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Royal Monograms

I’m not really a news junkie but you’d have to be living in a cave to miss the hype on the Royal Wedding of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton. In case you don’t know, the nuptials will occur on April 29th. So it seems the perfect time to address monograms – royal monograms.

I did a bit of research and learned that royal tradition puts the groom’s first name initial, first, followed by the bride’s first name initial which, in this case, would be WC, the abbreviation for Water Closet. Because of that unseemly reference, the young couple has bucked tradition and is using CW for horizontal monograms and a stacked monogram (C above the W) on vertical monograms.

Of course where there is hype, you will usually find commemorative items. The Royal Palace is no different. The Royal Collection has launched an official range of china to mark the forthcoming wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton. The English fine bone china set displays a delicate C centered vertically between a W and a crown.

I’ve also spotted some ‘unofficial’ souvenirs such as this gorgeous decorative plate.

And a pill box by Wedgewood which is sticking with tradition and ignoring any unintentional reference.

Since monogramming is a subject dear to embroiderers’ hearts, I decided to go to our industry’s leader in historic lettering, Richards Jarden, owner of EmbroideryArts, for his view on the couple’s monogram. EmbroideryArts’ website states, “The Gold standard for monograms in the embroidery industry.” If you need a machine embroidery font that stitches brilliantly, they are your go-to source.

I was interested in Richards’ approach to the royal monogram because of his expertise in lettering and his personal style. He is a contemplative person and approaches tasks with curiosity. And he usually knows where to go for the answers. In this case, he had an email exchange with Helen Faulkner – wife of David Beevers, the Keeper of the Royal Pavillion, Brighton and learned that there has been no official announcement on the bucking of tradition for the couple’s monogram.

Richards stated, “The intertwined monogram on the Royal Wedding commemorative items for sale is fine – stately, traditional, serious.

No one asked me to design one for them, but if I did it would be interesting to try to incorporate some aspects of the couple themselves:

* She: a regular person, college graduate, has worked as an accessories buyer in the clothing industry. Fashion conscious, fashion icon. 5’10” tall.

* He: a member of the British Royal Family, Kings and Queens for the past 1140 years.
College graduate. President of the Football Association, the governing body of English professional soccer. 6’3″ tall.

Overall, a vertical monogram seems appropriate. The initial C comes from our Arabesque Monogram Set 7 – symmetrical, graceful, with a stylish but not too feminine quality.  The W comes from our Diamond Monogram Set 6 – balanced, traditional with a modern, tall stature.  The crown is from another source.”

As embroiderers we are often asked to create monograms for engaged couples. It is our duty to help the couple select their style and critique any improper message the newly-combined initials may portray. Every couple’s monogram is important and will be reflective of their style for many years to come, so take some time to create a beautiful stamp.

For instance, a young conservative English couple, Kevin and Olivia, may need some guidance when selecting their machine embroidery monogram. As OK is probably not a combo they want to see splashed on every towel, plate and glass in their home. A little creative machine embroidery layout is required here to come up with an appropriate monogram for them. Here’s a few suggestions:

I always take into consideration the 6 F’s of monogramming: Fabric, Fit, Feel, Format, Font and Finish. Not every font will work on every fabric, fit in every space, portray the right mood and send the right message. Take your time and use exceptional lettering – it’s worth it!

Have you had to create challenging machine embroidery monogram? Share your dilemma with us.

Last week we asked why you needed a vacation.  The winner of the tote bag full of spa essential items from Discount Embroidery Blanks is…Margaret Grice!

“I NEED a vacation beacuse I am a fifth grade teacher and anyone who has had a fifth grader knows the trial and troubles of the end of the fifth grade year. Hormones are running rampant and they are ready for the end of the year. Only good thing is I get end of year too and I will have more time to sew and embroidery. Help!”

Congratulations, Margaret!




  • Kathy Harrison

    I recently had a young bride who wanted to have all of her new linens monogrammed, the problem was with the monogram…
    Alexander and Stephanie Smith
    You guessed it, the monogram would have read ASS!
    So I combined their first two initials (much like the ones listed above) and left off the initial for the last name.
    The funniest thing was that she never realized it! She thought her initial would be first, resulting in SSA. When she realized that traditionally the man’s name goes first, she quickly changed her mind!

  • Mitzi

    I use the monogramming function in my embroidery software (Bernina Designer 6) to create quilt labels. It makes it a snap….so long as the person I am making the label for doesn’t want a complete provenance of the quilt squeezed onto the label.

  • karen trott

    I really enjoyed your blog today. It gave me a whole new slant on monograms, as well as a couple of new sources for lettering.

  • Dale Fedor

    My problem with monogramming (& I haven’t figured it out yet!) is how to handle when the last name is de, da, la something. What is the last initial? Is there a rule for two part names? Thanks

  • Susan S

    I struggled with the monogram issue as a newly-wed many years ago… my husband’s is fine in three letters A and C on either side of the large S. Mine not so much, S and A on either side of the large S. SSA — very funny, right? Not! Even two letters entwined is funny when his comes first. So we just did large S on towels and bedding. It’s worked out fine.

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  • Pat Bartholomew

    I am giving a wedding gift of monogramed napkins and towels. The initials are CCC…well they are getting just a single C.

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