Any nobleman or gentleman who proposes to be presented to the queen, must leave at the lord chamberlain’s office before twelve o’clock, two days before the levee, a card with his name written thereon, and with the name of the nobleman or gentleman by whom he is to be presented. In order to carry out the existing regulation that no presentation can be made at a levee except by a person actually attending that levee, it is also necessary that a letter from the nobleman or gentleman who is to make the presentation, stating it to be his intention to be present, should accompany the presentation card above referred to, which will be submitted to the queen for Her Majesty’s approbation. These regulations of the lord chamberlain must be implicitly obeyed.
Directions at what gate to enter and where the carriages are to stop are always printed in the newspapers. These directions apply with equal force to ladies and to gentlemen.
The person to be presented must provide himself or herself with a court costume, which for men consists partly of knee-breeches and hose, for women of an ample court train. These costumes are indispensable, and can be hired for the occasion.
It is desirable to be early to escape the crowd. When the lady leaves her carriage, she must leave everything in the shape of a cloak or scarf behind her. Her train must be carefully folded over her left arm as she enters the long gallery of St. James, where she waits her turn for presentation.
The lady is at length ushered into the presence-chamber, which is entered by two doors. She goes in at the one indicated to her, dropping her train as she passes the threshold, which train is instantly spread out by the wands of the lords-in-waiting. The lady then walks forward towards the sovereign or the person who represents the sovereign. The card on which her name is inscribed is then handed to another lord-in-waiting, who reads the name aloud. When she arrives just before His or Her Majesty, she should courtesy as low as possible, so as to almost kneel.
If the lady presented be a peeress or a peer’s daughter, the queen kisses her on the forehead. If only a commoner, then the queen extends her hand to be kissed by the lady presented, who, having done so, rises, courtesies to each of the other members of the royal family present, and then passes on. She must keep her face turned toward the sovereign as she passes to and through the door leading from the presence-chamber.
In the chapter on “Our Manners,” we have spoken of the importance of civility and politeness as a means of success to the business and professional man. It is in the ordinary walks of life, in the most trivial affairs that a man’s real character is shown, and consequently every man, whatever may be his calling, will do well to give due attention to those trivial affairs which, in his daily association with men of the world, will give him a reputation of being cold, austere, and unapproachable, or warm-hearted, genial, and sympathetic.