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8 etiquette rules for a royal celebration

Do you want your dinner party to be as refined as a royal banquet? Do you know how to act in polite company without embarrassing yourself? Don’t worry, with these 8 royal etiquette rules you’ll be well on your way to dining like a King. Make sure your guests know they will be held to the strictest standards of etiquette. Maybe you could have a forfeit for anyone who doesn't follow them.

From dress codes to dining manners, there are strict rules to follow when engaging with the Royal Family. Follow these guidelines and no one will know your blood isn’t really blue!

Wait your turn 

There are strict etiquette rules that must be followed to maintain tradition and respect the hierarchy. One of the most important rules is to know your place and wait your turn. This applies to many situations, including entering a room, seating arrangements, and even weddings.

When entering a room, it's important to remember that the order of entrance is based on the line of succession to the throne. This means that the first to enter would be the current monarch or the next in line to be crowned. For example, if King Charles is present, he would enter first, followed by Prince William, and so on. It's essential to wait your turn and not rush into the room, even if you're eager to meet someone. This not only shows respect for the hierarchy but also ensures that everything runs smoothly.

The same rule applies to seating arrangements. If you're attending a royal event, the seating will be arranged according to the line of succession. The highest-ranking members of the royal family will be seated closest to the host, while those further down the line will be seated further away. If you're not sure where to sit, it's best to wait for guidance from a member of the Royal Household.

The exception to this is at weddings. The Monarch purposely arrives fashionably late, just before the bride. This tradition has been followed for many years and is a sign of respect for the bride and her family. It also ensures that the bride is the centre of attention on her special day.

How would you order your guests? Who would enter first and sit at the top table?

Say no to garlic 

One of the most notable etiquette rules in the Royal Family is their aversion to garlic. Both the Queen and King Charles III are known to dislike the pungent ingredient and as a result, it is never included in any royal meals. This may seem like a drastic measure, but there is a reason behind it – and it’s not because they’re secretly vampires! Members of the Royal Family meet people from all over the world and it is important for them to maintain their composure and make conversation without offending anyone with unpleasant breath.

It is important to note that the Royal Family's culinary preferences extend beyond just garlic. King Charles has also banned foie gras from the palace and all royal meals. The process of force-feeding birds during the production of foie gras is considered unethical by the King and he has taken a stand against it. While foie gras may be considered a delicacy by some, the Royal Family's commitment to ethical eating practices makes it a big no no.

What foods would you avoid if you were needing to make an impression?

Napkin know how 

When dining like the Royal Family, it's important to pay attention to the intricate details, such as how to handle your napkin. You may have learned to crumple up your napkin and leave it on the table or use it as a makeshift bib, but this wouldn’t fly with the Royals. Instead, you must follow napkin-folding protocol.

Members of the Royal family fold their napkin in half and place it on their knees when seated at the table. As each area of the napkin is used, they fold it again to create a clean surface. This way, there is no unsightly evidence of where they wiped their mouth or hands, which is not a pleasant sight, especially in a formal setting.

Moreover, folding the napkin also serves a practical purpose: it protects diners from getting any food or grease on their clothing. The Royals value proper etiquette and presentation, and they want their guests to feel comfortable and at ease during the meal.

What do you do with your napkin – placed gently on your knee or tucked into your top like a bib?

Silverware matters 

One of the most fundamental etiquette rules in the Royal Family is not to eat with your hands. Unless you're at a barbecue, eating with your fingers is considered inappropriate. The only thing acceptable to eat with fingers is afternoon tea. Therefore, if you want to make your meal suitable for a King, make sure to supply cutlery. It's worth noting that this rule applies not only to members of the Royal family but also to their guests.

Forks are held in the left hand, and knives are held in the right hand. The tines of the fork should be pointed down, and they don't stab their food. Instead, food is placed on the backside of the fork, using the knife to help them get it there, and then it's balanced as they slowly and carefully bring the upside-down fork to their mouth.

However, what about pizza, one of the most beloved foods worldwide? Sadly, the answer is no. King Charles won't be indulging in a slice of pizza unless he's willing to eat it with a fork and knife, and even then, he'll need to make sure that the sauce doesn't contain garlic. The Royals are always meeting people from around the world, and they must remain composed and sophisticated, even when they're eating. It’s difficult to act like the ruler of a nation with pizza sauce on your chin.

The Royals would have cutlery appropriate to each course, but do you know your salad fork from your fish knife?

Dress to impress 

When it comes to dining like the Royal Family, it's not just about the food on the table, but also about adhering to proper etiquette and dressing appropriately for the occasion. In fact, formal attire is expected at all royal meals, whether it's a large formal affair or a family gathering. This means that guests must follow strict clothing rules, and it's always best to err on the side of being overdressed rather than underdressed.

For women, a dress and stockings are generally required, while men are expected to wear trousers and a coat. It's important to keep in mind that formal attire may vary depending on the occasion, but in general, traditional and simple clothing choices are best when it comes to royal dining. This means that it's probably not a clever idea to show off your latest crochet trouser collection or any other statement piece that could potentially be seen as disrespectful or inappropriate.

If you want your dinner to be fit for royalty, it's important to take the dress code seriously. What sartorial rules will be in place for your party? And will you throw people out for not following?

Excuse yourself 

When dining like the Royal family, it's important to remember that using the bathroom during a meal is perfectly acceptable but announcing it to the entire dining room is not. As humans, even the Royals need to use the facilities from time to time, but they must be discreet about it.

Instead of drawing attention to yourself, politely excuse yourself by saying "excuse me" and quietly leave the table. Making a spectacle of your departure is not in line with royal etiquette, so it would be best to avoid it. This is a piece of etiquette that we could all benefit from practicing. After all, does anyone really need to know why we are leaving the table?

Once you have finished, quietly return to the dining room and observe the situation. It's best to slip back into your seat and continue with the meal in a low-key manner.

Perhaps it would be more fun to make sure everyone uses a euphemism at your party – how would you let people know where you’re going?

Pinky out – or in?  

If you were sipping tea at the royal dining table, would you extend your pinkie finger? Many people often associate the habit of sticking their pinkie out while holding a teacup with royalty, but this is not the done thing. Despite the portrayal of this stereotype in movies and popular culture, it is not what royalty prefers.

In fact, many in the Royal Family consider the "pinkie out" gesture to be impolite and discourteous. It can create an impression of snobbery and even mockery, which can be perceived negatively by those in your immediate company as well as any onlookers.

When dining with the Royal Family, it is likely that you would be served tea, so it is best to be aware of this rule. The correct way to hold a teacup is to place your fingers on the handle, while keeping your pinkie finger tucked in. This practice is considered more refined and elegant than the outdated stereotype of sticking the pinkie out.

Do you think your guests will know this? You might have to let them know...

When the King is finished so are you 

That steak may be cooked to perfection, but if you were dining with royalty, then once the King has finished his meal, so have you. This isn't because they're selfish or demanding, but simply a long-standing tradition of the monarchy. This ensures that everyone finishes together and avoids the potential awkwardness of someone being left eating while others sit idly.

The late Queen was known for her habit of pushing food around on her plate once she was full, allowing others to continue enjoying their meal without feeling rushed. This is a gracious gesture that shows consideration for her guests and companions, saying a lot about her personality.

Remember, dining like the Royal Family is not just about enjoying the delicious food; it's also about following the long-standing customs and traditions. Proper etiquette is essential when dining like the Royal Family. It shows respect and admiration for the Monarchy's traditions and is an opportunity to show your best self.

Whether you're enjoying a hearty meal or a quiet conversation, remember to keep these rules in mind, and maybe you’ll bag yourself an invite to the next royal banquet!