15 Etiquette Tips For Meeting The Queen
July 6, 2010 | Celebrities
As Canadians found out during her recent trip here, meeting the Queen is a major hassle, what with the crowds of ancients for whom she is still a relevant symbol as head of state milling about. And indeed it is perhaps preferable to take in The Royal Presence from the comfort of your own living room and contemplate how unfair it is that you were born into a family where the only things passed down the blood line were heart disease and ugliness. To dull this pain, we recommend an appropriate booze such as Crown Royal whiskey, or if that’s in a section of the liquor store that is a little too high rent, perhaps just a few bottles of Olde English malt liquor and some artery-clogging tasteless food that’ll sit in your stomach like a rock for weeks.
If you do, however, decide to brave the daylight and are granted access to The Royal Presence, or if you’re called in to take part in a royal review — where indigenous people are paraded about and subjected to the oblivious ethnic slurs of Prince Phillip — then you must observe certain points of protocol that clearly demarcate those born with a divine birth right from those whose birth is followed by paternity testing and a lengthy court battle.
Some of these have been detailed previously, such as: “During meals, the Queen eats first and when she stops the others at the table stop. Eat what is served and do not request anything more or less.” However, when it comes to royalty, there simply cannot be enough protocol and in that spirit we offer you our 15 Etiquette Tips For Meeting The Queen!
1. Should your country feature a likeness of the Queen on its currency, have a bit of fun by holding a bill to Her Majesty’s face to compare and remarking, “Not exactly last year’s driver’s licence, is it love?”
2. Like a child in a perfect world, do not speak until spoken to—and to make sure this protocol is not violated, adhere to this twice—mollifying potential awkwardness by leaning in after her initial remark, with a hand cupped to your ear indicating it was not heard.
3. When the Queen stops eating/drinking, it’s acceptable to order another round of drinks with an index finger raised in the air and with a counter-clockwise circular motion.
4. Should you be granted an audience with Her Majesty in a room, it is considered the height of impropriety to leave the Royal Presence in the manner considered acceptable for almost all other human beings — i.e. turning around and walking out. As with a tweaking crystal meth addict who’s short on cash, it is never wise to turn your back on Her Majesty. Instead, walk backward with your arms windmilling behind you to avoid other people or large potted plants. Backflips are verboten.
5. Avoid contentious topics such as asking Her Majesty if she’s hung around this long due to her own good health or just a fervent desire to keep her oafish son from the throne for as long as possible.
6. Show solidarity by introducing your wife as your first cousin even if you are of different ethnicities.
7. When in the presence of the Royal Corgis, traditional pooper scoopers are frowned upon. Instead employ the metal tongs normally used for ice and a silk bag.
8. Should the unthinkable happen and Her Majesty drop her handbag, it is considered acceptably amusing to feign a struggle when picking it up for her and saying, “What the hell do you have in here, a brick?”
9. In terms of personal contact, only accept and never initiate chest bumps. Also a double high-five and bro hug are accepted protocol. However it is considered gauche to give thumbs up to your buddies for a photo op or, like a licentious relative, hold the embrace for longer than what would be deemed acceptable in a family setting.
10. Don’t say “pleased to meet you”, which is thought to be redundant as most people are pleased to meet the Queen. Say something more ambiguous like “European Union, indeed!” or simply lift your eyebrows in a “What next?” gesture.
11. Always stand, unless you physically can’t in which case it is acceptable to throw aside crutches and make a miraculously recovery in front of Her Majesty, provided royal photographers are ready to mark the moment for posterity.
12. Refer to her as Ace Queen or Royal Flush at all times, unless you’re seated in a less formal setting— like a poker table, where you call her ‘toots’. The Queen’s biographer Robert Lacey warns that people should never yell out Queen or Queenie as she walks past, as “That would be considered rather aggressive.” Instead, opt for ‘check mate’.
13. Do not mimic her accent, instead, copy a less common regional variant—West Midlands for example, and point out, self-deprecatingly, that you’ll do better next time.
14. As a Canadian, ask her in hushed tones, “But really now, you do prefer us to the bloody Aussies, right?”
15. Despite the obvious temptation, avoid falling for the ‘pull my finger’ gambit, especially if she is wearing white gloves (this is an obvious precursor to the ‘left holding the white glove’ gag).