Friday, 9 October 2015

INTERVIEW: Etiquette, fashion and meeting a real-life royal

Every little girl dreams of becoming a real princess, and with the birth of Charlotte, new little girls will have someone to look up to. Princess Charlotte will be brought up knowing how to curtsey correctly, which spoon is which and speaking with the most well-mannered tone. For tips on how to teach your little one princess-appropriate etiquette we asked Author and Founder of The Princess Prep School, Jerramy Fine.

Hi Jerramy, tell us a bit about yourself and what made you want to start a princess prep school? 
I’ve always loved everything royal and I wanted to create something for children that didn’t exist when I was little; I wanted to create something that my 7-year-old self would have begged to attend. So I designed a programme that allowed little girls to explore real castles while learning about royal history, royal etiquette and the positive attributes of both real and fictional princesses.

Why is it so important for children to learn correct etiquette?
A true princess behaves like a princess no matter the circumstances. Manners are not about being superior to others, but about making those around you feel comfortable. Whether it’s dinner at a restaurant with grandparents or lunch at a friend’s house, simple etiquette skills give children the confidence that they can handle any situation – putting both themselves and those around them at ease.

At what age should you start teaching children etiquette?
“Please and thank you” should begin as soon as children learn to talk.

If you were to meet a royal, what is the correct way to introduce yourself and greet them? 
It varies depending on the royal family member in question, but it's best if one is formally introduced and even better if one knows how curtsey.

Do you have any fashion tips for budding mini royals?
More smocking for everyone! More wool! More cashmere! George and Charlotte may be children, but like all royals, they know that classic is always better than trendy.

Do you have any favourite outfits you've seen a member of the royal family in? 
As far as I’m concerned, The Duchess of Cambridge has pitch perfect fashion sense. It’s actually hard for me to think of an outfit of hers that I haven’t loved. I particularly adored her wardrobe during her Australian tour, her teal lace evening dress from Jenny Packham and her pink lace dress from Alexander McQueen. I could go on and on, but you would get bored! 

Who is your favourite royal and why? 
Such a tough question to answer in a short space of time: but for me it’s a 3-way tie between the Queen, Diana and Kate. To me, Queen Elizabeth II is diplomacy personified; a constant symbol of hard work, dedication, and ability to weather the storm (all characteristics that my selfie-obssessed generation could learn from!) The late Diana, Princess of Wales, if her example can teach us anything, it’s the power of having one’s own voice, for making a stand, for striking out, for learning to harness power and status for the greater good.  Kate is clearly intelligent and will be the first British Queen with a university degree. But I love that she’s also shown the women of the world that they should never be intimidated by someone others may view as "out of their league." I love that her very presence on the balcony of Buckingham Palace has shown ordinary women that they too are worthy of a royal crown.

If you could give one piece of advice to a budding prince or princess, what would it be?
True royalty is not about castles and jewels, but about treating everyone with kindness and respect. It’s about understanding the real responsibility that all princesses and princes inherit when they grow up – which is to improve the lives of everyone in their kingdom.

Want to know more about the Princess Prep programme? Visit the website here

Jerramy Fine’s fourth book, In Defence of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairy Tale Dreams Can Inspire Strong, Smart Women, will be published in March 2016.


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