Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Queen - Christmas Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived this week from the UK. I had written to The Queen and Prince Philip to wish them a Merry Christmas.

The front of the envelope is the usual for the British Royals. This envelope features a double postmark. The Red is the usual from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. The black is an accidental postmark that was stamped when the mail arrived at the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre, where most international mail from the London area is sorted before taken to Heathrow Airport.

The 2nd Postmark says "Working together to tackle climate change in this Year of Climate Action. Search UKCOP26." This year is the UN's Year of Climate Action. COP26 refers to the UN's 2020 Climate Change Conference that will be held in Scotland later this year. Very likely we will see some royal attendance there.

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

Inside is a form letter thanking me for my Christmas letter. Each year, the Queen's office will send out a variety of responses: personal letter, form letter signed and personalized with the persons name, and an unsigned form letter like this. There is no way to guarantee which kind of reply you will get. I've gotten all 3 types over the years. (I have noticed that the first replies sent out for an event tend to be the most personal. And then they get less personal as her staff is trying to get through the overload of mail.)

The letter reads:
Buckingham Palace 
The Queen thanks you for the message you send for Christmas and the New Year.  
Her Majesty is most grateful for your kind word and your thoughtfulness in writing at his time.  
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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Condolence for Infanta Pilar of Spain's Passing (2020)

A reply arrived today from Spain. I had written to King Juan Carlos last month to express my condolence for the death of his sister, Infanta Pilar.

The front of the envelope is the usual from the Spain Royals. The back of the envelope is blank.

Inside is a letter from King Felipe written on behalf of himself and the Royal Family. This is the first letter I've gotten from Spain that was from the actual royal, not sent from a member of staff. Certainly, this is a form letter that would be sent out to pretty much everyone who sent their condolences. So, it was not personally written to me. But, I rather like the personal approach of having the letter written by the King. I think it is very appropriate given that this is about the death of his aunt.

And I think it is absolutely fine that the letter comes from King Felipe, rather than the person I send it to, King Juan Carlos. It makes a lot of sense to have one reply that can be used for everyone who sends a letter of condolence, instead of having a bunch based on who exactly the well-wisher addressed their letter of condolence to. And given that King Juan Carlos is now retired from all royal duties, he doesn't have an office full of staff anymore. This is the 2nd time I've written to King Juan Carlos and gotten a reply from Felipe's office.

The letter reads:
Office of His Majesty The King

Palacio De La Zarzuela
6th February 2020
[My Name & Address] 
From His Majesty The King of Spain 

His Majesty The King and his family are grateful for the condolences and expressions of affection received on the occasion of the death of Her Royal Highness The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbon, Duchess of Badajoz (Rest in Peace). 

Felipe R.

I spend a bit of time trying to figure out what (D.E.P.) meant at the end of the letter. At first, I thought this was referencing some order that Pilar had received. But then I found out it translates to R.I.P. or "Rest in Peace." I thought that was an especially lovely touch.

The "R." at the end of King Felipe's name stands for King in Spanish (Rey) & Latin (Rex).

The stationary is basically the same as all my past letters from Spain. However, this letter is the first one I've received to simply say "Casa De S.M. El Rey" at the top instead of giving the senders title/department.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Princess Anne & Sir Tim Laurence - Christmas Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived this week from the UK. I had written to Princess Anne & her Husband Tim to wish them a Merry Christmas.

I was very glad to get a reply from them as Princess Anne's office doesn't always reply.

The envelope is the usual from the British Royals.

The back of the envelope features Princess Anne's Coat of Arms.

Inside is a letter from Isabella Ward, Princess Anne's Office Secretary. It is pretty similar to past Christmas Replies from the couple.

The letter reads: 
5th February 2020

Dear Miss Daly, 

The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Time Laurance have asked me to thank you for your letter dated 21st December with its kind and supportive message for Christmas and the New Year. Her Royal Highness and Sir Tim are touched that you had thought to write to them again and send you their best wishes for the future. 

Yours Sincerely, 
Isabella Ward
Office Secretary to HRH The Princess Royal

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

King Philippe & Queen Mathilde of Belgium - Christmas Reply (2019)

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

As you know I can get a little geeky about envelopes. So, I was a little surprised to see this one.

The postmark/franking is the standard from the Belgium Royals, featuring their Postage Paid account number, B-22469.

This envelope features an embossed purple crown with the words Palace of Brussels written underneath in French. The Belgium royals have 11+ different envelopes that they use. And this by far is one of the most common envelopes you will see from them.

But this is interesting because normally, the couple send their Christmas replies in an envelope with their joint monogram, embossed in red. I find the envelope especially lovely because it is something they only usually use at Christmas, and it matches their card. (Although it's only my 2nd favorite envelope from the Belgium Royals.)

It looks like they must have run out of the joint monogrammed envelopes this year. People who received their replies earlier got the red joint monogrammed envelope and those who received it latter got this envelope.

I already have a number of these envelopes from past Christmas Replies, so I'm not too disappointed. But it is sad to think that others who wrote for the first time may not get it.

Inside is the couple's Christmas Card, which is the exact same as past years. The only change is the year & photo on the card.

The front of the card features the couple's Joint Monogram, which is embossed, so it has a very lovely texture.

The inside left side features a message in Belgium's 3 official languages (Dutch, French, & German) & English. The signatures are printed on and the same ones used last year. The children's name are printed in order of age.

The message reads, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

The right side of the card features a lovely photo of the family that was taken after Princess Elisabeth's 18th birthday party. 

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Princess Beatrice & Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi - Engagement Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived from the UK this week. I had written to Princess Beatrice & her fiance Edoardo back in September to congratulate them on their engagement. 

This reply came 4.5 months after I had written to the couple. This is certainly not the longest I've waited for a reply, but this is definitely on the longer side. Some people have suggested that the delay was because of Prince Andrew's disastrous interview and decision to step down from being a "Working Royal." But that happened about 2 months after the engagement announcement, so I think there were other things that caused the delay as well. 

The envelope is larger than normal, but otherwise, the front of the envelope is the typical we see from the British Royals. The postmark is from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. All the out-going mail from the London Royal Offices at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St. James Palace & Clarence House is collected by the Royal Mail (UK's national postal service) and taken to the Court Post Office to be franked and sorted. 

We know that Prince Andrew's office will be moving out of Buckingham Palace soon. But this postmark tells us that his office is still at Buckingham Palace, while he is still in a transition period. And, the PPI number W4047, is the Sovereign Grants account. So, it is interesting that Andrew is still using taxpayer funding for his postage.

The back of the envelope features Princess Beatrice's monogram embossed in gold. The "B" for Beatrice sits under the Coronet of the Grandchild of the Sovereign. This looks very similar to the Coronet of the Child of the Heir Apparent that we see used by the Cambridges & Sussexes, but this coronet features Crosses and Strawberry Leaves, opposed to Crosses and Fleurs-de-Lys. 

Princess Beatrice has had and used this monogram for years, but this is the first reply I have gotten from her that uses it. Normally, we see this used for invitations for events Princess Beatrice is hosting for her patronages.

Inside the envelope is a flat card. It's the same size as Princess Eugenie's engagement card. I wouldn't read anything into the fact that Beatrice's has a flat card and Eugenie's engagement card is a folded card. Since Beatrice's card has a glossy finish, a larger photo and larger monogram the cost of the two is probably the same. 

The front of the card features a photo of Princess Beatrice & Edoardo taken by Princess Eugenie. This photo was released to mark the couple's engagement in September. 

The back of the card features Princess Beatrice's monogram along with a message from the couple. The message would have been handwritten once and then scanned and printed onto all the cards. 

The card says: 

Thank you so much for thinking of us after the engagement. It is so kind of you to wish us happiness for the future. We are so excited to get married and begin life together. 
With our very best wishes 
Beatrice & Edo.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Queen Margrethe of Denmark - Christmas Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived this week from Denmark. I had written to Queen Margrethe to wish her a Merry Christmas.

The envelope is the usual from the Denmark Royals, but this is the first time from the Danish Royals I've gotten my address handwritten. I always find handwritten envelopes extra special. 

The back of the envelope features a black crown. And has this lovely edge. 

Inside is the usual Christmas letter from Queen Margrethe. It is a form letter, the exact same one I received last year.  The letter has been signed and dated by Johnnie Korsholm, one of the Queen's Aid-de-camps. 

The letter reads: 
Christian IX"s Palace
1257 Køpenhavn K 
Janurar 2020
Dear Miss Gertrude A. Daly, 
Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to thank You for Your kind Christmas and New Year's greetings.  
Sincerely yours,  
J. Korsholm 
Note: "Januar" is the Danish spelling of January.

You will notice that the message has "You" and "Yours" capitalized. There is this old rule that any pronoun (I, You, Yours, His, Her, Their, Them, He, She, etc.) referring to a royal should be capitalized. Occasionally, we see this rule used in Royal replies, but even those that use it, don't use it consistently. However, this reply has misapplied this rule and capitalized the pronouns referring to me, a non-Royal. They did this on the past 2 Christmas replies as well. 

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Monday, February 3, 2020

King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima - Christmas Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived today from the Netherlands. I had written to King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima in December to which them a Merry Christmas.

The front of the envelope is the usual from the couple. The 0ostmark features a blue crown with the "Office of the Royal House" written underneath in Dutch.  The back of the envelope is blank.

Inside is the couple's Christmas Card. This card may very well seem familiar to many of you. King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima buy Christmas Cards from UNICEF in bulk every few years. And then will send out those cards as replies, until they run out. Last year was a transition year, where the couple used up the last of their old set of cards (The Winter Wonderland) . And then started sending out cards from this set, which is called "Kerstdorp" or "Christmas Villiage."

So, this is the couple's 2nd year using this set. But this is my first card from this set, as I received a card from the old set last year. 

The front of the card features a lovely winter scene. 

Inside is a typed message from the couple in English and Dutch. You will notice that there is no date or mention of the year on the card. This allows them to use this card for multiple years. With this new set they have also started printing the message bi-lingually. Previously they had two versions of the card (English & Dutch). 

The card says: 

Their Majesties The King and Queen of the Netherlands thank you on behalf of the entire royal family for your kind Christmas Greetings.  
They send you their very best wishes for the year ahead.  

Noordeinde Palace
The Hauge
The back of the card gives some information about UNICEF. 

The back of the card says: 
With the purchase of this card, you make two people happy! The recipient of course, but also a child far away who deserves a better future. 
UNICEF draws attention to the millions of children under 5 who die every year. Often from illnesses that are easy to prevent, such as diarrhea and malaria. UNICEF does not accept this and does everything it can to reduce the infant mortality rate. Thanks in part to UNICEF, the number of children who die every day has fallen by more than 47% since 1990. There is almost no better way to say that it helps! 

Want to stay informed? 

Go to or follow us on Twitter @UNICEFnl and Facebook

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

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Saturday, February 1, 2020

Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla - Christmas Reply (2019)

A lovely reply arrived this week from the UK. I had written to Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla to wish them a Merry Christmas. 

The front of the envleope is the usual from the British Royals featuring the red postmark from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace.  

The black postmark at the bottom would have been accidentally applied when the reply was processed through the Mount Pleasant Mail Center. This is were most mail from the London area is proceeded before heading to the Heathrow Airport. 

The postmark says: 
Stand Together 
Holocaust Memorial Day

27 Janurary 2020

This special postmark ran January 20th - 27th in the UK. 

The back of the envelope features the Prince of Wales feathers.

Inside is both a card and a letter. 

The letter is written by Claudia Spens, who is head of the correspondence section at Clarence House.  In my letter to the couple I had, I congratulated Prince Charles on being appointed Honorary Commodore-in-Chief, Aircraft Carriers and talked about the commissioning of the HSM Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier. 

The letter reads: 
22nd January 2020
Dear Miss Daly,  
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have asked me to thank you for your letter of 10th December in connection with the Commissioning Ceremony of HMS Prince of Wales which took place last month.  
Their Royal Highnesses are grateful to you for taking the trouble to write as you did with such kind words of support. During the Commissioning Ceremony, The Duchess of Cornwall said, "On this momentous day, a new chapter opens in a Ship’s history which stretches back to 1765. She joins a Navy which has protected this nation’s shores, and its interests across the globe, for over five centuries. May I say how pleased I am that this great Ship shares my husband’s name.  And now, as Honorary Commodore-in-Chief, Aircraft Carriers, I am delighted that he will have an even stronger link to this Ship and her sister."  
Their Royal Highnesses greatly appreciated your good wishes that you have sent for Christmas and have asked me to send you the enclosed card along with their warmest thanks and very best wishes for the New Year.  
Yours sincerely,  
Claudia Spens
The quote is from Camilla's speech at the Commissioning Ceremony of the new HMS Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier. Duchess Camilla is the ship's sponsor (i.e. godmother). 

With the letter is the couple's Christmas reply, the usual flat card. The front of the card features a photo taken at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds during the couple's visit to New Zealand in November. 

The back of the card features the Prince of Wales features along with a typed message. 

The letter reads: 
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall would like to thank you so much for your Christmas message and your kind thought.  
Their Royal Highnesses send you their warmest best wishes for a very Happy New Year. 
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