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PoweredByTea


Very occasionally, I post pony stories. Twilight Sparkle is the best pony. I drink my tea with milk, no sugar. Those would be the important bits.


E

During a lull in the conversation at an upper class charity dinner, Rarity takes a moment to contemplate some commonly held assumptions made of Princess Celestia. Specifically, her table manners.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 202 )

What you see above started out as one of those ideas that wouldn't go away until you break down and write it. I was a bit surprised I made the minimum word count, to be honest; when I started out, I assumed this would end up as a blog post. In any case, it then languished in my Google Documents for a while until I was inspired, by some friendly heckling, to stop being so lazy, actually polish the thing up and make it publishable.

Thanks go to GhostOfHeraclitus for giving the text a quick once-over, and for said heckling.


To date there have been three :pinkiegasp: live readings of The Wrong Fork:
By the Living Library Society
By Bradel
By CaptainBron3y (TheCaptainSand on youtube)

I came here for a laugh, and was not disappointed.
A suggestion, add the comedy tag. I particularly found it funny, even if it wasn't supposed to.
Either way, liked and Faved.
Good job. :raritywink:

Intriguing! :duck: It seems entirely appropriate to wonder whether Celestia would bother to follow all the vagaries of social dining, though I wonder if that doesn't also raise the question of whether she would even care? After all, we've already seen examples of a certain puckishness in her nature. Perhaps she'd rather use the wrong fork just to see whether it starts a frenzy of copying among the ever-watchful nobility?
But if that's the case, perhaps she's merely playing mind games with Rarity?
Aagh, brain! Too many possibilities! :pinkiecrazy:

In short, lovely fic! It would be interesting to see more like this.

Wait, the Princess doesn't know what fork to use? I'VE BEEN LINING A LIE! :raritydespair:

Really well written and a very... interesting... idea. Needs further study. :raritywink:

I doubt Celestia would bother much with the minutia of etiquette, being, as you pointed out, several times older than the ideas involved. Of course we must also take into account that the elite of Canterlot are easily herded into following the lead of ponies of a certain level of social importance, and who is more important than Celestia? I bet she could eat the entire meal without using utensils and the entirety of the guest list would fall over themselves copying her,

Or did Celestia know this was coming and humor young naive Rarity? :trollestia::trollestia::trollestia:

Nah!
Fashionista : 1 :duck:
Sun Goddess: 0

>Click add.
>Get new idea that is perfect to add to a in-progress posting but terribad to edit in later.

Some way, some how, this results in a scandal that straight up annihilates Equestrian society. All because Featherweight snapped a pic. SEQUEL CONCEPT!

...Oh wait, that's been done.

Princess Celestia Hates Tea

Hmm, I never know what to say about such short little one-shots. I wouldn't exactly call it funny, and it wasn't really meant to be, but it does have a nice light-hearted feel to it. Simple, but interesting speculation.

xDan #9 · Jan 31st, 2013 · · 1 ·

The best pony once again trumps the Sun Princess.

Really, though, the only fork she needs is the cake fork. :trollestia:

Rarity's society nature and aims always made her seem like she could be one of the darkest of the characters to me. While we're still acting completely within canon, at least. A poke and a prod to see just how to unravel a pony, even if she doesn't go further than just working out how to do it.

2051446

Rarity would be the best of the Mane six to have Sherlockian powers, I always thought. Or, rather, given her personality, Poirot-esque powers[1]. You hardly need to alter the canon Rarity. She is, after all, ever-observant. A fashionista needs to be. :raritywink:

[1] There needs to be a character named "Captain Haystings" and I call dibs!

ETA:

Forgot to say the most important thing! :facehoof:

The story is brilliant. I give it four hay forks out of four.

Or do I mean floral forks?

I'd have thought the nobility would have their most formal customs stagnate, since there's somepony both setting the example for them and remembering how all these traditions got started. Now, moderately fancy stuff? That's free to evolve, since what the Princess does is always most formal. I suppose if Celestia was to retreat from public life for a while, say, a twenty-year period beginning around one hundred years ago, then the long-stagnant formal culture would then rapidly develop...

And now I have no nitpicks. Drat.

2050738

I'm glad you found it funny. I tend to interpret the [comedy] tag as meaning the story is going to go out of its way to make you laugh, possibly to the point of distorting the characters, and that laughter is the point of the story. As that wasn't the case here, adding [comedy] seemed like false advertising. Generally, a story can be funny without being a comedy (or at least this is how I understand Wanderer D's rants about correct use of tags).

2050759
As for if she would care? I assumed when writing this that she would at least make an effort (at the gala she was there on the steps greeting ponies, even though it was clear she would rather be elsewhere). I tend to assume that the more impish side of Celestia is mostly held in check and reserved for her close friends. Or at least, in this case, she was already unwinding by talking to Spike and Twilight without needing to prank anypony.

2050789 2051020
Or is it? Dun, dun, durrnn! Did Rarity just learn that all that time she spent learning advanced table manners was essentially wasted if the princess can get away with not knowing? After all, the wrong fork turned out to be perfectly good for the hay course. You decide.

2050824
Ha! Maybe it's a good thing Rarity decided to keep Celestia's little "secret". I think the hypothetical sequel somehow involves a sudden new trend in Canterlot for using the wrong fork for the wrong course. Old timers aren't sure if they should be scandalized or not, after all, the princess started it, right? It all blows over at the next public dinner where Celestia is seen using the correct cutlery once again. Apparently, it is time to go back to normal.

Celestia is completely oblivious to all of this, what, with her being too busy spending her time worrying about such unimportant things like the health and well-being of the ponies of Equestria.

2051446
I always found Rarity to be a pretty interesting character, or at least, she has the potential to be. I don't consider her high society aims to be inherently bad (she's just being the pony she has chosen to be and there's nothing wrong with making friends outside of your usual social circle), but it does lead her down the road to temptation. I think a friend of mine put it best: "Rarity has to try really hard to be a good pony, it doesn't come naturally to her"

2051543
That's a very good point I was hoping no one would bring up. Unfortunately, thefirewarde, you make a very good point; there is a distinct possibility that an immortal princess at the top might act to fix social conventions. In my defence, I assumed that social customs would evolve even with the presence of the princess, just because pony society is bigger than any one pony. I have to do this because, at least in my personal timeline, Celestia and Luna actually predate farming and spent their childhoods eating grass from the ground (this heavily influenced by Slywit's "Paradise")

2051668 If it helps, Celestia (in my headcannon for this work) deliberately distances herself from the nobles every few decades, partly to let them develop and partly to get some rest. She'd then try to pick up on the new customs introduced in her absence. Plothole patched.

As for the Paradise 'verse, I imagine that's the reason for the one immutable rule in polite company, passed down through the millennia. Namely, to never, ever, serve raw alfalfa at a formal dinner. (Also, Celestia will still trade any pony in need a meal for a story.) It's one of my favorite settings.

2051686
Celestia will trade anypony a meal for a story, eh? I like that idea. If I ever get the opportunity, I'll give Paradise a little nod that way.

2051491
A mystery (crossover?) staring Rarity as the detective? I could see that working, actually. I doubt I'll be writing it, as mystery novels aren't really my thing but...

Okay, honest question, who do you think is the oldest of the Mane 6?
Applejack, Fluttershy, or Rarity?

2051762
Interesting question. I would have said Rarity, but Applejack would make sense too. They both have a lot of responsibility with needing to look after a business and a farm. But Applejack may have been forced into looking after the farm. So, Rarity? Maybe?

2051841
Personally, I think Applejack is the second-oldest and most mature, but Rarity is the physically oldest and second most mature.

AJ had to help raise Apple Bloom, and likely help care for Granny Smith at times. AND she runs the farm.:ajsmug:

Sweetie Belle lives with her an Rarity's parents the majority of the time, it wouuld appear, and Rarity can only JUST stop herself from sewing the poor kid into a pair of boots.:raritycry:

Very interesting take on Rarity. A bit of harmless experimentation with the Princess, though I'm not sure Twilight would approve.

Rarity stuck. struck

Interesting little story.

2052179
Ah! And I thought I was doing so well with the proofreading this time. Thanks for pointing that out. Should be fixed now.

Dang. I was just going to reply to the story, but there's some excellent discussion going on in the comments, too.

This was a very enjoyable story. A bit wordy in patches, but that seems to really work well when you're writing Rarity. Your characterization of Rarity feels spot-on to me, too. I don't feel like I'm seeing any fan interpretation here; this feels just like canon Rarity to me. And I particularly like how you write her as so upfront about being a pretender herself - and how that doesn't seem to carry any negative connotation in her own mind, just a bit of academic curiosity. Your Celestia also seems very good, though we don't get quite as good a view of her.

Your sentences have good structure and rhythm. Normally I'd suggest tightening up language, but as I said above, a little bit of wordiness actually seems to fit better when you're writing in Rarity's voice. (I haven't written Rarity myself yet - I'm going to need to keep that fact in mind) There were one or two spots where I thought an extra editing pass would have helped clean up your language and structure, but you never really lost my attention so the problems must have been pretty minor.

All in all, great job. Thumbs-up and favorited.

Now, to the comments!

2051491 This is BRILLIANT, and I want to go write something on this prompt now. Captain Haystings is a stroke of genius.

2051543 & 2051668 Although we definitely see Celestia interacting with high society, I kind of get the impression from canon that social convention doesn't revolve around her too greatly. See, for example, how quickly high society organizes around what Fancypants thinks, and how we never see anything similar with the princesses. I think the argument that convention would organize around Celestia is a very sound one, but given what we've seen of Celestia's character in canon I actually think the portrayal in this story feels spot-on. Celestia seems like exactly the type of pony who would take a hands-off approach to something like social manners and just do her best to follow along - not because she COULDN'T be the final arbiter of propriety, but because pony society is better served by figuring those things out for itself.

2051762 I'd go with Fluttershy, just because we know all six got their cutie marks at the same time, Rainbow was the first in her class to do so, and Pinkie is a year younger than Fluttershy. That's not in any way conclusive info relative to Applejack and Rarity, and they do both seem very mature, but my own prejudices make me assume they must all be within one or two years of each other because of the cutie mark thing, and that would make what we know about Fluttershy very informative.

20517342052286

I never planned to write a detective!Rarity[1], I just wanted to use her in a Civil Service story and have her completely sabotage a subterfuge by the Service by reading them like a large print open book. But now that I mentioned detective!Rarity...I feel oddly drawn to the concept.

[1] Though you could get SUCH mileage from Rarity being at a high society party (a Masque, of course!) and having the prized jewel of the hostess stolen and then tracking it down using observation, social skills, raw cunning, and meticulous knowledge of fashion. Give her...yes...I'm thinking Twilight as a foil. Mind like a razor, but adorkably oblivious all the time, and with no skill or patience at playing the social game. Yes. Yesyesyes. Sample dialogue:

"And so, you see, darling, I only needed evidence. I knew it was Lady Torttingham all along."

"But how? The evidence...yes, it makes sense, prefect sense, but how did you know in advance?"

"Vanity. I understand it much better than you do, dear Twilight. A curse of my trade, though a useful one."

"Vanity?"

"The Star of Zebrica. Such a pretty bauble. With such wonderful colors. Swirls of green and blue, and in the heart a speck of ebony. Said to be the only shed tear of the--"

"But how did it tell you who it was?"

"If you stole it, perish the thought, you'd examine it, yes? We'd find you hunched over a microscope, peering at the center, trying to see the meshing of tiny gears, seeing how blind nature made such beauty?"

"...I guess. Yes. It's fascinating."

"Indeed. Because you are you, darling. If I stole it, you'd find me sketching, hoping to make something that reflects it's beauty. But, anypony who'd be...small enough to actually steal it, would want it for something much more base. An adornment. A trinket. And, they wouldn't want to wait, oh no. They would want to see how it gleamed on them right away. As soon as they can steal a moment's privacy. And so they'd pick the colors of the costume to match. Green. Blue. And a touch of black. And who did we see in a simply stunning ensemble of olive green, sea blue, and a jet accent, mmm?"

"I can't believe it came down to dresses. I'd have never seen it."

"Oh you mustn't fret, darling. You study magic, and none can match you there. I, on the other hand, study ponies."

...my god. It took actual effort to stop writing that. I now want to write nothing but Rarity using Ze Little Gray Cells. Somebody stop me. Please. Somebody stop me before I murder (prose) again!

2052370
Ya know, I've seen your name pop up in a couple conversations already since joining Fimfiction last week. ...I think I'm gonna need to go read your stories now. :twilightsmile:

I thought this was good. I rather like stories like this: just regular day to day unimportant stories that don't lead to great, mighty epics of epicness.

...

Though now that I think about it, this would be a great starting point for a story that goes on to DRAMATICALLY EXPLORE THE DEEP UNDERCURRENT OF CELESTIA'S INNER TURMOIL AND DARKNESS and finally ending with Rarity realizing how ridiculous she's being and getting back to her hay. :twilightblush: :trollestia:

2052403
Well. Hope you have fun, then. :twilightsmile:

2052286
It's really heartening to hear that you think I got Rarity right. Rarity is probably about as different to me as chalk is to cheese, so writing her well was something of a challenge. I'm also pleased to hear you think my prose had a good rhythm, as I've been told that my writing style was a little stilted in the past. Avoiding using more words than needed something I'm trying to be aware of, so obviously I need to keep working on that.

Oh, and yes you should check out Ghost's work. Since you're new, I should also mention that at some point you should have a look at Eternal by Device Heretic (with the caveat that it is very definitely a Marmite fic; people seem to either love it or hate it), pretty much anything by Skywriter, "Within and Without" by Cloudy Skies and oh gosh, I could go on all day about some of the good stuff that's been produced.

2052370
You have to write detective Rarity now. But Rarity vs the Civil Service sounds like it has potential too. Those are both good ideas! Chimicherry or cherrychanga?

2052537
Recommendations are appreciated! I spent a fair amount of last night digging around for decent fics and I think I hit on a good strategy (which is what got me to this - yay), but it's nice not to have to spend so much time sifting.

Also, you guys are really making me want to up my game. THAT is a very nice feeling, and one I don't usually get with fanfiction. So far I've just been writing for fun. Now I feel like I'm going to have to start working.

2052601
Click my name to the left, there.
<=
You'll get a page with 10 recommendations from me.

2052537
You aren't helping! :raritycry:

I'll write six thousand words on dresses. At least four describing the decor. At least two thousand describing the banquet[1]. Further ten on the nobility and the complex games they play.

I'll have two thousand words of plot and thirty-eight of meandering. It'll be like Anna Karenina on Prozac, only with no helpful trains to help end the damned thing[2]! You have to stop me before I actually commit this treason against good sense!

Ahem.

Also, it wasn't supposed to be Rarity versus the Civil Service. More like Rarity providing proof of her awesomeness[3] while letting me provide an outsider's perspective on my characters. Also I can use her reading him like a pamphlet to fluster Dotted. I like flustering Dotted. And I can have fun with her and Spinny having a staredown. Mmmm. Sample dialogue:

"Didn't you live here? How can you not know who anyone is?"

"I--I never paid much attention to all of the politics stuff. I hated it. Most of the time I was in the library, you see, and I was--"

"--That will simply not do, darling. You are a mare of substance. A true lady. Friend to the princess. You must be able to read the crowd. And how can you do that even if you don't know who the Press Secretary is?"

"I thought you didn't know who she was?"

"I didn't know. I saw."

"Saw? Are there nametags? Omigosh, did we miss getting nametags?"

"No. Darling. Darling. Look. Just look. It's obvious. Look at her. Fresh hooficure. Immaculate mane. Brushed coat with tasteful dyed accents. Understated and expert makeup. Her morning toilette must take upwards of two hours. And yet her dress is plain. Of the finest of silk, no doubt, but plain. Why? Money? No. Look at that brooch. Jade and silver, inlaid with jet. Expensive. Ten thousand bits if it is a penny. So why a plain dress?"

"Maybe she likes simplicity?"

"No. No. Nopony with eyebrows plucked with such, ahem, psychotic precision is fond of simplicty. It's all part of an effect, my dear. She plans to talk to a number of ponies who are likely to be dressed fine, and wishes to appear suitable but non-threatening. A professional of some sort used to dealing with touchy clientele. But with this little soirée being as exclusive as it is, it is safe to assume her job is something to do with the media. I thought reporter, but obviously she isn't."

"It isn't obvious to me."

"Really dear, look at the pony she's talking with."

"He's um...short...and, really quite shaggy, and..."

"The necklace."

"Silver and amethyst. It doesn't fit him."

"It's also the chain of office of the Cabinet Secretary. And look, he's talking to her without that guarded expression officials get around reporters. So. Not a reporter. That leaves someone in public relations. The press office most like. And look. She's relaxed, not apprehensive at all. She's talking to the head of the whole of the Civil Service, and she's not nervous at all. So, of high rank. Highest rank in the Press Office is, of course, Press Secretary. And there you go."

"Now that you lay it out like that, it does seem obvious."

"It's a curse."

...I need to stop doing this. Seriously. I need to stahp.

[1] Gods above. I'll do research. I know I will. I'll try to track down menus of fancy Edwardian dinners. Then I'll spend hours trying to ponify words like 'friandise.'
[2] Oh yeah, uh...spoiler warning?
[3] Our Twi might be Best Pony, but that doesn't mean I don't have a soft spot for other members of the Mane six.


2052601
I know that feeling well. I remember clicking through to this site thinking "Well. Pony fanfiction. I mean, how good can it poss--oh. Oh. Damn."

2052702
:trixieshiftright: Steven Moffat, is that you?

[Edited to add] Oh God, I want Steven Moffat to write for Friendship is Magic now.
*shakes fist at an uncaring god*

2052737
That's quite the compliment you just laid on me, there, :twilightblush:

Alas, I am not the Grand Moff, but I was channeling Sherlock a bit there, I guess. I'm also a big fan of the original stories and the superlative Granada series, so when it comes to Holmesiana I've quite the palette to rip off work with. :twilightsmile:

2052537
..... Umm. I didn't MEAN to sidetrack your story comments this badly. It's still a wonderful story! We should all read it again!

2052770
I love this fandom. I make a comment about Steven Moffat and somebody comes back at me with Granada. (To my eternal shame, I've seen almost none of the Jeremy Brett Holmes. For lack of time, not lack of interest. It's sitting around the house, but I've primarily watched Basil and Benedict. :facehoof: )

That was a supprisingly intresting train of thought. I really enjoyed it.:raritywink:

.

2052793
Don't worry about it. The digression was interesting and may just result in Ghost writing something, thus is a good thing.

A nice little fic. I can't help but wonder, though, why Celestia wouldn't have perfect etiquette. From what I understand, books on the subject rarely introduce such things, rather, they merely codify that which was already present. As Celestia was present during the evolution of etiquette, and so would have influenced it (as nobility emulates royalty), then it is likely that current 'etiquette' is simply an amalgam of her natural eating habits, and that which the nobility thought 'proper'.
Of course, I can't really complain, as it addresses an issue I have seen dealt with only rarely, and even then, only in the best of works: that she is a person, and not simply a princess. The aura of perfection a ruler is expected to project at all times is, most often, a simple facade. Allowing a person a quick glimpse of what lies beneath can often result in greater loyalty/affection, as people realize they _are_ only a person.
That Said, being a politician with over a thousand years of experience, everything she does is suspect. Was that a genuine mistake, or had she noticed Rarity' s subtle observations, and shown her exactly what she wanted her to see?

It's cool, but I have a feeling that in a society with an immortal ruler that is as close to it's people as Celestia is you would get a rather stark ruler emulation instead of rulers learning "nobility' from the nobles. It does not look like that's what is happening in the show but it would be logical.

Most of the nobility and bourgeoisie should have been learning to emulate Celestia for most of their lives unless the standard predates her (which would be WEIRD a cultural standard that lasts for upwards a millenia!) and in that case Celestia would have plenty of practice with it, she would be better than any noble at it in fact.

Anyway that's just my 2 bits.

2053165 2053172
You both make very good points and I'm not going to defend too hard here. My idea was that there has indeed been changing standards of etiquette (after all, at some point, somepony invented the fork, which changed how food was eaten) and Celestia has been absorbing them by osmosis through the ages. However, if you learn things that way, you always end up missing some details, whereas if you read the manual, you get the minutia[1]. Celestia may be the most important pony in all of Equestria, but she can't be the only trend setter.

But I freely admit that I didn't to very much research. (That said, the name "The Pony's Guide To Perfect Gentility" is based off "The lady's guide to perfect gentility" by Emily Thornwell). I hope this issue wasn't too distracting from the main point, which was to something like "let Rarity see a little past Celestia's mask."

As for the question of if this was a ploy by Celestia? No comment. I have my thoughts, but you're free to interpret the text as you see fit.

[1] Or at least, that's my experience when learning various programming languages using either the read the manual approach vs the google-as-needed approach.

2052702 If my small comment had anything to do with this (insidious) creation, then it has been a glorious day. I'm still laughing at Captain Haystings.

..Now I wish for a Minister episode revolving around Brussels enforcing a classy dress standard, rather than any old emulsified high fat offal tube nonsense.

2052370 This HAS to be written. Your Dotted Line civil service stuff is brilliant, Detective!Rarity and Rarity vs the Civil Service would be truly epic.

2052702
Have you ever read A Study In Rainbows? That's a good Sherlock Rarity fic.

2057286
I've been made aware of it by a friend of mine just after I had my little brainwave back there. All great minds &c. :twilightsmile:

Though in my defense, this is more Rarity as Poirot (with traces of Miss Marple) than Rarity as Sherlock.

2052537
Curious. You say you find it hard to write Rarity and yet here she's lovely and there's a Rarity (ahem; of sorts) in your Secret Project, too, and she's one of the best things about that story.

I think you underestimate your Rarity-fu, sir. :raritywink:

2053165
What constitutes good manners shifts a lot more than you'd think. Consider, say, the idea of a meal having courses. Romans would have agreed (well they'd call them mensa but they did have courses), but the revolution era French, say, wouldn't. They employed what was, for the longest time, called "French Service" which means all the food gets piled on together. The way we do things now is relatively new and comes from Russia of all places. And the idea of serving sweet and savory courses together? Even newer. Read W. M. Thackeray and you'll see how many odd observances and ways things are meant to be done there were only a few hundred years ago. Like the whole mess about how you are supposed to eat peas[1].

So, yeah, it's actually quite likely for Celestia to be out of touch with table manners. And it depends, of course, on how much time she spends mingling with them. In my headcanon she keeps herself away from the company of nobles because:

a) Showing up to the dejeuner-or-what-have-you of noble A and not noble B causes tensions she'd rather avoid.
b) She's a busy mare and has a rather splendid country to rule.
c) We've seen her as rather puckish and informal. She's likely to find that the company of stuffy status-conscious nobility rankles considerably.

Though, of course, your own impression of Celestia might be otherwise.

[1] Some ungodly mess where it was at one time mandatory to eat them from a knife and then abhorrent to use anything but a fork. I can't find the details right now.

2057358
You never cease to amaze me with the breadth of your general knowledge. For reference to anyone still following the thread, in prereader comments to my stories alone, Ghost has shown he:

1) Knows at least little Latin
2) Was able to make a pun that hinged on Cantor's proof that some infinite sets had different Cardinalities.
3) Know how sailing ships work.

The third of which I find most miraculous, because I tried to do a little research on Wikipedia and found the topic totally impenetrable and resorted to writing with a point of view character who didn't know anything about ships.

2057689
Words alone cannot describe the staggering potency of my blush right now. I could cook a full meal at twenty paces through radiant heat alone. There aren't enough :twilightblush: emoticons in the world.

Oh, Rarity. If I cannot have an episode of yours this season, at least I can enjoy this delightful prose vignette, not to mention the delightful comments below it. I would be delighted to read more of your work, PoweredByTea, and as for GhostofHeraclitus, I've been eager to see Rarity mingle with your little clan of adorable bureaucrats since you first appeared on the FiMFiction scene.

2057358
I am willing to agree that the various rules of etiquette evolve with time and place, and that exposure to different cultures could cause shifts in what was accepted.
However, the examples you cite are vastly seperated by both time and space, and so it would be expected that the idea of 'what is proper' would change.
For example, you cite difference between the Roman Empire and Revolutionary France? Now, even assuming that French Service was established by the early kings of the Ancien Regime, you have roughly _ten centuries_ in which such changes may have occurred (based on when the Western Empire finally collapsed). Russian service is relatively new, I'll give you that, but even that has been around for roughly two centuries now - hardly an insignificant length of time, by any means.
And considering that both Tudor banquets and Cornish Pasties contained 'dessert' courses, we again are shown that such an idea was prevalent at least two centuries ago, if not more (I'll admit to a gap in my knowledge between 16th and 19th century dining practices).

All of which is rather irrelevant to my main point, actually.
Given that Rarity's book is still relevant, we know for a fact that Equestrian etiquette remains unchanged since at least eighty years ago. Also, given the nature of Royalty, we can safely assume that Celestia is expected to attend the occasional formal dinner. Let us assume it to be no more often than once annually. That means that, since the current traditions came into force, Celestia has had eighty dinners during which she will have had the opportunity to discern what is considered proper. So, as far as I am concerned, unless the rules have changed within the last twenty years, Celestia has no excuse for being unaware of proper etiquette.
I agree that Celestia is likely to avoid the nobility so far as possible, however, there are a great many occasions where such avoidance is impractical. Yes, she would turn down invitations to various noble's dinners, but would she snub an invite from an institution, or charity dinner, where the entire idea of the event is to spend time with rich and influential persons, and convince them to back the cause of the night? She could not, simply because snubbing such events would severely damage the reputation of the institution, and render the charity night far less successful.
Yes, she has a country to rule, but part of that involves attending formal events, such as dances and dinners, which members of nobility will attempt to attend, simply to be seen at the same events that Her Majesty is at. There are also such things as state dinners, used for diplomatic reasons. It would be truly terrible if Equestria's reputation were damaged because of a faux pas committed by one of its sovereigns, would it not?
Yes, we have seen the _person_ (not the Princess), apparently prefers to be rather informal (although, considering the situations in which this is seen, it could again be the politician garnering support), and this would cause her to attempt to minimise the amount of events where she would have to play the part of Princess, however, we must consider that many _commoners_ expect to see their ideal of a Princess. Without some personal interaction to render her mistake simply a part of her charm, it is entirely possible that a commoner noticing a faux pas would simply have their notion of the Royalty demolished.
Considering all this, I find it highly unlikely that Celestia would allow herself, or be allowed (depending on the attentiveness of the household staff), to fall more than a decade behind on social customs.
And I must thank you for introducing me to Thackeray - it is always good to increase one's wealth of knowledge.

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Actually, I wasn't referring to the differences between Romans and the Ancien Régime, I was referring to the differences between the Ancien Régime and today. I was using Romans to point out that they did have courses much like we do. But that's besides the point.

I agree that Celestia the person may be given to informality, but Her Serene Highness, Princess Celestia of Equestria, the persona is as formal as she needs to be. The question is of degree, I think. Is Celestia likely to have a broad understanding of how etiquette works? Oh yes. But. Is she likely to be personally indifferent enough towards the distinction between a hay and a flower fork[1] that when Rarity changes them around she follows her lead? Oh yes.

It's not a question of Celestia not knowing what the manners are, it's of her being fuzzy on the details because they've changed a number of times in her lifetime[2] and because she's likely to not care all that much. And given that fuzziness when she sees Rarity who's been described to her as the absolute paragon of fine manners pick up the wrong fork, she is (not being vain) much more likely to assume she got something wrong, thank Faust that there's a pony to crib from, as it were, and follow Rarity's lead.

[1] Which given my experience with the haute manners of our own Earth are likely to be damn near identical. Seriously, the whole "ooh-you-must-pick-the-right-fork" thing is one huge behavioral shibboleth.
[2] Celestia is significantly older than a thousand years. In my ficverse she's about 3500 years old, fr'instance, but even a thousand is enough for a lot of alteration to manners. The fork is only been around in Europe for, what, six hundred years?

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I am disarmed, ser.
I find your explanation of events to be quite possible, given my current interpretation of her character, so congratulations, I admit defeat.

oh wow Rarity trolling celestia that is hillarious:duck:

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