Retainer 101

Baroness Genevieve d'Aquitaine, OP

Attending the Crown at an Event (Serving as a Royal Retainer handout)

  1. Unless absolutely necessary, never leave the royalty alone.
  2. Keep your mouth shut.
    (If you think you have some advice for your royalty or the situation specifically, tell them afterwards privately.)
  3. Make sure they aren't doing anything they shouldn't be.
    (I'd allow exceptions for the purpose of making a point.  If the kitchen doesn't have enough helpers to clean, a good way to solicit volunteers is for the royalty to roll up their sleeves.)
  4. Always have pen and paper with you.
  5. Be aware of the time and their schedule.
  6. Make sure they get enough food, drink, and rest.
  7. Don't let people annoy them.
  8. Know the signals.
  9. Bow or curtsey to other notables.
    1. Also make sure to be respectful of your own royalty, especially in public.  While you may go out for pizza once a week and are great friends, the populace doesn't want to see you joking with the Crown when you are a servant.  Unless of course your position is fool or jester. 
    2. You can also be a clue to others:
      1. Stand when your royalty enters the room, others will follow your lead
      2. Call them by their titles; if you use a nickname, others less familiar might think they can too. 
      3. Be gracious, courteous and helpful to all. Unless on a mission, show that the royal retinue will help the Kingdom, not just the Crown. Be an example of service whether on duty or off.
  10. Never forget you are here to have fun.

Standing in Court

  1. Always smile, if only slightly.   Everyone else can see you, so try not to make faces or scowl.   Even the guards aren't really supposed to look ferocious.
  2. Don't fidget.   If your veil starts to slide off, just remove it and hold it in your hand, or put it in a basket.   Guards, keep the weapon in one position, don't slouch or lazily lean on it.   Essentially, don't do anything that will distract from the presence of your royalty.   No noise, no fiddling, nothing, just pay attention.  
    1. If the retainers are attentive then the audience might think something important is going on.  
    2. If the retainers and guard are bored and fidgety, then the populace won't think that Court is important and will tune out too, or watch you instead.  
    3. Every item of court business is important to someone.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes.   Most of the times while standing in Court, your feet aren't really visible, so you are able to shift from one foot to the other.   But trust me, Court is not the time to break in new pattyns without insoles.
  4. Have anything the Crown will need at hand.   Order medallions, scrolls, drink refills, notes.   Shuffling and digging for items always looks sloppy.
  5. If you are in charge of a new retinue, skip standing in one court and watch it from the back.   You'll be able to tell where folks need work, and be able to praise those who are doing well.   Most folks have no idea what they look like to the rest of the populace.
  6. If you have choice in setting up court, put the royalty on the long end of a rectangle, not the short end.   More folks will be able to hear.  

court set-up

Caring for the Royal Stuff

  1. Crowns:
    1. Hold properly, with the palm of the hand, not in a thumb and forefinger grip.   Human perspiration can be evil to finer metals.
    2. Fingerprints are harder to clean and show up easier than regular smudges.  
    3. If you'll be holding the hat for an extended period of time, try to hold it with a clean napkin or other soft cloth.   Over a sleeved arm works well too.  
    4. Have easy cleaner on hand for those emergency touch-ups.   Most crowns are silver or brass; if you don't know the materials, ask. Sunshine cloths are your friends.
  2. If you put something away, let the Crown and head retainer know what you did with the item.   No one wants to have to go hunting 5 minutes before court for the scroll you were handed on shift hours ago.
  3. Know how the thrones go together, if that will be one of your jobs.   Get a primer in advance, set it up in the royal room first with supervision, etc.   Unless you are the maker, most furniture has quirks that are best explained ahead of time instead of 15 minutes before court when others may be watching.   Do not force, this could lead to breakage.
  4. Stay around to help pack up after the event.   There are rarely enough hands to get the stuff to the vehicle.   But do not usurp the person packing unless they ask for help.  
  5. To have less stuff to pack, ask the group you are visiting well in advance if they can provide any of the essentials.   Some groups might have chairs that would serve as lovely loaner thrones.   Ask if the local group can provide a dayshade instead of hauling your own 8 hours.   It never hurts to ask and can reduce your packing, set-up and workload significantly.  

©2005 Jennifer Thies



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