History from across the centuries, Royalty from the 21st

Sat 21st April, 2018
 

Royal Mail: how to write to the Royal Family

The Queen receives thousands of items of correspondence each year, many from her people in the UK and Commonwealth, but also from across the world. Having just become the longest reigning Monarch in British History, many of you will want to write to Her Majesty to congratulate her, but what things must you do? And what should you avoid? Here’s your guide how to write to the Royal Family.

How should I write my letter?

Firstly you should decide your topic: is it a congratulatory message for an anniversary or birthday? Did you have a question? Or did you just want to show your support for a member of the Royal Family’s work? From this, find three main points you want to cover – this will help with structure and save you from rambling.

If you wish to keep to the correct forms and traditions in your letter, follow these tips. If you do not, that is also perfectly acceptable, and your letter will still be read – this is merely the formal and traditional way of writing to a Royal.

How shoudl you write to a member of the Royal Family? The Queen's desk aboard Britannia

How should you write to a member of the Royal Family? [The Queen’s desk aboard Royal Yacht Britannia]

LAYOUT:

Your address should be in the top right hand corner, followed by the date beneath this, aligned on the right. You may include the address you are sending your letter to on the left, parallel with your own, though this is optional.

The first sentence of your letter should always be indented, roughly to where the comma on the introduction is.

Sign your letter and include both your first and last name at the bottom, as well as your title: Mr, Mrs, Dr. etc. Children should include their age.

LANGUAGE:

When writing to The Queen, tradition dictates you should open with ‘Madam’, and close the letter with ‘I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant’.

LETTER

For male members of the family, open with ‘Sir’, though you may also use ‘Your Royal Highness’ where appropriate for both men and women.

It is generally good practice to state what you wish to talk about in your letter early on, the first paragraph is preferable, but using ‘I am writing to…’ is considered poor form.

In the body of the letter, when you wish to use the pronoun ‘you’, if writing to The Queen, you should instead write ‘Your Majesty’, and adjust it appropriately for the possessive pronoun: e.g. ‘your work’ becomes ‘Your Majesty’s work’. For any other Royal, it is ‘Your Royal Highness’ work’ etc. Debrett’s recommends you write to the Private Secretary and therefore refer to the Royal as ‘Her Majesty’ or ‘His/Her Royal Highness’ – it is entirely up to you.

N.B. this is not compulsory, just the very traditional way to write, and can sound old fashioned and stilted nowadays; it was once on the British Monarchy website, but has since removed this from their site, likely for this reason.

Try and keep your letter brief, no more than a page if possible.

As the other members of the Royal Family are not the reigning Monarch, there is no need to end it with the ‘obedient servant’ line, as above. You can simply round off with ‘Yours faithfully’, though ‘Yours sincerely’ is also acceptable.

CAN I SEND GIFTS?

It is not recommended that you send any gifts with your letter. Gifts – particularly corporate ones or samples of products – are sometimes returned. If you do include a gift, remember it will likely increase the cost of postage.

Photographs of a Royal that you have taken are normally ok, though bear in mind whether it is appropriate, and if it is the only copy you have.

Children often send drawings to the Palace, and these are perfectly acceptable, just remember you will likely not get it back, so perhaps make a copy of the piece you are sending.

Where should I send my letter?

If you want to write a letter to The Queen, send it to this address:

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London
SW1A 1AA

To write a letter to The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of York, The Princess Royal or Princess Alexandra, just swap the name, as they all have their offices at Buckingham Palace – and remember everyone else is styled as His/Her Royal Highness! Feel free to abbreviate these styles to HM, HRH or TRH.

More rare, letters to Princess Beatrice or Princess Eugenie should also be sent to Buckingham Palace.

If you would like to contact Prince Charles and Camilla, send the letter to:

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
Clarence House
London
SW1A 1BA

You can send at letter to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge here:

Their Royal Hignhesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Kensingston Palace
London
W8 4PU

Post for Prince Harry (and now Meghan Markle) should be sent to:

His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
Kensington Palace
London
W8 4PU
OR….
Clarence House
London
SW1A 1BA

‘Prince Harry’ is also acceptable when writing to Harry.

While Kensington Palace is the official London residence of William, Catherine, and Harry, it is still not clear to us if their offices are located there, since the Clarence House address is still listed on the Royal Family’s official site. Fear not, your letter will be passed on to the correct office if it ends up at the wrong destination!

Here are the other royal addresses you might want, if writing to the Royal Family.

  • Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex
    Bagshot Park
    Bagshot
    Surrey GU19 5PL
  • Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
    Kensington Palace
    London W8 4PU
  • His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent
    St. James’s Palace
    London SW1A 1BQ
  • Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent
    Wren House
    Palace Green
    London W8 4PY

Debrett’s recommends you address the Private Secretary on the envelope and also add the most senior appointments the Royal has too, e.g. KG, GCVO, (Knight of the Garter, Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Victorian Order), though neither are strictly necessary.

Don’t forget your stamp!

Will I get a reply?

The vast majority of correspondence is replied to, be it from Britain or abroad, so the chances are, although it will take a while to receive (especially if you have written to a very popular member of the Royal Family or at a busy time), you will almost certainly receive something eventually!

Christmas is perhaps the busiest time of year to send cards and letters, so at this time you may be unfortunate enough to be missed out. (I myself sent five Christmas cards last year and only had three returns.)

Embed from Getty Images

Most of the time, the reply will be from a lady-in-waiting, equerry or secretary, so do not be too disheartened if the Royal you have written to is not the one who sent the reply – they lead busy lives, and, sadly do not have the time to reply to everyone. This is the most efficient way of responding to ensure everyone can be responded to.

Occasionally, there will a personally signed response. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall often personally signs her letters, but few other members of the Royal Family do or can.

Don’t wan’t a reply?

If, for whatever reason, you do not wish to receive a reply (but who doesn’t?!), simply leave out your own address from the letter, though this can look a little odd, as this is the correct format for written correspondence. An alternative is to simply state you do not require a response, e.g: ‘I am aware your time is precious, therefore I do not require a response. Thank you.’

Waiting…

You will know instantly when your response comes through the letterbox: letters from the Palace are on thick, cream coloured paper, and the envelope will be franked from Buckingham Palace, also with The Queen’s cypher on it.

The letter will have a letter head from whichever office you sent it to – Prince Charles and his three feathers, Catherine and her ‘C’ monogram. If a letter was written at Balmoral or Sandringham, the relevant stationery will be used.

Have photos of your own royal letters? Share them with us!

Image: Scot Rocher

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Written by

Victoria has a passion for British history and Constitutional Monarchy, hence her reasons for founding The Crown Chronicles. Her specialism is the Early Modern era, with particular emphasis on the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. She is also a keen reader (usually something historical), baker and shopper. Her motto is to have a full bookcase, but a fuller wardrobe. Miss Howard also works closely with the British Monarchist Foundation as their Press Secretary and Spokesman.

Latest comments
  • I would like to thank you for the above instructions on sending mail to the royal family .i knew some of it but not all .Being brought up by a strict royalist family .i was taught at an early age how to address our beloved queen . but know i know where to send mail too the rest of the royal family so thank you very much and long live our queen and her family thank you, veronica .

  • Honorable Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Princ William and Princesse Catherine, let me to express my best and warm wishes to your Young Royal Family!!!!!!! May God bless You!!!

  • Hi

    thank you for the addresses it would be a life long goal to finally speak to an actual Queen and Prince etc, even on paper. Take it from someone who has in her time received the odd letter or two.

    Kiri Te Moananui

  • Clarence House is not the correct address for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry. Their household is located at Kensington Palace, and mail should be sent to the following address:

    Kensington Palace
    London W8 4PU

    • Dear Scott
      As stated, while The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry reside at Kensington Palace, their offices, as far as we know, have not followed them, and remain at Clarence House. Since it will be opened by a secretary or other member of admin staff, it is best sent to Clarence House.

  • can i invite the queen for a family occasion in my house in India?

    • oh ok no issues, hope she has a great years to come

  • Can I write to the queen with concerns at the way this Government treats disabled people and those who are need of help and support.

    • I want to write a letter to very honorable queen but here in Saudi Arabia the post office is not accepting letter with out specific Name and phone number mentioned above the envelop, so please advise me how can I contact or who will give me the complete address with number.

  • Can I write the Queen requesting for a visit as a historical day and events in my life? Meeting with the Queen? Most especially as a poor young man from one of the world poorest country in West Africa? Liberia.

  • There’s a typo on the website. In the addresses section you have “hignesses” instead of “highnesses”

  • Your Royal Highnesses Prince William and Kate:

    Please forgive for the intrusion but I needed to tell you that after this unsettled times in England, where dark clouds hang over us, your presence is essential to bring brightness and re-assurance to the British people.

    We need you. Thank you very much

  • I am getting married in October & have a warm spot for Mer Majesty after having lived for a few years in London Post-Graduate. I am in the USA & had heard rumors that responses involving international postage were less likely to be answered. I would like to send her a wedding invite & was wondering if I should include a return post envelope with enough post to reach the USA? Would this be more likely to be responded to?

  • Hi;
    I would like to write a letter for queen of Uk
    ; plesase tell me about the e mail adress of her . I need her help.
    Thanks in advance
    Atefeh

  • Hi, how does a foreigner end the letter since one is not the QUEEN’ S subject please?

  • I would to visit you
    Queen Elizabeth

  • are comments here relayed to her majesty?

  • Her Majesty the queen’s e-mail is not public. Writing is the only way to contact Her Royal MAJESTY.

  • I would like to write to Prince Harry after I met him in Sydney Australia at the Opera 2015 house in 2015. I am a quadriplegic and he spoke to me about my wheelchair and Gopro camera and a number of other matters. On my return home I had broken my leg at the train station which ruined a great day.
    Then in September I came down some steps out of my wheelchair and broke multiple bones. I never got round to writing to him to say what a pleasure it was to meet him because I have had further setbacks this year and would still like to say thanks. I don’t want to get the wrong address to write to him. I see there are a few different places but if anyone could point me to the correct one I would appreciate it. I am sorry if it is not appropriate to write this information here regards Mark

  • i love writing a letter to you people i don khow i just khow you guys are graet!!

  • Susan Glenwood-formerly known as susan bennison.
    I visit my grandparents, MR & mrs nicholls in edinburgh when I was aged 4 or 5, it be over 51 years ago. I was with my parents Mr & Mrs bennison and my family. The queen was there, she looked so must a like my own mother ethel vera bennison, she swapped over from my mother and nobody really noticed the difference, she looked after us when we where children, So my mother could spend more time with my grandparents.
    My mother is scottish. My grandmother maiden name Evelyn clara massie, she told me when I was aged 4 or 5, that she is related to the royal family, there is a royal links in my family background history. she told me to chase it up when i am older, the queen visit us in sutton-on-sea after grandmother died 51 years ago, she swapped from my own mother again and nobody knew about it, they talk the same, it is when she said being queen is not for the faint hearted, than I knew mother would not say that to me.
    I seen the queen again at sarah wilsons birthday party, I was aged 14 at the time.. than after my father died , i never seen the queen again in real life.. my auntie looked alike the queen too, she mention the royal links too.
    It has taken me over 50 years to look into my scottish background history, nobody in my family parted with my scottish families addresses. I did my own research one year ago, when the queen celebrate her 90th birthday. My grandmothers birthplace is the acorn lodge B&b dinburgh, it is a 10 bedrooms guest house, grandmother told me her parents had 9 children.
    Than I found out that my grandparents got married at a church close by to the acorn lodge b&b edinburgh, they got married on dec 1920.
    Grandmother did mention she had a birthplace, she never mention the address, she told me to look it up when i am older.
    Nobody told me, i expected my family to tell me this news, my oldest sisters daugther went a holiday to edinburgh, she would know the families roots. my family kepted it hidden from me.
    I am the youngest daughter susan, of my parents mr and mrs bennison.

  • CONGRATULATION AND ALL BEST WISHES PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN ,GOD BLESS YOU .Please can you help me to find an email ADRESS of Prince Henry of Wales KCVO (Henry Charles Albert David, familiarly known as Prince HARRY BECA– USE i want to CONTAct with meghan markle as soon as possible .

  • And Many many CONGRATS to wills(the Duke of CAMBRIDGE ) for expecting third child .wishing you a very pure life and pure love for you, FOREVER.
    Happy New year.

  • Tгuly no matter if ѕomeone doesn’t be aware of after that its up to otheг visitors that they will аѕsіst, so here it occurs.

  • Thank you so much for the information re: addressing mail to Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. I am so happy for them. I visited Manchester and London in 1996 and stayed with friends in Warrington, Cheshire. It seems like yesterday and the memories are precious. A friend in Totton gifted me with the program from William and Kate’s wedding. and it is among my treasured possessions. I have made several friends there and we are in constant touch. My congratulations to the happy couple.

  • Your article was very helpful. Thank you.

  • As a direct descendant of the stuart house i would very much like to know as much as i can and would be very interested in reading what her majesty may be able to tell me about it

  • Hi my name is caitlyn mayrand I can not find the maill addresfor the york princessl.

  • For The Queen,

    I would like to go to her buckingham Palace because my 6th great Joseph Johann Zoffany was painted of queen Charolette family, I really want to view these painted frames on the wall at Buckingham palace, i’m really proud of him. I’m from canada as well. if there are allowing visit at buckingham palace, i’ll please to meet the queen elizabeth one day if possible? By the way, Congratulation Prince Harry and Megain 🙂

  • is it true that wills are EXPECTING a third child? if so congratulations!!!

  • AND ALSO, THE ARTICLE WAS VERY HELPFUL!! THANX A BILLION!! I DIDNT KNOW IF THE MEDIA PROTECTED THEM. THEY DID FOR EKATERINA AND DARIA GRINKOVA!! I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, THO. I LOVE WRITING TO FAMOUS PEOPLE. IVE WRITTEN TO DONALD TRUMP AND PEOPLE LIKE THAT! AGAIN, THANX!

  • May it please the queen to know that many in the united states appreciate her. My husband and I are retired academics. I am seventy now, and I had admired the queen since my childhood. I wish that all of the younger royals were as interesting as she and Prince Charles.. I also wish that the idiots writing about the queen in newspapers had some degree of intelligence and simple decency.

  • The Crown Chronicles. Just discovered your very nice site tonite. to your readership: please send get well cards to HRH Prince philip, and happy birthday cards to HM The queen—her real b-day is in april. you will receive a reply in several weeks or even a month. the letter sheets are engraved and sent via royal mail. make sure to print your exact and full return address. please not gifts for the royals, as they prefer you to support your local charities in their honour. and kids, the queen loves drawings of horses!
    4-12-18 commonwealth of kentucky.

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