Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mother in law email from Carolyn Bourne to Heidi Withers

I am posting this mainly so I can always find it and chuckle about it. Firmly on Carolyn's side it has to be said. Some superb quotes in there

from: Carolyn Bourne
to: heidi withers
subject: your lack of manners

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:
When you are a guest in another's house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat - unless you are positively allergic to something.
You do not remark that you do not have enough food.

You do not start before everyone else.
You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.

When a guest in another's house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early - you fall in line with house norms.

You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.

You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why. No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.

I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters' marriages.)

If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.

One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie.

55 comments:

Ann O'Dyne said...

also firmly on Carolyns' side*.
IF Heidi did all those things, then she is truly bad-mannered.
What is wrong with people!


*maybe email was not the medium for this particular message, but then the girl proved her idiocy by forwarding it.
The marriage is doomed for sure.

You blog came up first when I blogsearched to see who was discussing this.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if you'd read the full email, not just the bits reprinted by the DM, you'd have realised that Heidi Withers suffers from diabetes.

By all accounts, she has to be very careful about the food she eats (both the amount and the type), and in fact suffered a diabetic attack during this 'family' weekend.

Not so sympathetic towards Carolyn Bourne now, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

while chuckling, read the full text...:: This is the full email from Mrs Bourne to Miss Withers:
It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.
Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you.
It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.
Your behaviour on your visit to Devon during April was staggering in its uncouthness and lack of grace.
Unfortunately, this was not the first example of bad manners I have experienced from you.
If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste.
There are plenty of finishing schools around. You would be an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series.
Please, for your own good, for Freddie's sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.
Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:
When you are a guest in another's house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat - unless you are positively allergic to something.
You do not remark that you do not have enough food.
You do not start before everyone else.
You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
When a guest in another's house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early - you fall in line with house norms.
There are plenty of finishing schools around. You would be an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series.
Carolyn Bourne
You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.
I have no idea whether you wrote to thank [your future sister-in-law] for the weekend but you should have hand-written a card to her.
You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed at Houndspool.
[Your future sister-in-law] has quite the most exquisite manners of anyone I have ever come across. You would do well to follow her example.
You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.
It is tragic that you have diabetes. However, you aren't the only young person in the world who is a diabetic.
I know quite a few young people who have this condition, one of whom is getting married in June. I have never heard her discuss her condition.
She quietly gets on with it. She doesn't like being diabetic. Who would? You do not need to regale everyone with the details of your condition or use it as an excuse to draw attention to yourself. It is vulgar.
As a diabetic of long standing you must be acutely aware of the need to prepare yourself for extraordinary eventualities, the walk to Mothecombe beach being an example.
You are experienced enough to have prepared yourself appropriately.
No-one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.
I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters' marriages.)
If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.
One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and laugh, but the joke's on you. This is just a publicity stunt.

They'll have television producers with wads of cash knocking down their door in 3... 2... 1...

dicko45 said...

Well put, Carolyn! I couldn't agree more - and Heidi, all it takes to avoid such a situation is a little common-sense, some consideration for others and a little respect.

Respect, by the way, should be your default setting; always give it, never demand it. Try treating others the way you would like to be treated, take nothing for granted, but always ensure you have treated your fiancé's parents and siblings as you would like to be treated yourself and always, always, honour hospitality. And be as careful with other people's money as you would be with your own.

Grow up, Heidi!

Steddie said...

I fully support Carolyn Bourne.

Steddie said...

I totally agree with Carolyn Bourne

Anonymous said...

What an old goat. Stick your advice up your withered chuffer, love.

Anonymous said...

well, since the daughter-in-law-to-be is diabetic, I can see her saying she won't eat certain things.

Anonymous said...

how has this "gone viral"? just sounds like a generation gap between obviously uptight old woman and a possibly slapperish younger one. from the coverage this seems to have received i'd at least have expected it to be either witty or particularly damning

Silent Auction Software said...

I am so surprised that this has made the news! There are surely far more important things than a mother and daughter in law disagreement!

Catherine said...

As someone said earlier: "the joke's on you." How easy it is to fool the masses. Clearly, Mrs Bourne has friends in the media. Nice stunt to get her name out there. Sometime soon we'll be hearing about a book deal or a TV prog on "good" manners perhaps. *Yawn, yawn*

BTW did you hear that 121 women were raped by government troops in Congo last month? I know it's trivial compared to the Bourne Identity, but thought I'd let you know....

Anonymous said...

NEVER criticise your child's choice - a recipe for family ruptures, esp if you are the step-mum. A quiet word with the son would have been better manners, too - this was a really vicious email. In my home, I always check menus with guests - people have dislikes as well as allergies. I make sure that guests are offered more if their plate is empty, too. This girl is going to be a family member - I don't demand that my family get up at the time I do. Heidi may well be thoughtless and not have Carolyn's idea of perfect manners - but if she makes her son happy, that is the important thing. A letter from a friend who has had Heidi to stay said she was charming - and sent a written thankyou.

Anonymous said...

Dicko45, but surely that is the point: Heidi Withers did treat her hosts as she would like to be treated? Heidi obviously doesn't expect her guests to give hand-written thankyou notes; she expects her guests to eat as much as they need; she expects her guests to tell her their dietary requirements. And she likes her guests to sleep in for as long as they want. So she treated her hosts exactly how she would like to be treated. I pity poor Heidi, who would want to marry in to such a pretentious, stuck up family?

Anonymous said...

its easy to say "well done carolyn" but where is heidi's side?
there is 3 sides to every story:
yours. theirs. and then the truth.
who are we to judge? how do we know that carolyn isnt an upright demanding pompus fool who thinks she owns the air we breathe?
i understand a mother wanting the best for her children, and wanting a respectful daughter-in-law.
but at the end of the day, she only lowered herself to heidis standard to point out someones flaws, something i am sure she herself would have plenty of.
move on, get over it, im sure theres more to it then we have been told

Stuey said...

You can say "The jokes on you" but I just to 5 minutes to make a note of something that amused me.

It's not my fault over 10,000 people were also interested enough to search for it and visit my little blog.

Anonymous said...

No idea whether or not this young lady actually conducted herself poorly or not, but it's a bit hypocritical to hold oneself us a parago of good graces at the moment one is branezly lambasting a household guest and future relative.

I think a very dignified gentlemen of some repute once told his followers to turn the other cheek at insults, and to generally repay good for evil.

möbius said...

What a strange thing it is for so many opinions to be voiced about something that is essentially an unknown.
The fact is either Carolyn has delusions of grandeur and Heidi is a perfectly polite young woman, or Carolyn is right, and Heidi is a lout.
We don't know WHAT happened that weekend, and personally, I think sending somebody an email to a potential daughter in law that basically contains a character assassination is rude and uncouth.
I wonder if Carolyn Bourne has a mirror... In that clearly very twee hyacinth Bouquet suburban ivory tower?!
-möbius

möbius said...

Nobody knows who's right, personally I think emailing a character assassination to a future daughter in law is a nasty little piece of work. Carolyn Bourne should look in the mirror before extolling the virtues of good manners, I assume they have mirrors... In ivory towers, I mean.

tanya1111 said...

The point of manners is to make everyone comfortable, and that the last thing one would ever do is insult another person's manners. Even if you had a good chuckle of it with your husband true grace is trying to make others comfortable. My mother told me a story of how she has been mispronouncing a name of an important political figure repeatedly and her host at the time, in order to not embarrass her repeated the mistake. This is grace and good manners. This woman has no idea what grace is and should not be lecturing anyone on it.

Anonymous said...

What a stuck up boot, she realy needs to get a grip the silly bag. We are not living in the the day and age of lords and ladies of the house. I feel extremely sorry for her son and husband, who must be extremely mortified by her utter disrespect to the wife to be. It's shouldn't be about how well mannered Heidi is it should be about how happy and in love her son is with her and should accept het as she is. It is obvious she is bitter coz her son is being taking away from her. Get a grip love and apologise for outrageous outburst.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn may have a point about Heidi's manners. However, to suggest she hide her diabetes from the sight of the world is vulgar. Pretending it doesn't exist does not make it go away; managing it well will only make it a livable condition. To complain about someone's chronic health condition and see it as a personal shortcoming is wrong.

My opinion? Both parties are wrong. Perhaps Miss Heidi is in need of a bit of refining, but so is Carolyn for having lack of depth of insight.

Anonymous said...

The young woman was clearly remiss in her manners at times, for one thing, it is extremely rude to lie in bed for half the day if you a guest in someone's home. And she ought to have known how to manage her condition better! However, it beggars belief that a woman who ought to be old enough to have more sense, and is after all, only the step-Mother, should stoop so low as send a damning and offensive email like this one. What on earth did she think it would achieve other than causing distress and family conflict? A quiet word with her step-son would have been more 'ladylike'.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that this woman is but the STEP mother of the groom and not blood. Therefore she really hasn't got any say as to what Freddie does with himself or who he chooses to marry. She should do everyone a favor and take a swan dive off the roof of her ivory tower. What a b!tch!

Anonymous said...

I personally Know Heidi from school
and while she can be a bit little blonde at times (think a slightly loud laugh and finds simpler things funny)she is not stupid by any means and a 100 percent
nice person, she has a good job and is definalty no lout.
I know her sister and her mother and they are "frightfully well spoken"

put the shoes on your feet,
if i went in to a family where i had to hand write cards saying thank you for meals
and if they were waking up at 06:00 on a sunday morning and i had to announce what i was allergic to
before i got served tiny portions (this may/may not be the case)

and being told i had to behave like your "sister in law to be"
I would get the hell out quickly.

Oh and Heidi is a gorgeous girl,
never seen her out drinking,
used to be a regular church goer when i last saw her, only ever see her in town, def has class.

so if you are thinking "lout" you have the wrong person....

now the mother, im thinking "horse and pony club"

any comments?
Clinton . M

Anonymous said...

There's more here than meets the eye! I note that Carolyn Borne is the STEP mother of the hapless Freddie, of whom shwe sauys "Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you". Possibly the two of them don't get on? Possibly when fitting herself into her new family, she discovered that her no doubt impeccable manners (give or take the odd ungracious and libellous e-mail)were no subsitute for a likeable personality when it comes to winning over family members? Just a guess! PS I'm over 60 myself, and have never thought of writing a thankyou card to family or in-laws. Obviously poor old Heidi thought she was in a friendly family envoronment, not a minefield of petit bourgeois frightfully good taste! Run, Freddie and Heidi, save yourselves!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm Team Carolyn here, but I think both need to learn manners.
1. Carolyn could have taken her own advice and hand written this note as she talked about in her letter - Heidi should not have fordwarded it!
2. Heidi does need to learn some manners, especially if she's going to be part of an upper class family - there are proper rules of etiquette. I am interested in hearing her side of the story though to see if all this did happen, in this way.
3. Never, ever insult your future in-laws, in public.......that's a given and makes me not like the girl already.
4. If you have an extravagent wedding you can't afford, your marriage will fall apart anyways regardless of the in-laws behavior.
5. You should always send thank you notes - handwritten or emailed, even if you thanked the person to their face - common courtesy (but maybe I'm old fashioned).
6. Carolyn should have welcomed the girl into her home regardless - sleeping in late (one of my pet peeves too) isn't necessarily bad manners and Carolyn should let it go, but if the others were waiting for her to go do something, that is bad manners on Heidi's part.
7. Taking additional helpings when not offered is very old school, and since Heidi probably only had a small portion from not eating most of the food because of her condition, a second helping shouldn't be offensive, but Heidi shouldn't go on and on and on about her condition and expect everyone to accommodate it, especially if a large party is involved.

That's my rant and I'm sticking to it.

PS - I agree with other poster, publicity stunt so Heidi can afford her white castle wedding!

Anonymous said...

Apparently Carolyn Bourne has forgotten the MOST IMPORTANT rule of etiquette:

"If you don't have ANYTHING nice to say, DON'T SAY ANYTHING at all"

KImMieDOodlEz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KImMieDOodlEz said...

you all must have traveled through time from the 1800's cause saying heidi is terrible you're all Snobby bitches. How do you know heidi did all those things #1 and #2 half of them are nothing. Taking a second serving of food? really? OMGOSH WE'RE ALL GONNA STARVE!!! SHE TOOK A SECOND HELPING OF FOOD!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER TRYING TO FEED HERSELF LIKE A REAL HUMAN BEING?? and I'm sorry if you don't like a certain food you shouldnt be made to eat just politely say you can't eat it. There are foods i just wont eat and if you forced me too i throw it all up on you. AND if you want to be a good host, you want your guest to feel comfortable so why is sleeping in such a huge deal?? Her fiance obviously didn't care. and how is stating you're diabetic bringing attention to yourself? Obviously this lady was just upset she wasn't the center of attention because of this wedding. She can shove it up her ass and live in the real world.

Stacy said...

I am embarrassed for Carolyn. I feel sorry for the groom that he has to have this awful and judgmental woman in his family. Thank goodness he is just her step-child. I think she should be ashamed of herself. This will not only cause a rift in the relationship of the bride and groom, but with the family as well. She speaks of manners, well...an insulting email is of very poor taste and not proper manners in the least. She should be ashamed of herself, she has embarrassed herself and her family.

K Popplewell said...

A clue to Carolyn's bias against her STEP-Son's(possible) future wife: note in the address how Carolyn capitalizes her own name, but not Heidi's. The email could only go downhill from there. One has to wonder how all this free advertisement has affected Mrs. Bourne's flower business. One does hope, for the Bride and Groom, that Step-Mummy was NOT to do the floral arrangements for the wedding(or is that weeding???).

Anonymous said...

I got married about 11 months ago. My mother in law and I didn't get along during our engagement because she thought I was disrespectful and that I couldn't take care of her son the way she took care of him. I learned from my mistakes what she expected from me and changed my behavior around her. We get along just fine now. Some times you do what you have to do to please them. She wanted to get her point across (although it wasn't very polite-she could have met her in person). They'll work it out, and if they don't I hope they don't put Freddie between them.

Anonymous said...

Without taking sides, the young lady's parents should have taught her better manners, taught her to live within her means and behave like a lady, not a brash diva.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn points out that when a GUEST these "manners" are ones to follow. However, when I go to my step mother-in-laws home I am family, not your typical guest. I'm sure when the son comes home he acts almost as he did when he lived there growing up. She probably followed in suite.

Also, since we are talking "manners" it is not proper manners nor is it proper etiquette to address such a topic in an e-mail. So 'Miss Fancy Pants' should practice what she preaches.

Stuey said...

In terms of the capitalisation that could just be the email system so that's a red herring. I have just looked at the Analytics for the past two days and it's staggering how much interest this story has generated (1,000 people an hour!) and I am just keeping a crappy little blog...imagine how many hits national newspapers are getting.

Thanks in particular to Clinton for that comment coming from a personal point of view.

Anonymous said...

My grandmothers were lovely mothers in law and my own mother in law would cut off her own right arm before she would fault a GUEST in her HOME from taking a second helping of food.

Someone needs better manners here, that is for sure.

Why did you not post the full text of the email? One of your commenters did, above. What you have in your post is not the full text.

Anonymous said...

Somebody posted that this story is just to generate advance publicity for a book on etiquette. I suggest that anybody interested should Google "Carolyn Whetman pinks". You'll soon see that this lady is not too classy to advertise on the QVC shopping channel. A quick look at the aging Sloane Ranger hairstyle, and a listen to that excruciatingly careful way of talking, is enough to show that this is a lady who cares a great deal for appearance, but doesn't have a lot to back it up. She apparently boasts of having attended a girl's independent school. So did I - one that is regularly listed among the top ten in terms of exam results - unlike hers, which probably emphasised the more ..um .. social graces. Anybody can go to a school like that if Daddy has money - it doesn't take brains or talent, so there's nothing to boast about.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Freddie and father have to stay close to home in order to help MIL on and off of her high horse?

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is that Carolyn herself probably married into the Bourne family fortune as well. I wouldn't doubt she was poked and prodded into refining herself as well.

Both are at fault for it. I can see Heidi as being rude and a lot of the things Carolyn claims, I mean how would this email become public otherwise? Ridiculous.

I really pity Freddie though to have to deal with both of them. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I think it is offensive for people to keep saying she is "only" a "STEP" mother. My husband is "only" a "STEP" father to my daughters, but they love him as a father and he loves them as his children. Would you say that Freddie is "only adopted?" We don't know how long this woman has cared for him, how deeply she loves him and views him as her son. Sure, she could be awful and detached, but we don't know that. And if she is, it is NOT because she is "just" a step parent. I don't agree with the email and I don't know the story, so I'm not commenting on that--just on the short-sighted responses here from ignorant people who apparently don't believe a woman can sincerely love her husband's child and regard him as well as if he were her own.

Anonymous said...

Mother-in-laws can suck it

Anonymous said...

The email isn't that bad. There isnt anything that i find in the email to be appalling. I don't know what the hoopla is all about. I'm sure the daughter in law will now have a worse relationship for airing the family's dirty laundry. You should have just kept it to yourself.

Anonymous said...

not much sympathy with either side I'm afraid. Content of original email is one person's opinion and an unreliable source of fact, but to send an email criticising someone's manners which is in itself very ill-mannered is fantastic hypocrisy.

On the other hand, whilst the daughter's behaviour cannot be verified, it is a strange response to forward an email of this nature.

if there IS a tv show, I won't be watching.

Carla said...

Maybe I am old fashioned and of similar age to Carolyn Bourne, and agree with most of her ideas about how to behave as a guest in someone else's home,but the way she has gone about trying to change her future daughter in law is wrong. She should be warm and friendly with her, and I am sure as time passes Heidi will subtly change and fit in better with the new family.It would have been much better if she had had a quiet, gentle word with
Freddie,if she had to, and not let the bitterness of spirit be expressed as it has been.
That gentleman of renown also says 'let no root of bitterness spring up and defile you'
Forgive her, Carolyn,and apologise,(none of us is anywhere near perfect inside),and hopefully you can all move on.
Baby Boomer.

Anonymous said...

I think mother-in-law is right. But she sure lack tact. While highlighting the points she mentioned she could have been polite. Email is indeed a rude shock but points raised by mum-in-law are actually valid and universal. The email should have been routed through the step-son. LOW point is making the private and personal email PUBLIC on Internet. Girl sure lacks sense.Sad

Bhushan said...

I fully support Carolyn. Lying in bed while the hosts are up & awake is quite rude. Btw I"m Asian and in our culture much respect is shown to in laws.

Arielle Athena said...

I must say as harsh and rude as this email was, Carolyn does make some good points. However, The bit about the food serving and helping is unbelievable and extremely selfish and obvious a biased statement of hate for her to attack her for being a diabetic. If her friend doesnt want to talk about her diabetes that is her friends decision but i find it hard to believe that said friend isnt going to deny or accept food when the importance of what she puts in her body is much greater then someone without diabetes. Maybe Heidi is a little more careful and as her future family they should be able to know and accept why she is turning down certain foods. It seems to me that Carolyn is very old school, It is 2011, as far as a thank you for having me hand written note? Of course it is nice and it shows utmost gratitude but with the advance of technology and media many people tend to forget about hand written sentiments, and you certainly can not blame them. Carolyn makes good points of certain mannerisms, do not joke until you have felt out the humor of the family and only in ways that are appropriate, as you don't want to offend. Also for her to mention the fact of the amount of money Heidi's parents make is out of line and especially to think the parents would save over the years for a wedding? I am not saving for my daughter's wedding i will be saving for her education which is infinitely more important! I do agree that if its true that her parents can not contribute that much Heidi and Freddie should definitely cut corners where they can to fit into a budget. I always was taught that you shouldnt start until everyone has a plate, and as a guest I have always waited until my host has settled down to enjoy unless directed otherwise by the host. If she wasn't invited to take more helpings maybe she should have politely asked if it would be alright rather then just take it. All in All this letter was rude and harsh, but she did bring up some good points. I feel no pity for Carolyn but I do for Heidi! Families have different ideas of conduct and manners and she should not have been attacked in this way by the STEPMOTHER of the man she is going to marry. Carolyn should have acted as a gracious woman instead of send and insulting email. To me this is hypocritical because the manners she is trying so hard to get across has flown right out the window in her etiquette to address an issue that is bothering her.

Freddie said...

I wish my stuck up step mum wasnt such a twat, she changed as soon as she got hold of my dads money!

i think its rich that bitch claiming my dads money as her own, has the cheek to comment on another's financial status.

pretty certain its bad manners to send such a shitty email, sounds like she has been drinking hypocrite juice.

Anonymous said...

Who would want to be in the 'wider Bourne family?'

Anonymous said...

Heidi is not bad mannered she is simply normal, has obviously spent her life around normal people doing normal things!! In my opinion and from what I have read it would appear that Carolyn has a deep disliking to Heidi therfore why would she be bothered if she spent half the day in bed, she clearly doesn't want to spend time with someone so uncouth!!! She should aslo take it as a compliment that Heidi feels comfortable in her company to be relaxed and able to be herself.
I too can't help but think this is a publicity stunt of some sort? Watch this space....

Captain Bitchface said...

Carolyn Bourne complains about Heidi saying what she can and can't eat, and then admits she KNOWS Heidi has diabetes.

I'm not sure Carolyn actually knows what diabetes is.

Anonymous said...

This email is quite funny.

All I can gather from it is "You were not brought up in a palace with it's own private grammar school. You are therefore not good enough for my perfect son."

Anonymous said...

Her whole E-mail is rude. It is entirely not her place to make comments on someone else's wedding. or the behaviour of her son's behaviour did it ever occur to her that he loves her just the way she is and by doing this she shows she is an interfering iold woman with nothing better to do then dictate the way she behaves on others. though some things may have irritated her it may have been better for her to metion it at the time not attack her with. It also question the her parents skill at raisng her which is totally unacceptable. Furthermore why would you take the oppertunity to tell her that she should be more iek her own daughter? Slightly big headed of you.

Heidi I wish you and Freddie a very happy future and I pray she learns to mind her own business

Anonymous said...

Seriously? This is news in the U.K.? There are no sides... Carolyn should have enough class to realise that addressing your soon to be "step daughter-in-law" via a gutless e-mail is in itself a complete absence of manners.Have the gumption to sit the girl down and go through your gripes, not send an e-mail running her and your step son's choice of life partner down. I am sure once Carolyn pulls that enormous carrot out of her arse, she'll find bigger things to worry about, like what to wear to the big day...