More questions have come in over the last few days and below are some of the more interesting ones together with my answers.
1) Please let me know, does etiquette teach arrogance? I am asking this because, if it does, then I will decide to book you. Is it worth learning it, as I want to be able to respond with the same attitude to those people calling themselves “Royals” who display it on a daily basis toward others outside their circle.
Etiquette does not teach arrogance, and nor do I condone it. Sadly in today’s world, those who people think have good manners often are quite rude and, as you say, are arrogant and supercilious (especially to those ‘outside their circle’). This is one of the reasons that manners and etiquette have gained a bad image in the last decade or so. Being polite and courteous should be universal and everyone should be treated equally and with respect.
2) What should you call Kate Middleton now e.g. Your Majesty or Your Royal Highness?
The latter. Now that Catherine is part of the Royal Family then she is given the title of ‘Your Royal Highness’ (or ‘Ma’am’) when speaking to her in conversation. Only the Monarch is called ‘Your Majesty’, all others are ‘Your Royal Highness’, followed by Sir/Ma’am.
3) When seating guests at a formal dinner table, I typically seat the lady of highest honor (based on age or station) to my right. Is this proper?
This is proper. The most senior guests go to the right of the host/hostess. Thus, if President Obama hosted a state dinner for Her Majesty The Queen at the White House, Her Majesty would sit to the right of the President, and on the First Lady’s right would be Prince Philip.
4) In light of recent events, I have a hypothetical etiquette question for you. If for example in Ireland it was considered social protocol to clink glasses when greeting someone, would it have been a faux pas on Her Majesty’s behalf had she refused? Similarly, if in America the formal way of greeting someone was to hug them and Michelle Obama hugged The Queen, would this be inappropriate? Who’s right in a clash of cultural etiquette?
Good questions! Taking your first, it would be impolite of Her Majesty to refuse to clink glasses, should it have been social protocol to clink glasses. Thankfully, nowhere in the Western world is it correct to do so (correct me if I am wrong). If Her Majesty was in America and the First Last hugged Her (and it was that country’s custom to do so) then Her Majesty would graciously go along with it. (But it’s not!) The phrase ‘when in Rome’ is key here.
5) What are the social rules of getting onto an already packed-solid tube [the underground]. Squeeze in? Ask politely?
Well, if it’s packed-solid you won’t physically be able to board! You’d have to wait for the next train or try a different carriage. If there is clearly enough room for your personage then you can ask politely, although really the people already onboard should move for you (although on the London Underground nobody thinks properly).
Do keep your questions on etiquette, manners, taste and protocol coming in via my contact page. You can now hear me answering a daily question on Bolton FM at 3.30pm every Monday to Thursday.