Royal Etiquette

Planning to have tea with the Queen? Here are some Royal Etiquette that you must know.

Referenced from

  • Huma Khan from ABC news
  • Rachel Kelly, a public relations executive at VisitBritain,
  • the U.K.'s official tourism office
  • and Paul Gauger, the director of regional press for 'VisitBritain'

Paul was also featured in "Good Morning America" offering this advice.


How to Greet The Queen

Royal Etiquette: This is how we should greet the queen.

Greet as Her Majesty, then as ma'am

Do not bow or curtsy if you are not British.

Unless you are British, you do not have to curtsy in the presence of the queen.

According to ABC news*, British women do a small curtsy and men bow their heads when meeting the queen.

"As an American when you're actually meeting the queen you don't have to do a curtsy or a bow because she's not the head of the state of America," Paul Gauger, the director of regional press for VisitBritain, offered his advice to 'Good Morning America'.

"What might be a nice sign of respect if you're a gentleman, you can do a slight nod...and some women, if they want to they can do a little bob.

Do not offer a handshake.

Royal Etiquette applies to not touching the queen or any member of the royal family.

We should wait for them to extend their hand. If they do, we must remember not to be excited and shake too hard. Be nice and gentle.

That means no gripping it tightly or pumping it. Also, no hugs, no kiss on the cheek, no touching the shoulder.

Let Her Majesty initiate the conversation with you.

Greeting the queen? Use "Your Majesty", then, "ma'am".

Greeting the U.S. president is "Mr President."

No Touch Rule of Royal Etiquette

Queen Elizabeth visiting

Like shaking hands, the queen's visitors have to wait until she extends her hand to them.

As mentioned, no gripping or pumping handshakes. And definitely no hugs, no kiss on the cheek, no touching the shoulder, putting your arm around the queen.

It is not socially acceptable to even take her elbow to direct her.

Recently, President Obama and Michelle Obama visited the Queen. Even when posing for a picture, they stood apart with hands in the front without touching.

Since Obamas are not subjects of the royal family, they did not need to bow or curtsy, though President Obama was gracious to bow slightly from the waist as he met the queen and her husband.

Royal Gift Giving Etiquette

Gift giving is also part of the etiquette when meeting royalty. See also Gift Giving Etiquette.

According to ABC news, The President and first lady gave the queen a video iPod with an inscription with uploaded songs and accessories, plus a rare musical songbook signed by Richard Rodgers.

The queen gave the president a silver framed photograph of herself and her husband, the official picture she gives all visiting dignitaries.


What To Wear

Royal Etiquette's dress code is generally conservative though it is acceptable for women to sport little sleeveless dresses.

In the article, "U.S. guide to royal etiquette: Don't call the Queen Liz", it says that the Officials for the Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine seem apprehensive enough to devote an entire page to royal etiquette for dress-code on his website.

It quotes, "Members of the Royal Family do not wish anyone to be put to unnecessary expense by buying special clothes, hats or gloves."

I thought that was extra nice of them to think of others. :)

(There is even a Royal Welcome hotline for extra advice.)


Royal Etiquette When In Conversation

If the queen chooses engage in polite conversation with you, you should never ask anything about their personal life for example her famous grand children, Prince Harry and Prince William.

Never try to call her 'Queen' or "Elizabeth" or "Liz" whatever name you have heard in the media.

Be natural, you don't have to mimic her British accent back to her when speaking.

During the conversation, make gentle eye contact, look happy and be light hearted. But you don't have to go and let loose your barrage of jokes either.

And oh, never turn your back on the queen.

Invited To Tea With The Queen

Tea is usually served accompanied by small snacks, usually in a beautiful garden.

You might want to read up on tea etiquette. Such as, raising only the teacup to drink, not the cup and saucer, and to return the cup to the sauce after each sip.

Remember not to chew loudly, close your mouth with you chew, to take small bites, not slurping, or talking with your mouth full. Also, remember not to stacking too much on one plate! LOL.

Oh and last one, we should all stop eating after the queen takes her last bite.

Thank you for reading 'Royal Etiquette '!

You may like:

Elegant Entertaining

British Etiquette

Missy Manners on the Art of Conversation

Return from Royal Etiquette to Elegant Woman Homepage


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