HOW TO DO ROYAL RETINUE TO THE BENEFIT OF THE
KINGDOM & TRM
This is written from the viewpoint of a lady-in-waiting (I've been
chief lady in waiting for two reigns, and helped with retinue on others),
but some of this applies to all the retinue. The fact that there
are 10 points does not mean that is has any relation to the Ten Commandments....it
was accidental, I swear! :)
-Dame Mira Silverlock
When you're on Royal Retinue:
BE DISCREET--You are going to see and hear
a lot of people at their best and worst. You will learn secrets and
gossip fodder that should never be passed along. Let the King and
Queen feel comfortable to talk in front of you, or to you, about what is
going on, without having to worry that little tidbits will get out.
People will invariably ask questions about situations, and you may have
to finally say "I'm really sorry, but I can't discuss it". Saying
this may sound like you are saying "neener neener, I know something and
you don't", but if your attitude shows that you truly regret that you can't
talk about something, the people asking will be more likely to understand
that it isn't a matter of ego, it is a matter of confidentiality.
If really pressed, you may want to suggest that they discuss it with TRM.
BE PREPARED--Think ahead to what type of event
you'll be attending, what your duties may be, and what situations may come
up for you and Their Majesties. Think of it like being a bridesmaid
at a wedding, where you want to be prepared for emergencies.
Find out where the bathrooms are in the feast hall, arrive a bit before
TRM do to make sure everything is set up, offer a tent or hotel room they
can use as a meeting area is they need one, stock a small cooler with sandwiches
if TRM have back-to-back meetings. During Queen Groa's reign, the
ladies carried a shoulder bag at all times (big enough to carry a bag of
ice if necessary) , which was passed from Retinue member to member.
A small mirror
Chapstick and lipstick
The Queen's toothbrush and a small tube of paste
A goblet or cup for the Queen--and one for yourself
A bottle of water
A small hair brush
A disposable camera. This was often used to document people getting
awards, so the photos could be send to the award recipient later. Since
many of them had no idea they were getting called up in Court, they were
often very appreciative.
Money, both yours and HRM's.
small notebook for noting things TRM wanted to remember, gifts, awards
a fan. Court can get pretty hot, especially if you are wearing wool....
largesse, such as silver rings or favors
something to snack on, to bring up someone's blood sugar or to settle someone's
stomach. Think fig newtons or something similar.
A watch, pinned to the side of the bag
Event map and schedule
A wet washcloth in a sealed ziplock bag
A bit of handwork (sewing, etc) so you can work on something within beckoning
range but out of earshot if TRM has a confidential conversation.
BE ALERT--There will be times when the Royal
you are attending needs to have you intervene to get them out of a wandering
conversation that will make them late for another obligation (or that is
making them crazy to listen to). Establish a signal with TRM, so
if they give you that signal you know to intervene gently and say something
like, "I beg your pardon, Your Majesty, but His Majesty requests your presence"
or Duchess so and so is waiting to get scrolls signed, or the feast is
about to be served or whatever. Talk with TRM about this, and be
prepared to have people think you are rude, rather than TRM. They
can look chagrined, and give their excuses as they move on to the next
function. Also, be aware when TRM need assistance getting through
a crowd, or manuevering a wide dress through a narrow doorway, or needs
someone to park their car.
BE AN EXAMPLE--Consider yourself as a temporary
member of TRM's household, because other people will consider you to be
an extension of TRM, especially if they don't approve of your behavior.
What you say and do will reflect on TRM, and that reflection should be
of someone who you'd be proud to run your kingdom. Look and act the
BE NEUTRAL--What you say may easily and often
be construed to be the same opinion as that of TRM. Even if this
is not true, it will be perceived as such. This is a great time to
suddenly keep your opinions to yourself (I know it isn't always easy).
BE COURTEOUS--Many people will ask you questions
or want to speak to TRM, or present a gift personally. Listen carefully,
remember their name after they give it to you (if you have to, write it
down in the little notebook in the shoulder bag), and treat them with respect.
Remember, for many people approaching TRM to present a gift or request
something will be a rare occurrence, and so it should be treated with your
full attention and assistance.
BE HUMAN--and remember the Royals are, too.
They will have times they are hot and cranky, or tired or late or broke
or confused or scared. Don't expect them to be perfect. Find
out what their weaknesses are (forgetting names, being late, etc) and try
to find a way to help make this better for them. Laugh as often as
you can. :)
BE GENEROUS--with your fellow Retinue members.
Remember that people will need breaks, or will want to take the time to
go shopping or get a bite to eat. Also, don't forget to rotate people
serving TRM--many people really enjoy it, and feel usurped if you suddenly
come in and take over. Share both the work and the breaks.
This keeps people from burning out, or feeling unnecessary.
BE HONEST--If you are upset with someone on
the retinue or TRM, don't let it fester, and don't go gripe to your friends.
Talk honestly, in private, with the person who is upsetting you, and see
if you can work it out.
My best wishes to you on your new assignment :) -Mira
BE AWARE THAT IT WILL END--When you're on Retinue,
you will suddenly have a whole new set of people who are friendly to you,
speak with you, or want your opinion. Expect a lot of this to go
away the moment your set of Royals steps down, and don't be worried about
it. Don't expect that attention to continue.
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