It has been reported that guests at Britain’s royal wedding have been sent a 22-page booklet of dos and don’ts — including how to hold tea cups.
The etiquette guide also has commonsense tips such as dressing appropriately and keeping mobile phones silent.
Dress codes are always detailed on the invitations to royal occasions, and the royal wedding is no exception, specifying “Dress Uniform, Morning Coat or Lounge Suit”.
Women are expected to wear formal dresses or suits, to avoid halter necks, sleeveless gowns, spaghetti straps and mini-skirts, and wearing cream or white must be left to the bride.
While hats are not compulsory, many women will choose to wear a smart and elegant head piece.
Men in the armed forces should wear a military uniform, while male civilians are asked to wear either business suits or a morning suit — formal attire that includes a long jacket and a vest. A top hat should be carried, not worn, inside the church.
There is also advice for the 1,900 guests on how to greet the Queen of England.
Guests are asked to arrive at least 20 minutes before the ceremony begins, and as the queen enters Westminster Abbey, guests must acknowledge her arrival with a curtsey or bow as she walks through. The same must happen as she leaves.
If a guest finds themselves in conversation with the queen, it is customary to address her as “your majesty” and subsequently as “ma’am” — to rhyme with jam and not palm.
Royal etiquette expert Jean Broke-Smith added that during the formal dinner, guests will also be subject to a set of bewildering rules of etiquette.
“There will be champagne flowing and you’ve got to hold the glass properly, by the stem. During the formal dinner a lot of people won’t know how to use a knife and fork properly, let alone which cutlery to choose from. You must eat from the outside in and if you have a mass of glasses in front of you, it helps to know which to use.
“With tea cups, lift the cup not the saucer and hold it very gently with your index finger and thumb, returning the cup to the saucer after every sip.”
Meanwhile, caterers have been given strict orders that staff must not look at the queen or other royals while serving, to be as discreet as possible and “to keep their heads down”.