What should you do if you meet the Queen?

What should you do if you meet the Queen?


The odds are you're probably never going to meet the Queen . Sorry.

Unless you're the sort of person who follows her public appointments lavishly, are famous or are going to be awarded an MBE, it's probably just not going to happen.

For argument's sake, however, let's say you do get to meet the Queen.

You'll probably want to make a good impression, so you remember to say "ma'am" as in "ham", and not "ma'am" as in "farm" and mind your manners.

The monarchy's website makes clear that "there are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family." But those who "wish to observe the traditional forms" have options.

As with anything to do with royal etiquette, these options get a little weird.

1. Don't touch Her Maj.

This rule dates back to Medieval times, when, as historian Kate Williams puts it, "monarchs were divinely appointed to rule by God, so they were kind of seen as gods, so they demanded to be treated as gods."

If we're not mistaken though, the Queen is sort of hugging her back?

Happily, the notion of divine right of kings has eased up, but that doesn't mean you can go touching the Queen beyond a formal handshake.

Remember the raised eyebrows when, in 2009, Michelle Obama, put her arm around HM in a warm gesture?

Protocol experts sniffed VERY volubly at that.

While the same experts sniffed at Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James putting his arm around the Duchess of Cambridge for a photo in 2014, a spokeswoman for the royal family James didn't violate any protocol, so maybe it's just the Queen.

The palace later said no protocol had been violated (Image: UPI /Landov / Barcroft Media)

2. Don't show up empty handed

What do you get the woman who already has everything? Sure, the Queen has several homes full of priceless trinkets, but bringing a gift is a must, E! Online reports.

This gift must also be appropriate to the occasion. So if she's paying a visit to your hometown or country, something which reflects local culture might go down better than W.H. Smith's vouchers.

Say it with flowers (Image: Getty)

3. Stand to attention

You may be dead on your heavily-bunioned feet - but you should always stand when the Queen enters the room.

You may only sit once she's nice and comfy, so keep a close eye on when the Queen sits down herself.

4. Don't just twiddle your thumbs

When the Queen is making a beeline for you, or when you're next in the line to meet her, it's important you either bow or curtsy (depending on whether you're a woman or a man).

Angelina got away with a handshake (Image: Getty)

If you're a US citizen, however, all you're obliged to do is shake her hand. But remember - no hugging.

5. Don't ignore the dress code

Regardless of how late you're running or how tempting it is to stay in your onesie and slanket combo, make sure you dress accordingly when meeting HRH.

If the event is black tie, wear black tie.

Outfit goals

6. Resist the temptation to refer to her by her first name

Or, heaven forbid, by a NICKNAME.

While the Royal family may be extremely familiar to us, and while we may have our own nicknames for them, us common folk still aren't on a first name basis with them.

So, when you first meet the Queen she should be addressed as "Your Majesty" and "Ma'am" consequently after. When she leaves, however, you must address her as "Your Majesty" once again.

No "Liz" or "Lizzie" or - shudder - "sweetheart".

7. Only speak if the Queen speaks to you

Remember when you were a small child and all your elders would drop wisdom such as "don't speak unless spoken to first" and "children should be seen and not heard"?

The same applies to meeting the Queen.

This rule exists so Her Royal Highness can control every aspect of the conversation - including exiting it swiftly.

 

 

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