• Jennifer Abella

A Regency … Thanksgiving? Dinner etiquette from the past



It’s Thanksgiving week and you might be preparing to host dinner or attend one. Here are some Regency-era points of etiquette, according to “Georgette Heyer’s Regency World” and “The Jane Austen Handbook.” Who knows? Maybe Regency etiquette will be your new Thanksgiving tradition.

  1.  You must dress for dinner.

  2. When entering the dining room, guests enter according to rank, with the highest-ranking lady escorted by the man of the house.

  3. According, guests are seated according to rank, with the highest-ranking lady seated to the right of the host, who sits at the head of the table.

  4. In formal dinners, conversation is limited to your right and your left; at informal dinners, you can talk across the table.

  5. Use your fingers to cut and tear your food. Umm….

  6. Men should carve the meat placed near them and offer slices to neighbors.

  7. Ladies retire to the withdrawing room after dinner, but the host shouldn’t give the signal to withdraw until everyone at the table has finished.

Happy Thanksgiving! And don’t forget: Registration for the program opens Dec. 1!


Winner of the North Carolina Humanities Council’s Joel Gradin Award for Excellence in Public Humanities

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