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Newport Manners & Etiquette: When Harry Met Meghan, Best Secret Santa Gifts & A Son with Three Dads

Wednesday, December 06, 2017


Harry met Meghan and they're a team! Stop looking for the best Secret Santa gifts, the etiquette of having three dads, and during the holidays how to answer why you don't want to bear children were all questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week

Curiously Outdated Manners and Etiquette of the British Royals

Q. Why does Prince Harry's wife-to-be, Meghan Markle, have to curtsy to baby Princess Charlotte, Prince William's daughter? There is something wrong with that picture. Charlotte is like two-years-old. Shouldn't Prince William or the queen give Meghan permission to treat the two-year-old as a toddler? Not good for the kid. No wonder the royals are so screwed up!  SS, Raleigh, NC

A. I agree, there is a lot wrong with that etiquette.

At last, there will finally be royals who are real people. Harry and Meghan's first public appearance finds them at an AIDS event on World AIDS Day. Unlike Kate Middleton after her engagement, Meghan's not out shopping for her trousseau. Harry's two big charities are HIV/AIDS awareness and youth crime, both of which Meghan appears to understand and care about.

Harry met Meghan and that's it.

They're magnetic and very affectionate in public, unlike William and Kate on display after their engagement was announced. Meghan is charming, with a delightfully genuine smile. Leaning into him as she does she shows tender affection in her respect for him. The uncanny thing is the way Meghan shows great charm in public churning up memories of Princess Diana. 

Harry and Meghan mirror one another's body language in the way they switch back and forth as to which is in control. Harry has never looked happier with a wide grinning smile on his face, he fully shows he's more than content in Meghan's presence.

For a better understanding of the depth of British protocol, watch Belle, a 2013 movie directed by Amma Asante. (View it online for free at 123moviesfree.ac/watch/belle). 

The movie Belle is an 18th century biographical period drama based on the love affair of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, the mixed-race daughter of a British aristocrat, that paves the way for the abolishment of slavery in the British Empire through a court case. You think Meghan has a difficult time ahead! Belle was not allowed to dine with her father's family or their servants. She dined alone in a proper separate dining room.

Practical Top Very Best 2017 Secret Santa Gifts

Q. For approximately fifty dollars what should I give as a "Secret Santa" present to my administrative assistant, who also receives a Christmas bonus from the company? Lewis, Chicago

A.  On my personal wish list, number one is the Tile Sport and Style Tracker, because they are louder and easier to hear compared with other trackers, and they stay paired to a phone at longer distances. Sturdy and waterproof, they are the latest in item-finding innovation for $25.-$35.

Second place, also online at thewirecutter.com, you'll find the absolute best choices in headphones. On my list (if I actually had one) would be the Jabra Move Wireless, for between $40-$60.
please leave space between the two Q&As

What to say when you are not having children?

Q.  What I dread most about the holidays is fending off nosy relatives who feel compelled to warn me that, "The clock is ticking." I've never wanted to bear children. My husband and career are enough for me. What can I say that will close the door for good on these tedious inquiries? I'm seriously considering being sterilized, but there are stumbling blocks. Requirements such as waiting periods and psychological evaluations that are much like the abortion legislation impacting women who wish to terminate a pregnancy!  Elizabeth, West Hartford, CT

A.  You are not alone, research the growing "childfree movement" for support. In particular, on Reddit there is a forum that is "childfree-friendly." 

It just isn't fair that it is far easier for a man to find a doctor to perform a vasectomy than one who will perform a tubal ligation, or even, if you qualify, for an endometrial ablation.
Answer: "I don't want to bring a baby into this world." 

The topic of conversation can then quickly move forward to politics or climate change.

Three Dads and A Son

Q.  Soon I'll be picking my step-son up at the airport to spend his Christmas vacation with his father, my husband, who left his mother for a gay man ten years ago. My hubby's ex married a man who has been an extremely good step-father. I've briefly met my step-son four times, but since he lives in Orange Country, CA, we rarely see him. Not that my husband hasn't tried. 

When I greet my fourteen-year-old step-son in the airport baggage claim area, I'll want to hug him, but I don't know if that's appropriate. 

We're also squeamish about whether my husband and I should sleep in different rooms? The second of our two bedrooms has twin beds. My husband won't be home from a board meeting in Dubai until late that night and I'm having to deal with this entry into fatherhood solo.  The Third Dad, Manhattan

A.  Hold back. Test the waters. Stretch out your arm first to shake hands. If your step-son is sporting a smile, genuinely warm and happy to see you, try the less intimate half-hug (where you reach one arm around his shoulders, rather than both arms -- as though you're posing for a photo).

  • Then there's the bro-hug that is especially quick and physically reserved. The hug that made Obama so popular. 
  • Whichever, don't linger. Let go. 

Make it all about your step-son's father to start. Say, "Your dad's been looking forward to your visit and is coming back late tonight, so you're going to have to hang out with me until he arrives."
Your step-son will be groggy from the flight and may become silent as a shy defense.  

  • You don't want to be overbearing. 
  • Make it clear that he and his dad will be sharing a room.  
  • During the course of his visit, facilitate having father and son spending blocks of time together alone. 
  • Don't let the worst outcome be that your step-son becomes depressed. A morose fourteen-year-old is hard to get to know.


Be yourself but observe his body language. 

  • If he touches his ears, he doesn't like what your saying. 
  • If he places his hands near his eyes, he doesn't like what he's seeing. 
  • If his hands are on his forehead, nose or chin, he's either contemplating his life or wondering where to the find the cookies and milk.

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette for her forthcoming book at NewportManners.


Related Slideshow: 50 Ways to Give in Central MA This Holiday Season - 2017

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United Way of Central Massachusetts

484 Main St., Worcester

United Way of Central Massachusetts helps many local organizations gain funding to help community efforts.

Each year they post a wish list for their organizations that easily allows you to choose where to donate or volunteer this holiday season.

Photo: United Way of Central Massachusetts

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Girls inc. of Worcester

125 Providence Street, Worcester

For 100 years, the Girls Inc. of Worcester has aimed to dedicate themselves to empowering young women, ranging from ages 5 to 18 to achieve their goals and dreams. The organization supports these women to become healthy, educated, and independent figures. 

Points of emphasis that are translated from Girls Inc. of Worcester faculty to its clients include, appropriate ways to confront challenges, resisting peer pressure, and viewing college as a tangible facet in their lives

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African Community Education Program

Denholm Building 484 Main St. #355, Worcester

The African Community Education Program is a community-oriented educational program targeted toward African refugee and immigrant children living in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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Veterans Inc.

69 Grove Street, Worcester

The mission of Veterans Inc.’s is to help veterans re-gain control of their lives in order to eliminate homelessness among veterans.

Veterans Inc. was established in 1990.

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Why Me Inc.

1152 Pleasant Street, Worcester

Founded in 1985, Why Me Inc supports families that are dealing with childhood cancer.

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Goddard Homestead Inc.

1199 Main Street, Worcester

For nearly a century Goddard Homestead has served and cared for elders. Most recently, the home was converted from a boarding house to high style private residences.

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Greater Worcester Community Foundation

370 Main Street, Suite 650, Worcester.

The Greater Worcester Community Foundation is a model of philanthropy which is dedicated to improving the community, now, and in the future.

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Worcester Art Museum

55 Salisbury Street, Worcester

The Worcester Art Museum provides various forms of art to view as well as classes for adults, kids and people of all ages.

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Worcester Campus Services

333 S St, Shrewsbury

Worcester Campus Services Inc. is a Educational Institution Supporting Organization in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

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VNA Care Network Inc.

120 Thomas Street, Worcester

Founded in 1891, VNA Care Network has helped people of all ages cope with illness or injury while living at home. Our exceptional visiting nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; social workers; and other professionals have helped us earn accreditation by The Joint Commission.

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Worcester County Horicultural Society

11 French Ave, Boylston

The Worcester County Horicultural Society is home to Tower Hill Botanical Garden. The garden is living museum of plants, a garden paradise on 132 acres

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Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

335 Chandler Street, Worcester

Since 1878, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is dedicated to leadership in protecting and promoting the rights and well-being of children and families.

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Eastern Orthodox Managment Corporation

300 Barber Avenue, Worcester

Holy Trinity is a non-profit facility serving individuals who require a broad range of social, nursing and rehabilitation services in an atmosphere of quality care and Christian love, without regard to a person's race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, national origin, disability or Veteran's status.

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Worcester Center for Performance Arts Inc.

2 Southbridge Street, Worcester

The missions of the Worcester Center for Performance Arts is to foster a love and appreciation for the performing arts in audiences of today and tomorrow.

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Worcester Natural History Society

222 Harrington Way, Worcester

We all know it as the EcoTarium and for all the fun and education.

Founded in 1825, the Worcester Natural History Society is a great place to play outside, play on the imagination playground and learn about the natural history of Worcester.

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Y.O.U., Inc

81 Plantation Street, Worcester

Y.O.U Inc. is dedicated to providing  services that help put a bright and productive future within every family’s reach.

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Bridge of Central Massachusetts

4 Mann Street, Worcester

Founded in 1973, The Bridge now serves over 1,200 individuals in residential and community settings.

Supports compassionate, evidence-based human services for those with mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury and complex family problems.

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Worcester County Mechanics Association

321 Main Street, Worcester

Mechanics Hall is the premier event venue and concert hall in Central Massachusetts. Renowned for its elegance and sound qualities, the Hall's cultural significance, its stunning décor and architectural detail have earned it a listing on the National Register of Historic Places

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Worcester Historical Museum

30 Elm Street, Worcester

The Worcester Historical Museum is home to exhibits that display all parts of the histroy of Worcester. The museum includes an Alden Family Gallery, an artifact collection gallery and a salisbury mansion gallery.

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Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts Inc.

81 Gold Star Boulevard, Worcester

The mission of the Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

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Boys and Girls Club of Worcester

65 Tainter Street, Worcester

The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester is to help youth develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens and community leaders, through caring professional staff who forge relationships with our youth members and influence their ability to succeed in life.

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The Jimmy Fund

10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA

The Jimmy Fund is always looking for people to donate blood and platelets for those undergoing cancer treatments and trauma victims. 

You can also become a dedicated volunteer for Jimmy Funds many councils and promote their mission by hosting fundraising events.

Photo: The Jimmy Fund

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Reliant Medical Group

100 Front St., Worcester, MA

Reliant Medical Group is an organization focused on improving the health and well-being of everyone in Central Massachusetts. 

Donate to volunteer or participate in a 5k to help support the many other non-profits that they are engaged in.

Photo: Reliant Medical Group

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AIDS Project Worcester

85 Green St, Worcester, MA

AIDS Project Worcester provides housing for those who are HIV positive and in need of financial assistance. 

They also provide educational services to teach the community about AIDS and STD prevention.

Volunteer to help with their educational outreach or donate to support their cause. 

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Broken Tail Rescue

160 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA

Broken Tail Rescue saves dogs and cats from euthanasia at their rescue center.

They need volunteers to foster rescues and donations for care and goods. 

Photo: Broken Tail Rescue

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Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance

6 Institute Road, Worcester, MA

Donate gently used home goods to Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance to benefit the homeless and  at-risk.

Photo: CMHA

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Why Me and Sherry's House

1152 Pleasant Street, Worcester

Donate your car or volunteer to help support families affected by childhood cancer at Why Me and Sherry's House.

You can even help provide a family with meals or emergency childcare during their hardship. 

Photo: Why Me and Sherry's House

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Ascentria Care Alliance

14 East Worcester St., Worcester, MA

Ascentria Care Alliance is one of the largest community service organizations in the area and allows you to reach out in many different ways. 

Volunteer as a tutor or skills trainer to help members of your community reach their full potential.

 Photo: Ascentria Care Alliance

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Big Brothers Big Sister of Central MA

484 Main St., Worcester, MA

Become a mentor for an at-risk child in your community through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts/ Metrowest. 

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JHC Assisted Living Corp

629 Salisbury Street, Worcester

The Jewish HealthCare Center is one of New England’s most respected HealthCare facilities, providing innovative long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, hospice services, home care services, and Alzheimer’s care to the community since 1916.

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Children's Friend

21 Ceder Street, Worcester

Children's Friend benefits children and families whose lives have been affected by difficulties including abuse, neglect, family instability, death, substance abuse, and mental, emotional and physical problems

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Worcester County Food Bank

474 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury

Donate food, funds or volunteer your time at the Worcester County Food Bank.

Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) is the region’s leading anti-hunger organization distributing over 5 million pounds of donated food and grocery product

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Key Program Inc.

670 Old Connecticut Path, Framingham, MA

Key Program Inc. in Framingham seeks to assist troubled youth and their families. 

The organization is always looking for food items, apparel, bikes, and gift certificates from donators.

Photo: Key Program Inc. 

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10 Prince Place, Newburyport, MA

Fraxa Research Foundation is on a mission to help to find a cure for Fragile X - a disease that affects intellectual abilities, and makes sufferes hyperactive, hypersentitive to light and noise and prone to seizures. 

You can donate or tribute a gift in honor of someone suffering from Fragile X. 

Photo: Fraxa Research Foundation

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Pet Chance

PO Box 448, Northborough, MA

Pet Chance allows you to fund medical services for animals in shelters who need care.

Families who cannot afford medical services for their pets can also apply for funding on the site.

Help someone's furry friend heal this holiday.

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Horace Mann Educational Associates

8 Forge Pkwy, Franklin, MA

Donate your vehicle, electronics, gift cards and more to Horace Mann Educational Associates.

The organization is responsible for serving nearly 3,800 children and adults with developmental disabilities. 

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Seven Hills

415 Main St., Worcester, MA

Seven Hills aids the disabled, impoverish, and those dealing with trauma get back on the road to wellness and recovery.

To donate or volunteer for one of thermally training programs visit their site. 

Photo: Seven Hills

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Nativity School in Worcester

67 Lincoln St, Worcester, MA

Donate boys’ uniforms, sports equipment, and art supplies to support the academic programs of the Nativity School in Worcester.

Photo: Nativity School in Worcester

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Worcester Chamber Music Society

9 Irving Street, Worcester, MA 01609

Worcester Chamber Music brings world-class chamber music to intimate Greater Worcester venues. WCMS nurtures the community through a unique combination of affordable concerts, education and community engagement.

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American Red Cross Central MA

2000 Century Dr., Worcester, MA

American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts is always looking for volunteers to donate blood, organize fundraisers, and donate non-monetary items like credit card rewards and goods. 

The Red Cross prevents and relieves suffering to those in the community including military families in need. 

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StandUp For Kids

114 Main Street, Worcester, MA

StandUp For Kids offers volunteer opportunities every second Monday of the month.

Volunteer to help outreach efforts and help those suffering from youth homelessness in Central Massachusetts.

Photo: StandUp for Kids

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Operation Homefront

21 Franklin St., Quincy, MA

Organize a fundraiser to benefit the families of soldiers through financial relief efforts, and caregiving to wounded warriors through Operation Homefront. 

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Center for Living and Working

484 Main St., Worcester, MA

The center for living and working assists the disabled with independent living, the deaf and hard of hearing and provide personal care management to over 1000 people in Central Massachusetts.

Photo: Center for Living and Working 

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Advocates Inc.

One Clarks Hill, Framingham, MA 

Advocates Inc. assists the disabled and elderly with home ownership and sustaining satisfying work and personal relationships. 

Intern, or donate online when you do your personal shopping on Amazon, overtime you shop Advocates receives a percentage of your total purchase - making it easy to give and receive.

Photo: Advocates, Inc. 

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Auburn Youth and Family Services

21 Pheasant Ct, Auburn, MA

Tutor a student or participate in Auburn Youth and Family Services’ Holiday Giving Program. 

Adopt a child or family to donate food, and gifts to be delivered to needy families this holiday.

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Jeff’s Place

34 Deloss St., Framingham, MA

Donate a useable laptop, paper goods, and financial gifts to Jeff’s Place and help them facilitate healthy grief journeys for children and families experiencing loss.   

Photo: Jeff's Place

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Young Womens Christian Association of Central Mass

One Salem Square, Worcester

YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

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Be Like Brit

66 Pullman St, Worcester, MA 01606

From a terrible tragedy emerges a massive effort to help children in Haiti. The mission is "to serve the children of Haiti by establishing a safe, nurturing and sustainable orphanage in an environment where they can grow, learn & thrive."

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YMCA of Central MA

766 Main St, Worcester

It is where the community comes together. The Y offers programs for youth development, to promote healthy living and to promote social reposibility.

Four locations throughout the region

Boroughs Family Branch

Central Community Branch

Greendale Family Branch

Montachusett Community Branch


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