Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein - Birthday Reply

A lovely reply arrived today from Liechtenstein. I had written to Hereditary Princess Sophie for her 52nd birthday last month.

The envelope is the usual from the Liechtenstein Royals.

The back of the envelope features the castle's partial address.

The reply is the typical from the Liechtenstein Royals, a flat card, with typed message and the embossed coat of arms. You will notice the typed message uses two different fonts. This is because they used this same card for all sorts of events.

The cursive part, "Many thanks for your kind wishes" is the most generic form of the card that can be used for any event.

The text, "on the occasion of my birthday," is added for birthday replies. The cards are usually then either auto-penned or hand-signed by the particular royal. (& often we will see a mix of both for an event.)

I've gotten both hand-signed and auto-penned replies over the years. But, this is the first time I've gotten a hand-signed personal message on my card.

The card reads:
Dear Miss Daly, 

Many thanks for your kind wishes
on the occasion of my birthday. 

Sophie Liechtenstein

Thank you for your kind words, 
especially for the 300th birthday of our country. 

Obviously, I had mentioned Liechtenstein's 300th Birthday in my birthday letter to Princess Sophie. Liechtenstein officially turned 300 in January 2019. But, there have been celebrations to mark this special birthday all year long.

It is always great to get a personal reply that mentions something you wrote in your letter. But it's even more touching when that personal reply is from a royal themselves.

Back to Replies - Main Page

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sarah, Duchess of York - 60th Birthday Second Reply

A lovely reply arrived this week from the UK. I was very surprised to get this, as I had already received a birthday reply from Duchess Sarah. This isn't the first time I've accidentally gotten a double reply from Sarah. Last year I got two Christmas replies from her. And I have gotten a few other double replies from other royals over the years.

But this is the first time the two replies have been are drastically different. My first reply was a personal letter from Duchess Sarah that was hand-signed. This 2nd reply is what Duchess Sarah sent out to almost everyone who wrote for her birthday.

The envelope features the red first-class box with the Royal's PPI (Printed Postage Impressions) number. PPI numbers are unique numbers that allow people/organizations to "print their own postage" and then the Royal Mail can use the number to charge their account. The Royal's PPI number is W4047. The number changed earlier this year. Previously, it was W7047.

It will be interesting to see if Sarah stops using the Royal Family's PPI account (which is paid for by the sovereign grant) now that Andrew has stepped down from official duties.

The back of the envelope is blank.

The reply is a photo card, with typed message on the back. The photo is actually quite large. It is bigger than the typical photo card from Clarence House. 

The photo is of Sarah arriving at Claridge's in London for the Hello! Magazine's Mother & Daughter Afternoon Tea to mark the International Day of the Girl. Sarah was joined at the event by Princess Eugenie. The photo was taken by Neil Mockford on October 10, less than a week before Sarah's birthday. It is interesting that they choose such a recent photo. This means, of course, that these cards weren't made that far in advance. 

The back of the card features a typed message and printed on the signature. It is the same signature we have seen Sarah use for years. To compare the size of the card and signatures, the photo includes Duchess Sarah's birthday reply from last year.

Duchess Sarah's 2019 & 2018 Birthday Reply 

This year's card reads:
Thank you so much for your birthday wishes. It was most kind of you to think of me on the occasion of my 60th birthday.  

I take great pleasure in sending you my heartfelt gratitude.  


15th October 2019

Back to Replies - Main Page 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sarah, Duchess of York - 60th Birthday First Reply

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Duchess Sarah last month for her 60th Birthday.

The envelope is definitely different than what we normally see from the British Royals. This is the first time I've ever gotten a blue envelope. And besides shades of white and cream, I think this is the first time I've gotten a solid-color envelope.

You will notice this doesn't feature the usual Crown/EIIR and circle with the date. That is because this was not processed through one of the Court Post Offices at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. The red 1st Class box does feature the Royal's PPI (Printed Postage Impressions) number, which changed earlier this year. So, we know the cost of the postage was charged to the Royals' account. Since 2001, the Sovereign Grant has paid for the Royals' postage. Previously, the service was provided for free by the Royal Mail. Sarah has been using the Royal's PPI number for years. No word if she repays the Sovereign Grant for the cost of postage.

Normally, the replies you get from Sarah featured an autopen or printed-on signature. One way to tell an autopen/printed-on signature is to compare the reply with others. (And it is best to compare it with other replies from the same event, as autopen/printed-on signatures can be changed for each event.)

Given that this letter includes personalization (Dear Gertrude and the date), and the signature looks different from others I have seen, I believe this is a real signature from Sarah. And one of the few real signatures I've seen well-wishers get from her.

The letter says:
Nov 2nd, 2019 
Dear Gertrude,  
Thank you so much for the letter you send me for my 60th birthday. I always enjoy receiving personal correspondence and reading your kind words. It is most kind of you to donate to Street Child in my name. Street Child operates in over 10 countries and hopes to expand to more. Throughout the world, 121 million children around the world are not being given the chance to go to school because of war and conflict. Street Child is committed to helping millions of children back into school and to transform their lives. Thank you for helping them to do so.  
Best wishes, 

Sarah, Duchess of York
Miss Gertrude Daly [My Address]

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; there are the charming gardeners who make out souls blossom." 

Marcel Proust (1871-1992)

Street Child UK is a UK charity that works to give every child the chance to go to school and learn. Duchess Sarah worked in this area for decades with the charity she founded, Children in Crisis. 
In 2018, Children in Crisis merged with Street Child UK. Duchess Sarah has stayed on at Street Child UK as Founding Patron. And Princess Beatrice & Princess Eugenie, who were Ambassadors of Children in Crisis, are now Ambassador of Street Child. 

In honor of Duchess Sarah's birthday and the charity's "Mind the Gap" Campain, I made a small donation to Street Child UK. 

For those of you thinking about writing to the Royals for Christmas, now is the perfect time. Our recommended send by date is December 14th, less than a month away. You can find our 2019 guide to Writing to the Royals for Christmas here.

Just FYI: 
Normally, I write to all of the Queen's children for Christmas. But this year, I've decided, I won't be writing to Prince Andrew.

If you want to write to him, to show your support, or yell at him, you can. I've just made a personal decision not to. (But I likely will still write to Duchess Sarah for Christmas)

Back to Replies - Main Page

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Duchess Meghan - Birthday Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived this week from the UK. I had written to Duchess Meghan back in August for her birthday.

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

The back of the card features Harry & Meghan's joint monogram.

Inside is the typical photocard from Clarence House.

The front of the card features a photo by Doug Peters, a UK photographer. We know Clarence House always asks the photographer for permission before using the photo. Doug shared a bit about this experience on his Instagram:
Honoured to have my image of her chosen for the Sussex Royal birthday message. [...] Thanks to the team back at EMPICS and PA for tracking me down on a Saturday night to sort out a few last details to get this done.

The photo is from Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan's visit to Tonga during their 2018 Autumn Tour. I always like it when the royals use a tour photo, as it brings back memories of the trip. I remember on this day, Meghan was laughing a lot. So it is nice to look at the photo and know Meghan was really happy at that moment (+ she had just announced her pregnancy so everyone was super excited).

I think this photo is a better choice than last year's as Meghan is actually looking at the camera. And  I know a lot of people will frame these cards, so a headshot or full body like this, works best. It is a bit of a shame they choose a photo with the white blur on the edge. The lighting really isn't the best. But as Meghan was sitting in the shade under a canopy, while the photographers were standing in the sun, there isn't much you can do about that. 

The back of the card has the usual sort of birthday message from Clarence House. But they changed it up a little from last year.

The card reads:
The Duchess of Sussex was so touched by your very kind Birthday wishes. 
Her Royal Highness sends her warmest thanks for your thoughtfulness and wishes you all the best. 

Back to Replies - Main Page 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Guide to Writing to the Royals for Christmas (2019)

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 2019. 

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 open your letter, the office staff may just send you some generic reply, as they don't want mail stacking up in the office.

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 14th!

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 14th 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 2019. I think at the lastest you can write until the end of the first week January. But do keep in mind that writing late, might affect what you get in reply. 


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

(We also created a Google Doc this year with all the address for the Current European Monarchies, which you can print off.)

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 2019 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 2020 
  • 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.

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 check out my replies from past Christmases here.  

Back to Christmas - Main Page