Published On: Thu, May 26th, 2022

Royal etiquette no-no’s: Four rules that must be followed around Queen

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Not everyone gets the honour of meeting the or another member during their lifetime. But the lucky ones may be rather daunted by the thought of messing up protocols in such a situation, with the world of curtseys and ‘ma’ams’ a far cry from everyday life for most of us. The language and cultural experts from Busuu have highlighted things to do and not do whenever in the presence of a member of the Royal Family.

Greet the Queen and Royal Family members with the correct address

Upon presentation to the Queen, the Royal Family’s website explained the correct address is ‘Your Majesty’, and on subsequent occasions, the address is ‘Ma’am’, with a “short ‘a’, as in ‘jam'”.

For other royals, the first address is ‘Your Royal Highness’ followed by ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’.

A spokesperson from Busuu said: “There are a lot of rules surrounding the royals: the language that should be used to address them, the body language that we should uphold, and so much more.

“Using the correct title to address a royal is extremely important, especially as all members of the Royal Family will have their own title.”

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Avoid touching at all costs

Tom Cruise held Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s hand as she walked up the stairs at the Top Gun: Maverick premiere this month. The move caused quite a stir, and some suggested it was a breach of royal protocol.

According to the experts, it’s perceived to be poor form to hold or shake a royal’s hand without invitation.

They said: “Royals will have a lot of security around them but, regardless, you should avoid physical contact such as handshakes and hugs.

“You should only shake a royal’s hand if they extend theirs first.”

Sit correctly and never cross your legs

Even the way you sit is important when in the presence of members of the Royal Family.

Royal women like Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana have been known to employ what etiquette expert Myka Meier has previously termed the ‘Duchess Slant’.

The experts at Busuu said: “Ladies sitting in skirts or dresses should keep their legs together and angle them to the left or right.

“If you look closely, this is how the Duchess of Cambridge tends to sit and it was also how Princess Diana used to sit.

“Although you can cross your ankles, one thing you must never do is cross your legs. This is one of the worst things you can do, as far as etiquette goes!

“Men, on the other hand, can cross their legs, but should avoid sitting with their ankle on their knee with their leg bent.”

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Keep elbows off the table

If you’re ever lucky enough to dine with the Queen or a member of the Royal Family, elbows on the dining table are a big etiquette no-no.

The Busuu experts added: “When dining with royals, the correct etiquette for sitting at the dinner table involves keeping elbows, arms and hands off of the table.

“Having your elbows on the table when eating is said to suggest over-indulgence, which was known to come across as ‘peasant-like.’”



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