Liz Smith: Mind Your Manners With A Queen

Duchess Catherine: learning royal protocol

And more from our Liz: Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz share passion over pasta … Amy Winehouse — did a sudden detox kill her?

“THE GOLDEN rule when joining the Royal Family is – if in doubt, do nothing!” says one Sarah Gristwood.

* * *

WELL, YOU and I are not likely to need the advice I am about to impart, but reading the London Daily Telegraph, I came upon an article by Christopher Middleton that tells us how to be “formal, not fawning.” This, says the in-law, is the key to getting along with the Royal Family.

Not getting along with them is called “Ma’amgate.” The writer questions how the new bride Kate, Duchess of Cambridge will handle the question of spending next Christmas either at Sandringham or slumming at the little village where the Middletons own a country place. He writes: “Just as the parents of Sparta used to give up their sons to the military from an early age, so Carole and Michael Middleton have handed over their little girl to royalty.”

And the long-reigning Queen’s own mother was merely Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, never dreaming that marrying the then Duke of York would land her on the throne next to the future King George VI. The writer notes that outsiders who marry the royals always end up in what he terms “the Windsor soup” and are never given any instructions about procedure. He lists Diana Spencer and Sarah Ferguson as two who experienced this fate. So, there should be a department to take new members of the Firm through bowing, curtseying and who has precedence over whom.

Top of the gaffe list is calling the Queen “marm” (rhymes with smarm) rather than the correct “Ma’am (rhymes with ham.) “When Lord Carnegie wed Princess Maud (grandchild of Edward VII) back in 1923, he made the mistake of addressing Queen Mary as “Aunt May.” She did not speak to him for the next 20 years.”)

Christopher writes that actually one can be quite playful with the Queen and if you just say “Ma’am,” you can get away with joking around. “It’s the same with bowing. “Give a Coburg bow, from the neck downwards, not from the waist.” And the royals detest real abasement, although you can’t get too chummy with them, either.

He says: “I have been told that when the Queen wants to signal that she’s had enough speaking to you, she will adjust her handbag from one arm to the other.” An equerry will have a word in your ear and lure you away.

The editor of Majesty magazine says: “Follow what other people do and you should be all right.”

It seems most onlookers think the Middletons have done just right “through their general passivity and simply through not doing anything too showy that might upstage the monarch or the monarchy. “

* * *

THE OTHER day, while taping wowOwow’s radio show on Sirius XM with the Today Show’s wonderful Jean Chatzky, the two of us had a chance to talk with veteran finance wizard Jane Bryant Quinn.

After writing for Newsweek for 30 years and giving personal financial advice to hundreds of newspapers, Ms. Quinn had gotten herself into a new business on the Internet. (Covering small town newspaper audiences with local news that they can only get online.)

During this radio chat, Jean asked Jane to comment on giving advice about prenups. It turns out these two finance experts are in agreement. Both think that any couple contemplating a late marriage, or a second or third marriage, would be wisely advised to set “romance” aside and make a pre-nuptial agreement.

Jean and Jane, now in second marriages themselves, say it may be kind of hard to set up this sort of agreement, but both feel it is literally the most important thing any woman can do – for herself and for the sake of her future security.

Break the ice, bring it up early on, and get it over and done with. If there are grown children or young adults of one spouse to be considered, it is even more important to avoid a potential future problem.

And in the matter of a possible same-sex marriage, both our experts said that a prenup, with true legal advice, may be even more important because same-sex marriage is not yet the law of the whole land. Anyway – play it safe. Have a legal prenup before you say “I do!”

* *  *

HOLLYWOOD’S NEWEST, sexiest newlyweds, Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig were in Manhattan, the other night, for a screening of Rachel’s new movie, “Whistleblower.” While in town, 007 and his number one “Bond girl” were feted at NYC’s Primola restaurant by Bond film producer Barbara Broccoli. (She is the daughter of the late Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, the man who first brought James Bond to the screen in 1962.)

Rachel and Daniel looked all summery and, hot — for want of a better word. She wore a short, sexy black sleeveless number. He was in a dark gray shirt that did not hide the famous physique. He matched it with black trousers.

The pasta and red wine flowed, a good time was had, but Rachel and Daniel are still in their honeymoon mode — they picked at their food, preferring to gaze significantly at each other over the calamari.

* * *

ENDTHOUGHT: For the all the sensational “rumors” from “insiders” that Amy Winehouse died in the midst of an “Ecstasy and drinking binge,” how interesting that her autopsy is termed “inconclusive.” There’s nothing inconclusive about a drug and alcohol binge. We won’t know the toxicology result for several weeks, but her family believes the unhappy singer might have died during withdrawal from substances — that she went cold turkey too fast and hard.

For their sake I hope that’s so. If for no other reason than to show up all these online know-it-all gossips, who often don’t know anything at all.

The other night, the Biography Channel showed its Janis Joplin program, followed by a new one on Miss Winehouse, who has now joined the “cursed 27’s.” Quite sad.


2 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Sounds like Christopher Middleton is joining others in predicting that history will repeat itself. If nothing else, looks like the Princes of Wales are doomed mainly by the in-laws.  

    As for royal protocol whoever wrote the photo caption should know that there is no such creature as Duchess Catherine. She is the Duchess of Cambridge. She will be HRH Princess Catherine, the Princess of Wales, once her father-in-law becomes king. Or for the brief period prior to the coronation of her husband if her father-in-law does not become king.  Always a possibility according to some. Of course that assumes that the Duchess is still married ot the Duke.

  2. avatar Richard Bassett says:

    The Any Winehouse death is interesting. Usually people ‘try’ to withdaraw themselves until the smythons are unbearable and, in this day and age, end up at a dotox to be medically managed and given actual medication to help with the withdrawal sometimes. Alcohol and benzodiazepines (sedatives) are the worst because withdrawing while on these drug categories are so dangerously uncomfortable, that people are forced to seek medical help. They have  both have internal and external seizures so after 72 hours, if they can stand this, they’ll start to withdraw. External seizures are easy to witness, internal…not so much. Your blood pressure increases… wanting the drug, other these  pro-detox classes of drugs will slow bodily functions and your body down and will not go into overdrive when  we not getting the drug of our choice. A stroke. A rapid heartbeat, leading to a heart attack to a brain hemorrhage due to the internal seizures of advancanced alcoholics They will see and hear things (the DT’s) that aren’t there are, just exacerbating the medical symptoms. Depending on where you are in your alcohol history dictates this. An alcoholic at 60 is more far fetched (though not impossible) than a 27 year old alcoholic, It just makes sense. But, as I said, cold turkey usually fails if you are in the later stages of alcoholism. Your body will try to jump out of its skin. And that is only Stage One in obtaining sobriety.
    Opiates (like oxycotin) and other addicting pain killers,  will make you very ill during withdrawal…but it won’t kill you. Once more, your body wants the drug but after the initial vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms, aches and joint pain…you will detox but you’ll be very sick for a few days. Then intensive aftercare is needed after detox, whether with suboxone, which blocks the actions of opiates to a degree, or you are given methadone…tricking the body into thinking it’s on the drug again. The goal is to tapper this medication down to the least dose possible without feeling high. Since long term opiatres users loose the function in their brain that controls joy….then being are on methadone for the rest their lives. But most methadone users combine methadone with benzodiapains (sedatives)…to get a quick drug rush. The opposite of joy is depression, and who wants to be depressed for the rest of your life so they ‘boost’ there methadone with a smaller dose of a benzodiazepine, to feel high. They are not doing themselves any favors. If they end up in jail, they’ll be treated for their benzo addiction but with methadone, they’ll be left alone to detox from that….and it is a terrible detox. Not sleeping for a month is a common trait. No one wants to withdraw from methadone, alone, in a jail.
       The last category is stimulants. Cocaine, crystal meth, crack, adderall pills. Unlike the other drugs, you will not physically withdraw from these, medically, but psychologically you will enter a massive depression and psychotherapy, meetings, avoiding ‘stimulant’ rich neighborhoods, support groups are coping mechanisms. Sometimes insurance companies will give a detox a hard time about reimbursement, as medically, withdrawing is not body dependent. You’ll probably just sleep for a week. But these drugs give you a false sense of feeling superior, euphoria and the feeling that your life is just going perfect….when it is actually going down the drain. Addict’s wants there drugs to feel eurorpic….like a major depression but the stimulant withdrawal with throw you into a very deep depression, so psychologically you’ll want more. There is a lot of ‘tolerance’ associated to this type of drug…you need more and more to achieve the effect, but that throws you into a world of psychosis, where you lose touch with reality all together. In these cases, an addict coming off cocaine will want their drug just as much as one who wants heroin. Yes, they affect the body differently but they are craved just as strongly. On an end note, stimulants are becoming a national issue and detox’s have professed that withdrawal can be done out patient, I am not here to preach. I’ve seen and been both, and have even obtained my state license. What is the answer to drug addiction?  Motivation. You may need to relive your experience on a daily basis,especially in the beginning… maybe all the time. The 12 steps of Recovery AA/NA (Alcoholic and Narcotic anonymous) provide support with meetings every day. There is SMART recovery which takes the spiritual aspects of recovery. Some do it all alone (We just do not see them in treatment), but there are several types of approaches to recovery. You say ask: Well, I don’t need treatment” answer “Why are you in the hospital?” and, with social workers and group supports, we start to identify things that we have thought just happened to ourselves. After all the information is received, the decision to embrace recovery becomes only your own. So choose it, others choose they want to stay involved in drug use….but NOBODY has ever become a better person because they’ve chosen to take drugs.