July 5th, 2010

Royalty Etiquette Expert Offers Tips For Meeting Queen Elizabeth II

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Queen Elizabeth II is set to visit New York on July 6 and will address the United Nations General Assembly and tour the partially reconstructed site at ground zero.  The queen’s half-day visit will be a whirlwind affair, coming at the end of a nine-day tour in Canada in connection with Canada Day. She is accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Just in case you’re one of the fortunate ones to meet the Queen during her visit to Manhattan you’ll need a crash course in royal etiquette.  Here are seven quick tips to help you appear prepared, polished and sophisticated.

  • When the Queen enters a room, everyone stands.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whoever hosts the Queen is expected to walk beside the Royals and make introductions as required.
  • At least in Britain, when the Queen stops eating, you stop as well.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Click here to watch my interview with Anderson Cooper where I discuss how The Obamas should meet, greet and have tea with Queen Elizabeth II.

Read more of my tips in The New York Daily News“Queen Elizabeth visits New York City: Rules to live by in case you meet ‘Your Majesty.”

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