Queen Elizabeth II | Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II | Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

6 Rules to Remember If You Ever Meet Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth has met thousands of people and made connections with many world leaders and diplomats during her reign as the longest-reigning monarch in British royal history. When meeting the queen, British royalty has strict rules, which can be intimidating to anyone, even those who have been granted the honor of meeting her. If you ever have the chance to meet Queen Elizabeth, keep these six guidelines in mind to make a good first impression.

Queen Elizabeth, who is 95 years old, has been the monarchy’s leader since 1952. Following her father’s death, she ascended to the throne and has maintained her hardworking attitude and dedication to her royal duties. During her seven-decade reign, she has met with a wide range of political figures while avoiding major scandals.

She still keeps a regular travel schedule and makes numerous public appearances, indicating that she will continue to serve as a royal until she is no longer able to. The queen’s new addition of two corgis earlier this year is also a sign that she has no plans to leave Buckingham Palace anytime soon.

You don’t have to follow an obligatory code when greeting royals

While many people prefer to follow “traditional forms,” such as men doing a gentle head dip or women doing a small curtsy, the queen does not expect people to bow to her. If you want to add a handshake to your greeting, only do so if she first extends her hand. It is forbidden to touch the queen until the monarch initiates contact. When meeting the royals, it’s important not to overdo it.

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Let the queen speak first

The queen is expected to speak first and carry all conversations in a meeting of British royalty. Before changing to “Ma’am,” you should address her as “Your Majesty.” In any situation, avoid calling her by her first name.

Take your cue from the monarch

Following the queen’s cues is just as important as waiting to be spoken to. Even though royal protocol has recently relaxed, CNN reports that following the queen’s lead is a good idea: “If she walks, you follow; if she sits, you can too; and if dinner’s involved, best wait for her to start before tucking in.”

Don’t be late or leave early without permission

Debrett’s states, “It is correct for everyone to arrive before the royal personage, and protocol rules that no guest should leave an event before a member of the Royal Family, except in special circumstances when prior permission should be obtained,” according to the same CNN referenced above. If you must leave before the queen, you must first obtain permission from a private secretary.

Only bring a gift if it is appropriate for the occasion

If you plan on bringing a gift to the queen, make sure it is appropriate for the occasion. Even when gifts are given to a specific member of the royal family, they are all placed in the Royal Collection. When it comes to gifts for the monarch, CNN’s best advice is to “leave it out.”

Forego the hug

While the queen may extend her hand in greeting, any subsequent contact should be kept to a bare minimum. It would be against royal protocol to try to hug the monarch.

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Other things to keep in mind when meeting Queen Elizabeth include dressing appropriately for the occasion and avoiding anything too casual or revealing. When in the presence of the monarch, there are a few British Royalty rules to remember. Queen Elizabeth, on the other hand, is likely to have seen it all at some point during her reign. As a result, she is rarely offended, even when someone makes a mistake.

Royal News Prince George Catherine