Monday, January 28, 2019

King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima of the Netherlands - Christmas Reply (2018)

A lovely reply arrived today from the Netherlands. I had written to King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima for Christmas.

The envelope is the same as usual from the Netherlands. This time it is an unnecessarily large envelope.

The Christmas reply is the same as past years. King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima like to buy a set of Christmas cards in bulk and use them for a few years. So, this year's card comes from the "Winter Wonderland" set they have been using since 2015. There are 5 designs in total.

This year, I got the card with the children ice skating on the front. 

The inside features the same message as past years and is un-dated, which allows them to use the card for multiple years. 

The card reads: 
Their Majesties The King and Queen of the Netherlands thank you on behalf of the entire Royal Family for your kind Christmas greetings and send you their very best wishes for the year ahead. 
Noordeinde Palace
The Hauge 

The back of the card features some information about the card. It was produced by Belarto in the Netherlands to raise money for UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund).

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima have been long supporters of UNICEF and the United Nations. Both of them have sat on advisory boards for the United Nations.

Queen Máxima is currently a UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate. She is working with their Inclusive Finance for Development program, which helps and encourages countries to create financial programs such as savings accounts, insurance, and loans.

2015, 2016, & 2017 reply from King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima
You can see the full set of designs for the"Winter Wonderland" Christmas cards here. It looks like this will be last year they will send out cards with this design. I have already seen some people get cards from a set with a new design, called "Kerstdorp" or "Christmas Villiage." It also features 5 designs, you can see them here.

This year was a transition year, as they used up all their old cards, before starting with the new ones. So, if you haven't received your reply yet from King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima, you might get one of the new cards.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

King Philippe & Queen Mathilde of Belgium - Christmas (2018)

A lovely reply arrived today from Belgium. I had written to King Philippe & Queen Mathilde to wish them a Merry Christmas.

The Belgium royals have a lot of different envelopes they use. (I've gotten 12 different versions). This one features King Philippe & Queen Mathilde's joint monogram on the front. I've only ever gotten one like this with their Christmas replies, so I think it is reserved for occasions when they send cards with their joint monograms on it.

What is extra special about the envelope this year, is it features a red inside that matches the monogram.

The reply is the family's usual Christmas Card. The front features the couple's joint monogram.

The inside of the card features the message "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," in Dutch, French, German & English.  The signatures are printed on, but are different than the signatures used in the family's past Christmas cards. The kid's names are listed in order of age.

The inside of the card also features a photo of the family. The photo is from a set taken in honor of King Philippe's 5th anniversary of accession.

(L-R: Eléonore, Mathilde, Gabriel, Elisabeth, Philippe, Emmanuel) 

I was looking back on all my past Christmas Replies from them, to see how the kids have grown, and it looks like Prince Emmanuel is wearing the same tie as his brother from the Christmas 2015 card.

The Denmark Royal website has updated its address for the Royals. Their new address is:

Postboks 2143
1256 København K

This address is for all the Denmark Royals.

As always you can find all the Royal addresses here. I did go through the list for the current European Royals and double check them all, as I do once or twice a year. And I am paying close attention to see if there is any change with the British Royals given the renovations to Buckingham Palace.

Addressed for Former Monarchies can often be hard to find, and keep up-to-date. So, on my list of Former Monarchies Address, I like to write the year someone wrote using that address and got a reply, to denote how up-to-date the address is. So, if you write to a Former Monarchy at the address on my list and get a reply, let me know and I will mark it.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Analysis of Reply Arrival Times for Christmas (2014-2019)

Some of you have messaged me expressing concern about not getting a Christmas reply from a certain royal yet. Don't worry, it takes them time to reply to everyone. People who write for the same event may get replies weeks or even months apart.

Here is a breakdown of when I received my Christmas replies over the last few years.

Year December Jan 1-15th Jan 16-31st Feb 1-15th Feb 16-28th March April Total
2014 2 2 2 1 0 1 0 8
2015 1 4 2 2 1 0 0 10
2016 1 3 10 3 0 1 0 18
2017 3 3 4 5 1 2 0 18
2018 314522 1 18
2019 225422 0 17
% 13%47%31% 9% >1% 89

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Crown Prince Frederik & Crown Princess Mary of Denmark - Christmas Reply (2018)

A lovely reply from Denmark arrived this week, the only problem was it was sent to my old address. I had to move in early 2016, but I stayed with a friend for a while, before I moved to my current place. So, I actually had two change of addresses three years.

This got sent to my friend's address, which I only used for a few months in 2016. I know the Royals do store some info about the people who write to them on a database. And this has happened to me before. But it is odd to see it happen 3 years after I moved, especially as almost all of my other mail from the Denmark Royals in the past 3 years has been sent to the correct current address.

I'm glad I got this alright. But, it does make me wonder if any replies are getting sent to my old, old address still.

The card is pretty much identical to the Crown Prince Couple's replies in the past. But this is actually a new version of their card. I have a post of the evolution of their reply card here. They were just little changes, but this is version 3. It's pretty identical to version 2, except they changed back to version 1's paper which doesn't have the textured edges.

I know Clarence House has also done a redesign of the cards for Charles & Camilla, The Cambridges & The Sussexs this Christmas. I will have a post on the evolution of their cards when I actually get one of their Christmas replies. (They also have had 3 versions since I started writing.)

The card says:
Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark have asked me to thank you for your Season's Greetings.  

Chief of the Court of   
Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark

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Evolution of Crown Prince Couple of Denmark's Card

The Crown Prince Couple of Denmark send out pretty much identical replies each year. But there have been some slight changes in their cards over the last few years.  (This is all based on since I started writing to them in 2014.)

Version 1: ?- 2017/2018

This version of the card was the first I received from the Crown Prince Couple. I wrote to them for the 1st time for Christmas 2014. It seems like they made the switch to Version 2 for Christmas 2017. But as their cards are un-dated, they don't print new cards every year, rather use the same cards multiple years for the same event. So, we saw them continue to use Version 1 in 2018. 

The notable features of this card are
  • Detailed version of the Crown 
  • Formal message 
  • Address for Christain VIII Palace at Amalienborg (on bottom)
  • Normal edges
Version 2: 2018 -?

I first got this version of the card for Christmas 2017 & other events in 2018. We will have to see if they continue using this in 2019.

The notable changes for Version 1:
  • Less detailed, bolder version of the Crown 
  • More personal message 
  • Address for Frederik VIII Palace at Amalienborg (on bottom)
  • Slightly heavier paper
  • Textured edges
  • Slightly wider by 1/2 cm
The change I found most striking is the address at the bottom. It has been changed from Christain VIII Palace at Amalienborg to Frederik VIII Palace at Amalienborg.

Amalienborg is a complex of 4 different Palaces, arranged in a square with an octagonal courtyard in the middle. The 4 Palaces that makeup Amelienbourg are: 
  • Christian VII Palace
  • Christian VIII Palace
  • Frederick VIII Palace
  • Christian IX Palace
I don't know exactly why we are seeing the change of address now. The Crown Prince Couple have lived at Frederick VIII Palace and had their office there since 2010. They lived at Christian VII Palace during the earlier years of their marriage, while Frederik VIII was being renovated. 

Version 3: 2019 -Present

I first got this version for Christmas 2018

This card is identical to version 2, except they have changed back to the paper without the textured edges. 

The two crowns
The two versions depict the same crown, that is used in the couple's monograms and coat of arms.  One of more detailed, the other is bolder.

Both versions of the crown have been used by the couple since their wedding. 

Note: mail to the couple and the other members of the Denmark Royal Family should not be sent to the address listed on their card, rather their PO Box.

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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. 

Question 4: What do royals do with the database in which are ones who write to them?

Answer: I know for certain UK, Denmark,  Monaco, & Netherlands do, as they have all sent me replies using my old address. You can find out a bit more about this if you read the privacy policy on their official website. But my guess is more of the monarchies do. It's fairly standard practice. 

Question 5: Do you know if Prince Joachim of Denmark and his wife send replies for Christmas and for their and their children's birthday?

Answer: No. I 've never gotten a reply from the couple and I don't think I've ever seen anyone else get one either. 

Why does Clarence House keep sending out the Sussex Christmas reply if they haven't even started to reply to their pregnancy news? 

Question 6: Why does Clarence House keep sending out the Sussex Christmas reply if they haven't even started to reply to their pregnancy news? 

Answer: Who really knows... But Clarence House doesn't always reply in the order that events happen. It is definitely odd that nobody has gotten their reply yet. But, I can't imagine Clarence House not sending one. I know they are very behind, still sending out replies for Sussex wedding and summer events. I'm waiting on 5 or 6 replies from them. 

I think the delay has to do with Clarence House's decision to redesigned their photocards, which we are seeing for the 1st time this Christmas. And I think they waited in creating the pregnancy reply so that it could use the new design. 

And I think Clarence House decided to do Christmas first as they had to get the Wales/Cambridge/Sussex personal Christmas cards out in a timely fashion, so they also designed and printed the Christmas cards for wellwishers at the same time.

But hopefully they will start getting them out soon, or else the little Sussex baby will arrive before they finish.  

Question 7a: Do you keep your stationary always the same or you redesign it occasionally? 

Answer: I don't have any pre-printed stationery. I just have some nice ivory colored paper, and template on my computer. I've changed the template a few times over the years. But I like to keep it basically the same.  I don't know to what degree the staff learns to recognize people who write each year. But using the same stationery would certainly help. And if you think about for Birthdays and Christmas alone, I must send over 10 letters a year to Clarence House. 

Question 7b: Related to stationaries, which programme do you use for a template?

Answer: I just use Pages on my Mac and then looked at their letter templates. I modified it slightly.