It will come as no surprise that President Obama and Queen Elizabeth don't have the date of your relatives' anniversary pinned up on their wall planner, so it is up to the children, grandchildren, relatives or friends to notify them of the approaching date. Many people think that congratulatory messages are sent out automatically as the date approaches, but this is very rare and usually requires some form of notification in advance. There are a number of ways to approach The White House or The Palace outlined below, but in every instance it is still worth checking with their individual websites to find out the most up-to-date protocol.
In the USA, requests for greetings cards from The President for 50th, 60th or 70th Wedding Anniversaries should be sent to: The Greetings Office, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500. The White House is currently asking that requests are received at least six weeks in advance of the event and will send greetings to US citizens only. Recent reports suggest that the Greetings Office is inundated with applications and that it is not unknown for greetings to arrive after the event, so plan ahead. It is worth noting that you can also apply through your congressman - In some instances this may be easier and you may be able to apply online via your congressman's website.
The Queen will send greetings on a Diamond Wedding Anniversary to recognise 60 years of marriage and then for the 70th Platinum Anniversary and for each year thereafter. The Queen currently sends out more than 25,000 messages for Diamond Anniversaries each year, although the number of messages shot up by more than 20% between 2004 and 2005, reflecting the number of marriages that took place as soldiers returned at the end of World War II sixty years before.
The delivery of Wedding Anniversary messages from The Queen is arranged by the Anniversaries Office, part of the Private Secretary's Office in the Royal Household, based at Buckingham Palace. The address is: The Anniversaries Office, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA. A form is available that can be downloaded online to make the application process easier. A copy of the marriage certificate is required to confirm the names and date. The palace asks that applications are sent no sooner than three weeks before the event, but it may be worth having a look at the Buckingham Palace website for the latest update.
It is The Queen's custom only to send messages to citizens of the UK or UK Overseas Territories. Residents in Australia, Canada and New Zealand should apply directly to their Governor-General.
If you know of a couple who have a major Wedding Anniversary coming up, it's worth planning ahead, apply in secret, and then a message of congratulation from The President or The Queen is an unexpected and very welcome surprise.
William Lloyd has a professional background in hallmarked UK sterling silver and is currently engaged in product research for WeddingAnniversarySilver.com, specialist retailers of sterling silver wedding anniversary gifts and 25th anniversary presents.
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