Whether Court is held inside or outside, the set-up will be about the same. The Thrones will be arrayed at the “head” of the space. The area for the populace will be several rows of chairs, either chairs from the site or the chairs belonging to the populace, with a center aisle about 5 feet wide. The first row will be about 10 feet away from the Thrones.
Most Courts begin with a processional of the Crown and some of Their retainers. The “Crown” refers to the Royalty in attendance. The Royal Herald will enter first and ask everyone to rise. As the Crown approaches the row you are in, you should bow. Once the Crown is seated, the populace will told to be seated or take their ease.
A Court is the forum for the conduct of the official business of the Crown or its representatives. That business can be broken down into two parts: business brought before the Crown and business brought by the Crown. Since the latter sort of business is usually a surprise to the populace, that is what will be covered here.
If the Crown desires the presence of an individual, the Herald, acting as the voice of the Crown, will call that person. For example: “The Crown calls Charles the New into the Presence”. At this point, Charles feels his heart plunge to the soles of his boots. One word runs through his head: “Me?” With prodding from his friends, some of whom wear the knowing smiles of ones who recommended him for this award, he rises.
At this point, he quietly removes his weapons and hands them to his friends, and walks up the aisle. When he is within 10’ of the Thrones [usually this is even with the first row of chairs], he stops and bows to the King, the Queen, the Prince, the Princess and so on. Then he walks forward and kneels on the pillow below the Throne. If for some reason he cannot kneel, he should bow again as a sign of respect. The Crown will understand.
While Charles is desperately trying to winch his heart out of his shoes, the Herald is reading something from a piece of paper. His name is in there someplace, along with a lot of gibberish and dates. Unless something is terribly wrong, the Herald is reading something good about Charles.
The Sovereign will then take the scroll, stand up, and say something complimentary about Charles. If there is regalia involved, it will be given. Charles will smile and stand up. Some Sovereigns make a practice of assisting ladies to rise, and have been known to kiss a hand once They have it in Their possession. A lady in the position of Charles would be well advised to glance shyly up at the King before struggling to her feet, so that the King is not left standing with His hand hanging out and a foolish expression on His face. The Herald breathes a sigh of relief when Charles doesn’t make an acceptance speech, because they both know that this is a scroll of some sort and not a little golden statue.
Charles will know that one doesn’t turn one’s back to one’s Sovereign, and so he will walk backwards 3 steps, until is out of easy striking range of the Sovereign and he bows again. Charles then turns and returns to his seat, where he retrieves his weapons from his friends.
Charles the New has just completed accepting his first award. Some variation might be necessary; and if it’s justified it will be accepted. However, this is the basic outline of Court behavior.
Once one has become jaded and bored with Court (horrors!), one may possess the judgment to decide whether some deviation from the norm is appropriate. Until then, one risks the fury of the Sovereign, the populace and the Herald. One must keep in mind that the Court is a forum for the business of the Crown, and not for the whims of the populace. The closer one keeps to a procedure which facilitates quick and easy business, the smoother Court becomes, and the more Court becomes a special experience for all, and not just a chore. [excerpts from an article written by James Shoen Mac Andrews vom Falkenschild, 1985; for The Knowne World Handbook.]
Once all business is concluded, the Herald will close Court. The populace will rise and bow as the Crown passes. After the Crown has exited the area, the populace is free to mingle or leave.