Do you need a definition of etiquette? Many do. At its simplest it’s just a set of rules, mostly flexible, that allow us all to function well when presented with a socially challenging situation. Knowledge of etiquette prevents us from appearing stupid or boorish
Our attempt here on the Butler Bureau site is to de-mystify some elements of etiquette, and stop it being regarded with fear. To do that we will on occasion have a joke at its expense.
Alternatively of course etiquette can be looked upon as an antiquated set of obtuse rules and requirements (stemming from the old ‘court’ culture of Royal familiies past and present) having little relevance to 99.99% of the world’s population.
How often are any of us in a position in which we have to request an Archbishop, a Prince of the realm, and a country’s President sit down for a meal and therefore need to know who comes first when we announce to them that dinner is served? (i.e. Precedence)
Who needs to know how to write a letter, with correct forms of address to a Benedictine Abbot, as opposed to a retired Archdeacon?
There are various bodies and groups of people to whom isolated elements of etiquette and form are absolutely important and a select handful too who have to know every aspect by rote ( The Private Secretary to the Queen for example).
For the rest of us, by and large, it’s just knowing not to lick our knife when dining in company!