There’s a new book out for parents, and it has nothing to do with decorating the nursery. Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece just released Manners Begin at Breakfast, a how-to guide on navigating everything from international travel to playdate dress codes. And while it may seem like an overly fancy concept, it’s actually chock-full of actionable, sweetly illustrated tips, proving that modern etiquette doesn’t have to be some antiquated, chew-like-you-have-a-secret ordeal. There’s also a section about the proper way to set a table that all of us will find useful.
In the chapter “At the Table,” Marie-Chantal dives into all things tablescape, including two separate outlines for formal and informal gatherings. The key for both? “Always start with the forks or knives placed on the outside of the setting, and work your way in after each course,” she writes. Here’s how she breaks down the two setups.
Whether hosting a work shindig or an elaborate family feast, sometimes you want to dress things up. Start with the textiles: placemats (or tablecloths) that make a splash. Then pepper in the accessories. Get your little ones in on the action by letting them carefully arrange the glassware and flatware—and don’t forget the espresso mugs for dessert.
Even weeknight meals can feel special with the right background—but that’s not to say that your Monday pasta night has to be a complicated affair. Pick cutlery according to your menu, and whatever the occasion, don’t forget the wineglasses. It’s never the wrong time for a bottle of red (just maybe leave the kids out of this one).
Dinner is served.
Manners Begin at Breakfast: Modern Etiquette for Families by Princess Marie–Chantal of Greece. Published by Vendome Press; available in bookstores and online, March 2020, $24.95.