Thursday, January 10, 2013

You are Hereby Cordially Invited to Dinner with the Queen - Don't Panic!

Our Christmas dinner table. Sparkling fruit juice always adds a pretty touch.
Happy New Year! We set a pretty table for our Christmas dinner and that got me thinking about dining with the Queen. Have you ever dreamed of being invited to a palace for a banquet?

The first time Miri met the Queen in Miri Attwater and the Ocean's Secret it was at a fancy, schmancy dinner. Sadly, the Queen wasn't wearing a tiara. (Don't worry! A crown is coming in Book 2 - All that Glitters.) But there was plenty of sparkling china, crystal, and silver that Miri had to worry about not knocking off the table!

So what are the rules for dining with the Queen? Don't worry, if your manners aren't royal perfect, Queen Elizabeth II of England doesn't order "Of with her head!" like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. At least not very often.

President George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth II at a state dinner
According to the British Royal Family's official website, there aren't any special rules for meeting or dining with Queen Elizabeth II. You wouldn't know it from reading the stories in the British press, though. They love to print stories about mistakes made by various leaders, including our Presidents and First Ladies! Can you imagine how hard it is to have a crowd of reporters just watching for you to make a mistake?

So what do you do if you get invited to dinner with the Queen? Don't panic! here are a few pointers to help keep you out of the headlines.

1. Don't arrive after the Queen.

2. Remain standing behind your chair until the Queen takes her seat.

3. Don't eat until the Queen starts eating.

4. When the Queen is finished, the meal is over. (Even if you haven't managed to scrape the last bit of the delicious shrimp newberg off your plate.)

Tables at the State Dining Room at the White House
But, alas, let's face it. If you live in the States you are much more likely to be invited to dinner with the President. No crowns, but the tables are still pretty. And you'll still be faced with all that silverware! So how do you not end up having to eat your fruit sorbet with a fork like Miri did?

Come back next week and learn all the secrets to make it through a formal dinner. Better yet, sign up by email or put the blog in your feed reader so you won't miss it!

(Because I'd hate for you to be embarrassed when you're invited to the White House. You might not get a second chance!)

Related Post:
Ms. Ivy's Guide to Basic Table Manners


  1. Love the pictures of dining with the Queen. Just wondering - are there similar etiquette rules for dining with the President?