A night with The Royal Butler, an ‘entertaining’ host

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

 

With the Queen’s 90th birthday imminent, holiday accommodation experts – Stayz – flew the ‘Royal Butler’, Grant Harrold (former royal household butler to the Queen, Kate and William and Prince Harry) to Australia to share his tips on Etiquette and Entertaining.

I was thrilled to receive an invitation for an evening of tutelage, as constantly I am dismayed at the general demise of social ‘niceties‘.

In our hurry to lead more efficient lives we seem to have lost our way in the manner of etiquette; taking time takes, well time…

However the reality of inner city living doesn’t always lend itself to hosting and entertaining.  A small dining table that seats only two or a tiny kitchen workbench that just fits a microwave, are challenges faced when planning a dinner party.

Alternatively you might have the space but not necessarily the impetus.

Therefore the option of ‘hiring’ a home with a group of friends (and of course a Butler) – for a holiday that is at home, yet not.

What a brilliant idea.

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

Twilight in Sydney has fallen as I arrive at stunning Stayz property, Darling Point Estate. Making my way along the garden path, illuminated with the glow of dozens of tea-lights, I feel a buzz of excitement.

I want to ask The Royal Butler how we reclaim the touches of civilised society.

Grant Harold tells us “I’ve worked in Royal Households for over a decade, so I’ve certainly seen my fair share of royal dinners, cocktail parties as well as afternoon teas. I’ve worked at the very highest level, so know the difference between a good and excellent host. I’m in Australia with Stayz to share my top tips on entertaining and etiquette”.

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

The evening begins with a discussion on ‘poise’.

I wax ad nauseam to my teenagers about the importance of social skills; the ability to put people at ease as you carry yourself with confidence are gold star standards.

Tonight we start with walking correctly – this involves imagining an invisible string pulling the top of your head. I find myself gliding across the vast hallway with a book placed on my head – I almost make it across the room before the books slides to the floor in a most unRoyal fashion.

Lots of fun but not an activity I imagine my boys partaking in – so then the million dollar question…

What practical skills did I learn?

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

The list seems endless so let me narrow it down;

  • The host/hostess should greet guests at the front door, leaving the door ajar allows a welcoming air (naturally this works best if you have a lovely front garden – not so much in my inner city home where an open door could be an invitation to cruising thieves).
  • Ensure a firm handshake – hand extended at a right angle, thumb up. Gentlemen should wait for a lady to make the first move, be it handshake, kiss, hug.

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

  • Pop candles in the freezer to prevent them dripping wax – take them out 30 minutes before guests arrive to light them.
  • Dessert or Pudding, which is correct? Dessert equates to fruit and Pudding is generally a warm, comfort dish.

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

  • Dessert cutlery is always placed at the top of the plate.
  • Salt and Pepper are placed (and passed together).

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

  • The correct way to fold a linen Napkin – The Royal Butler makes it look so easy.

  • Always a linen Napkin (paper only for BBQ’s, if you must…), and Napkin vs Serviette?  The debate continues…

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

 

  • How to place the Napkin on your lap? For ‘ladies’ it is with the crease away from you, so the mouth can be delicately dabbed with the internal corner (that way you will not expose your lipstick all over the linen).
  • Napkin on the table signals you have finished your meal.

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

  • The worst etiquette offence is to place a Mobile Phone on the table, leave checking it until you go to the loo (oh and by the way, never make a comfort stop until after the completion of the first course, best you also leave ‘selfies’ until the bathroom mirror…).

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

  • Milk comes after the tea, the reverse actually was the norm before the invention of bone china, chilled milk prevented the cracking of clay cups (oh and mugs, save them for the kitchen, never to be used in ‘company’).
  • Keep your pinky finger in, the Queen does.

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining

  • And a Tiara? Only if you are married darling…

Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining
What are your favourite of the ‘Royal Guide to Etiquette and Entertaining’ tips?

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