Sunday, February 28, 2021

King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima of the Netherlands - Christmas Reply (2020)

A lovely reply arrived earlier this month from the Netherlands. I had written to King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima to wish them a Merry Christmas. 

The envelope is the usual from the couple. It features a crown with the words "Office of the Royal House" written underneath in Dutch.  The back of the envelope is blank.


Inside is the couple's Christmas Card. The front of the card features a lovely winter scene. This card is from UNICEF and is part of UNICEF NL's collection of Christmas Cards that they sell to the public. This card comes from a set of 5 called Winter Wonderland

The inside of the card features the same message as past years, written in English and 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 Hague
This card may seem familiar to many of you, as we have seen it before. King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima buy a set of Christmas Cards from UNICEF in bulk every few years. They will use the cards until they run out and then buy new cards. Usually, there is a "transition year" where they sent out some of the old & new sets as they are using up their old cards.

This year is another transition year. Some received a card from the old set, Kerstdorp (Christmas Villiage) that was used from 2018-2020. And some received cards for the Winter Wonderland set. The Winter Wonderland set isn't a new design, however, they actually used this from 2015-2018. 

We know this year's cards weren't leftovers from 2015-2018 because the inside of the card is different. The message is the same, as it always has been, but it is bilingual something they only started doing with the Kerstdorp (Christmas Villiage) cards. 

Christmas 2015-2020

Of the two designs, I have 3 of 5 of the designs of the Winter Wonderland. & 1 of 5 of the Kerstdorp (Christmas Villiage). You can find the blog post on some of my past Christmas Replies from the couple here

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

King Albert & Queen Paola of Belgium - Christmas Reply (2020)

A lovely reply arrived earlier this month from Belgium. I had written to King Albert & Queen Paola in December for Christmas. 

The Belgium royals have a variety of envelopes that they use. This is one of the more common ones for King Albert & Queen Paola. 

Inside is a flat card with the name of their home, Belevédère Castle, at the top. The message is in french, one of Belgium's official languages. This year's reply is a little different than my past Christmas replies from the couple. This year's has an actual message from the couple, instead of just their best wishes from the new year. And, it is also the first time I've gotten a Christmas reply from Albert & Paola that did not include a photo. 

The message reads: 

Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen Paola were extremely touched by the kind wishes you sent them on the occasion of the holiday season and thank you wholeheartedly. May 2021 bring you joy, serenity, and happy moments to share. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Back to Replies - Main Page 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Queen Margrethe of Denmark - Christmas Reply (2020)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Queen Margrethe to wish her a Merry Christmas.

The front of the envelope is the usual from Queen Margrethe. The postmark is from Amalienborg Palace. 

The back of the envelope features the Royal Crown of Denmark. The envelope has a lovely edge, which you can sort of see. 
Inside is a letter from one of the Queen's Aides-de-Camp, Major Søren Peter Østergaard. The letter is identical to the Queen's past Christmas replies from the last few years.  In 2018, she changed to his form letter. 

The letter says: 
Dear Miss Daly,  
Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to thank You for Your kind Christmas and New Year's greetings.  
Sincerely yours,  
S. P.  Østergaard

Back to Replies - Main Page 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Prince Charles - Birthday Reply (2020)

A lovely reply arrived this week from Prince Charles. I had written to him in November for his birthday. This is the latest I have ever received a reply for Prince Charles's birthday. But not too unexpected as the pandemic is making everything slower. 

The front of the envelope is the usual, with the postmark from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. 

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

Normally, Clarence House sends out photocards as their standard birthday reply, with some people getting a letter when they feel a more personal reply is warranted. But this year, for Charles's birthday, all I have seen so far are letters. I haven't seen anyone get a photocard. My guess is there was some printing problem with the photocard for his Birthday. We have seen situations in the past where the first batch of replies were all letters, and the later replies were photocards, as there had been a delay in printing. So, it is possible that some people will get photocards, even if they haven't sent any out yet. 

The letter is written by Claudia Spens, who is head of the Correspondence Section at Clarence House. 

The letter reads: 
Dear Miss Daly, 
The Prince of Wales has asked me to thank you for your letter of 14th November, which was received at this office on 18th December.  
His Royal Highness is most grateful to you for taking the trouble to write as you did and he thanks you for your kind well wishes for himself and his family. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were touched by the warm welcome they received during their poignant visit to Germany to commemorate the National Day of Morning.  
His Royal Highness greatly appreciated your thoughtful message, which you sent on the occasion of his 72nd birthday. The Prince of Wales has asked me to send you his warmest thanks and very best wishes.  
Yours sincerely, 

Claudia Spens 

Back to Replies - Main Page

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan - Christmas Reply (2020)

A lovely reply arrived today from the UK. I had written to Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan in December to wish them a Merry Christmas. As I hadn't seen any replies from them since Christmas last year, I wasn't excepting anything in reply. This was a very lovely surprise. 

With the Sussexes stepping down as working royals last year there was a big question on how their mail is going to be handled. The Correspondence Section at Clarence House said last year that they are still handling the Sussexes mail as it was always done. And this reply is pretty much the same as the replies from before the Sussexes stepped down. 

The front of the envelope is the usual. It features the postmark from the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. The Post Office is run by the Royal Mail. All incoming/outgoing mail for one of the London Royal offices/residences is processed through this post office. For incoming mail, the Royal Mail will run additional security checks, before sorting the mail and delivering it to each office. The Royal Mail collects outgoing mail from each office, with frank it with this postmark, and sort it before sending it on to its next stop. 

The PPI (Printed Postage Impression) number in the red box is W4047, which is the Sovereign Grants account. So we know the cost of postage is being charged to the Sovereign Grant.

The back of the envelope features the couple's monogram. It is the same one they have always used, a combined M/H under the coronet of the child of the Prince of Wales. (William & Kate use this same Coronet on their monograms & coat of arms. The coronets you see on other royal's mail are slightly different. E.g. The York Princesses use the coronet of the child of the son of the monarch.)

Inside is the typical photo card we see from Clarence House. The front of the card features a photo of the couple in Dubbo, Australia. This is the same photo they used on their reply for their 2018 pregnancy announcement. (Although this card has a glossy finish.) It is very common for Clarence House to reuse photos. And now that the couple has stepped down, I expect we will see this more often for them as reusing photos will save time and money. 

The back of the card has a typed message.  The message is different than what we've seen in the past. It is in some ways more personal, as it is worded as if it is from the Sussexes, not written on their behalf. (This is the 2nd year their Christmas reply has neglected to mention Archie.) The message is sort of generic, which will allow Clarence House to use this card for multiple occasions/years. 

The message says: 
Thank you for your thoughtful message. We appreciate your kind words and the time you have taken to write to us on this special occasion.  
Sending you our warmest wishes.  
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

After months of not seeing any replies from Clarence House from the Sussexes, it is nice to see replies again. I think this also signals that Clarence House will continue to handle the Sussexes mail for the foreseeable future, as the Sussexes have yet to hire staff to take on that duty. It will be interesting to hear if the Sussexes are reimbursing Clarence House and the Sovereign Grant for this service.