Invitations to and from Members of the Royal Family
Before Sending the Invitation
Make an informal enquiry to the relevant private secretary, outlining the nature and purpose of the event, to establish whether the particular member of the royal family would view an invitation favourably before sending a formal lettter.
This is also a good time to ask the private secretary whether the husband or wife of the member of the royal family should be included in the invitation.
Only in exceptional circumstances should two or more members of the royal family (other than consorts) be invited to the same function.
Sending the Invitation
Invitations to members of the royal family are made primarily by letter. A printed invitation may be sent with the letter, although this is not essential.
The titles of the royal guest/s are shown in full, but without post-nominal letters, as follows:
Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh
Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
His Royal Highness The Duke of York
Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York
Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie of York
Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Admiral Timothy Laurence
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Kent
Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy
See The Order of Succession for additional royal titles
Addressing the Invitation
- If the function is to take place in London the invitation is generally made in writing to the private secretary.
- If the function is to take place in the country, the invitation should be sent to the Lord-Lieutenant of the county.
After the Reply
If an invitation is declined, it may be subsequently extended to a more junior member of the royal family, but not to a more senior one.
If an invitation is accepted, the event's organiser should liaise with the private secretary (or with another member of the household nominated by him) to discuss important details. These include:
- time of arrival
- name of the equerry or lady-in-waiting who will accompany the royal guest
- names of persons to be presented, etc etc.
In the Presence of...
An invitation to an official function (ie one given by an organisation, society, etc), at which The Queen is to be present, should have the words 'In the gracious presence of Her Majesty The Queen' printed at the top of the card.
All other members of the royal family are indicated by the phrase
'In the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales' (for example) being printed at the top of the invitation card.
Replying to Invitations from Members of The Royal Family
If you are invited to a function by a member of the Royal Family other than The Queen, the invitation should not be viewed as a 'command'. It will be issued by a member of the appropriate Household, to whom a reply should be addressed.