April 29th, 2007

Are Your Manners Fit for a Queen?

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Royalty and etiquette seem to go hand in hand, but would you know what to say or how to act if you were one of the fortunate ones to meet, greet, or dine with the Queen during her visit to the United States during the week of May 3-8? In the event you need a crash course in royal etiquette, I have done a little research and have compiled these seven quick tips to help you be more poised and polished.

  1. When the Queen enters a room, everyone stands.
  2. When first meeting the Queen, she should be addressed as “Your Majesty” and then “Ma’am” thereafter. When departing, address her as “Your Majesty” again.
  3. By rank, the Duke of Edinburgh is lower than the Queen; thus he is addressed as “Your Royal Highness” (NOT Your Majesty, aka King). After first introductions, he should be addressed as “Sir” and when departing, addressed as “Your Royal Highness” again.
  4. Whoever hosts the Queen is expected to walk beside the Royals and make introductions as required.
  5. At least in Britain, when the Queen stops eating, you stop as well.
  6. In general, there are no obligatory codes of behavior, especially in the U.S. — as we do not recognize the Queen as our Head of Nation.
  7. Bowing is not required of U.S. citizens but shaking hands is acceptable. When shaking hands, wait until the Queen extends her hand first before extending yours. In Great Britain and the Commonwealth states, men bow and women curtsy. Men bow their head only, dropping it from the neck. Women perform a small curtsy, placing the right foot behind the left heel and then slightly bending the knees.

Conversation Starters
If you are seated next to the Queen during dinner, be prepared to be a charming conversationalist. Here are my top five “safe” and effective suggested topics of conversation:

  1. The Queen is a keen photographer and enjoys taking photographs of her family.
  2. The Queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign. She currently has five of them.
  3. As well as corgis and dorgis (dachshund/corgi hybrid), the Queen also breeds and trains Labradors and Cocker Spaniels at Sandringham.
  4. The Queen takes a keen interest in horses and racing and continues to ride at Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor.
  5. The Queen also takes a keen interest in horse breeding. She has about 25 horses in training each season.
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