Greek princess shares etiquette rules royal family abide by in book


Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece has shared her tips and tricks on royal etiquette for families in her book, “Manners Begin at Breakfast: Modern Etiquette for Families,” published earlier this year.Marie-Chantal became a member of the Greek royal family after her wedding to Crown Prince Pavlos in 1995. The couple have five children together. Rather than focus on how to behave at glitzy state banquets and movie premieres, Marie-Chantal gives a glimpse into the family’s private lives — including play dates and family vacations.In the book, the princess speaks about the importance of ensuring your children understand “grandparent etiquette,” and how to correctly prepare the family to travel abroad.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Etiquette experts, commentators, and palace staff have all given their own definitions of royal etiquette through the years. Very rarely had the royals themselves spoken publicly on the subject — until now. Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece has given fans an insight into the etiquette rules the royal family abide by in her book, “Manners Begin at Breakfast: Modern Etiquette for Families.”Marie-Chantal became a member of the Greek royal family upon her marriage to Crown Prince Pavlos in 1995. Since then, they have welcomed five children: Maria-Olympia, Constantine Alexios, Achileas-Andreas, Odysseas Kimon, and Aristide.The London-born childrenswear designer has experience in handling a stark contrast in social situations — from state banquets and movie premieres, to play dates and simple family meals. 

The book, though, focuses mainly on family, and how to teach your children manners — hence, giving fans a glimpse of a royal family behind closed doors. She may be a princess, but Marie-Chantal doesn’t mind being called just ‘MC’While Marie-Chantal encourages her children to refer to adults by their last names, she said she doesn’t mind at all being called just by her initials. And, it seems, the “HRH” title isn’t even a factor.”I’ve noticed that many of the children who come to my house seem confused about how they should address me,” Marie-Chantal wrote.”I tell my children’s friends to call me MC; I know other parents prefer to be called Mr. or Mrs. when addressed.”

Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal with their daughter Princess Maria-Olympia at the wedding of Britain’s Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in 2018.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

She went on: “The best thing to do is simply ask. If your child doesn’t know how to address their friend’s parent, teach them to say, ‘Excuse me, what should I call you?’

“When in doubt, however, it’s always safest to call parents by their last name unless otherwise instructed,” she added. More royals seem to be following this protocol in recent years, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex being the most recent example.Prince Harry was famously introduced as “just Harry” at a conference shortly after resigning from his royal duties earlier this year.But even before then, Harry and Meghan Markle made it clear that in public settings they didn’t mind being referred to by their first names. 

Marie-Chantal makes sure their children ‘dress up’ when spending time with their grandparentsThe princess also spoke about “grandparent etiquette,” which she says entails making sure your children have dressed nicely and to be mindful of activities that might not translate in the same way to the older generation.”An outing with grandparents is the perfect opportunity to teach your child the importance of dressing up,” she said.”Seeing that an effort has been made for them will be greatly appreciated by most grandparents.””Children need to be mindful of generational difference,” she added. “A grandparent might not want to watch your child play video games, for example, or go to see a loud movie with them. Suggest they spend this time at a museum or the theater, or doing another activity that relates to a shared interest.”

Marie-Chantal also wrote about the importance of setting the “house rules” with the children’s grandparents. Now, this may seem standard — but it’s worth remembering that these childrens’ grandparents are the King and Queen of Greece.

Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie at Prince Nikolaos’ wedding.

Nikolas Kominis – Pool/WireImage

Crown Prince Pavlos is the second child and eldest son of Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie, who ruled the country until the monarchy was abolished in the 1970s. Although they are no longer ruling monarchs, the King and Queen have retained their titles, as have the rest of the royal family and new members who have married into the family since then.”Parents should have an honest and open conversation with the grandparents to explain the house rules,” Marie-Chantal wrote.

“This works both ways: if your parents and in-laws have their own set of rules about expectations, whatever they may be, discuss them — and if your child is old enough, go over these standards with them.”You are entrusting your parents with your child and must accept that they might not share the same beliefs as you. Remember: they are parents too, so be kind,” she added.Marie-Chantal and her family have spent time living in both London and New York City. Meanwhile, the rest of the family is scattered.The King and Queen, and Pavlos’ brother, Prince Nikolaos and his wife Princess Tatiana have since returned to Greece — meaning the royals will likely travel often to see each other.

“Before you travel to another country, it’s a good idea to teach your child how to say ‘Please,’ ‘Thank you,’ ‘Excuse me,’ and a few other useful words and phrases in the local language,” she wrote.”It’s really rather sweet to hear a child trying to incorporate a new language into their vocabulary, and it also shows that they are receptive to a new culture.”You don’t want to overwhelm them, though, so just focus on a handful of words, and they will hopefully be able to master them.”Kids will be heartened to see how excited people are when they hear a child trying to speak in their language, especially if the child is being polite,” she added. 

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