Princess Charlotte was 4 days old when this letter was written.)

The Letter says: 

Dear Miss Daly, 

The Queen wishes me to write and thank you for the letter and kind message which you sent on the occasion of Her Majesty's eighty-ninth birthday, and for the forthcoming birth of her fifth great grandchild.  
The Queen greatly appreciates your kind thought for her at this time, and I think you would like to know that the arrival of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge has given much pleasure to the whole Royal Family.  
I am to thank you very much once again for writing as you did.  
Yours sincerely, 
Mary Morrison 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Prince Harry Leaving Military Reply (2015)

A lovely reply arrived from the UK. This letter is one of the most exciting I've received so far. Usually, when you write to Prince Harry for a certain occasion they reply back with a postcard-sized photo with a printed message on the back.  

I wrote to Prince Harry, after the announcement that he would be leaving the Armed Forces after 10 years of service, to congratulate him on his hard work and to wish him the best of luck for the future. 

Today, on the day Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born, I received this reply. This is the first actually letter I have received from Kensington Palace. (As Harry's mail is usually answered by the Correspondence Section at Clarence House.) The letter was written by Harry's Private Secretary, Edward Lane Fox. It's quite brief, but really exciting because it is a real letter. 

As you can also see, the body of the letter was very carefully placed between the two folds. 

The letter reads:
Dear Miss Daly,  
Prince Harry has asked me to write and thank you very much for your letter of 24th March.  
His Royal Highness was extremely grateful to you for taking the trouble to write as you did and for your kind words.  
Prince Harry would have me send you his very best wishes.  
Yours Faithfully, 
Edward hand-signed the letters with "Yours Faithfully, ESLF". Little know fact Edward's middle name is Sackville.