We thought we knew it all when it came to our dear HRH. But what keeps us fascinated in the royal family, is the complexity of customs that come from their thousand-plus year history. Especially after we learned this week that the Queen’s official handwasher has kicked the bucket.
Official handwasher?! In his capacity of Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands, a certain Peter Houison Craufurd, had to offer his services – and have “a silver ewer, bowl and salver holding a linen towel on permanent standby” – whenever her maj visited Hollyroodhouse. Over to The Daily Telegraph for all the details. After weeks of public Royal laundry washing, we certainly welcome this good, clean regal titbit.
Peter Houison Craufurd, the Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands, dies at the age of 82.
Tim Walker. Edited by Richard Eden
7:30AM BST 22 Sep 2012
It is one of the more unusual roles occupied by the Queen’s courtiers, but Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands is a post that must now be filled.
Mandrake learns that the holder of the title, Peter Houison Craufurd, died on Monday, at the age of 82. He always had a silver ewer, bowl and salver holding a linen towel on permanent standby.
“We used to have to write to Buckingham Palace to offer to wash the monarch’s hands every time they were in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse,” said Houison Craufurd.
“In his day, my father had to make that offer virtually every year, although it was very seldom accepted.
“More recently, we have been told by the Queen’s office that, as we have already washed her hands once, that is all she requires us to do. So now we have to wait until Prince Charles takes the throne before we do it again.”
Read more here.
And they’re off! While the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony did not disappoint, we’re staying true to our traditional monday ‘Royal Roundup’, with a look at Kate Middleton’s outfit. Playing it cool in a bespoke ice blue silk dress by Scottish designer Christopher Kane she matched perfectly with The Queen and looked immaculate as she greeted foreign dignitaries, including Michelle Obama.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this: does this look win Olympic gold?
She is one of the most photographed women in the world, but how much of a sartorial influence has the Queen had?
The Queen might be visiting a hospital one day, or welcoming a world leader the next – and her clothes are her uniform.
But just how much has she influenced ordinary women’s dress?
“To design a dress for the Queen means you are creating something for the world’s most famous woman, who’s seen by more people on a daily basis than anyone else. She also has an image in people’s minds that you have to fulfil,” says Stewart Parvin, who’s been designing for the Queen since 2000.
He has to work around the rules – the Queen always wears a two-inch heel, hemlines must be well below the knee, and she always carries a handbag.
“She has to wear strong colours, she’s very tiny, and in a block colour with a wonderful hat, she stands out – she’s a real focal point,” he adds. Read the rest here.
Dolce & Gabbana’s autumn/winter 2008-09 show gave a sartorial nod to the Queen
Was the post-war period the Queen’s Golden Age for fashion? Norman Hartnell designed her sumptuous evening gowns, and Hardy Amies designed much of her daywear
Hats off – or should that be on? The Queen is known for her choice of headwear
So it seems all is not roses in the House of Windsor. While The Queen has been the belle of Britain’s heart lately, we’ve been given a rare glimpse of her steelier side as Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, who seems to have felt her ire. If you thought you had it bad with the mother-in-law, think again.
It seems they have fallen out over the simple issue of who is to curtsy to who. The entry of a new member to the most traditional of families has led to a very complicated overhaul of intra-family rules of engagement. The Daily Telegraph explains:
The new rules of Court make it clear that the former Kate Middleton, when she is not accompanied by Prince William, must curtsy to the “blood princesses”, the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, and the daughters of the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
When William is with her, Kate does not need to bend the knee to either of them, but she must curtsy to the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Despite being married to the Queen’s son, the Countess of Wessex will, however, have to curtsy to Kate, even when William is not present.
Well, we warned you: etiquette is a deadly important issue amongst the Royalty. We feel a mini-guide to curtseying coming on, just in case you bump into a regal matriarch!
And is it just us, our does “blood princesses” have something of an ominous ring to it! Wouldn’t want to bump into them late at night in Hell’s Kitchen…
We’ve got a piece of family history for you today on the blog. Here’s a picture of our dear owner (matriarch to the British expats of NYC, unofficial consular-general and shoulder to cry on for these missing home), Nicola Perry with her sister Louise and her dad Ted on the day he received his MBE.
Check out that handbag!
Ted was a truly remarkable man. After a successful career in the music industry, he founded Hyperion Records in 1980, a classical music label that went on to great success. Here’s an excerpt from his obituary in the Guardian:
“Ted Perry, who has died aged 71, was one of the most industrious and admired characters in the recording industry… [Hyperion Records] became one of the most important of independent companies, adopting an adventurous policy entirely inspired by Perry’s intuition as regards making rare repertory popular. Many thought that his enterprise was foolhardy, but right up to his death, he proved them wholly wrong; there was and is a public for the unusual when presented with discernment.”
He was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 1990 for services to music. Let’s see if Nicky will one day follow in his footsteps to Buckingham Palace!
While we don’t want to overdo all this monarchy business, we thought these photos of the marriage of The Queen and Prince Phillip were so fabulous, it was safe to share them so close after the Queen’s Jubilee. Especially as they come with a fantastic story: according to the Queen’s nanny, the young Elizabeth lost her heart to Phillip while slow dancing to tunes from the musical Oklahoma! They’d fit in perfectly in the West Village.
The official wedding portrait.
King George VI and The Queen Mother returning to Buckingham Palace through Trafalgar Square. Notice conspicuous lack of cell phones in hands!
On the balcony and still perfecting the wave. From left to right: Princess Margaret, Lady Mary Cambridge, the Royal couple, and the Queen Mother.
The best man to the left of Elizabeth, bridesmaids (including Princess Margaret Rose), right, beside Prince Philip, and the page boys. Lady Mary Cambridge is third from left, Princess Alexandra of Kent, is fourth from left.
You can read the full account of the romance according to Queen Elizabeth’s nanny here.