Royal Family and etiquette
Some of the information on this page may be out of date following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We are in the process of reviewing and updating this content.
Contacting members of The Royal Family
Due to the sheer numbers of people who wish to contact the Royal Family, correspondence is only possible via letter. Members of the Royal Family cannot be contacted directly via email or telephone.
There is no strict protocol about how a letter should be written, though some people wish to observe the traditional forms.
In which case, people may write to The King with the formal opening "Sir" and close the letter with the form "I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant."
For other members of the Royal Family the formal opening is "Sir" or "Madam". Other people prefer to open their letter with "Your Majesty" or "Your Royal Highness" and end it with "Yours sincerely."
Addressing members of the Royal Family
For female members of The Royal Family who hold the title Her Royal Highness: "Your Royal Highness" on the first occasion, and then "Ma'am."
For male members of The Royal Family who hold the title His Royal Highness: "Your Royal Highness" on the first occasion and "Sir" thereafter.
Contacting members of the Royal Family
You can write to members of the Royal family at the following addresses:
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
His Royal Highness The Duke of York
Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
London W8 4PU
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent
St. James’s Palace
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent
How to request a Royal visit
The Lord-Lieutenant is responsible for making all the arrangements for a Royal visit to Nottinghamshire by a member of the Royal Family. The Officer to the Lieutenancy makes all the necessary planning arrangements direct with the Royal Household, the host organisation and the Police to ensure the visit is a success and is enjoyed by everyone involved.
A Royal Visit is a memorable occasion which honours the work and achievements of an organisation or community. It is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the different ways in which people have been involved in either a special piece of work or occasion.
These visits are an important part of the Royal Family’s role and are much valued by those organisations that are fortunate enough to receive such a visit. Many of the visits are connected to charities and other organisations with which members of the Royal Family are associated.
For further information about Members of the Royal Family and the charities or organisations they support please go to the British Monarchy website.
Extending an invitation
Invitations to members of the Royal Family may be made in a number of ways.
Invitations may be extended through the Lord-Lieutenant and may be submitted to specific members of the Royal Family on an organisation’s behalf. If in doubt the Officer will advise as to who may be the most appropriate member of the Royal Family to approach and it is advisable to consult the Officer at the earliest opportunity if unsure.
Alternatively, invitations can be extended direct to the relevant Royal Household, via the Private Secretary. When using this route, it would be much appreciated if a copy of the invitation could be sent to the Lord-Lieutenant for his information. Include as much information as possible but try to keep it concise. The sort of information that will be needed will vary according to the type of invitation and the Officer can advise on what is best to send.
If the invitation involves a visit to a new or refurbished building, it is vital that the work is fully completed and the people in place and the project up and running before the Member of the Royal Family visits. Such invitations need to be put forward for a date well after completion to ensure that everything is in place. This sometimes means that the Royal visit does not take place until sometime after the building or project has opened but that is quite usual.
When to make the invitation
All invitations received are very carefully considered. If you wish to invite a member of the Royal Family to an event taking place in Nottinghamshire you should invite them at least six months in advance. However, if you want a Royal visit for a special occasion on a particular day then you will need to extend your invitation about a year beforehand. If in doubt please contact the Officer who will be happy to advise on timings.
An invitation refused
The King and other members of the royal family make at least 3,000 visits every year, with around 1,000 invitations sent to The King alone each year. If your invitation is refused – as many sadly must be – it will not be sent on automatically to another Member of the Royal Family. You may extend it yourself to another Member, even if the second invitee is more senior than the first, although discretion should be exercised in extending subsequent invitations and you may find it helpful to consult the Officer if you are considering this course of action.
An invitation accepted
Once an invitation has been accepted, the appropriate Royal Household will inform the Lord-Lieutenant and the organisation to advise on a date when the member of the Royal Family wishes to visit. At this early stage of the proceedings, all details relating to the venue and the visit are STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL and no details should be given to anyone that is not involved in the visit.
The Officer to the Lieutenancy will make contact with the organisation and will arrange to meet with the hosts to work on a draft programme for submission to the Royal Household. Detailed information on how to help with the arrangements of a Royal Visit can be found in the Royal Visit Guide on page 6. Once the Royal Visit is confirmed and all arrangements are in place, the details of the visit will be included on the official British Monarchy website. Approximately one week before a member of the Royal Family is due to visit Nottinghamshire, details will be added to the Nottinghamshire Lieutenancy website for general information.
Duplication of an invitation
Occasionally, organisations issue an invitation for a member of The Royal Family to visit, only to find another member of that organisation has already issued, and had accepted, an invitation to a third party. This can cause considerable embarrassment. It is strongly advised that when a Royal invitation is being planned, everyone in management of the event is aware of the intention to issue an invitation to a member of the Royal Family, to prevent embarrassment to all concerned.
The Lieutenancy assists Buckingham Palace in identifying local people who through their work or voluntary commitment have done something extra.
As they are identified, the Lieutenancy submits names as a possible guest to one of the three annual Royal Garden parties at Buckingham Palace.