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Friday, May 16, 2014

The Queen's Drawing Room

Being presented to the queen was not a requirement for a young lady to be “out,” thus able to dance, attend social events, and the all-important London “Season.” In fact, most young ladies would never step foot in the queen’s drawing room to be presented. Typically only the daughters of peers and the new wives of peers were invited to the queen’s drawing room. However, being invited to such a grand occasion no doubt left a lasting impression on the fortunate lady, an event dictated by the strictest of formality.

During the queen’s drawing room presentations, the girls being presented were called one at a time. They came forward and knelt to the queen. The queen often spoke to the daughters of peers and kissed them on the forehead. If the woman being presented was a peer's wife the queen gave her hand to be kissed. The lady then stood and backed away from the queen. She could not look behind her and could not turn her back on the queen which was probably really tricky in a huge gown with hoops and long trains. I’m sure they practiced for hours, no doubt terrified she’d trip and fall.

Queen Charlotte held drawing rooms until her death in 1818. After that, her daughters, the sisters of the Prince Regent who became George IV, held drawing rooms. Queen Caroline reportedly never did.

Drawing Rooms were traditionally held on Thursdays and were recorded to have been held the following dates:

May 16 1805 
One was held on King’s birthday, which was June 4, in 1810
April 30, 1812, the first since King’s illness
May 16, 1814
July 14, 1814 Buckingham House
March 21, 1816
Feb. 27, 1818
June 7, 1819

According to Ms. Mayer, drawing rooms were also held on the queen’s and king’s birthdays. If you want to know more about court presentation and how a lady might go about receiving and invitation to such an auspicious occasion, please check out my blog post on the topic

Here is a virtual tour of the queen's drawing room, which still looks very Georgian.

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