Today I realized how inept we Americans are at writing about royalty. I had to write an article about the Jordanian Princess who visited us in June. I had an awful time with my wording, and the worst part was, no one could help! One sentence read, "Besides being a Princess, she is the President of the Jordanian Nursing Council." Now that sounds ludicrous! So, we changed it to "Besides being a member of the royal family,..." though I am not sure that sounds much better.
Then there is the question about what to call her. I had so many "Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al-Husseins" in my writing, so our editor changed it to "HRH Princess Muna." None of us has any idea if that is correct, though the Jordanians did use HRH in e-mails to us. Yet, no one in the U.S. (and this article is for U.S. schools of nursing) is going to get "HRH" so I made them write it out.
Those of you here with royalty, how do you write about it? Can I just say "the Princess" or the "King?"
We Americans have always had a special way with royalty.
Jim Thorpe, being presented with the gold medals for both the Pentathlon and Decathlon events at the 1912 Olympics by King Gustav V of Sweden:
Gustav: "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world."
Thorpe: "Thanks, King."
When comedian Allen King was presented to Her Majesty, she said, "How do you do, Mr. King." And he said, "How do you do Mrs. Queen."
In searching for the above, I found this, about the Royal visit to Canada, http://www.canada.com/national/features/royalvisit /story.html?id=F71438DE-6D68-443C-AAAD-3A1FDDEB9621
In his book about the 1939 visit, Daylight Upon Magic, author Tom MacDonnell describes a more condensed version of the narration. He then shows how the unidentified announcer eventually succumbed to the confusion: "And now the King and Mr. Queen and the Queen and Mr. King are moving into the reception hall. And now the King and Mr. Quing, I mean, Mr. Keen and the Quing. I'm sorry. I mean. . . oh s---."
Quote "...I had so many "Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al-Husseins" in my writing, so our editor changed it to "HRH Princess Muna."..."
I would be consistent and use one or the other. You don't need always to use the full title once you've introduced the character into the narration. Say "Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al-Husseins" in the first mention and then you can refer to her as "Her Royal Highness" or "The Princess" for variety.
In the Court Circular, the daily gazette of royal appointments, they explicitly alternate:
The Princess Royal, Patron, today opened the Upper Slaughter on the Wold Flower Show. Her Royal Highness then inspected a Display of hand-crafted pots and gnomes. The Princess Royal later attended a Charity Lunch of the Yokels and Idiots League. The Lord Lieutenant of the County presented Her Royal Highness with a Lettuce.
and so on
Full title only on first mention, then reduced forms.
Kalleh, why would we NOT understand "HRH?" I think you underestimate the average person. Once "Her Royal Highness" is spelled out, switching to HRH shold be no problem at all.
Yes, I am sure you are right, Asa. I was thinking of when I had first gotten the memos about their visit. They only had "HRH" by her name, and many of us hadn't known what that meant.
Thanks aput and Richard for the clarification. I am going to edit my article now because it sounded wordy with so many "Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al-Husseins" all over the place! I had just wanted to be respectful and not accused of being a typical American!
Your desire to avoid being seen as a typical American is an example of a typical American attitude.
Thanks for bringing this thread up, Jerry. It seems like so long ago since we hosted the Jordanian princess. It was fun to read again.
Yes, I suppose you are right about not wanting to be a typical American. The fact is, why should we know anything about royalty?