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Why You Shouldn’t Tell Will To Keep His Fork

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Will and KateThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (“Will and Kate”) are coming to Canada this week.

There is certain etiquette–things you should and should not do–in dealing with, and speaking to, royalty. Etiquette is a type of “manners.” It can also be called “protocol” in the case of the royals.

For instance, protocol demands that Will and Kate be addressed as “Your Royal Highness,” followed by “sir” or “ma’am.” Men can then bow from the neck and ladies can curtsy to the royals.

Over the years there have been plenty of “breaches of protocol” — mistakes that people have made around royalty. If you’re going to be seeing Will and Kate, here are some gaffes Canadians have made in the past that you may want to learn from.

* Handshakes are generally a no-no with royalty. One handshake in particular stands out: in 1890 an Ontario farmer walked up to the Prince of Wales, stuck out his hand and said in a loud and friendly voice, “Put ‘er there, Prince!”

* In 1860, Canadian acrobat Charles Blondin shocked the royal’s staff by offering to lug the Prince of Wales in a wheelbarrow across a tightrope over Niagara Falls. The prince was actually keen on the idea, but his staff talked him out of it.

* In 1919, crowds swarmed Prince Edward, who was on horseback. This startled the horse and the prince was lifted off the horse, carried into the crowd and — as he wrote later in his memoirs — passed overhead “like a football at a rugby game.”

* During a meal sometime around 1916, a waitress was clearing the plates from in front of Queen Victoria’s son, Arthur, the Duke of Connaught. The waitress handed him back a piece of his used cutlery, saying “Keep your fork, Duke, there’s pie for dessert!”

* In 1939, during a formal dinner with King George VI, Montreal mayor Camillien Houde accidentally made a huge gaffe. The King asked the mayor if he had an “official chain of office,” which is a fancy necklace worn by mayors. The mayor said he had one, but he only wore it on “special occasions.” (That mayor must have been living an exciting life if dinner with the king wan’t a “special occasion” to him!)

Information in this article was derived from this excellent article in The Globe and Mail.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The way we present ourselves can mean a lot to people. On the other hand, some people hardly notice the manners that people use. Do you think it is important to use good manners? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt
Using your own ideas and some of the ideas in today’s article, make a pamphlet with five important rules of etiquette.

Primary, Junior, & Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: “Quotation Marks”
Quotation marks can be used in a few ways. In today’s article, quotation marks are used in a few ways. In the following sentence, from today’s story, they are used to show the exact words that would be spoken.

“For instance, protocol demands that Will and Kate be addressed as “Your Royal Highness,” followed by “sir” or “ma’am.”

But in other parts of today’s article, quotation marks are used differently. How are quotation marks being used in the following examples?

1. Etiquette is a type of “manners.”

2. The King asked the mayor if he had an “official chain of office,” which is a fancy necklace worn by mayors.

3. The mayor said he had one, but he only wore it on “special occasions.”