Polite people ‘are the best company as adults’
The Duchess of Cornwall commented on how her upbringing prepared her well for royal duties. However dull the company, as a child, her mother told her to entertain guests by talking about anything – your pony, your budgie, it doesn’t matter the topic just keep the conversation going.
We try hard to bring up our children to have good manners and be polite. I was always taught to stand when a person enters a room to greet them. I was not allowed to eat or drink in public in my school uniform and my father-in-law never allowed my husband and his brother to even eat an ice cream in the street. There are extremes.
Polite people, according to Mary Killen, The Spectator’s agony aunt and Gogglebox star, “are the best company as adults; they’re on time; they’re considerate. They end up with the best jobs and the happiest relationships.”
“It doesn’t matter how many A-levels you have, what kind of a degree you have – if you have good manners, people will like you,”
agrees Kate Reardon, editor of Tatler. “And, if they like you, they will help you.”
At PHS the form captains invited to lunch in my study receive an invitation to which they are expected to formally reply and hopefully write a thank you after the event – in this modern world whilst email is accepted it is not encouraged to be chatty in tone. It is one of the ways we try to introduce the girls to formal invitations and the etiquette required to respond appropriately. It is something that has always been a part of PHS. One quite elderly alumna told me of her headmistress at PHS who took her out to tea and lunch to introduce her to formal dining before she experienced it at Cambridge.
Of course many of our girls are already well educated on manners through their family life but it does no harm to reinforce politeness at school.