With the upcoming Wills and Kate wedding, there promises to be a whole lot of royal gawkers invading Old Blighty. If you (or your loved ones) haven’t been here for a while, it’s probably a good idea to brush up on the local customs and rituals—if only to avoid an international incident at the pub’s royal wedding fancy dress (read: costume) party.
The only source you need to get fully Eliza Doolittled (other than here, of course) is the website for Debrett’s which fancies itself as “the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, social occasions, people of distinction and fine style.” Don’t fret, even if you’re not a person of distinction, please feel free to read on.
Not only does Debrett’s give essential tips on how to behave, what to wear and whom to write to after you’ve sobered up, there are very helpful hints on how to be more like the English who, like it or not, are quite different from colonials like you and me. Debrett’s “Guide to British Behaviour” is a must read before getting on the plane. Here (untouched, unedited and completely un-photoshopped) are some of Debrett’s greatest tips:
1. Debrett’s on complaining: “At all times, out-do any saccharine obtuseness with extra dollops of twice-as nice from you: you will reap sweet rewards.”
2. Debrett’s on humour: “Whether it’s dealing with a train strike, a screaming infant or a senile parent, a sense of humour is seen as one of life’s essential tools.”
3. Debrett’s on drunkenness: “Drunkenness is not infectious; if you are drunk, you cannot rely on the discreet intoxication of those around you, and the true drunk will inevitably be regarded as a social pariah.”
4. Debrett’s on royalty: “Should you happen upon a royal during their time off, allow them the freedom to go about their business as an ordinary person. Assume that to royalty, being left alone is far from a slur; it is a luxury.”
5. Debrett’s on reserve: “Being reserved inevitably takes its toll, and a visitor to a British town centre on a Saturday night may find the riotous antics taking place somewhat alarming. The fact is that reserve and inhibition is inevitably broken down by alcohol or by tribal esprit de corps…On occasions like this, the British may become dangerously unreserved.”
Hmm…Perhaps with all the tribal esprit de corps planned for April 29th, it might be best to stay home, put your feet up and watch the whole darn thing on TV.